Richard White

Richard White

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

Fishing Highlights – January 11 – 17, 2020

Blue Marlin and Black Marlin were raised in great numbers over the past week and boats flew flags daily. The Sailfish were aggressive which is strange for this time of year. However, the weather was also strange so this may have had something to do with it. We still experienced swarms of over-sized Dorado keeping everyone entertained between billfish bites. Also, there was the odd Yellowfin fight but still none of the feeding frenzies.

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.

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