December is such a festive time of year at Tropic Star Lodge. The smell of fresh Noble fir pine is in the air. Guests are merry in spirit, and it is Grand Slam season at the Lodge. This season, we released 3 personal Billfish Grand Slams and 7 boat slams over the festive season. The Blue Marlin bite offshore was incredible, with spectacular numbers and varying. We released fish over 750 lb and even released small Marlin of 150 lb, a size very uncommon for the area. The few anglers who got to take on Yellowfin Tuna offshore had their hands full, as the fish averaged around 100 lb with the larger ones coming in at around 200 lb. Tropic Star Lodge is the only place where anglers are not in awe of Dorado topping 50 lb, and that’s because through the course of December, it’s common for boats to get half a dozen or more each day. Closer inshore on the reef, the Blacks started showing up in small numbers – however, enough to get everyone excited for the opportunity to take on Her Majesty.
We still had a bit of rain in December and the flotsam offshore was around for crews to work. The water temperature was consistent, and the current ran beautifully from the south to north against the shelf, providing beautiful blue water and loads of nutrients. We did have northerly winds a few times, which made it a little choppy, but for the most part the sea conditions were calm and blue.
Team Peru!!! Our friends from down south have been coming to the lodge for 16 years and it was great to see them return. Each year there is tough competition between the gentlemen and there is always a lot of laughter. Luis Carlos and Alonso fishing with Candelo on Australia had a fantastic week. Their best day was releasing five Blue Marlin. From there it was tough for the rest of the boats to catch up. The team that undoubtedly had the most fun was Pepe and his three sons, fishing with Jose on Beatriz. The guys released 20 Marlin, 15 Sailfish, mountains of Dorado and a few monster Yellowfin Tuna.
Brent Heist joined us all the way from North Carolina with a group of his buddies. The guys all had an awesome trip, but Brent never got to release his Marlin during the stay with his buddies, and so he extended his stay by a few days and really became part of the family. Brent got his reward from Neptune and released his first Blue Marlin and a few Sailfish amongst hordes of giant Dorado.
The Grouse and Trout club from Canada joined us for a few days of fun in the sun. Matt Gaasenbeek, the organizer, arranged this memorable trip for a group of like-minded friends from Canada. They all have a shared love for the outdoors, fishing and adventure. Most of the gents had never caught Billfish before and everyone left having achieved that feat. Each member of the group released their first Blue Marlin and/or Sailfish after their 3 day trip. The Grouse and Trout group also held a very successful fundraiser for the Piñas Bay Conservancy raising money for the private preschool in the village. The funds raised will provide much needed support to operate the school this year, and will allow us to invest in the growth of the school.
Curtis and Ashley Lee brought their daughters – Audra, Olivia and Evelyn to spend Christmas at Tropic Star Lodge. The family, from Texas, love the outdoors and they had an absolute blast here at the lodge. The girls all had an amazing time on the boat and the family had Neptune’s blessing, especially after helping us release newly hatched turtles in our neighboring town of Jaque. The family had a lot of first catches. Olivia released a 60 lb Sailfish and her first Roosterfish. Audra released her first 60 lb Sailfish, Ashley released a 250 lb Blue Marlin, and Curtis released his first Blue Marlin of 250 lb and 350 lb, and he got his Roosterfish. The family champion was Evelyn, who released her first Roosterfish and a Blue Marlin of 450 lb! The family also travelled north to the village of Playa Muerto and hiked through the jungles to see a Harpy Eagle in the wild. Curtis is a Falconer, so getting to witness this endangered species in the wild was truly an incredible experience for him and the whole family.
Francis Couzinet and Simon Elgreshi joined us from France to enjoy fishing in Central America. It was their first time at Tropic Star Lodge, and what a trip they had. Both Francis and Simon are die hard fishermen who love fishing of every kind. They were so crazed that they could be found on the dock each evening, or walking the beach casting after a full day of fishing on the boats! It became a standard joke that they got a new personal best for a different species almost every day. The real special catches for them though, were that Simon got an IGFA Inshore Grand Slam with a Roosterfish of around 50 lb, a Bluefin Trevally of around 20 lb and a Cubera Snapper of 40 lb. What’s even more impressive is that he got them all on lures, while casting at the rocks. Simon also achieved his personal best Sailfish of 90 lb, and a bunch of giant Dorado. Francis caught his largest Dorado almost every day, and released his first Black Marlin of 300 lb and a Blue Marlin of 350 lb.
December was an absolutely incredible time here at the lodge and seeing all the kids and guests enjoying the fishing and fun that was had by all always adds a certain something special this time of year.