Panama Mothership

At a Glance

Come experience the ultimate fishing trip in the most exotic location in the country. Our Panama mothership offers it’s anglers the most exclusive fishing grounds in Panama, short run times, and extended fishing hours. The Panama mothership is literally a 78 foot, air-conditioned, floating fishing lodge, taking you to the best fishing spots in the country and keeping you out there all week. Enjoy air-conditioned rooms, delicious food, cold drinks, great people, and out‐of‐this‐world fishing aboard the best mothership in Panama. Spend all week fishing world famous offshore destinations like Hannibal Bank and Montuosa Island for huge marlin and tuna, or fish hundreds of miles of untouched coastline inside the Coiba Island National Park. The claim to fame here is that we routinely catch 20-30 different species of fish every week!

Property Info

World class fishing is what the mothership in Panama is all about, and they do it better than anyone. You’ll spend your week fishing aboard their 27’ Ocean Master center consoles at world famous hot spots like Montousa Island, the Hannibal Bank, Isla Jicarito, and of course Coiba Island. All boats are equipped with the best Shimano tackle, live wells, tuna tubes, fighting belts, and all the lures & terminal tackle you’ll ever need. Each and every day you are out fishing you can decide whether you want to bottom fish with jigs or chunk bait, cast crank baits, troll rapalas, fish live bait for a myriad of inshore giants, head offshore to troll for sailfish or marlin, and of course – everyone’s favorite – popper fishing. No other fishery in Central America can offer you the ability to cast poppers into a school of frenzied tuna and then go chuck the same poppers to countless rocky islands and reefs for roosterfish and cubera snapper in the same day.

Since the mothership will be anchored right at the fishing grounds, this will not only help you avoid the long run times that other lodges must endure, it also gives you another 2‐3 hours of fishing each day.  There are no set fishing hours on the mothership, so while most days start at 7:00 AM and return at 4:30-5:00 PM, it’s possible to come back early if you’d had enough sun, your arms hurt from too many battles with big fish, or you are simply craving a cold margarita and a shower. On the flip side, many days we’ll fish right up until sunset as we have a few snook holes that are fun to target at the end of a long day. If anyone wants or needs an afternoon or a full day break from the fishing you can go kayaking, visit secluded island beaches, snorkel spots at Coiba Island National Park, or visit the now‐famous Coiba Island penal colony – the most feared penitentiary in Panama’s history.

Despite the exotic logistics and spending your week 50 miles out to sea, the 78’ mothership provides a surprising amount of creature comforts during your stay. The converted barge features 4 air‐conditioned rooms, each with four comfortable beds (three twin beds and one full sized bed). The award‐winning chef will cook you three fresh meals a day, with most dinners being the fresh catch‐of‐the day that you and your fellow anglers bring back. There are also two full bathrooms with hot water showers, daily laundry service, and a full bar. When you aren’t fishing, you’ll spend most of your time on the open‐air deck at the bow of the boat where you will eat your dinners, enjoy a daily happy hour & appetizers, and share drinks & stories with your fellow anglers.

If you have a group of 2-4 anglers, it is possible to book just one room/one boat. If you have a group of 8-16 anglers, it is possible to book the entire mothership and make it your own private, floating fishing lodge for the week. See more about the Panama mothership experience in our YouTube video below.



  • Only 4 rooms and 4 fishing boats total
  • Rent the entire mother ship for your own private party with 8‐16 guests!
  • Each room is equipped with AC and four beds
  • Two bathrooms with hot water showers
  • Daily laundry service
  • Full bar (cash bar)
  • All meals included
  • All Shimano fishing gear, lures, tackle, and bait included
  • Each room assigned it’s own boat & crew for the week
  • Fish on full equipped 27’ Ocean Master center consoles
  • Must book far in advance for peak yellowfin tuna season (March‐July)
  • Mothership departs Sunday and returns Friday, so most trips are Saturday to Saturday.

Day Trips available from the the mother ship: kayaking, snorkeling, beachcombing, Coiba Island/penitentiary tour.

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CAF Hosted Weeks on the Mothership

At Central America Fishing, we organize trips to six different countries and have over 200 different destinations and propeties that we partner with. With that said, the Panama mothership is one of the few trips that we personally host, and we’ve been doing that since 2016. From our friends at the popular TV show Stoked on Fishing to private VIP groups that book the entire barge to the annual CAF Week on the Mothership – we love hosting groups at Coiba Island as it’s one of the most beautiful, exotic and productive fisheries that we’ve had the priveledge to fish. Below you can read recaps from some of our hosted weeks and see some other videos we’ve made during our weeks spent on the mothership.

All About Coiba Island, Panama

Coiba Island is one of Panama’s greatest national treasures. While the Panama Canal is known throughout the world and famous fishing hot spots like the Hannibal Bank and Zane Grey Reef are the first places big game anglers mention when dreaming of a Panama fishing vacation, Coiba Island somehow continues to be largely overlooked. That seems to be in line with the island’s history, which when viewed in hindsight is a big part of the reason it’s so special today. We’re here to let the secret out and tell you all about Coiba Island, Panama.

Where is Coiba Island?

