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December 10, 2014

Panama Fishing Report - Black/Blue Marlin, Roosterfish, Cubera, & Dorados! - DEC 1-5, 2014

We hosted two groups of fishermen, and fished five days, the first week of December 2014 from our private island lodge here on Isla Paridas, Panama. Our first clients of the season got to enjoy a couple of nice improvements to our operation that we made over the rainy season....Our main boat the "T.O.P. Cat" a 33' World Cat center-console catamaran recently got repowered with a pair of brand new 300hp Suzuki 4-stroke outboards. And we were also very lucky to be able to bring aboard Lee Campbell as our new chef! Lee successfully ran and operated a lodge here in Panama for many years and achieved a great reputation and following by his clients, not only for his awesome cooking...but also for his hospitality and professional treatment of his guests. Those two excellent additions, and some pretty good fishing, made for a great start to our season here in the Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama!
First timers to Panama...Greg and Chuck from Washington D.C. were our first guests. The first day went real well with smooth seas and clear skies for the run to Hannibal Bank. Lots of bait on the high spot and all by ourselves...first thing in the morning were the ideal conditions for a Marlin. After only about 15 minutes a big fish comes up behind the short bait and hammers the bridled Bonito. Greg handles it perfectly and lets her eat the bait for a good 5 or 6 seconds before moving the Shimano Tiagra 8/0's lever to "strike" and reeling down hard on the fish. As soon as the line goes tight we see a big Black Marlin explode out of the water and jump wildly but directly toward the boat! To get the line tight I jam the throttles forward to pull away from the fish while Greg is reeling down hard. 20 minutes later we have the beautiful fish boat side for a tag and a photo before releasing her! On the way back in we ran across Great way to start the trip! 
The next couple of days we didn't see any more Marlin after putting some time in each morning. We did get a few decent gaffer size Dorados as consolation prizes while trolling the plastics though. Also, got a couple decent Dorados on a floating log we came across with an OTI Mini Wombat popper that is my mate Johnny's favorite popper. For some reason we didn't have much luck with the live Blue Runners at my favorite high spots around Isla Montuosa. We did multiple drifts on a few different rocks each day and were rewarded with a few nice Mullet Snappers. I had great time with these guys even though the bite was a bit off.  We did make a big score on the second day and came across a shrimp boat with a thirsty crew. We traded a 12 pack of Panama beer for about 20 pound of fresh shrimp!!! Between the Dorado we caught, the Shrimp we bartered for, and the Lobsters Lee got from the local fishermen back on the island....we ate like kings!!!
Our second group of the week was Brad and Mike from Naples, Florida. These guys were also new to Panama and only had a short time to stay and fish. But even with the limited time these guys were pretty lucky! On the first drop around Isla Ladrones Mike catches a 30# plus Cubera Snapper on one of the brand new super smooth Shimano Talica 10II reels we just got for the lodge! Gorgeous fish! We also got a couple hard fighting Jack Crevalles. On the second day we make a bumpy ride to Hannibal Bank but it paid off as Brad released a beautiful Blue Marlin! And for the icing on the cake...on the way in we stop to slow troll the last two live Blue Runners we have left at a spot right near the lodge and we catch and release a 30# Roosterfish! Although we didn't exactly have constant action for the two days...these guys caught some great fish and got a great introduction to the great fishery we have here in Panama!!
Thank you so much for the business guys and I hope that you can make it back down soon!
Capt. Shane Jarvis

November 18, 2014

Panama Fishing Report - Rainy Season Black Marlin, Roosterfish, and More! - OCT/NOV 2014

