We had an absolutely fantastic trip to Panama this past May 12th to 19th. Fishing was outstanding, with many saying it was the best they could remember, Yellowfin fishing saw a wide open bite with some active boats catching as many as 40 tuna in a single day that's ten tuna per man, enough to make anyone say "enough". On the final day of the trip, I choose to devote the morning to inshore fishing.
I recently turned 50, and while I can still take down a tuna with the rest of them, the alure of a 2 hour tug of war is fleeting, so by day #5 so we pointed the Contender towards the famous Coiba Island.
Coiba Island is truly a unique and largely under explored marine habitat. Its waters literally teem with life. Coiba's underwater topography is linked by the underwater Coco Ridge mountain chain to the Galápagos Islands. Scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have proclaimed it an unparalleled destination for discovering new species. Rachel Collin, a Smithsonian project coordinator said: "It's hard to imagine, while snorkeling around a tropical island that's so close to the United States, that half the animals you see are unknown to science.”
Its unique location protects it from the damaging winds and other effects of El Niño, allowing it to sustain the uninterrupted evolution of new marine species including whale and tiger sharks, sperm whales, sea turtles, angel rays and giant schools of fish. It is also the last refuge for a number of threatened terrestrial animals such as the crested eagle and several sub-species of agouti, possum and howler monkey (including a Coiba Island howler monkey).
The waters adjacent to the island are teeming with marine life. It is surrounded by one of the largest coral reefs on the Pacific coast of the Americas. The Indo-Pacific current through the Gulf of Chiriqui provides a unique dive environment. The warm current brings with it coral and many of the pacific tropical underwater life that you would not expect on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. Also with it come the larger fish/mammals such as humpback whales, sharks, whale sharks, orcas and more. Some 760 species of fish have been recorded here, including snappers, barracuda, amberjack, and three types of marlin.
Coiba a World Park, where all exotics are Catch and Release only.
I am throwing a new pencil slim Darter cast in solid aluminum made by Salas Lures in California. The lure is very thin and cuts the wind very well. The distance is very good and I caught EVERYTHING on this $12.95 wonder lure ranging from the Yellowfin tuna to Roosterfish to this impressive Cubera Snapper.
The hardware is a Yamaga BlueSniper "Blackie" Edition paired with a Shimano Japan SW18000HG using Diawa #80 Boat Braid. This is my offshore setuo for Panama - you certainly do not have to fish this heavy. In fact the Yamaga BlueSniper 81/8 or 81/6 would be my recommendation paired with a SW14000XG or TwinPower SW14000XG you have a deadly combo that is light enough to enjoy all day even in the heat of Panama.