Isla Montuosa is only 37 miles from the lodge here on Isla Paridas but it seems like a 150 mile run when you know that there are 200 pound plus Yellowfin Tunas swimming around waiting to inhale your baits. The bite has only gotten better over the past few weeks as I have been out fishing six days with the boys from Alabama.....Kim and John Kornegay, their friends Chase and Carlos Gil, and my friends Douglass Rollings hunting them here in the Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama.
BIG Yellowfin Tunas are starting to show up in numbers and hang out at the "high spots" at Hannibal Bank and Isla Montuosa. Large concentrations of squid and spawning bait fish are keeping them around as well as attracting more Dorado and Wahoo. We ran into Tuna boils daily with the biggest one on the first day just a couple miles south of Isla Ladrones when I got this video......
After a couple of days of non-stop 50# Tunas we decided to concentrate on trying to get John hooked up with a Black Marlin. We switched up our spread to only live Bonitos and concentrated on the mesa at Isla Montuosa and the high spots on Hannibal Bank. The first day, out at Isla Montuosa, we jumped a 400#ish Black amidst another Tuna boil but he quickly threw the hook. After that it was two more days of Bonito after Bonito getting inhaled by BIG Yellowfin Tunas! Every time we'd hookup and didn't see a Marlin breach the surface we'd all yell out "God Dang Pesky Tunas!!!" The biggest fish we boated was tag-teamed by Kim and John and went 220#s. We lost another monster at the leader when it shook the hook after a 3 hour battle!
The fishing only seems to be getting better every year since the regulations against the purse seiners and larger long liners were put into effect a few years ago. Although the amount of small commercial pangas out at Hannibal Bank is pretty concerning. I counted fourteen commercial boats hand-lining Tunas the two days we were there. They were lining up over and over again to drift over the "high spot" and were catching quite a few. Even worse the ones that were anchored up make it impossible to fish near. We were lucky on the fish we hooked up near the commercial guys that we didn't get tangled in their gear.
We had a hell of a time and I'm glad that the fishing and weather were so great for these guys again. Enjoy the pics...........
Captain Shane Jarvis