Fishing Highlights – February 8 – 15, 2020

Release of the Black Marlin

Yellowfin Tuna have started to outnumber the amount of Dorado caught, which always makes anglers excited for fresh sashimi on the water. Some of the anglers also got to pit themselves against some of the larger Tuna which is always an exhilarating contest.

The skies were bright blue and the winds were far gentler this week. The water temperature is still hanging around the mid 80’s which is great for Billfish. We had a little off-color water move in for a few days but that doesn’t affect the Black Marlin like is does for Blue Marlin. The sea state was generally calm and anglers could sight fish from quite a distance.

Christian Weissenberg and Andrea Avalos from Guatemala came to Tropic Star Lodge for their first time. Their goal was to release a Black Marlin. And they accomplished just that and then multiple times overfishing with Captain Jose on Miss Scandia. Right off the bat on their first day out, Christian released his first Black Marlin, a beautiful fish of 500 lb and Andrea released her first Pacific Sailfish of 90 lb. Each day the couple was excited to return back to the Lodge and see the daily scoreboard. They had a couple extremely special days fishing, and on one of those days released three Black Marlin and a Sailfish.

Incredible Dorado and Yellowfin action

Father and son, Michael and Corey Gustavus, are avid anglers who share a pure love for fishing. We enjoy having them at the Lodge. While fishing with Captain Vicente on Miss South Africa the guys racked up some incredible Marlin. They nearly missed a personal Grand Slam twice due to the Sailfish attacking baits lazily.

Ed Cady and Jack Heflin fished with Captain Jacob on Miss Tropic Star and what a week they had! Ed and Jack have fished many times together and this week will be one that they remember for many years to come.  The Guys both released multiple Black Marlin as well as Pacific Sailfish.

John and Pat from Canada joined us this November to fish in the season-opening Billfish tournament. The gents fished with Captain Candelo on Miss Australia. The Marlin bite was a little tough for them but they still managed to release a Black and a Blue Marlin. What they missed with Marlin releases was made up of some great Dorado and Yellowfin action. The guys are always a good laugh at the pool and dinner telling tales of fishing adventures they have had.

Family Fishing Adventures

We feel fortunate to welcome the Rathbun family to our Tropic Star family. Chris and Tracie came with their sons, Jarrod and Wyatt. The entire family is comprised of avid anglers. They fished with Captain Luis and Mate Ermel. Chris normally captains his own boat and has been part of many Marlin releases but has never had his chance on the rod. All that changed this week as he released his first Pacific Blue Marlin of 350 lb. Jarrod released his first Black Marlin of 380 lb and both of them walked the plank to cheers from fellow anglers. Wyatt really wanted to take on a big Yellowfin Tuna and he got his wish when he won the battle against a 236 lb Yellowfin.   

The fishing was really great for most of our anglers although some boats had a tough bite. The laughter and fun that was had by all was contagious. We do a village tour to the local village of Pinas and it was an absolute riot with our friends from the Canary Islands who are always up for fun. I know you are going to love the photos from this week.  As the season continues the Blacks will become more frequent and we can’t wait to share some more stories with everyone.

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

Fishing Highlights – January 18 – 24, 2020

The Yellowfin began to feed in frenzies and there was some good-sized tuna brought back to the dock. With the Black Marlin being so much closer in than the Blues, it meant a shorter run for the fleet.

The weather over the past week was inconsistent with some big winds coming up from the south and even a bit of rain which is not normal weather for summer in Panama. With the winds changing constantly and blowing strong on two of the days, the seas were choppy. The water temperature was steady in the mid-’80s. It was bumpy sea conditions but the fish were biting! 

Michael and Sheila Bonsignore love fishing and visit us each year at the same time. It was around 20 years ago that they met their good friend, Mark Mahaffey, during their first visit to Tropic Star Lodge. Now, they visit us together annually.  Each year they host a small friendly tournament. Michael is the Sicilian muscle to make sure all entries are in. The guests love the tournament and it really brings anglers together. Michael and Sheila had some great fishing on Miss Scandia with Capt. Jose. They released Black and Blue Marlin, Sailfish and wrestled more than a few IGFA Trophy-sized Dorado going well over the 50 lb mark or 130 cm on the official IGFA measuring tape.

