Panama is open! Tropic Star Lodge is open! We are so excited to be welcoming guests and getting to do what we love so much – making sure our guests enjoy the ultimate fishing vacation.
The season kicked off in true 2020 style. We experienced loads of rain from the two tropical storms that passed through making the seas… sporting, to say the least. That aside, as soon as the weather calmed down, the fishing kicked off just as everyone was hoping it would. Guests took on Black Marlin over 400lb at the Zane Grey Reef. Black Marlin put on aerial displays like no other species can, showing anglers why she is referred to as “Her Majesty”. Blues were active offshore, tearing up baits and dumping reels, with Sailfish and Dorado showing up in between. Yellowfin Tuna in every size range were feeding on the surface, introducing anglers to the pain that only those brutes can bring on as they dive down to the depths. We caught some fantastic Almaco Jacks coming in on the reef, as well as released a few giant Cubera Snapper.
With the weather being so unpredictable for the first few days of being open, it made the fishing a bit tough to forecast. We had to go pretty far offshore by Tropic Star Lodge standards, running nearly 25 miles offshore to find the blue water, but once we found it – the fish did not disappoint. As the weather calmed, the clean water started to move in closer to land and the fishing exploded.
Heidi and Tim McBride joined us for an extended stay in November. Tim and Heidi are both passionate anglers who have fished at Tropic Star before, so we were thrilled to welcome them back to open the season. Some highlights from their trip included one day when Tim caught two massive Dorado. One was taller and wider than him! Then on top of that he came back having released a Blue Marlin. Heidi also had one of those days where she released a beautiful Blue Marlin and brought back a 155lb Yellowfin Tuna to the scale. A personal best for Heidi!
Auston Gower and his wife, Laura, brought their two sons, William and Charles, for some family time in the jungle where they could relax and spend quality time together on the ocean. William and Charles are 10 and 11 years old, respectively, and love pretty much everything to do with the outdoors. They are both avid junior anglers and it was great to see them getting first catches. Both boys released their first Blue Marlin along with Sailfish and boated more than a few very impressive Dorado.
Mark Martorell brought his son, David, for a fishing adventure, and some father and son bonding. Both Mark and David love fishing, and really enjoyed targeting multiple species, both inshore and in the deep blue. During their trip David released his first Roosterfish and first Cubera Snapper. He also released a beautiful Blue Marlin. He wrangled with some bruiser Yellowfin Tuna, released around 15 Sailfish, and brought back enough Dorado to feed the lodge. During their time inshore they also released a Broomtail Grouper along with a bunch of other species.
The Groeger family, AKA the Billfish family joined us from the US. Van Groeger lived in the Panama Canal Zone in the 60’s, and has known about Tropic Star Lodge for many years. This year he made the trip with his wife, Linda, their two sons, Nick and Garret, and Garret’s lovely girlfriend, Assia. Until visiting Tropic Star, the family had not been offshore much for big game fishing, but that didn’t stop them from smashing some incredible Billfish and walking the plank. The family fished on Pollyanna with Capt. Fidel and they all got to experience their own first-time Billfish release. Garret released a nice 300lb Blue Marlin and Van released a gorgeous Black of 300lb. The family also brought back a Yellowfin Tuna of 150lb which made for some delicious sashimi for everyone back at the lodge. The whole family released multiple Sailfish and some truly monster Dorado, who were keeping them busy.
The season is off to a flying start and we are so happy to see so many families coming and enjoying this special little piece of paradise. As we head into December, the fishing should keep going from strength-to-strength and we can’t wait to share it with more anglers.
Capt. Richard White