Central or South America for YFT in Jan 2021

Discussion in 'Fishing Reports' started by waldo_one2, Aug 16, 2020.

  1. waldo_one2

    waldo_one2 Junior member

    I’m coming over from the UK FOR January 2021.

    I’d like to target YFT on the popper. Where is the best place to go this time of year. I can go anywhere in Central or South America.

    thanks in advance
  2. HungryJack

    HungryJack Member

    Major El Nino this fall/winter, which always
    screws up the fishing and timing.
    IMO, a worthwhile year to take a break from the Pacific.

    Jan, eastern part of Panama, Tropic Star Lodge, Perlas Islands.
    Or Columbia.

  3. waldo_one2

    waldo_one2 Junior member

    Thanks for the response. I’m not very well educated on this part of the world.

    I’ve done some research. Panama looks like it’s going to be windy and not peak season for Tuna, Tropic star lodge amazing but out of my price range I’m going with my kids and wife.

    What do you think of Mexico? Your El Niño comment worries me to!

    any other ideas?
  4. lite-liner

    lite-liner troll enforcement Staff Member

    January is typically wide open on YFT in the Gulf of Mexico at that time. Venice, La or any of the Texas ports have boats to get you there.
    HungryJack likes this.
  5. HungryJack

    HungryJack Member

    January is not the ideal time,
    but for the eastern part, where tropic star is, or the perlas islands,
    it is the start of the season. Reports you mainly read are from lodges
    in the Gulf of Chiquiri, the western part of Panama, and the season kind
    of starts 4-6 weeks later there, in middle feb or march.

    With the family in tow, your best bet in Mexico will be
    Puerto Vallarta, plenty of inshore or offshore opportunities,
    can find a split charter for offshore or 2-3 days trips to tres marias islands.
    Can fish the offshore rocks Corbetina and El Blanco.
    Plenty of tourist stuff for the family.
    Do a search on this site,plenty of info and trip reports to look at.
    Also consider Nuevo Vallarta, next to PV, and a little closer to the
    offshore fishing grounds.

    Or, as Liteliner suggests, the USofA.
    Although venice, La is not too family friendly,
    there are ports in Texas that are,
    and you can find some shared charters
    and people that like to pop or jig.
    jshorty likes this.
  6. waldo_one2

    waldo_one2 Junior member

    Thanks I appreciate the input it’s really helped. Flights to Panama are £1400 for my family return, to Mexico it’s £2650 return.
    So it’s going to be Panama based on that and we’ll definitely head East....
  7. lite-liner

    lite-liner troll enforcement Staff Member

    reach out to Ballywho on this site.
    He's got a really nice place in Panama.
    might be what you're looking for.
  8. HungryJack

    HungryJack Member

    Your family will be much happier in Mexico, than Panama,
    when it comes to tourist activities and there proximity to good fishing opportunities for you.

    The good fishing is on the pacific side, and most of the better tourist locations
    are on the Caribbean side. Departing from Panama city area to fish, will be disappointing to you. If you family is interested in doing more than looking at plants and some hiking in the jungle, or hanging at the beach, there is really not much for them to do, or activities that are anywhere close to where you will want to actually fish from.

    If your family is like most, and expects to be entertained with activities
    while on vacation, your options are limited in Panama, and limited in variety
    when you do find them. Puerto Vallarta offers that.
    You can go fishing for the day, or overnight, and they can do things locally
    and safely while you are out fishing.

    You will also find out, that while on the ground,
    your overall expenses will be higher in Panama,
    then in PV. Will easily cost you more to move around
    and do things in Panama, then you are paying extra in airfare.

    Don't let airfare costs dictate your location,
    without considering ground costs
    and overall opportunities afforded to you and family.

    I would also check rates a few more times, as they change all the time,
    and if possible, moving your dates a day or two, can help.

    With family in tow, PV is the better choice, hands down.
    Unless, your family is into nature/wildlife only and prefers
    to avoid more tourist oriented locations.
    Both you and your family will end up disappointed in Panama,
    because it is a difficult location to do a compromise trip,
    good fishing and tourist stuff for the family.
    Choose one or the other for a trip, and Panama is a good choice.
    Mexico, is a far better location for a compromise trip,
    and PV is your best choice in Jan.
    Will also be much easier for you to find a split charter
    for fishing in PV, than in Panama.

    PS> as a general statement, food is pretty boring in Panama,
    Mexico is the complete opposite.

    PPS> Jan is also the wrong time of year for most of Panama,
    while out of PV inshore there is good action, and tuna are popping too,
    with some years having a good run of 300+ lb YFT being caught.

