Fishing Report - 5/12/18
This week we hosted the Countrywide/Climatec group spearheaded by Paul Duke, a veteran Pesca Panama angler who has been fishing with Pesca for close to a decade. This fun-loving group is from California and Arizona and I met up with them at the breakfast buffet at the Hotel El Panama as we made our way to the airport to catch a short flight. Along with Paul were a handful of Pesca veterans Roger Kazemier, “Spanish Bob” Bospflug, Mark Payne, Shawn Flahart, and Mike McDowell. Tom O’Sullivan, Brandon Williams, Bryan “B Dubs” Weidenbach, Jose “Joe” Sosa (Joe had the hot hand this week), Jason Pace and Robert “Bobby” Marshburn rounded out the group.
We arrived in the bustling city of David, Panama mid-morning on Sunday aboard a puddle jumper flight from the city. And shortly thereafter we were at the Marina Pedregal, our home port. On our way out the Chiriqui River we met the Hannibal resting at anchor near Boca Chica, and after lunch and a few beverages the boys were ready to go out fishing for the afternoon. Unfortunately, it was a slow afternoon for all. Even the baitfish weren’t biting. But the bar was open. So they came back to the Hannibal early to enjoy pina coladas a la Mari. Before long, we were all together on the fantail for cocktails and sashimi, and yes plenty of stories.
On Monday all of the boats went offshore in search of tuna while the Hannibal cruised Southward toward Coiba Island where she would stay for the next four nights. The long ride to the bank was worth it and the guys were rewarded for their efforts. They encountered schools of tuna near Hannibal Bank and they had their hands full fighting tuna until they had their fill. All of the boats were in on the action and caught between 4 and 7 tuna in the 60-100 pound range on both bait and poppers. And no doubt they lost countless others. Joe also caught a nice dorado.
After breakfast on Tuesday morning, Capt. Jaime and I went off in the panga to fish the area just offshore of the barge and caught a mixed bag of small fish. I have never seen so many stingrays jumping as I did this week. The acrobatic rays were jumping straight out of the water ten feet or more and summersaulting the whole way. We caught a variety of small game fish including roosterfish, snapper, barracuda, dorado and a small tuna. We also encountered a school of nice size tuna running close to shore, but couldn’t keep up with them in the panga. But before they disappeared, we were able to hook-up with two nice ones in the 60-80 pound range, and promptly lost both.
The guys went out to fish for tuna and after they tired of all the excitement moved back inshore to troll for wahoo and fish the reefs. Shawn, Roger and Bob went two for three on nice wahoo and also had some good tuna in the 80-125 pound range. Mark caught a big amberjack and a roosterfish. Later, they ran into a school of hungry mullet snapper and caught several large mullet mixed in with the smaller ones. Spanish Bob finessed a nice horse eye jack and a blue jack while throwing a popper.
On Wed the boats stayed inshore and several large wahoo were caught. Bobby caught his first wahoo, a five and one-half foot beauty. Spanish Bob and Roger had their hands full over the reefs and caught six big cubera and some mullet snapper. A variety of jacks, snapper, rainbow runner and small tuna were also caught. Brandon also caught a big cubera today.
On Thursday morning all of the boats ran to Hannibal Bank for one last shot at tuna and they were rewarded with a hot bite as soon as they arrived. Everyone caught tuna including our best of the week, a 71 inch by 50 inch cow Joe manhandled, and was calculated to weigh 222 pounds.
Bobby and Mike had the hot hand with roosterfish today, catching five on the way back in from the tuna grounds. They also caught a nice jack crevalle of close to thirty pounds. Lots of mullet snapper and jacks were also caught today. Mark caught a big cubera and a nice jack crevalle. It was another great day of fishing on the Bay of Chiriqui.
On Friday morning, the last day of our trip, the boys headed out to Paridas to have a little roosterfish contest and their annual swim on the beach at Isla Gamez. And of course there would be drinking and a little wager involved with the winnings going to the captain of the best boat. In total, they caught seven roosterfish today and Joe caught the big one which was estimated to weight thirty-pounds. I would have to say Joe is up for rookie of the year! Great job! But we were all winners this week on the tropical Pacific as new friendships and lasting memories were forged.
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