7 Best Fishing Lodges in Panama

For decades, Panama has been known as one of the world’s premier sport fishing destinations among international anglers. Over the years, a bevy of fishing lodges, from the boutique to the ultra-luxury, developed to cater to them. Fishing for giant black and blue marlin at hot spots like the Hannibal Bank in the west or the Zane Grey Reef in the east put it on the radar, but today fishing in Panama is synonymous for it’s top water yellowfin tuna action and inredibly productive inshore fishery. With nearly 1,800 miles of coastline spread along two oceans, there is no shortage of exotic places to fish in Panama. Knowing where to go, when, and who to fish with is of the utmost importance however as the fishing lodges are as diverse as the fishery itself. We’ve compiled a list of the 7 Best Fishing Lodges in Panama (updated for the 2024 season) so you can learn more about the available options for your next fishing trip to Panama. When you are ready, contact us and we’ll help you choose the best fit for your group and will organize a full service, all-inclusive package with all the details taken care of for you.

Map of the Top 7 Fishing Lodges in Panama

#1 – Private Island Lodge

Our top ranked fishing lodge in Panama is not only the most luxurious, it’s also one of the most exotic. Located on Islas Paridas twelve miles off the Western Pacific Coast, the Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge is everything you’d look for in an exotic fishing lodge: luxurious air-conditioned private villas, top of the line fishing tackle, fast and spacious boats, gourmet food, and best of all – isolation. As if being on an island twelve miles out to sea wasn’t exotic enough, they happen to be in the Gulf of Chiriqui National Park so you won’t see (or hear) anyone else out here.

Sunset at the main dining hall at the Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge
Inside a villa at the Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge
Drone shot of the Sport Fish Panama Island Lodge

Captain Shane Jarvis is the owner/operator here and has been fishing the Gulf of Chiriqui since 2005. What started as a charter boat operation has now grown into a 5-star, off-the-grid island lodge that is arguably the most exclusive fishig lodge in Panama. Anglers will enjoy a fleet of three identical 33′ World Cats and a new 33′ Freeman that was added in 2023, all powered by twin 300 hp Suzuki engines. Captain Shane loves these boats for numerous reasons, including the catamaran hull that cushions the waves when making your long runs offshore more comfortable. The walk around design allows for multiple anglers to be casting and fighting fish at the same time, and the large casting platforms with lean bars at the bow where every angler wants to be when you roll up to a boil of feeding tuna. Lodge sponsors include Accurate Reels, Blackfin Rods, Mustad Hooks, and Yo-Zuri so just part of what makes this lodge 5-stars is knowing that you are fishing with the best tackle in the industry. Located where they are, the run times out to famous offshore hot spots like the Hannibal Bank and Isla Montuosa are much shorter than the land based options in nearby Boca Chica.  There is seemingly no limit to the different spots they can take you inshore fishing in the Gulf of Chiriqui, but plenty of days they’ll catch roosterfish, giant cubera snapper, and more right in their own backyard at the Islas Paridas archipelago.

11-time Central America Fishing guest Frank with a big cubera snapper in Panama

The Sport Fishing Panama Island Lodge features three private villas, each one is assigned it’s own World Cat for your stay. The villas are fully air conditioned and include pre-stocked mini-fridges, flat screen TVs, and hot water showers. Your stay on the island is fully all inclusive so you’ll have breakfast in the morning, lunch & drinks on the boat, daily hors d’oeuvres each afternoon after fishing, and a three course gourmet dinner each night. There is an open bar policy with top shelf liquors and local Panamanian beer. Despite being 12 miles off the coast, the lodge also features a basic internet service to be able to check email and keep up with the latest news & sports scores. For a small fee they can vacuum seal your catch should you wish to bring any home with you. A stay at the lodge can range from three nights with two days of fishing to six nights with five full days of fishing, price varies based on length of stay and number of anglers in your group.