    PPPS> if you refuse to listen to what I am telling you,
    then in Panama, the spot is Bocas Del Toro for the tourist stuff,
    its either a $200 flight, or a 9 hour drive and 2 hour ferry ride.
    Or more remote, San Blas Islands (kuna yala).
    On the pacific side, Perlas Islands , $100 flight,
    and puts you out into the fishing grounds,
    also nicest colored water on the pacific side.
    There is some tourist stuff (boring for most) to do in the city,
    and you can also go Peacock bass fishing on lake near city.


    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
  9. HungryJack

    HungryJack Member

    PS> first hand experience at both locations,
    and been to Panama more than a dozen times,
    including vacation only trips that were up to 30 days in length,
    been everywhere in Panama.
    Many more trips to Mexico under my belt, and have crawled and fish
    through every part of the country as well.

    Also, real tough to go "east" from Panama city on the ground,
    not many options and most are eco tourist based.
    Roads, including the Panamanian highway stop there, at the Darien
    jungle, creating a 70 mile barrier between Panama and Columbia.
    Tropic star is reached by flight, or long boat ride.

    If you need suggestions, ask.
  10. waldo_one2

    waldo_one2 Junior member

    Wow I think thanks one of the most comprehensive responses to a post I’ve ever received, I’m really grateful to you.
    So I’ve done an about turn and am now looking at PV, there’s some wonderful places available self catering on Airbnb and reasonably priced to. I’m sure that’s what we’re going to do and if I’m in with a chance of a decent YFT then that’s all the better!

    I’m looking at some shore side spots. Is there decent night fishing for rays and sharks to keep a 5 year old boy entertained?

    Also if we decided to hire a car and head off the beaten track is it relatively safe?
    HungryJack likes this.
  11. HungryJack

    HungryJack Member

    Glad to help. Don't like seeing people end up
    with the wrong choice for a particular type of vacation.

    I would look at some tour operators in the UK,
    might find a good airfare/hotel combo from them.
    Then do your own thing while there.
    Lots of rooming options, from hotels, resorts, condos,
    beachside, etc.

    There are many option in Puerto Vallarta,
    you can also look at Nuevo Vallarta, a bit north,
    and Punta Mita, or any of these towns you see on the map below.
    As you leave PV and travel west/north, each town/area becomes
    a bit less developed and less people as well. Each have a slightly
    different flavor. Search their names on Youtube, you will find
    plenty of videos. There are also smaller towns in between these,
    that offer their own special charm.

    Self catering will save you some money, but food is reasonably priced,
    and the street carts are even cheaper, and have some of the best dishes.
    The varied types of delicious foods are one of the features for many who
    travel to mexico. Seafood dishes like Ceviche should be tried as well.
    Again, youtube will be assist here if you are not familiar with the food,
    and it is not all hot and spicy either, if that is a concern.

    Driving along this coastal corridor is essentially safe.
    I do urge that you purchase the insurance from the rental company,
    even if your credit card provides coverage.
    You are responsible for damages if in an accident,
    and potentially won't be released until payment is made.
    Insurance provided by the rental company is recognized, go on your way.
    Insurance from your credit card is generally not, and you can be held
    until they provide proof of coverage to the authorities.
    You can also drive south of PV, some towns and empty beaches
    in that direction was well, less developed than going north.

    If you don't need a car all the time, but want to explore,
    you can also hire local tour guides with cars or taxi drivers
    that will take you around for the day to where you want,
    and show you some other stuff along the way.
    Usually $100-125 day for a quality guy. Look on some of the travel
    forums, you can find recommendations for the better ones.

    Fishing, assuming you are looking to share a boat for offshore YFT,
    this will most likely occur from PV or Nuevo Vallarta, maybe Punta Mita.
    Inshore can be done from anywhere along the coast, plenty of ports, beaches
    and captains to fish with.
    I would post in the boat pooling section on this site, days your looking to fish.
    Can do the same on BloodyDecks
    If you're looking for your own charter, lots of information on this site
    using search and on BloodyDecks.

    Inshore charters are usually on Panga's and generally are around
    $40-50 an hour, 4 hour trip around $175-200
    There is also freshwater Large Mouth Bass and Peacock bass
    fishing at a couple of famous lakes for large fish about 2 hours inland from PV.

    As for beach fishing at night, I've not done it,
    but I would think you would get some action with fish
    to make your son happy. Reach out to Capt. Pete he posts
    reports here, he could probably answer your beach fishing questions,
    and maybe help with a shared charter for YFT
    I know people target Rooster Fish from the beach.

    Some more posts to look at about the area/fishing.


  12. waldo_one2

    waldo_one2 Junior member

    Brilliant I’m going to home I’m on a few of your points especially looking into the shared charters etc.....

    it seems there reasonable beach fishing with a real mixed bag of the usual culprits inc. sharks and rays.