Panama offers insane fishing. Enough said. I spent 4 years as Director of Fishing at Islas Secas Resort, based on an archipelago 25 miles off the Pacific coast of Panama, with fishing grounds that encompassed 70 square miles. Within this territory were the legendary waters of Hannibal Bank, Isla Coiba, and Isla Montuosa, just to name a few. Panama offers some of the best offshore, big game, and inshore reef fishing in the world; it is where you come to catch Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, and 200+ pound Yellowfin Tuna. In addition, the popping and jigging this is the best in the world.
When I worked Isla Secas, my season ran from mid-December to mid-June, during which time I generally logged 160 days on the water. Last year, I figure I released 60,000 pounds of fish, and kept a few thousand pounds more for the freezer. I was fortunate in Isla Secas to see the best of the best.
The oxygen depletion zone in the eastern tropical Pacific forces the majority of bait into the upper water column. The game fish are obliged to follow, making them more accessible, more of the time. Every day in Panama is a new adventure, full of the unexpected, and fishing that will plain freak you out. During an inshore session in Panama, we might catch huge Cubera Snapper and Roosterfish, some over 50 pounds, and often on a lure. Later in the same day, you can chase Marlin, Tuna, Dorado, and Sailfish. I just can’t get enough of that fishery.
Unfortunately for anglers, Isla Secas is in the middle of a hiatus, and closed for the foreseeable future… I miss it so much. That said, I can’t recommend Panama enough as a travel destination. Panama City is a hub for Central America, and there are many flights to and from cities in the States. You may have to overnight in Panama City to catch your domestic the next day, but don’t worry… enjoy your stay. There is a wealth of sight-seeing, from the Mira Flores Locks in the Panama Canal to Casco Viejo, a historic World Heritage site. The food is great in the city, and there is so much to choose from. As for accommodations, there are new modern hotels, or smaller historic ones. In Panama, there is absolutely something for everyone.