Here in Panama the months of May, June and July usually signal the beginning of the rainy season otherwise referred to by the locals as the off season. However the wettest months by far tend to be the months of August, September, October and November. Now with that said, please keep in mind that my predicting the seasonal changes in Panama’s weather patterns is much like my picking the winning lottery numbers.Plus we haven’t even taken into consideration the ever changing El Nino and La Nina weather anomalies. But I want my readers to understand that the majority of the charter boat operators around the Gulf of Chiriquí will usually pull their boats out of the water for maintenance and storage during the month of August. Then they will resume charter operations sometime around November or December. The rainy season in Panama is also referred to as the off season, slow season or the winter season. But if you’re looking to book that money saving fishing vacation of a lifetime to one of the world’s best fishing destinations, then the rainy season may just be the best season of all for you!
For the angler wishing to fish Panama this means that during the off season the resorts are less crowded and the fishing charter operators will have more last minute charter openings.In many cases the resort owners and fishing charter operators will also be offering discounted rates during the off season, so be sure to shop around and ask about any off season discounts which may be offered.
Fishing Panama during the rainy season offers several other benefits besides the off season discounted rates on lodging, resorts, and fishing charters. When you consider that the weather is generally a little cooler and there are fewer crowds to contend with, the off season becomes even more attractive. Plus several of the major airlines offer unpublished off season fares that are considerably lower than the rates being charged for flights to Panama during the busy tourist season. One of the best benefits about the off season in Panama is that the fish don’t know that it’s the off season. As a matter of fact the fish bite never takes an off season in Panama.
This year during the month of July we had several charter boat operators out of Boca Chica reporting great mixed bag catches of Black Marlin, Cubera Snapper and big Yellow Fin Tuna weighing in the 150 to 250 pound class. These fish were found prowling the waters off shore at Isla Montuosa and along the Hannibal Bank in the southern gulf. Isla Montuosa is roughly 42 miles offshore due south southeast of Boca Chica. The Hannibal Bank lays a little farther to the southwest.Off shore in the Gulf of Chiriquí Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, Roosterfish, Dorado and several varieties of Snapper can also be found in and around Isla La Drones which is the closest of the off shore islands to the resorts and marinas of Boca Chica.
The inshore the action never slows down for Snapper, Snook, Roosterfish, Pompano, Blue Trevally and Amberjack regardless of the seasons. The in shore fisheries of the islands surrounding Boca Chica and the Isla Sacas chain is phenomenal and easily accessible throughout the off season months. Rain or shine the fish are always biting in the Gulf of Chiriquí.There are still plenty of nice sunny days that will offer you a great fishing adventure in Panama even during the rainy season, so make your off season reservation, pack your rain suit and come on down, we’ll be sure to hook you up.
Tight lines, Panama Rick
May Report 2011
The fishing and the weather has been really great for the month of May. May Days were mostly sunny with a few scattered showers in the late afternoon. The rainy season got off to an early start this year with the appearance of mid to late afternoon thunderstorms as early as April. Perhaps it was the rapid cooling of the surface waters that sent the feeding Yellow Fin Tuna onto shock for at least a couple of weeks in mid April. But within couple of weeks the tuna bite picked back up with a vengeance as schools of larger fish started to show up.
The Marlin bite has slowed down a bit from its first quarter boom. But that’s not to say that the fishing has slowed down any, because the big Yellow Fin Tuna have moved into waters surrounding some of our favorite hot spots in the Gulf of Chiriquí. Large schools of Yellow Fin weighing from seventy to two hundred pounds are prowling the waters as close to the mainland as Isla Ladrones. For those anglers traveling a little further offshore to the Hannibal Bank, they’re being rewarded with Yellow Fin close to the three hundred pound range.
The larger tuna seem to be a little bait finicky this season. Unlike the feeding frenzies of the past when a large surface popper or a cedar plug could certainly insure a strike from a feeding Yellow Fin, this year the larger fish are particularly interested in live bait.Most anglers are getting more bites and boating larger fish while fishing with bridle rigged live Blue Runners and Bonitos.
Blue Runners have been especially hard to find this month, but perseverance and an early start will pay off big when you are looking for just the right table fare for your offshore dinner guests. The end of the month of May will offer some exciting offshore fishing opportunities as the perfect lunar cycle begins to coordinate nicely with the afternoon offshore tidal changes making Isla Montousa and the Hannibal Bank accessible from Boca Chica for the mid-day high tide change.