Coiba Island is located on the Pacific Coast in Western Panama. Since Panama runs west to east between Costa Rica and Columbia, Coiba Island is found on Panama’s southern coast. Located between the borders of the Chiriqui Province and the Azuero Peninsula, there isn’t much development out here and is mainly cattle and farming country. The closest beach town that runs regular snorkeling and dive tours there is Santa Catalina, which to reach the very northern tip of Coiba closest to the mainland is still nearly 30 miles away. The vast majority of sport fishing lodges and charter boat operations in Western Panama are located in and around the small town of Boca Chica, which lies 50 miles away to the closest northern tip of the island and over 70 miles to the southern backside of the island. Certainly part of Isla Coiba’s mystique is that it is very hard to get to, even for local Panamanians from the mainland.

Geographically speaking, Isla Coiba is a juggernaut. It is not only the largest island in Panama at 194 sq miles (124,320 acres), but in all of Central America as well. Believed to have been separated from the Panamanian mainland 12,000-15,000 years ago with rising sea levels it’s closest point is thirty miles from shore. The center of the island has peaks and hills with the highest point reaching 1,400 ft above sea level. With it’s immense size Isla Coiba also boasts waterfalls and numerous rivers that empty into the sea. It is actually part of the same underwater mountain ridge as the more popular Galapagos Islands, made famous of course by Charles Darwin, and the wildlife here is no less impressive.

The Dark History of Coiba Island

The name ‘Isla Coiba‘ will illicit very different responses depending on who you ask. If you ask many modern day Panamanian adults they will at best know very little about it or more likely, shrink away from the topic knowing the island’s dark and violent modern history. That history of course refers to the infamous Coiba Island penal colony, which from 1919 to 2004 was Panama’s most feared prison.

The baddest of the bad, not to mention political prisoners and rivals under the Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega dictatorships, were exiled here and forced to live in the islands’ thirty prisoner camps. Prisoners here earned the nickname “Los Desaparecidos”, the disappeared ones, as many of them were never heard from or seen again. There are many stories of abuse, torture, and even gruesome if not creative ways to dispatch of unwanted or unpopular guests on the island. It is said that no one ever escaped the island, which is easy to believe considering it is thirty miles from land and it boasts and impressive population of BIG bull sharks, tiger sharks, and yes even crocodiles. For 85 years Coiba Island was the last place you’d want to be, and for thousands the last thing they did see.

Isla Coiba Today – Panama’s Prized Gem

That changed in 2004 when the island prison was formally shut down and all prisoners were relocated to other more modern facilities on the mainland. In an ironic twist of fate, the island’s dark history helped it to become the beacon of natural beauty and national pride that is today. Due to it’s remote location and imposing reputation, 80% of the island remained undeveloped and completely untouched by man.

That let wildlife flourish, and today Isla Coiba is home to 36 mammal species, 30 species of bats, 147 bird species, and 760 fish species including 33 different types of shark. It is also an important nesting site for hawksbill, olive, loggerhead, and the giant leatherback sea turtles. Even more impressive is that 21 species of birds are endemic to Isla Coiba and scientists are literally finding new species both on land and under water every year. Fortunately this dark moment in Panama’s history has a silver lining as it was named a national park in 1992 and in 2005 was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That Coiba Island National Park consists of 38 islands in total, Coiba Island of course the largest and the main attraction, and covers an area of 270,125 hectares.

Fishing at Coiba Island

As far as fishing goes, sport fishing at Coiba Island is actually allowed but it is heavily monitored and is strictly catch and release. Among the 760 species of fish that are found in Panama, we focus on 30-40 species of game fish including black and blue marlin, sailfish, dorado, wahoo, and of course yellow-fin tuna.

Closer to the various islands you can also find popular inshore species like snapper, grouper, jacks, small sharks, barracuda, hound fish, mackerel, and of course everyone’s favorite – roosterfish.  Coiba Island is so exotic that tarpon native to the Caribbean Sea have made their way through the canal and established a permanent home here.  As Coiba Island is 30 miles from shore and another 20 miles long, some of it’s best fishing spots can be 50-60 miles from the mainland where many charter boats leave from so it is not heavily fished.  Our favorite way to experience Coiba Island is spending a week on our air conditioned, 70′ Panama mothership, which will spend all week anchored in the various protected bays of the island which puts you on the doorstep to the best inshore and offshore fishing in Panama.

Why Fish With CAF?

We have been fishing, living, and traveling around Central America since 2003. Plan your trip with local experts to make sure you are in the right place, at the right time, and on the right boat. We’ll help you fish for what you want, the way you want.

Free vacation planning + the best direct rates. No booking fees!

Personalized service from pre-arrival to 24/7 in-country support.

Hand-picked accommodations, fishing captains, expert guides for the best vacation experience.


Nearly 40% of our anglers are repeat & referral guests. CAF puts you on the fish!

We are proud to have a global reach and have hosted anglers from 14 different countries here in Central America!

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All fishing vacations booked with Central America Fishing include the following:
  • Free Vacation Planning (no fees + direct rates)
  • VIP Airport Meet & Greet upon arrival into SJO
  • Private, air-conditioned transfers with English speaking driver.
  • Luxury, private accommodations hand-picked and customized for your group. Choose between private condos & villas, luxury beach resorts, exclusive boutique hotels, and fishing lodges.
  • Private fishing charters
  • All eco / adventure tours you’d like to include
  • All Costa Rican 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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