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See S SPURT EC LC TL SE Acs er CONTENTS BILLEISHING Bema ga Cea) om Deets eed cerry coe Ranama Ul Gain segment oe eee eee eer ene ee eae ene eta ee cere ny See eer eke ee et) ete etree este ny ernees ee ea eee ee this remote, untapped fishery is oly an hour's ight from one ofthe world's newest and modest See eer ea eee a oe ee ts of sh.” vsiters dor't need to rough turless they want to. Cee eset eet ae Sree ers ene Se ge ee he shop at Tiffany's in the afternoon, and finish offthe day with EO a teu CoC Weasel Ru alla Pet ecto Se eee ete) discuss the history of Panema. Panama was colofized by Spain, and then belonged to neighboring Columbia for eighty years, Itachieved independence, from Columbia in 1903, and signed a treaty with the United States granting the U.S. sov- 1 crcign rights to the Canal Zone. The U.S. then built s2-mile long canal that joined the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, cieat- ee ee eet the planet. Through the construction, which was completed in 1914, and the ensuing protection of the Canal, the United = ioe oa ee eern of Panama. Although the Canal was handed over to Panama in 2000, the profound effects ofthe U.S. invalvement, includ fee eer ec noe solid dollar based economy, has been fry entrenched in cea era Dee ae eg ees Sted centers; tourists expecting a Third World backdrop with palm fronds and potholes are surprised to find that Panama City has much in common with Manhattan, Miami, and London than many ofthe cities they come from in their own coun. em see aed per capita consumer in Central America. Miami, and London Cee a ee ee tries. It is also the fastest growing economy and the largest per capita consumer in Central America. International Living rates Panama as the number one country outside the United States for a second home, based on its outstanding safety, Cea ee eet geo New York Times noted,” Fashionable hotels now dot the Ccosmiopolitan skyline: Crumbiing colonial homes are being ra \ The 2010 Official Guide to Billfishing Pesrities Text & Photos by Jon Schwartz nancial The 2010 Official Guide to Bilifishing Dt cy eu Rca ced Dae CUTiNeoLE Monel lon Stenieus www Genero ae i) polished into bohernian gers, meraid rain forests woo eco- tourists. For now, arynay, Panama City hasn't been overrun by tourists. But with daly citect fights from about sia cities in ‘the United States including New York, Newark and Los An- Pee a etree ea and can perserally vouch for Lee's comments. In addition to it’s rich cultural, economic, and political history, Panama has ‘one ofthe most storied big-game fshing pasts. According to Panama tesidert and captain Tony Herndon, “Since the 1920s and 305, Panama and especially the Canal Zone devel: oped fairly sophisticated spertfishing for tarpon and madin, eR eae ete een ey and at least three sportishing clubs for saltwater, one on the AMlantic side, and two.on the Pacific side. From these clubs sportfishing for marin was pioneered by several exceptional Verte an oe Te eee ae enue ee Rn eeu) Cty, Lou, the younger ofthe two, had only one arm and one eae eee rey Pcie Un eee eee eee cd and he was forced to hand it aver to his brother, who boated Reece te mri landed and would have been a world record, but because ® two men handled the rod, the IGFA seni Lou a certificate of pore ae CS ea cane ee eg eS ee eee nee book, Panama Paradise: A Tiibute to Tropic Star Lodge, ee ee earn etree ne ome sojourn into Panamanian waters in search of new ee ec eto eee en eee ae Smith went down to have a closer look ee eee ean cd eee eer ee eRe ) Ree ae ee as ‘on top of what's become known as Zane Grey Reef, Zane ema penn The 2010 Official Guide to Billfishing Text & Photos by Jon Schwartz www. Panama Pastimes Soci ec ech ae eee es SUR yeaa a ete ae eet Finished in 1963, it was originally called Club de Pesca de Panama, and soon became a fishing destination for people like John Wayne, Lee Marvin, and countless other Aclst celebrities, Or acc a eee