Jan, 2018

The 5 Best Fishing Lodges in Panama

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You find yourself at work, dreaming of the smell of the ocean and salt water spraying your face.  You go to the gym and work out your arms, back, and shoulders envisioning yourself chucking poppers into a ball of frenzied yellow-fin tuna or battling a huge marlin on the Hannibal Bank.  You know you want to come fishing in Panama, but you don’t know when or where to go. Let us help make the dream become a reality with a list of the best fishing lodges in Panama.


1 – Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge

Located 12 miles off the coast in the Gulf of Chiriqui, this exclusive island resort may very well be the best fishing lodge in Panama. The combination of luxurious air-conditioned accommodations, an all inclusive plan with a gourmet chef, proximity to the fishing grounds, and a world class American captain make this an angler’s paradise.  Owner and captain, Shane Jarvis, will be your host on beautiful Isla Paridas as you enjoy a blissful week of gourmet food, free flowing open bar, and world class sport fishing on Panama’s Pacific Coast.  Featuring just one 2-bedroom and a new 3-bedroom waterfront home, anglers are treated to a surprising list of amenities like full air conditioning, hot water open-air showers, flat screen TVs, pre-stocked mini-fridges, comfortable bedding, and even wifi.  When you return to the island after a day of fishing Chef Erick will bombard you with fresh hors d’oeuvres while you make yourself a cocktail, then after a refreshing shower you’ll come back to the main hall to enjoy a four course dinner.  Eat, fish, sleep, repeat.  Can you get used to that?

Captain Shane and his talented first mate Juan run two 33′ World Cat Center Consoles, which have proven to be one of the best fishing boats in Panama.  The boats feature padded seating and full coaming for comfort, a full slate of top of the line Simrad electronics, outriggers, tuna tubes, live well, and a huge casting platform on the bow complete with lean bar.  The World Cats offer the perfect mix of size to handle the seas and multiple anglers, speed and agility for inshore fishing and chasing tuna, and comfort throughout a 10-hour fishing day.  Whether you are trolling for marlin on the Hannibal Bank, chucking poppers at tuna, or inshore fishing for roosters right by the lodge Captain Shane & Co. will put you on fish – then they’ll put you to bed tired, happy, and with a full belly.

Average package price based on 2 anglers – $5K-$6K per person (all inclusive based on 3-4 days of fishing)
Average package price based on 4 anglers – $3.5K-$4.5K per person (all inclusive based on 3-4 days of fishing)

Best time to visit – Any time from November through August depending on which species you want to focus on!


2 – 70′ Mothership

The floating mothership is one of the most unique fishing lodges in Panama, and one of our favorites.  Spending all week anchored 55-miles offshore in the empty, palm-lined bays at Coiba Island is something any traveler would revel in, but the experience is only enhanced if you are an avid angler.  The mothership doesn’t offer resort amenities like flat screen TVs, wifi, or a pool with swim up bar – but it does offer you the ability to fish, eat, and sleep right at the best fishing hot spots in Panama.

Despite the fact you are floating on a converted barge 50+ miles from land, the 70′ mothership features four comfortable, air conditioned rooms with four beds each.  Each room is assigned it’s own fishing boat (27′ Ocean Master Center Consoles) and crew for the week so routines are easy to fall into and connections are made early in the week.  After a long day of fishing you’ll come back to enjoy a hot water shower (two full bathrooms), drinks at the open-air bar on the bow of the boat, and then a delicious freshly cooked dinner by the chef who has been serving anglers for 20+ years. The main appeal to the mothership is that she puts you right on top of the hottest fishing destinations in Panama.  While land-based lodges may require a 50-mile run to get to offshore hot spots like the Hannibal Bank and Montuosa Island, when you go to bed and wake up at Coiba Island you’ll be just 15 miles away.  This means shorter run times, more time spent with lines in the water, and the coveted early morning and late evening hours when no other boats are around.  In addition, inshore and light tackle anglers will love the opportunity to fish in the untouched fishery that is the Coiba Island National Park.  Made up of 37 different islands and part of the same chain of island that make up the Galapagos, the mothership’s claim to fame is that we can catch over 40 different species of fish in a week here!

Average package price based on 2 anglers – $5K-$5.5K per person (all meals included based on 6 days of fishing)
Average package price based on 4 anglers – $4K-$4.5K per person (all meals included based on 6 days of fishing)

Best time to visit – Any time from December through July depending on which species you want to focus on!


3. Paradise Fishing Lodge

The appropriately named Paradise Fishing Lodge has been one of Panama’s most popular fishing lodges for over a decade.  One of the first fishing lodges to offer luxurious resort-type amenities, “Paradise” has been bringing repeat anglers back for more year after year.  Built on top of a hill in the quiet fishing town of Quebrada de Piedra in western Panama, the lodge features nine spacious cabinas each with two queen beds, air conditioning and large private bathrooms.  The main rancho is where you’ll find the open bar and savory family-style dinners.  After a long day of fishing you can take a much needed dip in the pool to cool off, and then stay there as the staff serves you drinks at the swim up bar until dinner is served.