Mark Mahaffey and his son, Tom, return each year and host a fun cocktail party for all our guests in the original owner’s house overlooking the bay. This year they also brought long-time friend and fellow angler, Richard Earle, whose last trip to the Lodge was 20 years ago. Peter Lambie, Carl Lambrecht, and Don Howe also came along to join in on the fun.  The group fished on board, Miss Australia and Miss Hawaii. Peter released his first Black Marlin of 300 lb and first Pacific Sailfish of 100 lb. Don was fortunate enough to release his first Black Marlin of 400 lb. Miss Hawaii won first place in the annual Mahaffey-Bonsignore tournament. Tournament winnings were donated to the village where we invested the money in a new computer and projector for a new and exciting school project we are working on with the village. A special thank you to all the tournament participants.

Jens Mayer, Ed Novinski, Dewayne Ullsperger, Shaul Kuper, Dan Carrier, and Colin Rothery met at Tropic Star Lodge for quality time fishing together. The fun didn’t end on the water, back at the Lodge the guys exchanged laughs and tales over wine. A few of the guys that have been here before brought some new friends to join our ever-expanding family. Ed and Dan had actually met at the Lodge on the previous trip and decided to get the group together. Jens on Miss Canada had his perfect day out smashing Dorado on his ten weight fly rod. Shaul released his first Black Marlin of 400 lb. Dewayne released his first Pacific Sailfish of 125 lb.  In addition to billfish, the group caught over 50 Dorado.

Over the course of the week, friendships were made stronger and new ones forged in the time-honored tradition of fishing. Spending time with friends or family out on a boat is always amazing as you have no otherworldly distractions and able to spend special quality time together. In this crazy world, these moments are few and far between. It is great for me to see our guests relaxing, enjoying time with loved ones and seeing big smiles as big as their fish.

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

Fishing Highlights – January 11 – 17, 2020

The northerly winds came up and there was excitement for the eminent Black Marlin bite. However, the weather did not cooperate. The wind has been inconsistent from the beginning of this season, shifting continuously making fishing conditions unpredictable from day today. The sea has been choppy on half the days and beautiful on the other half depending on the wind direction. The sea surface temperature has been perfectly sitting in the mid 80’s.

Team Rapp! Elijah Rapp, the group leader, organized this trip over two years ago for his return to Tropic Star Lodge with all his friends. We all know how exciting the build-up is of an imminent fishing trip. The group consisted of eight friends from all walks of life who love to fish. The gentlemen fished on Australia and Darien with Capt. Candelo and Capt. Walter. They succeeded in smashing the Marlin. On one of the days, we had three of the friends, fishing on the same boat, walk the plank for their first Marlin. Dick Lenholt had caught a Marlin out of Pinas Bay more than 50 years before this trip and he remembers everything about it! This time around he released another giant Marlin and fought and caught a Yellowfin of over 200 lb.

The Dahlback brothers, Claus and Gustaf, returned to the lodge for their second time all the way from Sweden. Both Claus and Gustaf had their eye set on releasing Black Marlin, a species that has eluded many an angler. This time while fishing with Capt. Jacob on Tropic Star the brothers accomplished their goals! Gustaf released a Black Marlin of 300 lb and Claus released a Black Marlin of 400 lb. The brothers also released a few beautiful Pacific Sailfish and a whole heap of Dorado.

Good friends of ours, Bill and Nikki Wilson love the outdoors, adventure and fly fishing together. This year the two were on a mission to achieve world records. They are chasing Black and Blue Marlin World Records on the fly for both the male and female categories. Their friends, Joey Arakas and Jeff Burwell joined them, to chase their first Marlin on conventional tackle. Both Joey and Jeff managed to get themselves each their first Black and Blue Marlin release. While it was a lot tougher for the world record seekers, the hunt paid off when Nikki Wilson successfully landed a 55.2 lb Dorado on 20 lb tippet, smashing the existing world record by over 10 lb. Nikki’s world record is currently pending. The couple is still searching for those world records and we can’t wait to see them back later this year to try to get that Marlin record!

