Fishing Report - 11/17/15
We kicked off the season early this year near the beginning of the month and definitely intend to do so again next year because it was lovely, will likely fish the entire month. We have rebuilt all of the Suzukis and I wanted to see how they perform. All have new propellers, boats have new pumps, electric cables, and even more new fishing equipment as we continue to upgrade Pesca Panama. Jaime and the boys did a fabulous off season job on the Hannibal rebuilding tables, new chairs, woodwork, windows, all new varnish topside, new bottom paint, new freezers, a separate freezer for bait, castnets, and new linens. We will work tirelessly to keep improving this great lodge, but we need your support, need you to fish with us as soon as you can to help us with endless cash flow. In return, we’ll supply the lifelong memories.
I’ve fished pacific Panama in all months, have always loved November and December. Weather is cool and comfortable, pelagics can be plentiful, and we saw one private sportfisher in 6 days- no other boats but us- loved it! Normally we target wahoo, black marlin, and snook in Nov, but this year these were sparse. Instead we found yellowfin, milkfish, sails, and just arriving mahi- big mahi. Next two months will be excellent this year.
Peter Thomas joined us from England by way of Thailand, a big man with a big presence, always entertaining to be around. He partnered for the first time with many time returning visitor Tom Aulik, world traveler, angler/hunter, and they sampled the many delights Coiba and the nearby banks have to offer, shown to them by Capt Jonathan. Five absolutely delightful, high spirited Brazilians joined us also. I wish we saw more of these guys. They can fish, they’re so positive and full of life, and when they leave you always feel you’ve made good new friends. Dalton Canelia father/son and Fernando Colasuonno fished with Capt Tommy; and father/son Odilon Castriota spent the week with Capt Jose Luis. Rounding out this diverse group were first timers, excellent anglers Marcel Classen and tournament angler Jeff Abbott from the northwest coast. These guys have fished for many species and they have fished together for years, but I think their eyes opened a little wider this week.
We started by sorting out gear, methods, rooms, diet, who drank what, etc in the Paridas islands, caught a few jacks, snapper, houndfish, and the boys from way south took a beautiful rooster. Monday, as the floating lodge tore off at a steady 6 knots towards Coiba, all boats pointed toward the offshore banks in hopes of finding marlin and worked a widespread area for hours. It was not to be- all week we hooked only a few large blacks and never brought one to the boat for release. So the boats headed for Isla Coiba and played around the rocks, pinnacles, and beaches, catching barracuda, cobalt trevally, jack crevalle, yellow snapper, small cubera, BIG houndfish, blue runner, and more. As we settled into the week and explored the various islands, we discovered as we always do, the rhythm of the week- the tides, water color, bait areas, what fish were eating, which species weren’t. We added amberjack, wahoo, various shark, roosters, cierra, tons of fun light tackle bonito, ladyfish, pompano, snook, lane snapper, grouper and more to our list, eventually passing 30 species as a group! And we found tuna- to me, the perfect tuna. Why? Well, I’ve caught many over the years up to 307lbs, been brought to my knees by many 150lb to over 200lb on spin, and I do love them. But at 65 I can catch what we found- 30-80lb schooling fish- for hours. 10-25 minutes per fish, eating poppers¸ no other boats around to put the schools down….. angling nirvana. So everybody had a blast at times chasing them. Tom tried to turn one that dove under the boat at the last second and we created a two piece rod- can happen to anyone. One of the boats had a Tiagra roll belly up and plead “no mas”, but we caught our fill of tuna, found other inshore species, laughed and played on the fantail deck¸ drank, shared tall tales, laughed some more. Then, after we returned to our last day near shore anchorage, Tommy found the season’s first concentrated pods of mahi coming through, radioed the other boats, and we had a perfect sendoff our final morning, catching fish using all methods. I’ve always thought mahi (dorado) are incredibly undervalued. They eat readily, run hard, jump like tarpon, light up with beauty unlike any other fish, do it all again and again and again, and if you keep a few, they are satisfying table fare. They’re on my top 10 list with certainty.
Fun week, loved sharing it with every angler who visited. A favorite moment was Jeff’s first ever yellowfin hookup which came as he was slow chugging a large popper. The tuna gracefully slid airborn a few meters behind the plug and EXPLODED on it downward from above. I happened to be standing where I could see the fish AND the look on Jeff’s face as his eyes bulged and he screamed that he was on. Very cool.
We begin again next week, are booked all of December with a bunch of interesting anglers from all over the States. We have ordered 200 custom Mad Mantis poppers which you’ll love. We have our wildly popular custom Bruha Verde (Green Witch), Redhead *itch, now joined by Bruha Azul (Blue) and Pink Lady models. We also have these in 8” sizes and they are going to take some seriously big fish this year. We’ve some new Mad Mantis rods, some new reels, new marlin lures, and as always, I’ve a zillion new ideas to try out. We need you all, ladies and gents- come join us when you can. I’ve some Jan and Feb dates to fill and scattered boats here and there through July. Warmest regards from owners Eben Huston, Dr Ted Merletti, and myself-
Capt Mike Augat
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