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Cebaco Bay, Panama, January 2014

Decided to take a trip over New Years to fish in Panama with my friend Gary. Kind of early in the season but I have to go when I can go. Anyway, we decided to go with Cebaco Bay Sportfishing Club, which has a great mothership operation based near Cebaco Island. We made it out there with no problems and started fishing as soon as we could. Bait was scarce, but we were planning to do mostly popping and jigging anyway. We popped the shoreline like crazy with little to show for it and started to get a lot more action when we switched over to surface iron. I caught 10 different species on my mint/white surface jig before I broke it on a rock. 

Big Jack Crevalle were thick both on the high spots and on the shoreline and provided quite a workout most days. If you ever feel like you need to kill some time, foul hook a 25lb Jack near the bottom like I did. Quite a workout on light gear. Bluefin Trevally were thick off most rocky points on the shoreline and eagerly took poppers and jigs. The world record was caught in this area and the average size was pretty large. Huge Needlefish were also aggressively hitting everything near shore. Usually I have a hard time keeping those things hooked but this trip no matter how I tried to shake them off they stayed on. They are actually pretty fun to catch they way the leap all over the place. Pargo of various kinds occasionally hit the surface iron. Roosterfish were spotted here and there and we hooked and lost three on poppers and landed one on bait. The water was kind of cool and jigging was very tough most days except for the Jack Crevalle. Fishing along the shoreline provided a lot more action.

On the second to last day I was throwing a big popper late in the day at a rock near the mothership and was rewarded with a giant explosion. A huge Pargo came completely out of the water but missed the popper. One more pop and it came back and demolished the popper and headed back to its cave. I had a very heavy popping rod and a locked down drag and he almost pulled me off my semi-precarious perch on the bow. Luckily I was able to wrestle him out. He went around 45lbs and got released in good shape. That was the highlight of the trip for me, along with a nice roosterfish and a 20lb Bluefin Trevally; the biggest I have caught. Gary got a very nice Broomtail Grouper jigging the first day.

I have nothing but good things to say about Cebaco Bay Sportfishing Club. Everything ran very smoothly, the boat was comfortable if not luxurious (even had AC), captains were good, boats were good, food was good, location was good, etc. The captain and mate saw that we came to fish hard and stayed out until dark every day which I really appreciated. The fishing was a little off for Panama but we put in the time and the captain found fish that were biting every day. 

Original article with pictures at:

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