Fishing Report - 04/19/15
I have often heard said that Pesca Panama is the best overall sportfishing operation in the world, and we constantly strive to maintain this reputation. Fishing this year has been a little different than the last few years, as is often the case as fish migrations ebb and flow though decade long patterns. So far, our inshore fishing has often been quite fantastic, with many repeat clients catching their all time best cubera or rooster. Ground fishing has been wonderful, as has light tackle fly and spin for jacks and the like. Yellowfin tuna have teased us all season, arriving late this year along with large populations of various bait, so they are well fed and often fussy. But they go on a tear now and then, and when they do it's wide open fishing with gloves, knee pads, and wrapped fingers. Sails were slow this year, but marlin were exceptionally strong in Jan and Feb, disappeared, are now showing again. I expect the inshore fishing to remain strong through August, the tuna to peak in June and July, and the marlin to build and stay strong all the way through to December. It's a good year in the offshore islands and banks of Panama folks, and we have open days as well as three or four day trips. Get here if you can because the season's best is yet to come!!
We had the pleasure of hosting out of SoCal the Utopia group of brothers Andy and Bob Schleiser and friend Ryan Donigan who brought along some world class sausage and a hot sauce he's created, shared with all aboard. We also had father/son (you know I love this) Bill (Porky) and Noel Huelsenbeck, Dan Latoof, 'Lil Wayne Thomas, Ray Gormley, and Tom Keller, from all over. Capt Tommy's group started the week with nine large cubera, five good yellowfin, two big bluefin trevelly, and two roosterfish. First time visitor Dan, who has fished "all over", got back on the barge for sushi and cocktails the first day looking like he was in shock, shaking his head, saying over and over, "I can't believe it, I can't believe it, never seen anything like it". Team Utopia took tuna to 120lbs, and Cap Tito's boys took bottom fish of all sorts, eventually catching over twenty species. Wednesday over thirty large cubera snapper were caught- one day!!!- and ALL released unharmed. I'm very proud of this and feel we're already reaping the benefits of sending these slow growing, long living fish back to their reefs. These are amazing creatures, almost square in shape but somehow able to gulp an entire 7lb bonito. We look at them and can't understand where the bonito go, how they fit. The guys would laugh, say "that fish woke up at 45lbs, is now 52!!". This is the best cubera year in some time.
Dan, Ray, and Tom were on fire all week, battled big tuna, fought a 500lb class black marlin to the boat, and ended the last day near shore with two REALLY large roosterfish. Porky, Noel, and Wayne had their moments, caught a lot of fish, had a large marlin come unbuttoned Thursday, but best of all I think, Porky, after 14 years of fishing with Pesca Panama and enjoying many great trips, was able to catch and release his largest cubera ever AND his largest rooster. Very cool. Team Utopia? They fought big tuna, cubera, roosters, crevalle, trevally, amberjack, and more tuna, made cocktail hour fun, the stories flowed, the boys just had a good time, and their energy was infectious. I laughed all week long, had as much fun as they did, was sorry to see the trip end.
We'll all be waiting for you- our wonderful chef Irina, the two smiling and warm Marys, Jaime at the helm, Chollo keeping it all running, Manny keeping it clean and prepared, and our fine captains and mates putting you on fish. When you hit shore Jose will ease the transition and in Panama City Xiomy will smooth your journey. Teri will await your call, and I'm already grinning thinking about fishing with you again.
Thanks guys — Capt Mike Augat
NOTES FROM THE CAPTAIN’S LOG:
4/11 First hard rain of the year. Lost power in David for 4hrs, went for walk, broke tooth at 3pm on a Saturday, made a few calls, had new tooth by 5pm, $80 plus promise of bag of tuna steaks, excellent dental work here in Panama.
4/13 Great first full day. Love to see the week start with fully feeding tuna. Everybody so excited on fantail deck, day’s end cocktail hour was buzzing.
4/14 Towed two kayaks with panga to a river I’ve never been in - perhaps 10 years since visited by anyone. In through the surf in the kayaks, Jaime rolled, fun. River was fantastic- exotic, serene, every new corner had my heart pumping fast. Very few crocs, river was one long cast across, beautiful water. This river was unique to ALL of the rivers I’ve explored so far on Coiba. Usually the biggest fish of the day in these jungle waters are 5-7lbs, most snappers and snook here are 2-5lbs. But here our smallest fish were over 6 - I never saw anything smaller except bait. And we had four fish 12-20lbs CRASH our small poppers, only beat one. These river cubera were, with the exception of barracuda, the fastest attacking fish I’ve ever witnessed. They would launch from under overhanging trees and hit the poppers 25’ away in a split second. Truly seemed like they were shot from a crossbow- THAT fast. Startling and a little scary. Great fights, multiple runs. Blew a rod up on one of them, whittled the graphite sections, duct taped them, caught more fish. One of my favorite rivers yet. Oh - for you peacock bass aficionados - you are going to love this!
4/15 Took Mary and Mary walking on the 1 ½ mile beach, picked sand dollars, visited the scarlet macaw family. Surf got up quickly and when Chollo came to oick us up in the 17’ panga we got caught by a wave, took on water, all had to jump out and wade to shore. Boat rolled, filled. Jaime and Manny came with kayaks, we all bailed, towed panga to the barge, 12’ croc 50 meters off licking his lips, watching. Adventure, all good, safer than it sounds in the telling.
4/16 Big cubera and roosterfish this year, and crazy good numbers.
Copyright ©2015 Pesca Panama Sportfishing