Two dads, two sons, and some amazing fishing! Brian and James Cox along with friends, Steve and Grant Dunbar, from southern California came with their goals of giant Mahi and giant Marlin. During the week, the guys released Marlin and everyone got more than enough Dorado. Overall, the boat caught seventy Dorado in the six days. Of the seventy Dorado, most of them were over 20 lb and quite a few were at the 50 lb mark. Grant Dunbar released his first Black Marlin of 250 lb and Brian Cox released his first Black Marlin of 300 lb. The whole team also released some good-sized Blue Marlin making the trip one that, I doubt, they will forget for many years!

Rick Schappach, Gregory Schmitt, Keith McCulloch, and Noah White love fishing and generally fish for Musky. This trip to Tropic Star Lodge was a special trip for the guys. The excitement in the group was infectious and I’m sure it affected even the Fish Gods as the gents had amazing fishing with Capt. Adolfo on Miss America. The guys released their first Marlin each, which included both Blue and Blacks. They also caught a Yellowfin Tuna over 200 lb and more than a boatload of Dorado. When anglers catch their first Billfish we hand out certificates and the guys had some pretty cool nicknames for the certificates. Capt. Ricky released a 375 lb Blue Marlin, Greg Smitty released a 425 lb Black Marlin and Noah and Mach each released a 500 lb Black Marlin for their first Marlin. These fish as well as the rest of the Marlin, Tuna, and Dorado made it an insane week for the guys.

Overall, the fishing over the past week was fantastic and everyone had a great time walking the plank and cheering each other on after their first Billfish release. All the big Yellowfin that came in made for some great sushi and sashimi and kept the chefs busy. The bite is getting hotter and hotter and we can’t wait to see more anglers fighting Black Marlin.

Fishing Highlights – Jan 4 – 11, 2020

The billfish bite kept us on our toes. At the beginning of the year, we experienced good numbers of Marlin and Sailfish raised each day, but the fish were very lethargic in the spread and anglers found it tough to convert a raised billfish into a release. The baitfish could be found feeding on the surface in huge shoals and the Dorado continued to be in swarms offshore to the delight of some and nuisance of many as they stole the Marlin bait. However, the Dorado put up one hell of a scrap especially for those targeting them on spinning gear with poppers.

The northerly winds came through strong which is the sign of the imminent arrival of Black Marlin. The northerly winds go opposite the current and create waves that are a little steeper and less consistent. They also bring the cloudless blue skies of summer. The water temperature hung steady at around 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind was light in the mornings picking up by the afternoons.

Bruce Welsh and Patrick Zukowski are some of the most fun anglers you have ever met. Coming all the way to the lodge from the frozen tundra of Canada. It makes sense why they are full of smiles and jokes when they touch down in the land of easy smiles, palm trees, and rum. All jokes aside, Snowball (Bruce) and Pat are always a hoot and this season was no different. Fishing on Canada with Capt. Lorenzo, they had some great fish coming up in the spread and managed to convert a few of those into some incredible Black Marlin action. They also released a few Sailfish and got close to 50 Mahi with most of them being over the 30 lb mark and more than a few of over 50 lb.

Luis Romero and his brother, Juan Carlos Cuglievan, come each year with the same group of gentlemen from Peru. The guys fish a three-boat fleet fishing on Miss Hawaii, Miss Alaska, and Pollyanna. The also hosted a small tournament with fellow anglers. Fishing gets very competitive with these gents. Over the years the group has caught pretty much everything that swims in our waters so they thoroughly enjoy relaxing, stories of big fish, teasing each other, and good wine almost as much as winning. This year we included the entire Lodge in the tournament to make it a bit more interesting. Capt. Gustavo on Hawaii took the win! Onboard were the tournament winners, Alonso Rey Bustamante and Juan Carlos. They had some amazing fishing over the week releasing four Blue Marlin from the six raised and. They also released 5 Sailfish and brought back 20 Dorado for dinner. They raised a few Black Marlin, but unfortunately, they’ll have to wait until next year for their shot at Her Majesty.

Joe and Nancy Frazer from Corpus Christi, Texas love to fish and have a lot of history with Tropic Star Lodge. In addition to being regular faces, Miss America, formerly Bottom Dollar, was their personal boat. The Frazer family had a lot of firsts and good memories on Miss America and the great luck on the boat continued into this week. With Captain Luis as their captain, they had a fantastic week. The couple released two Black Marlin and a Blue Marlin. The also released Sailfish and brought back loads of Dorado. Joe also won the “Gentleman Award” because, as you know, gentlemen always stand up when a lady takes a seat. So, when the couple doubled up on Yellowfin Tuna both over 200 lb, Joe fought his on stand up until Nancy released hers.

