Panama Sportfishing Lodge report from tournament week 5/16-5/23

Discussion in 'Offshore Fishing Reports' started by LEXPRO, May 23, 2009.

  1. LEXPRO

    LEXPRO Senior Member

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    I was suprised with an upgrade to seat 1F and arrived on schedule around 1pm at Tocumen and was greeted by John the lodge owner and Mel his driver. Jack, Rich, and Frank were also on the same flight but jumped in the Veneto shuttle. Seemed like they were in a hurry. I waited a little bit longer with John for Gary to arrive from Miami and we were off to the Veneto for the nite. I also found that i was bunking with Rich for the trip, after checking in I went right across the street and got a prepaid cell phone to use for the trip. Headed back to hotel and had some sushi as a snack because John was taking us out to Dinner at 8pm. Some of the other anglers experienced travel delays and didnt make the dinner or the prefish day. After a shower and a nap i went to try to play craps but the tables werent open. By the time they opened them it was too close to dinner time so i never got to play. We went to eat at an Italian place that was really good. The fishing stories were very good as well.

    Departed next morning at 10am and the ride to Boca Chica passed more quickly than i thought and the bus was extra cold inside. Lots of scenery and a drive over the canal. We also had a anti drug inspection but were waived thru right away after giving them some cold drinks. We settled in and had dinner and cocktails and got to bed early so we could be ready to fish.
     

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  2. LEXPRO

    LEXPRO Senior Member

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    The prefish day started with a hearty breakfast and then in the boat and on the way to Coiba area. We chased birds and had small 40lbish tunas biting. I caught one on shibuki and red/chrome ranger. The ranger was rigged with a siwash and i had lots of misses the rest of the day on it. TJ caught one with wombat in dorado and another with a flying fish color stickbait prototype. The stickbait was rigged on TJs PE4 prototype rod and was foul hooked so it pulled like it was 80lb fish. After only 20 minutes on the really light rod TJ was begging for a hand off we all had a laugh on that. Jack had a fish on a OTI popper as well. We left the fish biting to head to hannibal and stopped off at the other boat to see how they were doing as Tony Pena had a nice tuna on a Calcutta for a while. When we arrived they were boating the fish but a big blue marlin was circling the boat like a great white. That fish wanted Tony's tuna bad. We all started casting everything at it trying to get it interested. TJ grabbed his brand new 50 twinspin and after a handfull of casts it stopped working right. The arm starting getting stuck or binding. Would have been nice to see it tested on that fish. The lucky guy was Rich who tied on a hook and a GULP squid to his Torsa 40/Trevala jigging outfit and pitched it and was hooked up. The fish took off like a rocket and when it jumped it looked like 700lb fish and i screamed out holy shit your screwed because we all thought it was a little fish from our view. That fish broke the 100lb mono leader on the first run.

    We left that area and ran over to Hannibal and didnt see anything busting the surface so we continued to Montousa and caught some skipjacks and put them out. Pretty quickly we had a black marlin on Jacks custom rod and Penn 50, during the fight the fish came off and lasso'd itself around the dorsal and thats the only way it stayed on. I was happy that he got that fish becuase he just dropped a custom rod and Penn torque that was brand new in the water. After the release on that fish we headed back to dock.
     

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  3. LEXPRO

    LEXPRO Senior Member

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    The first tournament day came and it was going to be the boys from The Republic of Texas versus the east coast guys from the states of South Carolina and Florida (Skip, Reggie, Guy, and Gary) John and Tony Pena were in a chase boat. As i mentioned earlier Guy from SC still didnt make it due to passport issues so we put TJ in to fill in for him with no protests from anyone. We made our way to Montousa and worked birds, dolphins, busting tuna, rocks, and underwater pinnacles all day. We ended up with 1 50lb tuna on OTI popper, 2 triggers on diamond jig, and a bunch of skipjacks on ranger. We casted asst poppers, rangers, shibuki, and runboh but nothing worked for YFT. However the other boat hooked a big tuna that they said over the radio they fought for couple hours. Then they ran over to the school we just had worked for two hours and had a tuna on right away, we were just cold that day when it came to popping the YFT. When we got back to the dock we saw it was TJ with his 130lb tuna on wombat dorado color. They also had some smaller tunas and dorado as well. We were a little down but not out of it yet.

    The second tournament day we ran back to Montousa picking up a couple dorado off of debris on the way. But the dolphins and the birds were the only thing on the surface but capt Sergio said he was seeing fish under the boat so he said for us to have two people popping and two people jigging. Following his orders we had a big fish on by 10:30. The fish bit a OTI 400 gram glow in the dark jig 80 ft down. It was on a torsa 40 with a custom jigging rod that Rich borrowed from Reggie as his trevala broke accidentaly. Rich was fighting the fish with 22lbs of drag but the fight took two hours and we lost a gaff during the first gaff attempt. We finally boated the fish after two hours and found out that the other boat had a big fish on too. We also thought that this fish that we were hoping to be 150 plus didnt look bigger that TJs so over the radio Cpt Sergio told Capt Macho ours was long but we werent sure of the weight and decided to run inshore and try to get a rooster or cubera as backup since it was now 1pm and it would be difficult to get a tuna bigger than 130 on popper or jig in the remaining time as lines out was at 3pm. We hoped they would believe the tuna was larger than thiers and they would stay out trying for another. Our gamble paid off, Rich caught the only cubera of the trip on the fourth cast of a chartruese rapala subwalker which was rerigged with hooks and rings from OTI popper. We kept casting all the way till the cutoff and I had a 50lb looking rooster follow a hot pink runboh all the way to the boat but didnt hit. That gave us hope so we kept casting but never got a rooster, only a few bluefin trevally. This is also when i had bail close on 10000SW and the whole rig went into the water. Jose jumped and tried to get it but his pants came down to his ankles and he couldnt swim down to get it. Sergio marked the spot and i *****ed and moaned a little but we decided to get divers there in the morning to retrieve it since it was only 30 feet deep. So as a result of that day our Tuna was second place at 111lb but the cubera was a winner as it was the only one caught on trip.