A little closer to shore there are several large rivers that feed a constant flow of brackish water into the gulf. The river banks along these rivers are heavily overgrown with jungle and It was on one of these rivers where we found some of the biggest snook that I have ever seen. This one is still a work in progress since figuring out the logistics for dealing with the remote location and the vast amount of mosquitoes, no see-ums and other insects. I would estimate that some of the snook which we observed feeding were in the forty to forty five pound range. One thing is for sure, there are some very big snook in the rivers of Chiriquí Panama.
Come On Down, We’ll Hook You Up!
April 1st, 2011
The offshore fishing has continued to be steady as we transcend from the month of March into the month of April. Reports of nice catches of Marlin, Wahoo and Tuna continue to come in from around the Chiriqui Gulf. Isla Montousa and the Hannibal Bank area still remain to be the local hot spots for the month of March. Paying close attention and fishing in conjunction with the moon phases and the tidal changes can produce some fantastic results. Friday April 1st proved not to be an April Fools Day for Jimmy Saunders. Jimmy and I ventured out to Isla Montousa from Boca Chica on Friday. Fishing 40 miles offshore on a new moon at the tidal change of the incoming proved to be all the Right Stuff! Within 30 minutes of the tidal change the water became alive with Yellow Fin Tuna, flocks of birds and Pacific Porpoise chasing sardines. Smaller Yellow Fin Tuna were feeding on the surface water and the larger 100 pound plus bruisers were down in the lower water columns. You could actually smell the sent of the fish in the breeze as the feeding school approached our boat. The bite produced by these fish can turn on in an instant, creating a frenzy that will excite the most seasoned of anglers. Good Luck, Good Fishing & Tight Lines, Panama Rick
Febuary 5, 2011
On Saturday we decided to venture out to Isla Montousa to check out the action. What we found amazed our 2 American anglers Duane & Henry. This was the first time that these guys have ever experienced Black Marlin Mania! When we arrived on the northwest side on the island we found 5 boats offering baits and 2 boats already hooked up! What we saw in the water was even more amazing! There were marlin everywhere! All of these fish were excited and turned on like I have never seen before. Marlin were performing aerial acrobatics for 360 degrees around the boat. Some fish were even launching out of the water right at the bow of the boat.
I'm not really sure what brings such large numbers of Blacks and Blues to Montuosa and the Bank during the first quarter of the year, but it's a yearly ritual in these waters. The million dollar question on this day was why were there so many marlin concentrated in such a small area? And what was the reason for there overly excited aerial displays? Maybe they were breeding? However, it appeared that the marlin had also found a concentration of bait which they had forced it into a large bait ball. Some of the billfish worked the bait ball like a team of experienced team of cowboys doing a round-up. All the while on the surface we kept offering plastic troll baits and bridled live bonito to induce the strikes from the overly excited fish. It was truely a great day to be out on the water!
Tight line & good Fishing, Panama Rick
April 18, 2010;
The fishing has been really good offshore in the Golfo de Chiriqui, Panama. Last week the bite really turned on offshore. The Yellow Fin Tuna showed up in big numbers with most fish in the larger schools weighing in the 10 to 30 pound range. The large schools of tuna had a feeding frenzy on the balled up schools of sardines on the surface. The large flocks of diving birds and the huge number of jumping dolphin made spotting the tuna schools from a distance an easy task.
A little further due south offshore at the Hannibal Bank the Big Yellow Fin Tuna (+ 100 lbs) made their presents known. While out on the Hannibal Bank David Evans of Orlando Florida hooked up with a +100 lb Yellow Fin on a light tackle spinning rod lined with 50lb Power Pro braid. The fight went on for over an hour and a half before the big fish was finally boated. We fished for a few Marlin which we sighted, but found no takers on plastic troll baits and Bridled Bonito.
The Roosterfish really turned on last Saturday. We fished the humps about 15 miles offshore trolling livies and we had multiple big bites. We landed two really nice Roosterfish weighing in excess of 40lbs each. It was a first time catch of Roosterfish for both anglers.
The Dorado are thicker than the flees on a dog behind. We caught Dorado at practically every hump in the gulf. We also found lots of Blue Water Dorado out in the open water. One Big Bull Dorado feeding with a school of tuna on sardines was taken on an 8" Yuzi Surface Popper that we were using for Yellow Fin. All in all, we had a great week of fishing here in Panama! So as the wise man says, "a picture is worth a thousand words". We hope you enjoy the photos that we have included below. Come on Down!..........We'll Hook You Up! Panama Rick,