Booking the Sport Fishing Panama Island Lodge

With just three villas and four boats, this lodge books up extremely quickly during the best fishing months. If you wish to be here during the peak tuna season (March-July), it’s best to book 9-12 months in advance. Call us at 855-414-3474 and we can help arrange your complete package from start to finish with all transfer logistics, Panama City hotels, and your stay at the lodge.


Check out the video below from our ‘Fish Here Next’ series to see for yourself why we rank this as our top fishing lodge in Panama.

#2 – Paradise Fishing Lodge

One of the most popular fishing lodges in Panama over the past two decades has been the aptly named Paradise Fishing Lodge. Located near the small town of Quebrada de Piedra in the northeast corner of the Gulf of Chiriqui, Paradise Fishing Lodge is our first choice for anyone looking for a luxury fishing lodge with amenities. Set on top of a hill overlooking tropical mangroves, the open-air rancho and all rooms offer some of the most stunning panoramic views you’ll ever see. Your stay here is all-inclusive, so all meals and drinks are included with a full open-bar policy. After a long day of fishing, cool off in the refreshing pool and enjoy a cold drink and tasty appetizers. Next, grab a cocktail and a good seat and watch some of the best Pacific sunsets you can find. Finally, end your day with a delicious three-course dinner and wine. Rest, fish, repeat.

Drone shot of the Paradise Fishing Lodge in Panama
One of the new King Suites at the Paradise Fishing Lodge
Incredible Sunset views from the Paradise Fishing Lodge

The first thing to know is that this isn’t the same old Paradise Fishing Lodge anymore. Built in the early 2000’s, this was one of the first luxury all-inclusive fishing lodges in the Gulf of Chiriqui. It enjoyed a long run of productivity and happy clients, but by the late 2010’s it was looking, and feeling, a bit tired. It needed new blood. In early 2020, a local Panamanian businessman – and AVID angler himself – bought the lodge with a vision to transform it into one of the best fishing lodges in all of Central America. While the COVID pandemic crippled many hotel and fishing operations around the world, it was merely a speedbump for him as he has taken a fading operation into one of Panama’s best fishing lodges after just a couple years of hardwork (not to mention a couple million dollars in upgrades and renovations).

One of the first things you’ll notice here is that the Paradise Fishing Lodge has it’s very own marina. Built in 2021, this is home to their own fleet of sport fishing boats and is also open to anyone who needs safe harbor or who wants to spend a few days to explore the Gulf of Chiriqui in their own boat. The modern marina features unlimited shore power, unlimited fresh water, high speed wifi, video surveilance, bait and gas. When you fish from the Paradise Fishing Lodge there will be no beach launches or old cement piers, rather you’ll keep your feet dry in this modern semi-private marina.

Up at the lodge itself, all nine existing rooms were completely gutted and rebuilt. There are new floors, new bathrooms, new lighting, and even new beds and luxury bedding. They also built five brand new suites with king beds and indoor/outdoor showers for an upgraded experience.  The kitchen was completely remodeled and outfitted new appliances. A new laundry room was built so you head back home with clean clothes. Last but not least, they also added a new tackle shop and a gift shop. You won’t want for anything during your stay here.

Incredible inshore fishing in Panama

An important fact to keep in mind is that the owner is not a hotelier nor a real estate mogul looking for a quick flip, he is an avid angler and keeps his own boat at the lodge. As such, you can bet that the fleet at the Paradise Fishing Lodge has received as much attention as the lodge itself since he took over. It was the 28′ and 32′ Contenders that made the lodge famous in the early 2000’s, but they too were in need of an upgrade. The new owner sold off the 28’s to focus on upgrading the fleet of 32’s. In 2023, all of the boats were outfitted with dual Garmin touch screen displays and received a new gelcoat and nonskid applicaton. They even took time to add six new cupholders in the gunnel of the boats – now that is attention to detail! For your comfort they also offer heavy duty beanbag chairs for the rides to and from the fishing grounds. Powered by twin Yamaha or Suzuki engines, these boats can easily run to all the best spots in the Gulf of Chiriqui. All the boats are equpped with new boat combing for comfort, tuna tubes, and a livewell.