    Also that nite were were talking about my rod going over and TJ brought up all the poppers he casted off because of the bail closing on the 8kSW he was using. I told him i bet it was a result of auto closing bail. We tried with his reel and any time you bump the handle it closes. I would recommend lighter lures and a lanyard with 10ksw or lower for hardcore casting. If you use heavy lure the leader snaps or the rod goes out of your hand when bail closes. Ensor and Carlo dived for my rod the following morning and gave it to me along with the mates pliers that he lost when diving in.
     

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  4. LEXPRO

    LEXPRO Senior Member

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    Now that tournament was over i left all my gear at the dock and figured I may catch something on live bait. We went to Montousa and made bait, then ran to Hannibal to put it out. When we arrived at Hannibal there were six boats in the water. We put out baits and had a nice YFT on before lunch on Jacks rod. Jacks custom rod was pretty hot on this trip. We saw another boat have both of its baits out on spinners get eaten by the same marlin. They had two hooks and reels pulling but the marlin finally won breaking both hooks off. We also had John in the boat today and he made our day with a mess of groupers for dinner. Him and Reggie are master grouper jiggers. We potlicked their spot and and ended up with a nice grouper for the table as well.
     

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  5. LEXPRO

    LEXPRO Senior Member

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    The last day of fishing we ran to LaDrones and found some huge bait balls, even Sergio said they were incredible. I shot some photos but they didnt come out well but you may be able to see what i was talking about. We caught some bait on TJs prototype inshore rod and flitz lure and then put them out. No bites for two hours but capt said we have to be patient becuase he knows fish are working the bait too. Eventually we got a bite and since Frank saw the least action during the tournament we put him on the rod. He fought the fish for 30 mins but couldnt move the fish and asked for handoff. I put on a harness and put a bunch of pressure on the fish and brought in some line but got to point where it was like it was dead weight that wouldnt budge. I told capt he was dead and he said no he thinks it was alive, i was frustrated i couldnt move the fish after 25 minutes and felt like a little ***** so i said to take it off me and i passed the rod to Rich. He gets on and immediatly goes down and to the corner and says he cant do anything thing either. I said to the guys that i sure hope I didnt burn my back out because were hooked on the bottom or something. Sure enough the mate backs up the boat while capt is jerking line by hand and the fish comes loose. It seems the fish went to the rocks while Frank was fighting him and died. Frank gave me the rod and i reeled the boat to the spot where the line was verticle and we couldnt do anything. The fish came up finally and we got some photos and fileted it. Afterwards we had another big fish hit a large bait and nothing else while slow trolling. We hit some bottom spots with live baits and chunks on the way back inshore but only had a hammerhead on a chunk. We made it back inshore and the water was green and rough. We trolled out the back some medium sized jacks and casted lures to the rocks up front but nothing inshore. We called it a day and went in to the party, which was temporarily interupted by rain. The food and company were great as were the fish stories of course. Sorry for not taking alot of pictures but i was trying my ass off to catch a fish, but it just wasnt my week. Our boat as a whole did very well with two large tuna and two caught marlin. I was happy with the trip and the tournament, John is a really classy guy and takes his clients very seriously. He knows that the clients are all that matters and you can really tell, especially by how well trained the lodge staff are in customer service. They give the four seasons a run for the money when it comes to dinner and drink service! Sergio and Jose were excellent on the boat although we were later nicknamed Team Dangerous becuase we were a little too clumsy on the boat and they always had to remind us to take it easy. I look forward to coming again although i think i will rather fly to David because that ride back this morning to Tocumen was hell on wheels. Rougher than a boat ride becuase this side of the road hasnt been repaved as well as other.
     

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  6. gman

    gman Senior Member

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    Great report and write up you brought back great memories for me, Panama is one of my favorite places now. So what were the final standings with winnings etc. Looks like everyone had a great time congrats again and thanks for taking the time to post the report
     
  7. Grescobia

    Grescobia Senior Member

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    Great report and very good pictures. Glad you all had a good time.
     
  8. semipro

    semipro Senior Member

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    Wonderful report and story but all I wonder is;What happen the FU-FU back
    from France!!!!!!!
     
  9. fathom

    fathom Lifetime Supporting Members

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    Dan,

    well written and great pics .:cool:
     
  10. BAOSABI

    BAOSABI Senior Member

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    Looks like you guys had a fantastic time down there. Absolutely excellent job on the tournament. I wish to make it down there one day to have that dream experience.
     
  11. JPKIPP63

    JPKIPP63 Member

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    great report. seems like a great trip
     
  12. bulllred

    bulllred Senior Member

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    Nice report thanks.
     
  13. LEXPRO

    LEXPRO Senior Member

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    Great report and write up you brought back great memories for me, Panama is one of my favorite places now. So what were the final standings with winnings etc. Looks like everyone had a great time congrats again and thanks for taking the time to post the report


    Our boat with Jack, Frank, Rich, and myself split 5k from the winning cubera snapper that could be in cash and gift certs or partial cash. I immediately got a 80lb sniper from TJ as i really enjoyed the 50lb rod so much. The largest tuna of 130 was caught by the east coast boat, our 111 was second, and the third largest was 109 and was also caught by the east coast boat. The first place tuna award was 10k cash and gift certs.
     
  14. HWK

    HWK Senior Member

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    Great report and pics !!!