Yevgeny and Aaron Litvak joined us from New York. This father-son fishing team loves fishing together and their goal is to catch a Marlin. They have had this goal for some time now and have tried to get a Marlin in quite a few different fisheries. The guys had some tough fishing with some close calls. The fish gods teased them quite a bit, however, fellow anglers were on the dock each morning giving best wishes and luck. It wasn’t until the last hour of the last day that Aaron released a beautiful Marlin. There were cheers at the dock for his achievement from all the other anglers. That moment proved again why this sport is so incredible.

The first week of the new year was fantastic with so many friends and family visiting us at the same time. I felt like I was actually at a family reunion and from the laughter and banter. I am sure I was not the only one feeling that way. The fishing was tough but rewarding and the atmosphere was second to none. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the first few days of the decade!

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

Fishing Highlights – July 14 – July 27, 2019

The big Yellowfin Tuna are bending rods too. If you have never gone toe-to-toe with a big Tuna or Marlin it is an experience like no other; and in July we present the opportunity to take on both. Inshore, the first Wahoo are showing up and the Roosters, Cubera Snapper, Bluefin Trevally and the rest of the inshore gang are still testing our guests strength.

The seas have been calm for the most part with the handful of bumpy days in July. The winds have been moderate from the south bringing the afternoon rains helping create the current lines with flotsam. These current lines and areas with good thermoclines have proved to be extremely productive fishing. The water temperatures have remained consistent offshore around the 82-degree range which is a little lower than earlier in the month. The current has been coming up strong from Colombia and with it the beautiful clean water. We have been experiencing showers most afternoons cooling off the anglers after a day out on the water.

Toke Aw and Big fish Bob Yokoi where back and fishing with Capt. Jose on Scandia. The stories that we swopped were amazing and it is always good seeing old friends return to Tropic Star Lodge. Toke and Bob fish all over the world, pretty much for everything from Golden Dorado in South America to Bluefin Tuna to Juvenile Black Marlin off Australia. Toke and Bob had a great trip releasing multiple Sailfish, catching numerous huge Dorado and also fighting monster Roosterfish inshore. We can’t wait to see these two again. Also, a big congrats to Toke on becoming a grandfather!

Harry Brickley is 93 years young this year and it was great seeing him return to the lodge to take on Blues and Blacks with his long time Captain, Candelo, on Miss Australia. The two have been fishing together for years and it is great seeing the gents have fun together. On this trip, Harry took Hayden Houser out with him to help out on the boat as a practice mate and standby angler. For the week, Harry’s boat released five Marlin, three Blue Marlin and two Black Marlin. Harry caught two of them and Hayden sat in the chair for the other three. I was fortunate enough to spend a day fishing with Harry and managed to get some great shots of his Black which was a memorable experience. We will be seeing Harry in January for more fishing fun and crazy stories of the Pico Grande.

Renaud Pelat and Patricio Garcia visited us from Peru. The two are crazy about fishing and have a great wealth of angling knowledge. We enjoyed spending time with the gents who are extremely humble for two such accomplished anglers. The fishing duo won the trip to Tropic Star Lodge at an IGFA auction and we loved showing them how we do things here in the Darien. The guys enjoy casting poppers, stick baits and jigging for fish. They had some fun chasing Tuna boils and bringing up some huge Almaco Jacks from the depths of the Zane Grey Reef. Cubera Snapper engulfed their artificial bates but they didn’t have luck bringing them all the way to the boat. It was great meeting the guys and learning some new tricks to try out and we look forward to seeing them in March for some crazy inshore antics.

This year Ernst and Gunda Esletzbichler brought their son, Stephan down to Panama to fish with us. During their stay, the fishing trio had excellent fishing with Capt. Vicente on Miss South Africa. They released over 30 billfish including Pacific Sailfish, Blue Marlin (one of which was over 500 lb) and a few more around the 300 lb mark. They also released a Black Marlin. The Dorado, Roosterfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Snapper kept the family busy in between the billfish action with bent rods and great stories.

