Fishing Report - 1/20/17
Some of the anglers who attended this trip had fished with Pesca as many as eight times over the years, others were new with us. Several came as father and son teams to share in what they've been bragging about having done, often stood to the side and watched the younger guys take on the big stuff (all the sons took billfish, many their first ever), shared in the joy of big game angling as well as light inshore. And all came as long years friends, Texas boys, these, but well roamed and full of stories. Ron Ellisor with Slick Zapalac, Gary and Jonathan Mausner, Jeff and Casey Woodward, Jason and John Fuller, and Jim and son Blake Redmond.
The marlin were late to arrive, we usually see really good numbers in November and December, but this year they rolled into our offshore banks in the upper quadrant of pacific Panama last week, filling the waters. Talking to the captains, my best guess is that we had around 35 blacks in and around the boats, hooked a bunch, released 5, had one die. Many were 400-500lbs, but there were some 600+ brutes that had even the captains shaking their heads in awe. One of the young guys who is an accomplished tournament captain in the Gulf told me he saw one in the air that was easily the biggest he'd ever been around. Using new 80lb Momoi on our reels we had 5 break offs, 3 near fully dumped, one circle the boat 4 times almost gently bill swatting a bridled bonito before leaving (I always think it's hard to eat while laughing) to terrorize something else in the neighborhood, one charged a bonito so hard from behind that the bait tried to commit seppuku by ramming it's head into the props, and one just fought it's heart out and died at about 600' down. The Fullers improbably, with great tenacity, stamina, and determination, managed to slowly raise this fish to the boat on a 30 wide Shimano and 50lb line. Everyone looks happy in the photos with it, but no one enjoys seeing a fish like this die. We ate our fill of wonderful shasimi, then steaked the rest for many of our shorebound friends here in Panama.
The boats would arrive back to the Barge with daily stories. Casey took a 450lb black in 35 minutes, Jason a 450 that wouldn't quit, took hours, then his dad John took a 300lb in an hour. 10 sails were hooked and released. Inshore action provided our normal 20+ species, some big roosters, a few nice cubera, and action with trevally and crevalle. Blake Redmond had the hot hand this week and peaked one day with a good marlin followed by an early season yellowfin over 200lbs a few minutes later (try that!) followed by dad Jim on another mid 400lb marlin.
And so on. These guys were fantastic with the Pesca family, partied, danced on the fantail (Chi Chi leading the way), and shared tall tales all week. I loved listening to fellow guide (amongst many other endeavors) Ron talk about shallow water redfishing "The Valley" along the way south Texas coast, pole setting the tunnel hull upwind, wading the endless flats, remote controlling the boat to follow like a well trained hunting dog. Get on back guys, loved spending a week with you.
Captain's note: I'm trying to throw sticks at the alpha male croc that's been ghosting me the last two days, but with a torn rotator cuff I can't launch them hard enough. I've kayaked from the Barge to a long, remote beach while the other anglers have headed offshore, eased though gentle surf, dragged the yak to a small but strong river mouth, and need to cross it because I can see pod of 100+ snook blowing up on young sardines every few minutes about three casts out of range. But this 13' bad boy has been leading four other crocs in and around the surf all week, hanging amongst the dense sardine pods, then gulping snapper, jacks, snook and anything else that mistakes them for logs. I finally underhanded a conch near enough to him to worry him enough to submerge, jump on the yak, bolt across river, proceed to take 7 beautiful pacific black robalo before the tide changes. Fly and light tackle heaven.
The snook are here for a month. The marlin are here in great numbers. We have 2 available boats Feb 5-10 and 19-24. If you can, try to come down. It will be a lifetime memory.
Capt Mike Augat
Co-Owner Pesca Panama
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