July tends to be a great month to fish here in the Gulf of Chiriqui and July 2017 was no exception! Cooler water this time of year and concentrations of bait fish offshore at Hannibal Bank/Isla Montuosa area attract Marlin and Tuna to come in and feed. We had a couple of really good days live baiting Marlin at Hannibal Bank….one really good day with our buddies Ozzy, Mark, and “Wild” Bill from the Discovery Channel show “Deadliest Catch”. A few good days with the Tunas with each group. And we timed the tides right, at the right spots, and had some great “meat” fishing for some great eating Snowy Grouper. We were very lucky, did pretty good on all counts. and got some great photos with the three groups we hosted here at Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge!
Our first group in July was 3rd time returning the Maynard group. Our good buddy John and his sons Rooney, Bobby, and Tyler came back again for some Tuna action. The Tunas weren’t exactly full throttle the week the boys were here. We did have some good flurries of action a couple of the days on some smaller 20-40 pound Tunas with multiple double and triple headers but we really didn’t get into the bigger fish like these guys were looking for….but it was fun! We hit a couple of our 500-700 foot deep drop spots for Snowy Grouper and we had some good luck. They got a couple of nice ones dropping jigs down but it is a hell of a lot of work reeling up a fish from that depth! It is much easier to drop down our Hooker Electric 80 wide with a 3 pound lead, wait for the bites, and then just hit the button to bring them up! We had a few real good drops over the trip and caught plenty of Snowys up to 25 pounds! Between the fresh Tuna and all the Grouper we caught Chef Erick had plenty of ingredients for some magnificent dishes! Not to mention his Lobster ceviche! The fishing was really really was a bit off the week these guys were here with the Tunas…we didn’t see the big Tunas that had been around in numbers the 2 months prior and when we went looking around for them we didn’t have lots of luck. But these guys understand that it’s fishing and have experienced both the bad and the good. Thanks again to the Maynard clan for their business!!!
After I got back from the ICAST show we hosted Ozzy Delgado from Grundens, “Wild” Bill Wichroski, and Mark McKensie from the Bonnier group. Ozzy and Bill had been here a couple of times before but this time Ozzy wanted to check a Black Marlin off his list. The first day of the trip we had a few shots at Ozzy’s Black Marlin and missed them all! On the way in we did find a good school of Yellowfin Tunas and got a few real nice ones. The second day and third days we struck out on the Black Marlin as well. On day four around 2 pm I was getting a bit concerned as we were having more tough luck and had already missed 4 bites on Blacks with nothing to show. We hooked and jumped a couple but couldn’t get a good hookup. We were seeing Marlin all around us that day…busting baits on the surface…on the sounder…and even another boat had hooked a couple of fish…we knew they were there…we just needed to get lucky! Sure enough we get another Black to eat a live bridled Bonito and it’s on! But this time it was Bill’s turn. “Wild” Bill gets settled into the stand up harness with the Accurate 80 wide and does a great job fighting the fish. It’s a big one…over 400 pounds…it jumps a few times….and is pulling pretty hard. It was fun being able to yell at Bill like he does to his deckhands on TV . When he wasn’t reeling hard enough….”REEL Dammit!!!” Bill got the fish boat side within 20 minutes and we had the leader. As my mate Juan is wiring the fish the 200# fluorocarbon leader pops…Damn! No photo….but a good catch any way! Now it’s 4 pm and we have just one live Bonito (False Albacore) left in the tubes. One more chance to get Ozzy’s fish. This last Bonito happens to be the one we caught that had been hooked by somebody previously because it had a rusted hook and Hoochi still in its mouth when we caught it…must be lucky! Sure enough…not 2 minutes after Juan bridles it up to the 12/0 Mustad Demon Perfect circle hook and sets him behind the boat…it gets eaten! Ozzy and the the clicker are both screaming as the line peels off the big reel. Another nice Black Marlin! The fish does a series of wild jumps and peels quite a bit of line off the reel. Ozzy does a great job winding down on the fish as we back down on her. A couple more nice jumps boat side and Ozzy has the fish under control boatside. We put a tag in the fish and Juan gets the fish’s bill and is able to get the hook out of the corner of it’s mouth. A short video and a few nice pics, while reviving the fish, and it swims away with good color and looking good! Ozzy’s Black Marlin taped out at 109 inches and was a conservative 450 pounds! Congratulations to my buddy Ozzy who really was so excited to get this fish! I am so glad that we were able to pull it off in the last minutes of the trip and get it done for you! You deserve it man! Thanks so much Ozzy and Grundens for their continued support!
Last, but not least, was another good buddy of ours Jay and family. Jay has been fishing with us 5 or 6 times in the past few years and has always been a great client and friend. This time we we fished for a couple of days offshore with the whole family looking for the Tunas and we really got into them! We had two strait days of solid action! We timed it just right and were able to find and fish a big area of Yellowfin Tunas that the local commercial guys were working. We got into some real exciting action and areas of Tunas frenzied on baitballs. Jay’s 12 year old son Max strapped into the stand up harness and fought like a champ to catch his first Yellowfin Tuna and it was well over 100 pounds! The whole family got into the action and caught some big Tunas!!! We have been fishing out with Jay on a few occasions over the years and this was the first time he really got to see the Tunas up and boiling like this! We are so glad that the fishing was good while you were here with the family! We had a great time for sure and thank you so much for your business and support!!!
Enjoy the pics…
Captain Shane Jarvis