As nice as those boats are, the new owner didn’t stop there. In 2022 he added two new 33′ World Cats, which have also been outfitted with dual 12″ Garmin touch screens. These boats are ideal for bigger groups and/or anglers who want a bit more comfort and speed as they make their runs to the fishing grounds. In part on a suggestion from myself, he also added a beautiful 31′ Bertram to the fleet in 2022. Made famous at the Tropic Star Lodge on the other end of Panama, this boat is the perfect choice for anglers who are targetting a trophy black or blue marlin out at the Hannibal Bank. It’s also a nice upgraded option over a center console for the groups who need more shade and a cabin with air conditioning.

As if the fleet of sport fishing boats at Paradise Fishing Lodge wasn’t impressive enough, in 2023 they added a stunning new 39′ Contender ST for a legitimate VIP fishing experience. Outfitted with triple Yamaha 300s, flush mounted dual 17″ Garmin displays, and even a new Seakeeper – this is hands down one of the nicest charter boats in all of Panama.

Every single boat at the Paradise Fishing Lodge is outfitted with brand new Alutecnos and Daiwa tackle that the owner hand-picked himself. The list includes:

  • Four 50’s Wide 2 speed custom made with lodge name and custom colors 
  • Two 30’s wide 2 speed custom made with lodge name and custom colors 
  • Two 20’s custom made with lodge name and custom colors 
  • Three Daiwa MQ 20000 for large tuna
  • Six custom Alutecnos Rods 
  • Three custom spinning rods with lodge name for Daiwas

Whether you are targeting trophy marlin & yellowfin tuna out at the Hannibal Bank or inshore fishing at the over 200 islands, the incredible fleet and talented captains at the Paradise Fishing Lodge will put you on the fish.


Booking the Paradise Fishing Lodge

With only 14 rooms and one of the only lodges with a pool, Paradise is always in high demand. The lodge is often full, or close to it, from Feb-June so it’s best to book 6-9 months in advance. Call us at 855-414-3474 and we can help arrange your complete package from start to finish with all transfer logistics, Panama City hotels, and your stay at the lodge.

Check out the video below from our ‘Fish Here Next’ series to get a better idea of what your experience will be.


#3 – 78′ Mothership

The most unique operation in our list of the 7 Best Fishing Lodges in Panama is our 78′ mothership.  Pesca Panama has been around for two decades, but when new ownership took over in 2014 they brought with them not only new blood but also renewed energy, passion, and finances to bring the operation back to the forefront of sport fishing in Panama. Fondly referred to as “the barge”, this former supply barge was retrofitted and turned into Panama’s first floating fishing lodge.  As they say, ‘Location. Location. Location’, and the mothership can do what no other fishing lodge in Panama can do by putting you right on the doorstep of some of the best fishing as you’ll spend all week anchored 50 miles out to sea at the Coiba Island National Park.

Our 78' Mothership is Panama's best floating fishing lodge
78' Mothership offers four air conditioned rooms and hot water showers
Enjoy open air dining and a full bar on the mothership

The 78′ barge is what you’ll call home for the week, but it’s her fleet of five identical 27′ Ocean Master center consoles that will ultimately be your battlewagon on this adventure. These agile center consoles are ideal for any type of sport fishing as they can run & gun with the feeding schools of yellow-fin tuna or get you up close to the countless islands, pinnacles, and river mouths that are home to trophy inshore species. Equipped with Penn conventional tackle when trolling for marlin or the big cow tuna and a bevy of Shimano Saragosa spinning tackle, the experienced crew at Pesca Panama can accommodate any type of fishing you want to experience. Perhaps more than any other fishing lodge in Panama, the claim to fame of the mothership is that you can catch up to 30 (or more!) different species of fish in a single week. While the accommodations are surprisingly comfortable and the food delicious, the main benefit of the mothership is of course it’s ability to keep you right at the fishing grounds all week. By anchoring in the various bays of the Coiba Island National Park you are already 50 miles offshore, so unlike the land-based fishing lodges in Panama that have to make long runs every single day, here you’ll be just 15 miles from the famous Hannibal Bank. Eat, sleep, fish hard, relax with friends and a cold drink – it’s the sort of rhythm any hardcore angler would love.

