Below are some pictures of some of the best catch of the 2015/16 season that started in November and just ended. I hope you will enjoy seeing them. The Panafishing lodge operates in the heart of the Tuna Coast of Panama, a non-famed area that sits between the well known Gulf of Chiriqui and Pinas Bay. We've had a very good year and found out that fears about El Nino affecting the fishing in Central America's Pacific coast were not justified.
All -but 3- of the fish below have been caught on artificials using spinning gear, and the vast majority has been released as we try hard not to destroy what we came to enjoy. Catering to dedicated popping and jigging enthusiasts has always been the object of the lodge, which is very niche in the fact that we fish lures 99% of the time. While there is nothing wrong with trolling and live-baiting, it’s simply not our thing and we wanted to offer a place for like-minded anglers to reach a climax. To us, there is nothing more exciting and rewarding than working a lure, seeing the fish chasing and striking it, and reaping the reward. It’s not all about catching, it’s about fishing ! We never intended to satisfy all fishermen and instead aimed at creating the best possible operation for the active anglers that share our passion for catching fish on artificials using spinning gear. From day one everything was geared toward that goal, from the boats to the selected fishing grounds. There are better places for billfish and pelagics, which we don’t target, but for the species we are after and the kind of fishing we promote, our untapped area couldn’t be more appropriate.
I am bound to start this thread with the pictures of the biggest roosters of the 2015/16 season. Roosterfish consistently is the number one target of our guests and it is no wonder why it’s been chosen for our logo. It has everything a highly prized gamefish wants: it’s one of a kind and beautiful, it strikes hard and fights strong, it gets big, it's not easy to find nor catch, and, very important for us, it takes a wide variety of artificials.
Although we don’t mind catching one when speed-jigging, topwater is the way to go for those beauties. There is nothing in fishing that turns me on more than seeing a hord of rooster fish chasing my popper, all combs raised out of the water. You better do the right thing when that happens to you, because roosters are no fools and, if you make the wrong move, your adrenaline rush is guaranteed to turn into frustration. A roosterfish that has turned away on a lure will almost never try again. This is no easy fish and in fact, even when they are hooked, they are experts at getting rid of the hook. When you add this to the fact that it can be a very elusive fish, and you have the perfect recipe for one of the most rewarding -and frustrating- fish around. This is why any big rooster caught on artificial is a real trophy and a memory the angler will cherish forever.
The fight itself is as stunning as the look of the fish suggests. It is full of speedy, long runs, change of directions and other surprises. As far as stamina is concerned, it is one of the only fish in the world that don't have to blush when compared to tuna, but the fight of the rooster is actually a lot more entertaining, so overall the best fight in my opinion.
Year after year, our very own fishing grounds prove to hold the biggest specimens in the world, and, because they remain free of fishing pressure, to be the best place in the world to target the specie on lures. Anglers from all over the world keep coming back to the Panfishing lodge to try again for the big one that got away, or to try to improve their personal best. A very addictive gamefish, that can alter your sanity and become quite obsessive, as these 3 anglers, who have been returning to the lodge every year since it opened in 2007, can confirm… Roosterfish got under their skins !
The (close) second most regarded coastal specie is the notorious cubera snapper. This is a mean fish and while the roosterfish offers a rather fair fight, the cubera fights dirty. From the first second it will aim for the closest structure and pull steady and strong, often leaving the unprepared angler in shock after it breaks the line on the rocks after only a few seconds of mayhem. The ultimate challenge on spinning gear and because the vast majority of cuberas over 40 pounds manage to win their freedom, very few anglers can brag about having a picture of themselves like the ones below. Unless you are very lucky, there is only one way to win a fight against a cubera: the tightest drag your system can afford, and full pressure since the beginning. It often takes everything you have to stop that first run, and sometimes it's not enough. While it is nice to enjoy the fight of a rooster and let it run, the cubera requires a very different mindset and a very macho approach. Both those fish will put the angler’s skills to the test, but for very different reasons.