Rexy Hamlin and his son, Eric, Hamlin with their friends, Trevor Foster and Chris Koenig, have made the trip to Tropic Star Lodge three times in the last two years. The guys normally join us in the inshore season and this trip was their first taste of the offshore bite here at Tropic Star. The guys had a great time as always and it was a lot of fun sharing a rum and recounting the fishing tales; be the story of Eric‘s battle with a giant Yellowfin or Trevor’s never-ending Marlin fight. Trevor and Chris both released their first Marlin and the guys released loads of Pacific Sailfish and caught a few Tropic-Star-sized XXL Dorado.

The fishing has been on fire at the end of July. A big congratulations is in order to Walter Moss and Ray Uttaro for releasing over 30 Pacific Sailfish and more than a few giant Dorado during their stay. And to George Paret, who has been coming to the lodge for years. He released over 25 Sailfish during his stay. George missed a few Marlin, one of which was a huge Black that the Captain called well over 700 lb. He fought a whole boat load of Yellowfin and Dorado– the majority of which made it to the boat and a few into the cooler. Also, congratulations to Bruce Welsh and his son Zach. It is always a blast having team Canada here. Zach was on a very large Yellowfin Tuna for over three and half hours and after a long fight he had to put the heat on as it was getting dark. Unfortunately, the line parted right as she was next to the boat.

The fishing in July has been great. Experiencing anglers walk the plank for their first billfish release with cheers from everyone has been incredible. The Sailfish have provided for more than enough fun and hearing guests tales of big arm stretching Tuna is always fun to hear. More friends were made and the junior anglers had the time of their lives! The summer is such a fun time to come and experience Tropic Star as both inshore and offshore are on offer.

Tight lines and fair seas.
Capt. Richard White

Fishing Highlights – Jun 29 – Jul 13, 2019

The Sailfish have been teasing very well and so most captains have been opting for a bait and switch tactic with Panama belly baits which have been very productive. The Blue and Black Marlin are keeping people active and as we head closer to the first full moon in Marlin season so the action is heating up. The big bull Dorado have started to smash some of the Marlin baits and some of the anglers have had great fun going head to head with them on spinning gear.

The rains have been arriving most afternoons, cooling off the day and helping with the trash lines of flotsam that we get offshore. The water temperature has been keeping steady around the 84-degree mark which is great for the offshore fishing. Inshore, the water has been murky some days but those days are always followed by clean beautiful water with the help from the large tides. With the clean water, our first Wahoo of the season have been caught.

The Henderson Family joined us for a special visit to Tropic Star Lodge. Richard and Elizabeth Henderson brought their daughter, Margaret, sons, Richard and Charles, and close friend, Walker Sears for a family vacation. For Richard’s 16th birthday; Tropic Star Lodge was his choice for a special trip. He has always dreamed to catch a billfish and a Roosterfish. We had a great time with the family, and they loved fishing with Fidel and Levin on Pollyanna. The family caught more Yellowfin than they knew what to do with and then some. Charles released his first Sailfish of 80 lb. Richard released his first Sailfish of 110 lb and Walker released his first sail of 80 lb. Richard released his first Roosterfish of 35 lb and Elizabeth released one of 45 lb. There were a whole lot of fish in between.. including Elizabeth catching a baby Rooster of around 1lbs. It was great spending time with the family and we can’t wait to see them again. Congratulations to Richard on achieving his birthday goals!

James and Sherry Britt joined us with their sons, Bo and Chris, for some fishing action. The family fished with Capt. Gavilan on Island Star and had loads of fun with multiple species caught and released. On day-one they experienced non-stop Yellowfin Tuna action. Chris also released his first Pacific Sailfish of 110 lb. The family then decided to take on the inshore species and had great luck with Roosterfish. Chris, Sherry and Bo all released their first Roosterfish making for a great family trip.

Scott Brauninger, Jason Berry and Mark Goldstein joined us for the 4th of July holiday. The men were the nemesis of Tuna. During their trip they caught over 35 Yellowfin Tuna, which is Scott’s favorite species. They also released Roosterfish, but the most memorable was a 65 lb Roosterfish Scott released right off the dock before fishing even started. We literally had the fish hooked up before we undid the lines on the dock. Suffice to say it was a day that kicked off with a bang and Scott said it best, you don’t have to travel far to catch fish at Tropic Star!

