Fish or Watch Whales

The Pacific Coast of Panama offers some great fishing, especially at the southern edge of the Azuero peninsula and in the remote Darien. At both places, the continental shelf is narrow and nutrient-rich water from the deep mixes with the warm surface water, providing food for Tuna, Marlin, Dorado, Wahoo and many other species of game fish.

 January to April are the best months for fishing. Yellowfin Tuna are the main attraction for fishermen. They arrive in the area around January, first mostly the smaller ones (20-30 kg), but as the season progresses, more and more large individuals, some weighing more than 100 kg, are present. Wahoo, Dorado and Sailfish are also common during this period. Closer in shore, you can catch Amber Jack, Sierra and numerous other fish.

My brother catching a fish while his son looks on

Steve and his Amber Jack

I do like an occasional fishing trip, especially if I can catch a tuna and transform it into sashimi afterwards. So I went fishing twice so far, once in December with friends and once in July with my father and brother. I organised the trips with Jerry Higdon, who has been fishing here for years. He knows the area very well and has good fishing equipment on board.

 However, I am more of a nature lover and bird watcher than a fisherman and on both occasions I was caught in a variation of the old fishermans dilemma. Not so much: fish or cut bait, but rather: fish or watch whales or watch birds or try to photograph dolphins… I tried to do it all, which probably explains why I only caught some Sierras, while Steve got the Amber Jack.

Hump back whale showing its tail

But if you are serious about it, fishing here is great and I can recommend Jerry Higdon, our local captain and fishing guide.

Whale mother and calf


About keesgroenendijk

We are the owners of hotel Heliconia and Tanager tourism, two companies dedicated to Eco-tourism. We are located in Panama, on the west coast of the Azuero peninsula, close to Coiba Island and Cerro Hoya National Park. We provide accomodation and organise tours to Cerro Hoya, Coiba and other destinations.
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