Panama Sportfishing Lodge April 25-29

Discussion in 'Offshore Fishing Reports' started by Bret, May 2, 2009.

  1. Bret

    Bret Senior Member

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    Panama sportfishing lodge April 25-29
    Rick, John, Mike and I Arrived in Panama City on the afternoon of the 23rd and proceeded to the Veneto Casino hotel. We had a good time there, donated a little money to the slot machines. Friday am , we load in a van and make the haul to Boca Chica. The Van driver had a blowout before he picked us up and couldn’t find a replacement, so without a spare,he didn’t drive much over 40mph, making for a long ride. We get to the lodge and get our gear setup and clothes put away.

    We were Fishing with Capt Macho and mate Chichi. Macho has been fishing these waters for 31yrs and is very knowledgeable about the area. Day one we head to Montousa and start the task of making bait. It was difficult at first and we were only finding small skippies. We finally get a couple of decent sized bonita in the tubes. The bridle two up and bumptroll around. Rick was up first and 15mins later gets bit by a wahoo, which comes to the boat in short order. So we have some meat in the cooler.
    Macho hears on the radio that there is a good marlin bite on at the Hannibal bank (11miles away) so we pick up and head that way. John gets bit on the small skippy.. nice tuna about 60lbs.
    Baits back in and not long after it’s a marlin.. and Mike gets strapped in and gets to work. It was his first time to fight one on standup, but did a great job getting the fish to the boat for a release.. That was about it for day one.
    Day two found us headed back to Montousa to make bait and it was hard to come by. I was up in the rotation, we get to the Bank and start bump trolling around. We get only one bite all day .. it was a big tuna and I farmed it.. Back to the lodge for dinner and drinks.
    Day Three we did the same. Montousa for bait and tried to fish, but the bad porpoise were mouthing our baits.. So we have to reel up and head back to the bank. Not long after arriving, we get a bite, it’s a sail… it’s a fish but not too exciting on a 50wide.. I am up and get the sail to the boat very quickly for a clean release.. Baits back out and we get a double bite Mine charges the boat, and as I am trying to reel up the slack, Ricks is stuck good. Mine comes loose, and Rick is kind enough to hand me the rod. I strap in and go to work. The fish puts on a outstanding aerial display out about 200yds from the boat.. I get the marlin in to leader in under 25mins. High fives all the way around as I finally got the marlin skunk off of me. Up to this point in my life, I had hooked up with 8 others, and they had all come unbuttoned for one reason or another, so I was quite excited about the release. We went and found a spot that was holding bonita there on the bank.. and put out fresh baits to no avail. That was it for day three.we did try some bottom spots on one of the days but never got a bite.
    Day four, we knew we could find bait on the bank, so we ran straight there and began jigging bait. The 4oz regular diamond jig was really good for making bait. We found our baits and off we went. Same drill was a guy in a 34seavee that was freediving . I talked to him on the radio and he said lots of big tuna . he had just speared one that would go between 250-275lbs. It seems everywhere you looked you would see a huge marlin jumping and greyhounding and spitting out 5-10lb baits.. Nearly all of the boats were getting bit, but hardly any were sticking.. present company included. The spinning rod accounted for 5good bites and only one hookup. John Greschuk was up and the spinner went off again, this time it was on. The marlin does an incredible aerial display while John does his best to keep up. The OTI Gt slayer had plenty of backbone and John did a great job of putting some serious pressure on this marlin. John settles in for battle and absolutely lays the wood to this marlin and gets him to leader in around 23 minutes. The hook pulls before we could get the fish a little closer for pics.. Big smiles and high fives all around 350-400lb marlin caught on spinning rod in under 23mins. After all of the celebratory hoo ha , we get some baits back in the water.. we kept thinking what the freediver had said….. there are tons of big tuna hanging around the thermocline at around 60 ft.. So Rick, asks capt. Macho if we can run his big planer board down there.. and we do.. about an hour later. I had laid down for a nap.. and I hear the reel go off.. John saw the fish come out of the water trying to get the bait and it was a big tuna… he just missed the bait..
    Day five we opt to try inshore. Macho told us it was very very slow inshore but we went anyway. We headed in the directions of Ladrones and his several spots along the way looking for live bait.. it was hard to come by. We put out some marauder type baits and run over a high spot and get a double hookup on wahoo and only get one to the boat. We cut up a few bonitas and try for cubera.. several got hooked up and all got broke off.. its kind of like our AJ fishing in the gulf, you have to be able to put heavy drag on and keep the fish out of his holes. Inshore just didn’t happen for us. We called it a day around noon and decided to get everything disassembled and packed for the return trip home. It’s a long haul from Panama city to Boca Chica.
    All in all the trip was a success. The accommodations at Panama Sportfishing Lodge were great and the service was spectacular. The staff did their best to insure that you didn’t want for anything. The food was 4 star.. The fishing could have been a little better. I mean we had several shots at good fish, but for one reason or another our hookup ratio could have been much better. We did better than most boats in the fleet. I feel fortunate to have been able to fish the famed Hannibal bank and surrounding waters. John DelaCruz has assembled a great group of capitains and mates and runs a truly first class operation. I would recommend it to anyone. We will be back… just need to get the dates….. pics on the way:eek:
     
  2. mcgolfer

    mcgolfer Guest

    i just want to add that i also was impressed with my visit and the fishing and service was outstanding. the marlin bite we experienced on the 4th day was well worth the investment in time and money it took to make it happen. ricky bobby says thank you baby jesus for panama sportfishing lodge and all the rentals.....
     