Tim Babb and his lovely wife, Annia, came to Tropic Star with a whole heap of friends. They soon came to be known as Team Pesca. I have been in communication with Tim for quite a while as he was getting ready for his fishing adventure. Tim is also good friends with Mark Davis. And, yes, Tim now “believes the hype”! There were literally too many first catches to mention for the group. They fished on miss America with Capt. Luis and Texas with Capt. Jacob and they crushed the fish. Annia released her first Pacific Sailfish of 85 lb, Chad Brettis and Mathew White both released their firsts at 90 lbs. Tim released his first Cubera Snapper of 45 lb. Some giant Roosters were released as well. Chris Cabri released a 60 lb Roosterfish and Drew Darby one of 50 lb. Kristen Cabri released her first Rooster of 35 lb. I know Tim and Annia will be back and can’t wait to see them again.

To all our American family that visited us for the 4th of July– thank you so much for spending it with us. We had such a fantastic time with everyone and the atmosphere was great! Our chef put on a wonderful American style BBQ which everyone loved. We even enjoyed some Watermelon Vodka shots at the bar. Dinner was followed by a firework display. The fishing had everyone in high spirits and seeing the camaraderie with anglers telling stories of first catches and monsters that got away. Tropic Star exists for people to have a place where fishing dreams come true and friendships are formed.

‘Till next time, Tight lines and fair seas.
Capt. Richard White

Fishing Highlights – June 16 – 29, 2019

The Yellowfin Tuna are still schooling offshore in those epic feeding frenzies. We have lost a few Tuna to Sharks which is a good sign of a healthy ecosystem.  The Dorado have been hanging around the floating debris and when the current lines have pushed it all together. Fishing has been incredible. Inshore, the Roosterfish have still been tearing up baits and we have seen some nice-sized Cubera Snapper coming in off the deeper areas like the Zane Grey Reef.

The clouds are rolling in daily keeping the temperature nice and cool. We are experiencing rain along the coast a few days a week which is washing all the logs and debris out of the jungle and makes for great fishing this time of year. Water temperatures have been great with the temperature hanging between 80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit. On some days the water has been murky but the blue water is never too far off with the Humboldt current always bringing in new rich clean water from the south. The live bait have been plentiful around the debris offshore making for some really fun times when the fleet find them.

Randy Sook was back for his second visit this year with his daughters, Maddy and Olivia, for more father-daughter fun on the water. All three of the Sooks love the outdoors and adventure and we love having them at the Lodge. On this trip they fished on Miss South Africa with Captain Vicente. The angling trio had some great fishing. They experienced exciting Tuna action on the surface and released Sailfish and Roosterfish. Olivia said she really wanted to release a pretty fish and she got that opportunity to release her first Roosterfish and Sailfish. The Sook family is always a lot of fun. We can’t wait to see them return so Maddy can get her Marlin Randy to release his Cubera Snapper which is proving to be his nemesis.

Thornston “Toast” Ritter joined us for his second visit as well with his entire beautiful family. Normally Toast comes fishing during January for Blue and Black Marlin. On this particular trip though he was joined by his lovely wife, Vanessa, and his four daughters. They fished with Walter on the Miss Darien as Toast always does and had an incredible time. Toast was able to experience his oldest daughter, Nicole, release her first Sailfish. His youngest daughter, Avery, released her first Sailfish and a Blue Marlin of 250 lbs. Both girls walked the plank and had the traditional swim off the end of the dock. Toast said it was the best day he has ever had at Tropic Star Lodge after so many years and so many fish, and he never touched a rod.

Jim Armstrong joined us with his two friends, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Stew Vandelinden and Fletcher Brunell from Nevada. Jim has been coming for over 10 years and is part of the Tropic Star family. Jim and Stew released Marlin during their stay. Fletcher now is going to have to return with Jim next year to get his big girl. The gentlemen enjoyed the pool each afternoon with cocktails in hand regaling other guests with fish tales and other stories from their travels.

