This operation in Panama practically has us tongue tied- we literally run out of superlatives to describe it and what it offers you. And the costs for what you get are very reasonable! People who fish here regularly catch 20 to 40 or more different species on a single trip!! And you get to fish offshore, inshore, flats, reefs, rivers in the jungle; by fly or spin, by jigging, surface popping, casting, trolling- you choose! Client leave here already planning their return trips! If you want to catch a large variety of fish, in a tropical setting, with top notch boats and guides, all in a mobile base lodge setting- you just gotta do this trip! Groups or solo works.
So for a very brief description of species let’s consider these: black marlin to 800 pounds; huge sailfish; giant yellowfin tuna to 300 pounds; huge dorado (mahi-mahi); cubera snapper; rooster fishing that can be fantastic; cobalt trevally; snook; amberjack; jack crevalle; huge snapper of many varieties; African pompano; rainbow runner; milkfish; sharks; and the list goes on! And on. Perhaps 50 or more species, and for many folks they will be the first of that specie that they ever caught!
Now even more great news – you fish from a very well equipped mobile floating lodge, much as they do in the amazon for peacock bass! You stay on a large comfortably equipped barge, and there are 28’ Oceanmaster center consoles (5 of them) tied up for your next day’s use. These top quality boats are custom rigged for the many types of fishing this operation offers. Each is outfitted with twin four-stroke 150 HP Suzuki outboards, safety equipment, VHF radio, fish finder, GPS charter plotter, outriggers, tuna tubes, live-bait well, and an extra large T-Top. Guests are provided with top-of-the-line fishing tackle, including conventional, spinning and fly gear to accommodate almost any fishing situation. Anglers are also welcome to bring their own tackle. So eat, slip into your boat, and go fishing. And due to its mobility, you will normally fish several locations. If you like light tackle (fly or spin), bring your own as their gear is heavier.
This is a one of a kind of experience and adventure! The staff is incredible from the owner to the guides and barge staff – they have it figured out. Our crew caught well over 30+ different species of fish with various fishing methods including fly fishing, top water popper fishing, and trolling for large sport billfish. This place has it all! We didn’t see ANY other fishing boats on the water other than our crew’s. I can’t recommend this operation more and can’t wait to go back.” Chris W.
“You see things when there that you would normally only see on a National Geographic special. Giant rays gliding under the boat. Huge schools of porpoise and tuna chasing acres of baitfish. My favorite was seeing about 30 porpoise come straight out of the water about 10 feet in the air and dive down to form a bubble curtain to corral the baitfish while the tuna, porpoises and birds feasted. It was mayhem and we were in the middle of it. Fighting tuna on poppers with fish coming out of the water and banging against your line. Standing in the bow seeing 100+pound tuna crash bait and come 5 feet out of the water right in front of you! Experience of a lifetime in one of the truly special places on earth!” Tom R
OFFSHORE FISHING: World class offshore action is to be enjoyed fishing for Seasonal Black marlin, Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna, plus huge Sailfish and Dorado. Panama is the Northern hemisphere’s number one fishing location to pursue large Black Marlin. Most of these fish weigh from 200 TO 800 POUNDS AND have been caught from their boats. These same waters are also one of the Eastern Pacific’s top angling destinations for giant Yellowfin Tuna — 40 to 300 lbs. and more. At this lodge they specialize in catching Yellowfin Tuna on poppers. Larger Pacific Sailfish exceeding 100 pounds and big Dorado may be taken on light tackle.
INSHORE FISHING: Panama is home to some of the world’s most explosive inshore fishing action. Aggressive predatory species such as Cubera Snapper, Roosterfish, Cobalt Trevally, Jack Crevalle, and Snook readily attack top water and shallow running plugs cast along the many sandy beaches and rocky coastlines. Fishing live baits in combination with this top water technique is also deadly in attracting arm-wrenching strikes. We will happily talk with any angler who wishes to discuss gear, lures, colors, species, and techniques to help with gear selection for your trip.