Meister eta Renee Mee ete aso ket as Rr eon eee) new Cadillac.” That'd keep me going back! ‘One ofthe Choco Indians that befiiended Smith and his erew vas e young boy named Frederico. While the lodge was being constructed, he'd scale palm trees, held on to the fronds, end kick down coconuts for his new neighbors. Federico's relation ship with the lodge, now called Tropie Star Lodge, has contin- ued over 40 years, and he now works at the lodge as the tackle See eee eee Another one of Panama's pioneers is Bob Giifin. Like Smith, Griffin constructed a jungle paradise from scratch, over 70 miles from the nearest paved road. Griffin leased land from the Cr a eo ee ee constructing Club Pacifica de Panama in the early seventies. According to Al Ristori Griffin mostly focused on the tre- ‘mendous inshore fishing for giant cubera snapper, monster roosterfish, and huge grouper, but eventually ventured cut to, Hannibal Bank, where he found large populations of big yel- ee er true Abrief period of political unrest occurred when Manuel Norie- Pe eee ar one aera es drug running. When the United States invaded Panama in 1989 and reestablished order, Griffin was unable to renew its lease, and the Panamanian Government confiscated itin 1992 Pree ne eee eases uninhabited tropical forested islands in the Americas, and is ee ere en ectee Renee cae ee a erence ey Peer eer eae eee te oteareas with no services for 70 miles or more. The costs of ‘maintaining facilities in remote locations are substantial, and Coenen ie weed Mee a ean ae RN tas to generators, and stereos to fishing tackle. Excellent near- Brea ace ar eu tet Son uct Ce emu eaten a Peer ee ere ene meee ne) Bee a Mme Ue a oo ee ane eee eS Topic Star Lodge. I'd seen the photos of big blacks gallvant ee eae ee ec pe ee eer eee ere eee peer tet neces ce rete ‘The 2010 Official Guide To Billfishing a The 2010 Official Guide to Billfishing Text & Photos by Jon Schwartz Fanama Pastimes eee See eee Peto eune meuniere tee trams tallied a record 95 blacks in six days, almost every bost | accompanied as a photographer landed atleast one black daily, Black marlin, blues, and tuna are targeted through troling ive Cea eee eee ole hoo. On my last trip there, dorado in the 4o-pound class were so thick they were like pests, but by throwing out a ballyhoo before the dorado were able to mangle the fivepound tonite baits, we were able to land some tasty dinner fare without interrupting our See) os Dockmaster Albert Battoo encourages the guests to spend some time inshore, and those that are able to curb their single-minded pursuit of black marlin enjoy some incredible inshore action. When | was there trolling Rapalas just Oeste ear a ae ping down live bonito on downtiggers resuked in catches of some ofthe biggest black grouper, roosterfsh and cubera snap. Peace Go TD CS oo ae) BU OORT eae renee rs Beer recurs Une es ca See ene se ee ar OU eee rer ect a Brera eee pool, Internet room and a deluxe gift shop featuring handcrafted cere ie ea aed See a ee rs ce ed Cane crate nce a es Pinas Bay. They have an approval process and memberships are Tee ea ene er ice eee a) and use TSU’s amenities during certsin hours. eee ect eee ciate as Dee ee ae te ee ere ee Boer ee ee ee en eee ing structures on Coiba Island. His business is called Coiba Cree “The buildings we lease are rustic, and since there are no services for 70 miles, we bring in everything ourselves to outfit these Oe een tne Pec a ae ee ety rmate that’s worked with me for nine years. We have a ‘cherry’ 1969 31-f00t Bertram with an Imron coat that prevents scratches- it’s immaculate-and it has new engines, tuna tubes, and is ee ee eee eee te high-end spinning tackle. | also have a 22-foot Mako with a 2ashp. four stroke Suzuki for fishing the skinny waters and _getting in close to the rocks, beaches, rivers and mangroves.” a Me elie REN ARR Re Ce ewe Wa CUR a) Panama Pastimes The Panama Big Game Club is another operation located in the eee eae ete eer) ee race eta “We don't rough it