The past few days have flown by and the Lodge is becoming full of anglers of every age. Seeing the families having so much fun together with kids reeling in their first catches makes the parents even more excited than their kids makes this sport and our little piece of paradise feel even more magical. As we approach the heart of Blue Marlin season we look forward to welcoming more junior anglers to experience this sport that all of us love so very much.

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

Fishing Highlights – June 1 – 15, 2019

Inshore, the bite has been fantastic with multiple species of Snapper, Roosterfish and Grouper caught along with the odd Tarpon, spitting lures even higher than they jump themselves. Shoals of baitfish have been smashed by bigger predators along the rocks and for some lucky anglers they have been fortunate enough to see the water turn red and white with Snapper boils.

The water temperature has stayed cooler around the 74 degree mark on average. We have found some warmer water offshore but cooler water inshore. The water has been murky with little to no chop as we have had only gentle breezes switching from south to north. We are officially in the heart of our dry season. The rainforest has changed colors with many of the trees losing their leaves and others flowering changing colors to purple, white or yellow.

Charles and Brenda Buehler were joined by their son, Eric, and Daughter in-law, Greta. Charles and Brenda have been coming to Tropic Star Lodge for many years and it was great to have them back with their family. They stayed in one of the newly renovated villas and fished with Captain Gavilan on the recently refurbished Miss Island Star. Between the family they have collectively caught pretty much everything our waters produce here at Tropic Star. On this trip, they enjoyed some fun inshore and chased billfish offshore. While chasing the Sails, they encountered a Swordfish on the surface. Brenda released the 250 lb Broadbill for her first one. Absolutely the fish of the week! The family also released multiple Sailfish and had loads of fun with tuna and found some of the last Dorado of the season. Greta also releaser her first billfish, a Sailfish of 105 lb.

Richard Lewis and his grandfather, Joel Nolman, came for a fishing adventure. Both men are avid anglers and love being out on the water. it was wonderful getting to spend time with them swapping fishing tales. The guys were brave enough to try some deep dropping with great results. They brought home some Grouper for everyone and we enjoyed beer batter Grouper and french fries on a long family style table. The gents also released a massive Cubera Snapper and a Marlin. On one of the days, Richard also snapped a few excellent shots of a giant Whale Shark up close next to the boat.

Randy and Maddy Sook came down to the Lodge to escape the cold weather back home in Minnesota for some father-daughter time on the water. The Sook family visited us before and it was great getting to see Maddy and her dad back with us as both love fishing and the outdoors. They told us stories about the ice fishing they do back home. It’s on my bucket list to try it one day. While with us on this trip, Randy and Maddy had loads of fun fishing inshore where they managed to really rack up their species count. On one day they managed to catch 15 African Pompano along with Roosterfish and other species. Randy, unfortunately, got a little beaten up by some big mean Cubera Snapper, but he will be coming back for revenge next time. Offshore, they also released Sailfish and had their hands full with Yellowfin Tuna on spinning gear.

Walter Floyd and his son, Lucas, fished with Captain Walter and had some great father and son time on the water. The guys released loads of Sailfish really showing the rest of the fleet how it should be done. The father son team also experienced good tuna fishing with a couple caught around the 100 lb mark. The crew on Darien found some feeding Yellowfin on the surface that were just way too enticing to pass up. Needless to say, it was a decent work out after that.

Guests sharing fishing stories with family, friends and fellow anglers is what really makes this little piece of paradise so special. We look forward to seeing what the next few weeks bring and share in the fishing adventures of our visiting anglers.

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

Fishing Highlights – March 9 – 30, 2019

The Marlin are beginning to return with fish in the 350-4001b range the average. Inshore we are seeing roosterfish still tearing up baits along with the odd Tarpon, Cubera Snapper and Bluefin trevally. 

The rains have started and with them so have the current lines offshore. The Humboldt Current is brining beautiful nutrient rich waters from the south along with loads of floating debris which provides the perfect conditions for the smaller bait fish. We are seeing loads of Dorado under the trash lines and smaller sharks enjoying the easier prey that these conditions provide. The seas have generally been calm with some larger ground swell and not more than 2-3ft on choppy days. The cloud cover during June is always great as it makes the days cooler. 