Chris from Central America Fishing along with Shea & Ryan from Stoked on Fishing tuna fishing in Panama

Even though it is referred to as “the barge” and you are spending all week 50 miles offshore, the experience on the mothership itself is surprisingly comfortable. There are four air conditioned rooms, each with two sets of bunk beds to accommodate a max of four anglers per room. Each room is assigned it’s own boat and crew for the week. There are two full bathrooms for guests, each with a hot water shower. They even offer daily laundry service out here so your favorite fishing shirt is always ready to go! Of course three meals a day are part of your package, and with a chef who has been there for over 20 years the food is fantastic. You’ll eat much of what you catch throughout that week in fresh meals such as ceviche, fresh tuna sashimi, fried snapper, and tuna steak, but special requests can be also be accommodated. When you aren’t in bed recovering from a 10-hour fishing day, you’ll spend most of your time on the bow of the boat that serves as the restaurant and bar area. Here nightly appetizers are enjoyed along with your pick from a fully stocked bar. Share stories, laugh, and enjoy sunsets and a sky full of stars in this open-air social area. The mothership can be booked one room/one boat at a time for groups of 2-4 anglers, or if you have a group of 10-16 anglers you can rent out the entire barge and make it your own private floating fishing lodge for the week.

How to book the Mothership

With only four rooms and four boats total, the mothership is always in high demand. Complicating that further is that it’s season only runs from November through June/July, so there are a lot of eager anglers and not enough space most years. Call us at 855-414-3474 and we can help arrange your complete package from start to finish with all transfer logistics, Panama City hotels, and your stay at the lodge. For larger groups of 8-16 anglers, we can book the entire barge as a private, floating fishing lodge for just your group. If you are a smaller group of 2-6 anglers, we will need to fit you in during a week that hasn’t been booked by one of the larger groups.

To get a better idea of what the mothership experience is like, check out the video below.

We love this operation so much, this is where we decided to host our friends from the West Coast’s #1 rated fishing show, Stoked on Fishing. They loved it so much in 2019 that they came back in 2022 and already have another show booked for 2025! You can watch the TV shows we made together below:

May 2019 – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwh1Y4oKocbjit5OpGmSIYIzIRYCVEK6j

May 2022 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55-Sx8V1Uk8

#4 – Los Buzos Resort

Located in the remote Azuero Peninsula, the tiny Los Buzos Resort has been making a big name for itself in recent years. It became a household name in the kayak fishing world a decade ago thanks to their famous feat of hooking and releasing a 600 lb black marlin caught from a kayak. In recent years however they have a new focus on sport fishing, so they built a fleet of 27’ super pangas that were custom-designed for this fishery. Whether you are casting to the rocks, jigging on rock piles, or running a few miles offshore in search of yellowfin tuna, few fishing lodges in the world offer the combination of diversity and proximity that Los Buzos enjoys. With it’s beachfront location in Playa Cambutal and 400 acres of land, guests can enjoy rainforest, wildlife and a beautiful beach all in one spot.

The two 27' super pangas at the Los Buzos Resort in Panama
Large, air-conditioned rooms at the Los Buzos Resort
The Los Buzos fishing lodge in the Azuero Peninsula, Panama

At Los Buzos, guests can choose between three beachfront casitas as part of the main lodge, or for more space and privacy they can upgrade to larger private rental homes. All rooms feature air conditioning, private baths with hot water showers, and comfortable bedding. Your stay at Los Buzos includes three meals per day along with all you can drink local beer, Gatorade, iced tea and water. They also feature the Roosterfish Bar & Grill for cocktails and snacks, a small gift & tackle store, and even spa services. 

