Panama – a diverse fishery

We woke up early the next morning to the crow of a rooster, followed by the howl of a howler monkey and then finally the smell of fresh coffee and breakfast, courtesy of Rosalind. This is how every morning was and it couldn’t have been any better. A typical breakfast consisited of these fantastic hojaldres, which kind of reminded me of the shell of a Taco Bell chalupa, but better, then the sweetest fruit you could imagine – nice variety too, and finally a pork product of some kind. A very hearty, filling breakfast, that was always delicious. Cereal was an option too if you were so inclined. We loaded up our kayaks once breakfast was done, daisy chained them behind the panga, then took a ride out to an island that we were told was the only place we needed to fish for the week – that’s how confident the locals were in this spot. We would focus on fishing around the island and especially in the channel in between the islands which served as a main choke spot for currents running along the “Lost Coast” of Panama.


We fished around the entire island throwing poppers and swimbaits into the swells and breakers then working them back out. The poppers weren’t seeing much action but any time I ran a swimbait over some rocks it got attacked by these:

12626424044_4878c79b27_k(photo: Will Richardson)


Giant hawkfish – they were like the bream of the rocky, shallows we fished. Always happy to catch a new species so I was having a ball with these little guys, but that wasn’t what we were after. The island itself was very cool too, comprised of lava rock, it seemed to shoot right out of the water. There were even a few little caves to explore, though the waves had me hesitant to explore them further.

12626455524_6cb90d2c27_c(photo: Will Richardson) 

12625991535_dd0451e949_c(photo: Will Richardson)


At lunch we headed back to camp to grab something to eat and get a little rest before we would hit another spot in the afternoon. This spot was at the mouth of the bay we were staying on, like the first spot we hit it was an island with an adjacent channel that made a convenient place for predator fish to ambush prey. I put the swimbait to work and picked up more hawkfish and a couple more new species to me – a yellow(amarillo) snapper and an orangeside triggerfish. By the way, I had no idea what any of these fish were when I caught them, but this is what I’ve come up with through internet research. Let me know if I’m wrong.





No big fish for me our first full day out but a really productive day catching new species. Fishing the artificials in the shallows was fun, but it was obvious that live bait was needed if we wanted to get into some better fish. The tactics that have previously worked in Panama for Jim were not paying off like they had in the past so we had to change things up the next day out and that started with having more live bait available to use.

  1. Looks like a couple of new MA submissions 🙂 Oops, you didn’t put the lure on the Hawkfish or the snapper 🙂


  2. Trip of a lifetime. Fishing Panama one day is on my bucket list.


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