John Elms Jr. brought his son John Ill for a father son trip that they will always remember. They are both avid anglers and love being on the water. They got to fish with Capt. Candela on Miss Australia and knocked quite a few species off their bucket list. Both John’s got to release their first Pacific Sailfish while his Dad released his first ever Roosterfish of 55 lb. We had a great time with the guys and can’t wait to see them back down at TSL for more fun on the water. 

Mike Marcus brought his daughter Sydney for an adventure in the jungles of Panama. Sydney was in her element in the jungle enjoying the birds, and all the creatures that one can see from the Jesus lizards that run across the streams to the giant moths and rhino beetles. The father, daughter duo fished with Capt. Lorenzo on Miss Canada. Sydney got to catch loads of yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish and a beautiful 40 lb. Roosterfish, her first. 

Thiego Felzen who has fished at Tropic Star Lodge before joined us with some friends. The group came up from Brazil. Thiego was here earlier in the year to do some jigging and popping seminars with our captains and mates and to see the fishery for the Brazilian market. He had such a good time with us that he joined us again to do a small shoot with some friends of his and we can’t wait to see the results. They got some great fish jigging on the reef and inshore on the poppers. Offshore the guys got to release Sailfish, but we could never get them to leave the yellowfin Tuna which were hitting surface lures offshore. 

Mark Davis of BiigWater Adventures was down in the beginning of June to film another exciting episode. He fished for three days on Miss Island Star with Capt. Gavilan. I was fortunate enough to fish with him and it was an absolute blast. We got to set some satellite tags on Sailfish, chased down yellowfin Tuna on surface lures and got stuck into heaps of  Dorado by throwing lures at the floating debris that we find this time of year offshore. 

Brothers, Mark and Gary Rose from Texas have been coming to Tropic Star Lodge for many years and this was their 18th trip down. They were joined with by their wives Peggy and Eda and another four couples mostly from Texas. What a great and fun group of anglers. During their stay the group released over 120 Sailfish and more than 70 Roosterfish. They had great fishing inshore and off with loads of Yellowfin tuna making its way back to the kitchen along with Mahi Mahi to make fresh fish fingers and sushi. The group had Patterson set up a family style table each night where many great stories and jokes were shared. 

The start of the Sailfish season is here, the dorado have also arrived and the tuna never left. We are enjoying hosting the  junior anglers at the lodge enjoying the sport and camaraderie of fishing. Seeing the next generation of anglers getting so excited for first time catches and learning things from the sea and about the jungle is so rewarding. We are really looking forward to a great summer here in the Darien and can’t wait for even more junior anglers to come down and share such incredible memories with their families and friends.

Sailfish season is underway– the dorado have also arrived and the tuna never left. We are enjoying all the junior anglers visiting the Lodge to enjoy the sport and camaraderie of fishing. Seeing the next generation of anglers excited for first time catches and learning lessons from the sea and experiencing our jungle adventures is so rewarding. We are really looking forward to a great summer here in the Darien and can’t wait for even more junior anglers to come down and share such incredible memories with their families and friends.


We begin the season with the Annual Tropic Star Lodge Billfish Tournament benefitting the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. The two-day tournament is a qualifier for the Offshore World Championship, the premier offshore tournament in the sport of game fishing. With the leadership of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Dophinfish Research program, the fleet tagged and released Dorado as well as deployed satellite tags on billfish. This is part of a larger initiative with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to advance education and conservation in our area and worldwide.

13 teams competed in the 2018 qualifying tournament. Collectively, in two days, we released 25 Marlin, and 13 Sailfish. Well over 140 Dorado were tagged and released during the tournament. The results were as follows:

Team places

3rd PlaceTeam Nothing Matters900 Points
2nd PlaceTeam The Hooker1000 Points
1st place Team The Happy Hookers1200 Points

Top Anglers

3rd PlaceTyler Brielmayer600 Points
2nd PlaceBrian Gorski700 Points
1st PlaceDean Meyer700 Points

We are proud to report that the top boat was our very own Miss Scandia with Captain Jose at the helm and Mate Eladio on the deck. They finished the tournament with an impressive 1,600 points.

Overall the tournament was loads of fun and was an excellent platform to highlight conservation and its absolute necessity to preserve the sport we all love so much. We’d also like to say a big thank you to our tournament participants and sponsors for making it all possible.

We are looking forward to a spectacular 2019 season.

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

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