Nicknamed “the Tuna Coast”, its location on the Azueron Peninsula puts it just a few miles from the continental shelf so offshore fishing for marlin, mahi, and yellowfin tuna is less than a seven mile run from the lodge. That said, Los Buzos is best known for its incredible inshore and bottom fishing. The majority of the coastline west of the lodge pertains to the Cerro Hoya National Park, so there is next to no commercial or sport fishing pressure there. Los Buzos already boasts 7 IGFA world records (length of fish), incuding the broomtail grouper which they broke twice in 2023. 

Los Buzos has a small fleet of 27’ super pangas with a modular seating design to adjust to the angler’s preference of more seating versus more deck space. All boats are equipped with 10 rod holders, GPS, depth finder, and a high bow design for smoother and drier runs. After our visit in July 2023, we suggested they add live bait wells, which they have since added. Rental tackle at Los Buzos includes Shimano TLD 25s and Diawa spinning gear, but many anglers bring their own gear as well. All of the pangas are equipped with heavy duty bean bag chairs to make your fishing day more comfortable as you run from spot to spot.

Big cubera snapper caught and released at Los Buzos Resort in Panama

#5 – Pana Fishing Adventure Lodge

When it comes to the adage “Know what you do, and do it well“, the Pana Fishing Adventure Lodge does just that. One of the smallest lodges on our list is also very unique in that it is proud to be a 100% lures-only fishing lodge. Owned and operated by Pierre Demauge, this lodge is dialed into where they fish, how they fish, and what they fish for perhaps more than any other operation in Panama. Located out on the Azuero Peninsula near the small town of Pedasi, the lodge features just four rooms and likes to keep groups to ten anglers or less to guarantee a quality experience both on land and at sea. Each room is modestly decorated with three beds, private bathroom, and of air conditioning. After a long day of fishing come back and take a refreshing dip in the pool, check in with the world via the free wifi, and enjoy family-style dining and drinks at the bar at night with fellow anglers.

The pool at the Pana Fishing Adventure Lodge
Fresh seafood dinner at the Pana Fishing Adventure Lodge
Fleet of center consoles at the Pana Fishing Adventure Lodge

The Pana Fishing Adventure Lodge has a small fleet of four boats: two 25′ Caribe Pro center consoles and two 26′ Twin Vee catamarans. These are the ideal boats for the type of fishing they do here – jigging, popping, and crank baits. This is not a destination for anglers looking to troll for billfish, this is a 100% lures-only fishing lodge that offers a hands on fishing experience. Due to the type of anglers they attract, many guests bring their own tackle but they lodge can rent rod-only packages to anglers who want to avoid traveling with rod tubes or complete rod & reel packages. Rods include Shimano Terramar & Trevela or high end Smith and Black Hole while reels range from Penn Conflict 6000 to Shimano Saragosa 10,0000. Located on the southeast corner of the Azuero Peninsula this allows them to fish both the southern and eastern coastline depending on the season and wind conditions. While the main target 90% of the time are game fish found near shore and on bottom structure like roosterfish, cubera snapper, and grouper, during the summer and fall months they can make a short run for yellow-fin tuna that are found just a few miles out from the “Tuna Coast”. The Pana Fishing Adventure Lodge is exclusive, affordable, and extremely popular with a large base of repeat anglers so it does fill up quickly – we recommend booking 6-12 months in advance.