Paradise features it’s own mini-marina where it’s fleet of 28′ and 32′ Contenders are kept gassed up and ready to take you fishing.  The speedy center consoles are all outfitted with tuna tubes, live wells, T-tops, top of the line electronics and twin Suzuki 175 hp outboard engines.  Chuck poppers to lurking cubera snappers or boiling yellow-fin tuna on Fin-Nor spinning gear or troll the Hannibal Bank for marlin with bridled live bonitos at the end of your Penn 50Ws and 80Ws.  Paradise Fishing Lodge is one of the few fishing lodges in Panama that appeals to hardcore anglers, couples and families alike as it’s combination of comfortable rooms, pool, ocean views, and first class fishing is hard to duplicate.  It’s also one of the most affordable, so for anglers who want the all inclusive fishing lodge experience but are on a tighter budget Paradise may very well be the perfect fit for you.

Average package price based on 2 anglers – $3.8K-$4.5K per person (all inclusive based on 3-4 days of fishing)
Average package price based on 4 anglers – $2.5K-$3K per person (all inclusive based on 3-4 days of fishing)

Best time to visit – Any time from November through August depending on which species you want to focus on!


4. – Tropic Star Lodge

It truly would be a crime to have a list of the best fishing lodges in Panama and not include the Tropic Star Lodge.  One of the most famous fishing lodges in the entire world, with over 300 world records set the Tropic Star Lodge certainly the place that helped put sport fishing in Panama on the map.  Located in eastern Panama near the border of Columbia in the remote Pinas Bay, Tropic Star Lodge has the enviable location of being just miles from the famous Zane Grey Reef.  During the months of December through February there may be no spot on Earth that can put up marlin numbers like they do.  With a colorful fleet of sixteen 31′ Bertrams, each fully rigged with top of the line electronics, Shimano tackle, and new livewells with tuna tubes, Tropic Star Lodge re-earns it’s lofty reputation year after year.  Their roster of local captains is now on it’s second and third generation of captains as there aren’t many better places in the world to work if you love fishing.

Featuring just 19 rooms, if you want to fish here you need to book several months in advance as the Tropic Star Lodge is probably Panama’s worst kept secret.  The eight Casa Grande rooms feature air conditioning, large bathrooms with walk in showers, and spacious interiors for all your gear and luggage.  Slightly farther up the hill are the four air conditioned cabins, each with an additional side room for larger groups.  At the very top of the hill sits The Palace, a 3-bedroom villa featuring three master suites, spacious common areas, and incredible views of Pinas Bay.  Your stay at the Tropic Star lodge includes all meals and wine service with your four course dinner.

Average package price based on 2 anglers – $8.5K-$9K per person (all meals included based on 6 days of fishing in peak marlin season)
Average package price based on 4 anglers – $6.5K-$7K per person (all meals included based on 6 days of fishing in peak marlin season)

Best time to visit – Peak marlin months are December-January-February but you MUST book several months in advance!


5 – Pana Fishing Adventure

Know what you do and do it well – that’s what owner & angler Pierre and his crew are all about here.  Pana Fishing Adventure is proud to say they are a 100% lure fishing destination. That’s right all you popping and jigging fanatics, that is ALL they do here. You won’t find cabin cruisers trolling for marlin nine hours a day here, this is for anglers who want to cast, pop, and jig until their arms fall off.  Located in the Azuero Peninsula, also known as the ‘Tuna Coast’ of Panama, the Pana Fishing Adventure has capitalized on the niche market of anglers who want a hands on fishing experience without any mates to hand you a rod once the fish is hooked.  Because the fishing is so close to home the lodge runs two 25′ Caribe Pro center consoles and two 26′ Twin Vee catamarans, which are the ideal boats to have multiple anglers casting & jigging at the same time.  Stacked with a bevy of top quality rental gear, if anglers don’t bring their own spinning outfits they can fish on first rate tackle like Shimano Saragosa & Stella reels and Smith or Black Hole rods.

The lodge itself is quaint, laid back, and easy going.  It was custom built to be a boutique fishing camp that makes you feel like you are at home with your fishing buddies, not at a resort full of tourists.  The lodge was built with an authentic country feel to it but still offers creature comforts like air conditioned rooms, hot water showers, free wifi, and of course cold drinks and delicious food.  After a long day of fishing anglers like to cool off with a drink in the pool, check emails, or take a nap after a long day under the Panamanian sun.

Average package price based on 2 anglers – $2K-$3.5K per person but varies based on number of fishing days

Best time to visit – Being in a different part of Panama the fishing seasons here are quite different than other locations. March through May offer the best sea and weather conditions, then peak tuna season here is a little later running from June-October.