Richard White

Richard White

Capt. Richard White, Fishing Director for Tropic Star Lodge, brings you the latest news from Piñas Bay.

Fishing at Tropic Star Lodge in December

December awakens a whole lot of excitement to fish at Tropic Star!

December holiday is traditionally a time for sharing special moments with family. There are always specific smells, tastes, places and traditions that mark the holiday season for each of us. For some, it’s the snow and smell of Pine trees, for others, it’s pumpkin everything and sitting by a fire with loved ones. What makes the holidays for me is the smell of sunscreen, seeing old friends and being next to the water.

The atmosphere at Tropic Star Lodge is incredibly unique all times of the year but it’s certainly heightened in December when fresh Christmas trees dot the property and holiday décor is up. The cheery atmosphere of holiday season is contagious. Many of our guests return the same times each year to celebrate, see old friends and, of course, to target fish species. On Christmas Day our jungle elves come out. Gwen Kosi and her son, Frank Kozi, visit every Christmas, and every year I’m jealous of Frank’s shirts.

The variety of fish an angler can target at Tropic Star Lodge in December is vast. We have the Blue Marlin bite wide open offshore. Any angler who has had the chance to take on a Blue Marlin will tell you it is incredible the way they make a reel scream grey hounding away from the boat. Often doing a giant circle only to come flying past you with a huge bow in the line. Few other species of fish can make a reel lose so much line so fast. Big Sailfish are patrolling offshore as well putting on their usual aerobatics display. Sails glistening in the sun as they do flips and tail walks around the transom.

We sometimes find the odd Black Marlin Offshore but generally they are found closer in and during December they are just making their way into the area. The Black Marlin is a brutal fighter and doesn’t have the pure speed or grace of the Blue Marlin but when she is angry it doesn’t matter who is on the rod or in the tower, you are going to be in for the fight of your life. Black Marlin fight extremely hard and keep their heads down making you work for every inch of line. Then without warning, she will be flying behind the boat showing off her brutal strength and beauty. Some lucky anglers will land their Black Marlin in mere minutes for others it is a much longer affair.

These Billfish are what Tropic Star Lodge has made its name on. December is the best time of year to achieve a Grand Slam. Every season we release more Grand Slams during December than any other month, making it an angler’s reverie.

If chasing a Grand Slam and Billfish is not your thing, then no problem. The monstrous Mahi Mahi are around in droves and provide anglers endless hours of fun on all tackle. For when you get your first Bull Dorado over 50 lbs it will have you rethinking everything you thought you knew about the species. Dorado are spectacular fish as they spring out of the water showing off their iridescent blues, greens and sunshine yellows. Their stamina and strength often surprise anglers, especially with the bigger XXL Bulls.

The brutish Yellowfin Tuna are around but not in big numbers. But what the waters lack in numbers, it is made up in size. Through December we have some of the bruisers coming back to the scales reaching up to 300 lb. These fish are extremely hard fighters and make a B line straight for the ocean floor making anglers put in their all trying to turn them and bring them back up towards the surface. We generally get them on blind strikes while trolling large live baits for Marlin.

Having this variety of fish offshore makes an Offshore Slam an achievable feat , this is any Billfish, a Tuna and a Dorado by a single angler in a single day.
Fishing inshore along the coastline is still strong over December with Cubera Snapper, Roosterfish and Almaco Jacks bending rods and keeping anglers busy. The numbers are not huge but the quality of the fish has anglers all giddy as there are some trophies to be caught while casting surface lures towards the white water engulfing the rocky out crops.

Some of my best memories growing up are fishing with my father during the summer December holidays. Getting to go offshore with the guys, getting sea sick for the first time, getting my first nickname from the “guys”, which on account of being sea sick, was Green. Catching my first Dorado particularly sticks out. Seeing it’s beautiful colors and the way it sprung out of the water. And I’ll never forget seeing my first Billfish – the thrill of pulling in this prized species after a good fight is something that never leaves you! We saw the Sail above the water on the starboard side. My buddy Mark and I were around ten years old and neither of us had ever caught a Billfish. The adrenaline was coursing through us so much that we were shaking. The Captain took the boat out of gear about twenty feet from the fish and it went under. My dad took the TLD 20, put a goggle eye on the still then “J” hook and threw it out. It didn’t take long at all for the line to start peeling off the reel, my dad set the hook and handed the rod over to Mark. As soon as Mark took the rod, the Sailfish was in the air and she was a thing of beauty.

All of these memories are flashes of my past that have changed my life completely and made me who I am today. Looking forward, I can’t wait to make memories just like these someday with my son on the water far away from technology and the troubles that wait for us on land. I could not actually think of a better place to do this than at Tropic Star Lodge.

Spending quality time with friends and family is one of the greatest gifts we are ever given. It brings us closer together, makes memories which in turn become stories which we will tell over and over again, getting to relive things that truly make us happy. I can’t wait to spend this December with my family at Tropic Star Lodge and make some incredible memories I hope some of you will be in my future stories.

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