Beautiful roosterfish caught at the Pana Fishing Adventure Lodge

#6 – Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge

Panama is not known as a tarpon fishing hot spot like it’s neighbors to the north, Costa Rica and Belize, yet anyone who has seen the Caribbean Coastline can attest that it easily passes the eye test for prime tarpon and snook habitat. The only representative of Panama’s Caribbean Coast in our list of the 7 Best Fishing Lodges in Panama, Tranquilo Bay Eco Lodge is one of the most luxurious and well run hotels in the popular Bocas del Toro archipelago. More importantly, it’s also the only one that offers the services and expertise of a fishing lodge. Located on the southeast corner of Isla Bastimientos, this boutique ecolodge is surrounded by the Bastimientos Marine National Park so there are no roads or other hotels close by, just beautiful Mother Nature. Tranquilo Bay surprises guests with 4-star accommodations as each of the six private bungalows is equipped with air conditioning, ceiling fans, orthopedic mattresses with luxury linens, private bathroom with hot water shower, coffee maker, hair dryer, and your own private deck with hammock. Owner/operators Renee, Jim, and Jay all live on site and have a phenomenal staff so here you feel like a welcomed guest into their home, not just another confirmation number. Due to your exotic location your stay here is all inclusive so all meals, drinks and local Panamanian beer & rum is included as part of your package.

Drone shot of the main lodge at Tranquilo Bay in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Private cabañas at Tranquilo Bay in Bocas del Toro, Panama
Enjoy spacious rooms with AC at Tranquilo Bay in Bocas del Toro

The main target for anglers fishing in Bocas del Toro are tarpon and snook, although other species like jack crevalle, mackerel, barracuda, dorado, blackfin tuna and wahoo can all be caught in season. You will be guided by the American owners themselves, Jay & Jim, on their 26’ SeaVee center console which is equipped with 200 hp Yamaha engines, livewell, padded seating, bimini top for shade, and quality Shimano tackle. This section of Panama’s Caribbean Coast is dotted with islands, mangroves, lagoons and two big river mouths at the Changuinola and Sixoala Rivers. The river mouths lie about an hour run from the lodge, so along the way you’ll stop and try to fill the livewell with live bait which goes a long way to eliciting a bite from a marauding tarpon. If you want to try and land a big snook you can wade into the surf at the rivermouths, often times with bucktail jigs or white/bone colored stickbaits doing the trick. While Panama many not offer as many tarpon as Costa Rica or Belize, the trade off is these fish are under a lot less pressure so you’ll most likely be the only boat fishing these river mouths. If you are visiting with family or simply love all ocean activities, you can also combine a day of fishing with snorkeling the vibrant reefs right in front of the lodge or out at the Isla Bastimientos Marine Park. Back on land the Tranquilo Bay property covers 200 acres so there are a ton of on-site activities to enjoy like early morning bird watching, night hikes, kayaking the mangroves, stand up paddle boarding, or climb their 60 ft observation tower for one-of-a-kind panoramic views.

Tarpon fishing in Panama

#7 – Tropic Star Lodge

Of course no list of the 7 Best Fishing Lodges in Panama would be complete without the world famous Tropic Star Lodge. Located in Pinas Bay, the Tropic Star Lodge is responsible for making Panama the internationally recognized sport fishing hot spot that it is today. With just 19 rooms and a reputation known around the world due to over 300 IGFA world records, anglers need to lock up their dates a year in advance if they want the chance to fish the Tropic Star Lodge. There are eight rooms in the Casa Grande, four private cabins, and one 3-bedroom ocean view villa at the top of the hill aptly named ‘The Palace’. All rooms offer air conditioning, private bathrooms, and spacious interiors for all your gear and luggage. After a full day of fishing come back and enjoy a refreshing dip in their freshwater pool along with a cold drink the bar. Due to the remote location deep in the Darien Jungle, all meals are included in your stay at the lodge, including wine service with your four course dinner.