We fished only three days in the past couple months here out of Propiedad de Paradise Lodge. We have been keeping busy working on expanding the lodge and maintenance on the boats as it is the height of the rainy season and technically the "off-season"  here in Panama right now. Dealing with the rain and wind is part of fishing this time of year but we got pretty lucky with some decent days and the fishing was pretty good!
The last week in October we had a day charter out of Boca Chica with Robyn, Scott, and Liam. These guys wanted to stay inshore so Scott could check a Roosterfish off of his "bucket list"...so no pressure to get one!!! Although they are caught year-round...the rainy season is generally the best time of year for Roosters. We had great luck catching Blue Runners in the early morning and easily filled the livewell with 30 nice baits. We focused our efforts right around Isla Paridas as there was a quantity of bait around, and the seas were a bit bouncy, so sticking close was a good idea. We slow trolled bridled baits around the rocky points and shorelines and casted our poppers every now and then to see what we could raise. We had quite a bit of action with some big Jack Crevalles, Horse-eye Jacks, Spanish Mackerels, and Needlefish. Finally later in the day Scott got his shot at the Rooster we were looking for. We had both baits get eaten at the same time by a pair of Roosters! One immediately spit the hook but luckily the other fish was hooked well. Scott did a great job handling the Rooster with the super smooth Shimano Talica 10ii and Terez rod spooled with 65# Momoi braided line. Check that one off the list Scott!
Gary, Bob, and Lee fished with me out of Boca Chica on the "TOP Cat" November 12th and 13th. Day one was slow. We had a hard time catching Blue Runners for bait around Isla Paridas....as is normal when the moon is waning after being full on the 8th. The seas were not bad...2 to 4 feet...cloudy, wind blowing 10 knots, and a few scattered rain storms. We ran strait to Isla Montuosa on Tuesday and found green water, no activity, and dead. We dragged the plastics around for a while and nothing so we headed to Hannibal Bank. We found the same dirty water but did find some Bonitos busting and caught a few to put in the tubes. As we were attempting to catch bait Gary was reeling in the Bonito rig and had a Marlin come up and try to eat one of the hooked baits. After that we dragged live Bonitos around for a while with no luck. The plastics produced a couple of nice eating size Dorados and we got dinner for our efforts.
Day two was better. We caught a few Blue Runners on the way out and headed strait to Hannibal Bank. A little bouncy ride on the way out with seas 3 to 5 feet....but not too bad on the "TOP Cat" We had a bit of rain in the morning and the seas laid down slightly as the day progressed. We had a little difficulty getting the Bonitos at first but managed to get a couple and start fishing. Had some action with big Dorados attacking our Bonitos but no hookups. A little later a Marlin came up and sniffed our baits lit up in the spread, swatted one of the baits, and then disappeared. As the day went on the concentration of bait increased and we saw some more action. Finally we get a hookup as two Marlin come up to check out our baits again and one inhales the live bridled Bonito on Gary's rod. He does a great job setting the hook and reeling down hard on the fish as it's jumping and trashing wildly back behind the boat. Thank God we hooked the fish on the Shimano Tiagra 8/0 spooled with Momoi 100# monofilament! Gary got him to the boat in less than 20 minutes with a little help of backing down. Johnny my mate wires him easily to the boat, we put the tag in him, remove the hook, take a couple of pics, revive for a few minutes, and set him free. We got lucky it all worked out good with the fish looking real healthy on the release. We ended up missing a couple Dorados and catching a couple later in the day. We headed back to Boca Chica and luckily the sea laid down pretty smooth with clear and sunny skies!
Thanks for the business guys and hope to see you back again soon!   

Capt. Shane Jarvis
Propiedad de Paradise Lodge
Isla Paridas, Panama
Panama Cellular Phone 011-507-6675-7191



September 10, 2014

Panama Fishing Report - Monster 70# Cubera Snapper & Isla Montuosa Marlin! - AUG 2014