here,” says Capt. Lee Campbell, BGFC's Pe ae ee ae pers, also have over 30 years experience running, award-winning seafood restaurants in Mist first class food to our well appointed air conditioned cottages, eee eee ae eae The BGFC has a twin diesel 31 foot Bertram, a28 Albermare, 2 29 Phoenis, and 2 27-foot twin outboard Robalo center console, Dae et ee ee a tee from sicto 48 miles offshore, and their prices are all inclusive Cae eee ee ad future they plan to expand their dock from 90 to 380 feet to be Poe We cea act Pesca Panama takes @ wholly different approach to puting thet clients on the water. Although its based cut of David like the Pore eee meer ts fice manager Ter Fritch relates, “Our mothership has 5 cabins Greene ean eee ne ace te 2oro.are for sx days offing, “We anchor in the actul fl Ronee eee ee eer tet oo or focus isto anchor in the world famous Cia Island and Han: ee eee ce eee from the lodge in the evenings. Although we cater to bilfiching Sree aa aie? Stn ee Sere teeter spinning tackle!” “Se ener a Sino eect inthe western part of Panama, Ithosted The Presidential Ce see a ue eae ty ‘0-foot mothership Cebaco Bay, which sleeps up to21 guests in Seeger ea ee errr ee acad ee landing craft a 47-foot Buddy Davis boat, 32 Luhrs, 31 Bertram, and two 27-foot pangas. They have 12 moorings available and are setting 20 mor. In addition to providing acess to the Han- ribal Bank end Montousa, their cients also fish the Tuna Coast, Punta Naranja, Roncedos, Aguje Ree, Jicarita, and Ladrones. rie eae eee Ee ero Sree Meroe eee eer) Re od eee MeN ere pee ere Peer et ee eee ay nr mee Scene eae ear Saeco amie es CCebaco Bay's Mike Young adds, “There is a great bar and social ‘area where you can take in the sunset while having an evening, cocktail with your friends. The Cebaco Bay also has a lot of ete ee ey eC of course), putyour feet up and take in the tropical scenery at the end of a good day of fishing, helicopters.” eae Ter coca ‘The 2010 Official Guide To Billfishing < a DE Uae ern me peed ea os \ ve nama et Poe er ee eR Ne oe ec ifcluding inshore mangrove areas, and we arrange travel from Panama City Soe ee ener So far.we have discussed the various charter operations atthe, ‘world renowned Zane Grey Reef and Hannibal Bank: The newest option for Se eee cece Pee ere Tee ea eee ee aoe ok ‘Azuero Peninsula and is actually the southernmost point one can drive, eee eee tear eC ee cos Pee ee eNO et Taree} Cee ene eee teeta eae memes] er Pte iis oa ee ee eee Tee Gee ae ee ete coger ae oe Oe Tn Telnet Cent ean alco econ ae ete Perio en tre sore tos ofthe only options in Latin America withfully titled beachffontio:s in armarina development With 2 2000-foot depth break only two files from the resort, Los Buzos boasts its own virgin fishery, with marlin and tuna catches logged within site of the existing homes. Additionally, Los Buzos, with its unique location, offers its target clientele the dally ‘option of choosing to make the relatively short run of g0 miles to explore the other renowned locations of Pinas Bay, Hannibal Bank, Becerra! Reo ore ne foe eet eee cere eo ace noe ere poe ree eet eee vce ert mn eet ceo recently announced improvements include th fll service matina,yecht club and associated marine lots and condos. Reenter ne ue enc eco eee eres eee te ee es ene Cone ee TERI a ROR TiS By ine Lenni) Ra IMSUE oh coe teeny ined Batons = De oa eee Ly Clee Mente ere Tt ay} which is a 15-minute drive from downtown Panama City Ifyou are booking with any of the ledges men- tioned in this article, they will kely have a represen: tative waiting at the airport to whisk you through Customs and take you to your hotel. Visitors usually Pee ener eee ec eres pecs Se ene Marriot, and the upscale Bristol are all fine hotels. Insider's tip: go to the Sheraton and ask for Luis Singh. He’s a 75-year-old Panamanian gentleman who Pe eee ere none. If ou can spare the time, do yourself a favor, Visit the Panama Canal, and have Singh take you Erect 2 Bu TexoULoienke eyes tenor ar