Famous fleet of 31' Bertrams at the Tropic Star Lodge
Luxury rooms with views at the Tropic Star Lodge
Pool area at the Tropic Star Lodge

One of the most iconic things about the Tropic Star Lodge is their rainbow fleet of 16 fully customized 31′ Bertrams. Fully maintained and repaired on site, all boats are outfitted with GPS, VHF radios, and custom tuna tubes and live baitwells for an unforgettable experience whether you are fishing inshore or offshore. The captains & mates at Tropic Star are all local to the area and have been fishing off Pinas Bay for years, many learning their craft from fathers and grandfathers who worked there before them. Synonymous with fishing at the Tropic Star Lodge is the Zane Grey Reef. Discovered in the 1920s by famed author and adventurer Zane Grey, this was made famous once Dr. Guy Harvey mapped it and showed it to the world. What is a relatively small sea mount, there are three pinnacles that rise from the ocean floor to within 150 ft of the surface in some spots, creating the ideal habitat for bait fish and game fish alike. Located just 20 miles from the dock at Tropic Star Lodge, on the right week you can catch blue, black, and striped marlin – along with sailfish, dorado, and wahoo – just minutes from your room. All boats are equipped with Shimano reels, custom Dru rods, AFTCO fighting harness and all teasers and lures you’ll need for the fishing trip of a lifetime.

Blue marlin fishing in Panama

As you can see, each of the operations on our list of the 7 Best Fishing Lodges in Panama has something different to offer in terms of amenities and fisheries. We’re here to help you find the best fit for the fishing you want to do, so when you begin planning your Panama fishing vacation make sure to give us a call and we’ll make sure you are in the right spot at the right time.

When is the Best Fishing in Panama?

Knowing when to plan your Panama fishing vacation is as important as where you stay and who you fish with. In addition to seasonal patterns of the game fish, Panama has two main weather seasons and multiple different microclimates. Panama runs from east to west and is nearly 1,000 miles long, so the weather patterns and fishing seasons in the Gulf of Chiriqui in the far west varies greatly from Piñas Bay in the far east. In addition to that, the Caribbean Coast follows completely different weather seasons than the Pacific Coast. Below is a Panama fishing calendar to give you a better idea of locations and seasons, but keep in mind this is not exact science but rather a general overview of historical patterns. We custom design 100% of our Panama Fishing Packages so we’ll be sure to put you in the right spot, at teh right time for the fishing you want to do.

Panama Fishing Calendar

Available Species in Panama

Panama sport fishing is famous for it’s giant blue and black marlin and incredible yellow-fin tuna fishing, but it offers so much more than just the offshore trophies. Perhaps our favorite aspect of fishing in Panama is the sheer variety of game fish species we encounter. On any given week, we can catch up to 30 species fishing inshore and offshore on the Pacific Ocean alone. Once you factor several more species on the Caribbean, including the beloved tarpon, and then peacock bass on the Panama Canal itself you’ll begin to understand why the word Panama means “an abundance of fish.” Your Panama fishing vacation will be custom designed to focus on specific target species or put you in a spot to see how many different species you can catch in a week.

Offshore Fishing

Black Marlin
Blue Marlin
Striped Marlin
Yellowfin Tuna

Inshore & Bottom Fishing

Cubera Snapper
Jack Crevalle
Bluefin Trevally
Horse-eye Jack
Red Snapper
Rock Snapper
Mullet Snapper
Lane Snapper
Schoolmaster Snapper
Pacific Snook
African Pompano
Almaco Jack
Broomtail Grouper
Black Grouper
Rainbow Runner

Freshwater Fishing

Peacock Bass

Panama Fishing FAQs

Do I need a fishing license to fish in Panama?

Surprisingly, the answer is no. Despite being one of the world’s premier sport fishing destinations for a couple decades now, Panama does not require a fishing license.

How many people will be on my fishing boat?

All fishing charters booked by Central America Fishing are private, so the boat is 100% yours. We do not set up any shared charters.

What is the standard tip for a fishing charter in Panama?

A standard tip for a charter fishing crew in Panama is 10%-20% of the cost of the charter. If you stay at an all inclusive fishing lodge in Panama you may not know how much the boats cost per day as you probably were given a package price, but in general $150 per day would be the lower end while $200-$300 per day would be towards the higher end.

Can I bring my own fishing gear?