Propiedad de Paradise Panama Fishing Lodge hosted a group of anglers, for five days of fishing, and fished two day charters from our private island lodge in August 2014. We haven't had as much rain as usual so far this rainy part of the fishing season. The "el nino" effect here in Panama seems to have kept the rain at a minimum. The general daily cycle we are seeing is rain storms developing in the afternoon, over the mainland, and then moving west and over the ocean in the late afternoon and into the evening. The seas were very nice in the mornings as we went out searching for Yellowfin Tuna. But it seems that the "el nino" also affected the cycle here in the Gulf of Chiriquí with some warmer water and conditions that have moved the majority of the YFTs out earlier this year. So with the tunas not easily found we focused on targeting some other species, especially the inshore stuff, and had some really great action!
The first day we fished in August was a day charter with Roland and Connie Ramirez out of Boca Chica. This super nice couple from Texas are experienced traveling fishermen and first timers here to Panama fishing and checking out the area. Roland wanted to see if we could find the Tunas so we headed out toward Isla Montuosa where the action had been the week prior. We came across some Porpoises and birds that were working about 10 miles north of the island. It was a flat calm morning and it was easy to see in the super clear blue water that the pod was herding a bait ball of tiny small red bait fish. We could see the occasional Tunas busting all around us so we knew they were there feeding with the Porpoises. We positioned the boat and put our bridled live Blue Runners in the path of the feed a number of times with no takers. We also threw the poppers at them a few times....and nothing. After over an hour of running with these feeding fish, and not getting a bite, it was getting frustrating! Trying to find something that works....I put on small pink colored Shimano Waxwing to one of the Shimano Saragossa 20000 spinning outfits. Sure enough on the first cast it gets hammered! ZZZZZZZing! I pass the rod to Ronald and the fish keeps peeling off the 80# braided line from the reel. It's a nice Tuna! But as soon as I realize that...he's gone. Spit the hook. Must have had him hooked in the fleshy part of the face of foul hooked because with all that pressure the hook came out. Damn! After that disappointment we try to hook another Tuna casting the waxwings but even with them busting all around us they aren't interested.
We try trolling the plastics for a while around for a while to see if there is a Marlin or Dorado around but more nothing. So we head to the high spot near Isla Montuosa.....we still have a livewell full of Blue Runners! It's pretty dead as we try 4 or 5 drifts over various high spots and get only a Rock Snapper and a Jack Crevalle. But just as it's starting to get desperate....we can hear a commotion of splashing on the water behind us and we can see just 15 yard from the boat is a massive boil of Mullet Snapper that has come to the surface feeding in a frenzy! Johnny and I quickly reel up on our baits and cast into the white and red boil. Johnny hooks up immediately and passes the rod to Roland. He's tight! My bait on the big Saragosa spinning setup get eaten and I'm on! Less than 30 seconds goes by and Roland's fish is gone...so I pass the rod to Roland to let him fight. Just after I pass the rod over the fish realizes he's hooked and the 7'8" Shimano Terez rod is doubled over peeling drag fast! We are getting ready to drift over the 70' high spot so Johnny has Roland tighten way down on the drag to keep the fish from breaking us off in the rocks. It's a big Cubera Snapper for sure as they are notorious for heading strait to the bottom when hooked. Ronald does a great job holding on and reeling down on the fish, even with all the pressure, and 15 minutes later we got a monster 70# Cubera Snapper onboard the TOP Cat! Awesome fish! She must have been feeding with the school of Mullet Snappers. This fish is definitely one of the biggest I can remember ever seeing here in Panama fishing the Gulf of Chiriqui. We snap a few photos and release the big mama to fight another day!      

