We fished 11 days the first couple of weeks of January 2016 here at Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge out of Isla Paridas in the Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama. Unseasonably hot water temperatures, apparently coming from the El Nino conditions we are having here this year, are definitely having an effect on the normal fishing cycle. Although we did have some good days…the overall bite has been a bit off. The large schools of Bonito that attract the big numbers of Marlin, and is normally stacked up on the high spots at Isla Montuosa and Hannibal Bank this time of year, are not here in full force yet. And the usual big migration of Dorado up into the Gulf of Chiriquí in January has not happened yet either. We did although run across a couple of feeding frenzies, on two different days, that had the Yellowfin Tunas and Porpoises up and hammering little “Bollios” or Tinker Mackerels that made it seem like it was May or June and had a good week of Marlin and sailfish action…so the hot water hasn’t completely ruined everything it has just slowed down the bite and normal cycle we see here.
New Year’s Day we fished on the TOP Cat with my Dad, Step Mom, Steve, Cindy, and TJ. What a great day! We ran into a feeding frenzy at Isla Montuosa of Porpoises, Jacks, Sharks, Mullet Snapper, and Yellowfin Tunas boiling on a massive school of tinker mackerels right next to the boat! We got a couple of real nice Tunas, Mullet Snappers, and Jacks as well as some great video on the Go Pro that we will post soon
We had a one day charter with Bob Mitchell and his son out of Boca Chica on the Top Cat. The guys were looking for a Marlin or big Tuna but the fishing was again a bit off. We get a 50# Bull Dorado and two small Yellowfin Tunas (one on a popper) as a consolation prize though!
The Ball family fished with us for three days the first week of January and unfortunately the bite turned off like a light switch! We did get a couple of Dorados, a nice Sailfish, and a bit of action the first day with a feeding frenzy at Isla Montuosa but we couldn’t get one of the Tunas to bite…just Jacks, Sharks biting us off, and Mullet Snappers! The hot water really slowed down the activity the following days and was pretty slow. We did have a great time hosting/fishing this super nice family but I wish I could of have put them on a few more fish!
Greg Daley and Chuck Garrision returned for another trip with us and this time they brought Greg’s son Max and their buddy Brian. They also brought a bunch of luck with them (again) as the slow bite of the previous week had me really concerned. We fished for four days and each day, even though it was still slow, we got some good fish and had a great time! Highlights for the trip were…we caught and released 3 Blue marlin (2 on live bait and 1 on plastics), 3 Sailfish, got a couple of nice Dorados, and got into a furious Tuna frenzy that resulted in an epic battle with an 80# Tuna that crushed a Yo-Zuri Sashimi Bull popper on one of our brand new Shimano Twin Power 14000 spinning reel/Terez rod setups! Thanks so much for your business guys!! We really appreciate you coming back!
Hopefully this change to the fishing cycle from El Nino will not adversely affect the fishing coming up this season. We will surly find out as we have many days booked coming up here at Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge over the next few months. I will be out there fishing with clients at Hannibal Bank/Isla Montuosa/Coiba area on our 33′ World Cat catamaran the “TOP Cat” and posting daily reports and pics to our Facebook and Instagram pages…so please stayed tuned for more action from the Gulf of Chiriquí!
Enjoy the pics…
Captain Shane Jarvis
Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge
Isla Paridas, Panama