OF COURSE! Even though our private charters and fishing lodges provide all the fishing tackle, lures, leaders and bait you’ll need, you are always welcome to bring your own if you want to catch fish using your own tackle. Perhaps more than any other destination in Central America, in Panama avid anglers want to put their own popping and jigging outfits to the test against yellow-fin tuna and our prized inshore species. Fly anglers are should plan on bringing their own fly gear as that will not be provided.

Which fish in Panama are catch and release and which ones can I keep to eat?

By law, all billfish in Panama are strictly catch and release. While not a law, we also strongly encourage releasing all roosterfish, tarpon, and cubera snapper as they are such prized inshore species. Other species like tuna, dorado (mahi), wahoo, snappers, groupers, corvina, snook can be kept and enjoyed for a fresh seafood dinner.

Can I bring fish back home with me to my own country?

The short answer to this is yes, there is no law in Panama against bringing fish that you caught back home with you. If you are fishing in Panama on a local day charter it is understood that you are the paying client and any edible fish you catch is yours, but of course it is always appreciated when you share the meat with your hard working crew.  When you stay at an all inclusive fishing lodge however the mindset changes a bit as the fish you catch goes to feed the lodge staff and other guests, it should not be assumed that you’ll get to take home every fillet you brought in.  We understand you may love the idea enjoying a seafood dinner in your own home upon returning from Panama, and that may very well be possible if there is enough to go around, but the lodge typically takes what they need to feed everyone first. There are a few things you should consider when trying to bring fish home from your Panama fishing vacation:

1 – Unlike some other popular fishing destinations, in Panama there is no service that will package and ship fish home for you. If you want to bring fish home with you you’ll have to do it yourself in your own luggage. Our best advice is to bring down a soft sided, leak-proof cooler, have your fish frozen completely solid, wrap them in newspaper, and then check your cooler as part of your luggage since it will stay cooler in the cargo hold of the plane versus in the cabin as a carry-on. If you don’t have a cooler or forget to bring one, you can purchase affordable plastic coolers here in local grocery stores. Some of our higher end fishing lodges will have vacuum sealers, ask us when booking your trip.

2 – While Panama does not prohibit you from bringing fish fillets home with you, your international airline might. We strongly recommend you confirm this with your airline (in writing if possible) or you may have the fish confiscated from you at the airport check-in.

3 – Even if your airline lets you fly the fish home, your local customs may have an issue with you bringing in meat products from a foreign country. In our experience most customs agents don’t seem too interested in you bringing back frozen fish fillets from your fishing vacation to Costa Rica, but it can depend on the agent and depend on the day.

What if there is bad weather on our fishing day?

This is a question we hear a lot and typically requires a two part answer:

If the captain, lodge, or government deem the conditions are unsafe the trip will be cancelled.  The first course of action is to try and reschedule you, but if that is not possible you will be refunded in full.

However, rain and dark clouds are not considered bad weather. We are in the tropics and rain is a common occurrence here so that is not a cause for cancelling the trip. Many great fishing days happen in the rain, especially for tuna – as they say the fish are wet anyway! If you don’t want to fish in the rain there will be no refund.

Every single Panama Fishing Vacation booked with Central America Fishing includes the following:

  • Free Vacation Planning (no fees + direct rates)
  • VIP Airport Meet & Greet upon arrival into PTY
  • Private, air-conditioned transfers with English speaking driver.
  • Domestic flights (as needed)
  • Luxury accommodations hand-picked and customized for your group. Choose between private condos & villas, luxury beach resorts, exclusive boutique hotels, and all inclusive fishing lodges.
  • 100% private fishing charters on all our Panama Fishing Packages
  • All eco / adventure tours you’d like to include
  • All Panama taxes
  • Free quotes on travel insurance
  • Pre-arrival assistance with dinner reservations, tee times, pre-stocking your condo or villa, hiring a private chef, and special requests.
  • 24/7 support once you are here in country
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Please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours. If you wish to speak to us sooner please call us anytime at 1-855-414-FISH. Your 100% customized vacation starts here!

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