Josecely, Franky, Egas, Doc, Juaquin, and Antonio our new friends from Brazil chartered both boats for the week from our private island lodge...so we had Capt. Bartolo fishing the "Scandalous" and myself captaining the "TOP Cat." Blue Runners were plentiful right around the island and in front of the lodge here on Isla Paridas. Each morning we had no problem filling the livewells with 20 or 30 baits in eah boat. The guys were looking to find the tunas but they were hard to find. We did find some small Yellowfin Tunas out at Hannibal Bank, one day out of five fishing there, and had a good run one morning where we caught a bunch of small 10# to 15#s on poppers and little jigs. Good fun! Other than that morning....the YFTs were no where to be found. There was a great mark of bait and life on the high spots at Hannibal Bank pretty much each day. The best action we had was drifting our live baits over the high spots. We caught some nice big Cubera Snappers, Almaco Jacks, Rock Snappers, a bunch of Mullet Snappers, and some big Rainbow Runners mixed in at Hannibal Bank. Frankie jumped a small Marlin at Hannibal the second morning that ate a drifting Blue Runner. It scared the shit out of us as it came about 2 feet from jumping in the boat before it spit the hook!
Panama Fishing at Isla Montuosa
We ventured between Isla Montuosa, Isla Ladrones, and Isla Coiba each day in search of the action switching up between live baiting and casting small Rapalas and poppers around the islands. These guys really enjoyed casting the brand new Shimano Saragosa 5000 & 6000 spinning reels we recently bought for our boats. Spooled with 30# Momoi Diamond braid line, and matched with Shimano Terez rods, they are perfect setups for casting around the rocky shorelines while we slow troll live baits. These guys had some great luck casting the new OTI poppers we have started using (www.oceantackle.net) and were rewarded for their work with Blue Trevalles, Jack Crevalle, Horse Eye Jack, Pompano, Spanish Mackerel, and a couple of nice Roosterfish! Matter of fact....Juaquin and Antonio both caught and released a couple of big Cuberas over 30 pounds each on these setups both caught on the OTI Mini-Wombat popper!  
A bit of good karma came back our way on the last day. While running offshore we noticed a Turtle tangled up in a Costa Rican abandoned fishing net. These nets sometimes drift over into Panama fishing areas and are recognizable as Costa Rican because they use cooking oil jugs from Costa Rica as floats. We were able to cut him free and went on our way out to Montuosa. While we were fishing the high spot at Isla Montuosa, later that day, I noticed a swarm of birds working out in deeper water and saw a Marlin jump a couple of times. I asked the guys if they wanted to troll the plastics for a while to see if we could raise a Marlin. They wanted to give it a try and sure enough only after 15 minutes of dragging what we call "Las Mentiras" or translated into English..."the lies"... in the general location of the bird activity....Bam!!! We hook a Marlin on the 80!!!! After a couple of blistering runs, some amazing jumps, and a bunch of excited Brazilians crazily screaming in Poruguese....Egas starts to wind down on the fish as we back down on him to get back as much line as possible. Egas does a great job staying tight and winding down with the quickness as the fish makes a couple of runs at the boat. He gets him boatside and it's a Blue Marlin about 250 or 300 pounds! We get the tag in him, get a couple of pics, and a good release while the fish is still lit up. A bunch of high fives and hugs then Egas gets thrown into the water by his friends to signify his first Marlin release! Another exciting ending for everybody and real good time with the crew from Brazil!
The last day we fished in August was another day charter out of Boca Chica fishing with our friend, and repeat client, Fernando Anguizola and his friends Juan, Luis, Everardo, and Steve. We had no problem getting bait as there was plenty of Blue Runners to be found right around the lodge on Isla Paridas. We had plans to head out to Isla Montuosa but the seas were pretty big that day and we decided to stick around Isla Ladrones. There are quite few good underwater seamounts around the outskirts of Ladrones that hold fish pretty regularly....but our day was slow. It started off great with a couple of nice African Pompanos and an Almaco Jack but the rest of the day was pretty slow. The weather cleared up very nice as the day progressed but the fishing unfortunately did not. We did have a pretty exciting moment when Steve was fighting a Jack Crevalle and right next to the boat, in plain sight, a big Bull Shark came up and ate Steve's fish! Pretty cool! We don't have a lot of sharks around here and it is very unusual for us to lose a fish to one. Other than that we got a couple more Jack Crevalles and Mullet Snappers to end the day. Not real great fishing but it was a fun time with the boys from Panama City. Thanks again for the business Fernando!
Enjoy the pics........
Capt. Shane Jarvis
Propiedad de Paradise Lodge
Isla Paridas, Panama
Panama Cellular Phone 011-507-6675-7191
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