FLY FISHING: For the avid fly fisherman, offshore bait-and-switch for Sailfish, along with sight casting to Dorado, provides phenomenal seasonal fly rodding. Typically, the Dorado action is at its peak in December, with Sailfish peaking in January. Added year-round excitement can be found fly casting the often flat-calm waters on the backside of Coiba Island or in the jungle rivers for various snappers, ladyfish, jacks, trevally, roosters, big houndfish, pompano, rainbow runner, blacktip shark, snook, calba, milkfish, and more. Anglers gear up with floating lines on 8wt rods, 10wt rods loaded with shooting heads, and maybe a stout 12wt in case a group of roosters or cubera blow up under feeding jacks. It’s heart pounding action as you’re blind casting or sight casting to bait schools and surface feeding game fish, not always knowing what species will be next to engulf your fly.
BOTTOM FISHING: The knowledge of their seasoned captains, combined with the latest in GPS chart plotter technology guides the bottom fishermen to countless uncharted rocks and reefs. Here is where many of our anglers prefer deep jigging with “iron” or employ the Butterfly, or the Kabura style systems. Others choose to drop down with either live or dead baits. All approaches will produce rod-bending, knee-buckling strikes from the likes of big Snappers, Grouper and Amberjack.
THE FISHING BOATS: Five highly maintained, 28-foot Ocean Master center-console boats serve as your fishing platforms. These top quality boats are custom rigged for the many types of fishing this operation offers. Each is outfitted with twin four-stroke 150 hp Suzuki outboards, safety equipment, VHF radio, fish finder, GPS charter plotter, outriggers, tuna tubes, live-bait well, and an extra large T-Top. Guests are provided with top-of-the-line fishing tackle, including conventional, spinning and fly gear to accommodate almost any fishing situation. Anglers are also welcome to bring their own tackle. If you are a light tackle fisher (fly or spin) then we suggest you bring your own tackle.
LODGING/MEALS: Guests stay aboard an 80′ floating lodge. This provides anglers with a clean and comfortable base camp. The mobility of the lodge allows you to travel to remote tropical settings where the fishing begins right at your front door. Newly renovated, the lodge can accommodate up to 16 guests. With four beds each, the four air-conditioned cabins share two clean bathrooms with hot-water showers and plenty of fresh water. Also to be enjoyed is a very comfortable, air-conditioned salon, as well as an on-the-water dining area running along the front of the lodge, complete with a friendly cash bar and bartender. Delicious Panamanian/American cuisine is prepared daily by chef Irina. Featured is the “catch of the day” served with fresh vegetables and tempting homemade desserts. Breakfast is coffee, local fruit, eggs, pancakes, cereal, bacon, sausage and toast. Lunch is on the fishing boats with sandwiches, snacks and fruit.
LANGUAGE: English is considered Panama’s second language. In Panama City you can expect the people in the nicest hotels, bars and restaurants to speak English fluently. Once outside of the cities, you may find it helpful to have brushed up on your Spanish, as you are in Latin America.
PRICING: stated package price includes: all ground transfers, your lodging, your captain and his mate, all equipment, all food, daily laundry, and fish processing if guests wish to take any pelagics home that were unable to be revived. (NOTE: a case of beer and all other drinks are provided free daily on the boats while fishing). Your package gives you 7 nights lodging (2 are in Panama City) and 5 are on the floating lodge.
4 guests $4295 each
3 guests $4795 each
2 guests $5295 each
1 guest $8,095 each
• in-country flights,
• $150 cash National Park fee,
• 7% Panama tax on the package
• cash bar on the floating lodge
• crew tips
As a tourist, you will have no difficulty with the currency “exchange” because there is none. Panama has adopted the U. S. dollar as their currency, though locals call the dollar a “Balboa” after the famous explorer. Credit cards are accepted at the finer hotels and restaurants in Panama City. Otherwise, it is best to carry a large supply of smaller denomination bills. Bills of $50 and $100 can be hard to spend or exchange throughout the country.
SANITATION: Food and water is safe to eat and drink in both Panama City and David. You should not worry about being bothered by “Montezuma’s Revenge,” which is so common in Mexico. Panama’s sanitation standards are good.