  3. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    Nice report, Bret.
    There are not many places like Hannibal Bank in the world. It is simply amazing fishing destination.
    It is amazing John landed 350 - 400 lbs marlin with a spinning reel in 23 minutes. What kind of reels and line did he use ?
     
  4. Bret

    Bret Senior Member

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    pics
     

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  5. Bret

    Bret Senior Member

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    Nice report, Bret.
    There are not many places like Hannibal Bank in the world. It is simply amazing fishing destination.
    It is amazing John landed 350 - 400 lbs marlin with a spinning reel in 23 minutes. What kind of reels and line did he use ?

    Thanks Kil, The reel was the new Stella 20000. not sure of the model number but was spooled with OTI depthfinder line. Rick can give you the particulars.
     

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  6. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Panama has a unique fishery. I was really surprised at the massive tidal movements. Eighteen feet is a lot of tide. Learning to fish it takes time. Capt's Macho and Sergio understand the tides. Everyday, they pulled out their tidal movement charts a few times. They always tried there best to place us at spots were the tide would be to our advantage.

    Panama probably has the most consistent Black Marlin bite in the world. The Great Barrier Reef off Australia has some great Black Marlin fishing. Thats the place certain times of the year that will provide you with many granders. But, the numbers of Black Marlin in Panama are incredible. We didn't see any small marlin while in Panama. All of ours were around a quarter of a ton. The waters offshore of Australia can be brutal with 8=10s very common. Panama on the other hand has very calm waters. That makes a big difference as far as comfort.

    We never fished Hannibal during my stay at Panama Sport Fishing Lodge because the water was still to hot from the earthquake that was centered about 100 miles from the bank. That caused a lack of bait and therefore it was dead. I heard that Costa Rica had very lousy fishing for two weeks. The water was 90 degrees up to 30 miles offshore because of the earthquake.

    Most of our action was at Ladrones. Ladrones is a rock formation about ten acres in size sticking out. Ladrones means the "Bad Rock". It got that name because in the older days, it was covered with sharks. No matter what fish you hooked, it was eaten by sharks before it hit the boat. This was also a big problem in the 50's -60's at Montousa. Chi Chi told me that he was a commercial fisherman in that period. He said the sea would become red for miles with Pargo on the surface. Then it would turn from a pink color to a bloody red color as the thousands of sharks would start their feeding frenzy on the snapper. He said it was very difficult to get fish in the boat because of all the sharks.

    The sharks are now gone for one reason or another. That's a good thing. With all the structure below the Pacific in that area of Panama, it gives great hiding places for all the fish. You just have to find them. When you do, it's incredible. I also thought the facilities and staff at the lodge were first class.

    I look forward to seeing your pictures of the trip. Glad to see you had a good time while in Panama. It's a must fish destination for anglers who are on the edge of looking for a different place to fish. I got a little taste of our Gulf waters last week. I forgot how beat up we get in Texas. I miss those calm waters off Panama.
     
  7. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    I agree with MrBill.
    PV is also well known destination for marlin and tuna, but you have to go there in right time to get some action. Hannival Bank/Montuosa is different. Marlin are always there in good numbers throughout the year.
    I don't know which destinations can produce more marlin than Hannival Bank/Montuosa consistantly year round. Marlin fishing is so good there, they don't pay much attention how they fish. They don't use planer or downriddger. I observerd they troll live bait very short behind the boat.
    They are so successful on a daily basis that they don't have to explore what other fishermen do in other areas. Fishing is that good.

    tuna surface action in Hannival
    [​IMG]

    bait (skipjack or bonito ?)
    [​IMG]
     
  8. GollawhodoLax

    GollawhodoLax Guest

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  9. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    glad you guys had a great trip, nice catch on the marlin :)

    as everyone said, the marlin fishing is incredible. we didnt even fish much for marlin as most of us wanted to jig and pop, but out boat still had 4 marlin!

    another great thing abt panama versus australia is that for those of us in the US, its a quick flight. especially those of us in texas. for me, it was only a 3.5 hour flight from houston. the flight was hardly longer than flying to new york.

    i was somewhat surprised not to see as many sharks, we only had one that Raza got on the troll.
     
  10. wacker

    wacker Senior Member

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    Breto! Glad you guys had fun and caught a few fish too. Did you have much rain? Looks like it was a little sporty in that one pic (at least for Panama).
     
  11. Bret

    Bret Senior Member

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    it rained the last day as we were leaving the lodge on the way to horconcitos.
     
  12. HWK

    HWK Senior Member

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    Great report and pics Bret !!!
     
  13. MrBill

    MrBill Senior Member

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    Did Grescobia put a bend like this when putting that rod to the test?
     

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  14. STx Fisherman

    STx Fisherman Senior Member

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    Great pics. Congrats guys.....sounds like a fantastic trip!
     
  15. Bret

    Bret Senior Member

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    here are some more random pics..
     

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  16. Snagged

    Snagged Senior Member

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    Bret,
    You've gotten over your marlin skunk, what's next?
     
  17. jaredchasteen

    jaredchasteen Senior Member

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    glad you had a good time and caught a marlin. Let's get that fat tuna or sword
     
  18. Bret

    Bret Senior Member

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    Bret,
    You've gotten over your marlin skunk, what's next?

    "I'm going to Disneyland!!" lol...

    my next goal is to relax, have fun and fish....
     
  19. pole dancer

    pole dancer Guest

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    Great pics,Can't wait to fish Panama