Fishing Report - 2/24/16
We’ve been fishing hard since November, four months already flying by, now heading toward the meat of our tuna season (see how I did that?). Amongst the myriad of changes we’ve made as we continue to tweak and tighten the Pesca operation, is to put more and more effort into the Panama end (Ted, Eben, or myself being there), retiring some of the staff and agents from the States, and adding some new blood. This has gone exceptionally well in almost all ways, with perhaps the only glitch being a faltering in writing continuous fishing reports. We’re busy boys!
February 2016 with El Nino was interesting in some unusual ways. We’ve seen fewer marlin so far this year, peak sailfishing Feb/March has been very good, schools of milkfish appear and vanish, we’ve found schools of jacks swimming with tuna and porpoise (??), so far we have caught fewer roosters, cubera, and amberjack, but that is coming into form as the weeks pass, we’re occasionally deep jigging and catch all kinds of crazy species, mahi are still around in places, there are some extremely large yellowfin here already, and we found… bonefish for the first time since I’ve been fishing around Coiba. One of the really lovely sights we’re seeing regularly now are marauding schools of various species along secluded bays and beaches that only we fish. There are so many miles of untouched shoreline that these areas allow young fish to gather and grow with almost zero angling pressure. Imagine casting to the shore of a mile long bay intersected with short beaches and rock points and bars and watching 25 yard wide schools of cubera explode, slamming young sardines against the rocks, sometimes cartwheeling backwards in the air with their exuberance. Using light tackle and fly, we catch 5-12lb fish cast after cast until a 20-30lb fish takes our lure to the rocks - you win some of these, you lose some. Cubera this size on 12-17lb tackle is true light tackle fishing. And we see this with snook, pompano, mixed yellow/lane/mangrove snapper, blacktip shark, crevalle, trevally, and more. Coiba is alive and prospering.
We’ve had guests this month from NY, New England, Jersey, Cali, France, Philippines, Arkansas, Virginia and Texas. They’ve caught a few blacks and a ton of sails - one was caught on chunk bait on bottom (??) that proceeded to race to the surface from 90 feet and jump to an improbable height. They have caught smaller species (5-45lbs) on our Mad Mantis custom Jango lures for endless hours. And they have found some of our classic Pacific Panama tuna feeds. Our captains really shine at this game, knowing exactly where to position the boat near the fast moving pods of big fish so the angler has a really good shot at fish. It’s early for tuna here, the groups of fish are more pods than schools, and the fish are running mid 100s to high 200s. One of our boats caught a 170lb fish last week, then got SPOOLED using a 20K reel with 400 yards of heavy braid and a tight drag. Would love to have seen that beast! Biggest to the boat so far this season 272lbs.
So all is normal at Pesca. Chef Irina continues to make sure nobody loses weight while here, Mary takes loving care of everybody on the fantail, Jaime keeps the Barge afloat, and the capts/mates will give you eleven hours a day if you have the stamina - all with a smile. To those of you who spent time with us this month, a heartfelt thanks. For you others, we have some openings, and the fishing year is going to be an extremely good one. Come see us.
Warmest regards to all,
Capt Mike Augat
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