Saturday Arrival: Most anglers arrive late Saturday evening at the Tocumen International Airport (PTY) in Panama City. You must have passport that does not expire for at least six months. You pass through immigration, then claim your luggage, then pass through customs, and next proceed through the waiting crowd, watching for the Lodge’s sign. The lodge’s shuttle will take you to your hotel. Package includes all ground transport for airports and marinas and hotels, two anglers per hotel room at El Panama or Torres Del Alba. Guests are picked up on arrival at PTY and taken to their hotel, then transported to a local airport for a commercial one hour flight to David on Sunday mid- morning. In 2022 Air Panama often canceled the morning flight so guests were taken on the 200pm flight. Some guests prefer to skip any Sunday travel or a few hours fishing and would rather fly to David at 700am on Monday to commence fishing immediately. Anglers return to Panama City at 300pm on Friday, are taken to hotels, and taken to PTY for their return flights on Saturday or later if they are staying a day or two.
Sunday: At 9am their lodge shuttle will take you to Marcos A. Gelabert Airport for your one-hour connecting flight from Panama City to David. The cost of the flight, will have already been prepaid (60 days prior) with your final payment to the Lodge. In David you will be greeted by a captain who will take you on a short 5-minute ride from the airport to the marina, where your 28’ Ocean Master, captain, and mate will await you. The lodge will have already departed for its four-hour journey out to the first group of protected offshore islands where it will moor for the night. You will intercept the lodge in transit somewhere along its route, unload your luggage, have a hearty lunch, and head out for an afternoon of fishing. Your first evening on board will set the tone for the next week of world class fishing and adventure, with appetizers, dinner, cocktails, and music.
Monday-Thursday: Today you will fish all the way to world famous “Hannibal Bank” and “Coiba Island.” For your five days of fishing, you will ply the region’s prime offshore and inshore fishing grounds as the lodge moves to follow the action. (Note: That means no long return trips to the mainland every evening!) For the duration of your stay, the lodge will remain near the prime fishing grounds so that you, the angler, can spend more time fishing and less time getting to and from the fish.
Friday: On your last day of fishing, plan to depart the barge early and fish your way back to David. You will re-trace your arrival route by fishing a half day, intercepting the lodge as it works its way up the tidal river to port. You can change and pack gear, then your crew will take you to your transport shuttle in time for the 3pm flight from David to Panama City.
There are MANY dozens of factors that affect any calendar that dares to predict the best times to fish. Our general feeling is the best time to fish is anytime you can! Often life will dictate when a fisherman (or women) can do any given trip. But for general planning purposes there are some guidelines.
First, best times vary with the species. Some species stay at home, others wander the world chasing bait and temperatures. They come and they go, sometimes staying for long periods, sometimes not. So this is at best a rough estimate. Also bear in mind that good fishing may sometimes mean rougher sea conditions (or not!) The good news is that at this destination, you will always find multiple species of big fish to tear up your tackle! So you always leave happy.
Here are some thoughts: Black Marlin, Blue marlin and Sailfish are around from June to end of February, typically. December thru Feb are arguably peak times, but can have rougher seas.
Yellowfin tuna are pretty much year round, with peaks in April and May
Dorado (Mahi-mahi) are around generally from July thru February.
Roosterfish and Cubera snapper are also almost year round, with peak times typically March through August.
The various groupers and snappers and similar inshore species are pretty much year round
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS (July 2022)
To check on Covid requirements see: www.tourismpanama.com
• Travelers will not have to present a negative COVID-19 test for entry as long as they can provide physical or digital proof of at least 2 (two) doses or complete vaccination scheme endorsed by the WHO, EMA and FDA, equal to or greater than 14 days after the last dose. Non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers will be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival time in Panama.
If a test is not possible within that time frame, a COVID-19 rapid test will be mandated at the airport and the traveler will have to cover the costs of said test (USD $50). If the results are positive, the traveler will be placed under a mandatory 5-day quarantine in a hotel. The cost of the stay must be fully covered by the traveler.
Children under 18:
Children under 5 years of age are exempt from performing any type of test if their parents or guardian comply with the complete vaccination scheme or have a negative test (antigen or PCR).
Children over 5 years of age (national, resident or foreigner) who enter by air, land or sea must have the complete vaccination scheme or at least two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19