2017 Fishing Season Highlights

Sailfish close to the boat, ready to be release

The ocean has been like glass and our anglers are able to see for miles. The sea surface temperature has been irregular and varies day to day, running cold one day and warmer the next. Currents are not flowing in their usual direction, south to north. Instead the currents have resembled more of a spider web. On some days, there has been little to no current which can make it tough to find bait and also making the fish lethargic. In some areas, we have seen red tide which has not affected us too badly offshore, however, we have had to avoid fishing in some places inshore. The Black Marlin and Sailfish are still present but the bite is not hot as in the beginning of the season.

With all the water irregularities the billfish bite has been particularly tough. Marlin and Sailfish have been spotted on the surface tailing or just sunning in large numbers but the fish have been difficult to entice into going after our baits. For the anglers who had Neptune’s favor, they received some strikes and watched the awesome show from their Black Marlin and Sailfish and releases. Inshore, boats released very nice-sized Roosterfish and Cubera Snapper. The Grouper have also started to show up in their regular spots and so too have the African Pompano and Bluefin Trevally. Our fleet released a couple large Tarpon who have taken up residence just north of the Lodge. All week the shoal has been seen rolling on the surface. Offshore we had some fun Yellowfin action with most of our anglers wrestled in tuna between 30 lb and 150 lb.

Joe and Nancy Frazer who have been part of our extended fishing family for many years came to join us for a Valentine’s fishing trip. Over the years, Joe and Nancy have been fishing together on many different boats, and as it turns out, the 31’ Bertram that Nancy caught her very first Marlin on during their honeymoon is now part of the Tropic Star Fleet. This boat just happens to be the very same boat they fished on while they were here. Miss America captained by Jose is our latest addition to our fleet and is powered with new engines and electronics. On Valentine’s day Nancy released a beauty of a Black Marlin of around 500 lb on Miss America. Joe has watched Nancy catch multiple Black Marlin here and in Australia with none under his belt. This time Neptune saw the kind-hearted romantic that Joe is and rewarded him with his first Black Marlin of 300 lb. Congratulations, Joe! We know Her Majesty has eluded you for quite some time.

tropicstar report flagged 20Tye and Malia Smith came down to Tropic Star Lodge for their honeymoon from Georgia. The lovely couple stayed in our new honeymoon suite which has been completely remodeled and has a spectacular view of Piñas Bay. Tye’s parents used to frequent the Lodge every year and it was wonderful looking through our past guest books to read what they wrote. The couple found that Tye’s parents had been at the Lodge on the exact same dates in 1972. Tye desperately wanted to help his wife catch a Black Marlin and teach her how to hook up fish with a circle hook. By the end of their stay, Malia was hooking up her own giant Dorado and she released her first ever Black Marlin of 250 lb and Pacific Sailfish of 100 lb.

Friends, Raul and Dennis Otero and E.C. and Larry Smith visited us again with their sights set on Marlin. They brought Tropic Star newbies, father and son, Jacob and Steve Mester. The group fished a two-boat fleet swapping boats each day. They enjoyed both the offshore and inshore bite, bringing in a couple Snapper for dinner. Steve and Jacob had beginners luck with both anglers releasing their first Pacific Sailfish both over 100 lb and each released their first Black Marlin, with Steve’s coming in at an awesome 500 lb! On the last day one boat in their fleet released three Black Marlin in one day.

George Zumberge is a fly-fishing guide who just gushes enthusiasm for fishing. He got to come to chase some slightly bigger prey with his Grandfather, Gus Osterkamp. On the very first day, right after the fishing talk, George was wading out, going by kayak any way he could to chase the Jacks in the bay with his fly rod. He received a couple hits and then saw his hook had been straitened. George did get his Jack on fly by the end of the trip. On the last day they got to feel the burn from a Black Marlin, releasing his first Marlin of 300 lb. Gus also landed am arm-stretching Yellowfin of 150 lb to make sure everyone had great sashimi. On that same day, guests at the Lodge caught five Yellowfin over 150 lb.

Denis Parker and daughter Ciera Parker came visited us for a father-daughter time on the water. Ciera’s goal was to catch a fish so she could jump off the Tropic Star dock swim. While here, Ciera got to release a beautiful bull Dorado and a majestic Sailfish. When it came time for the Black Marlin, she got a bit of a shock and told dad to take the first one. Looking back I think she was just being one of those amazing daughters and letting dad have some fun cause it’s just as much fun seeing someone you care about having the time of their life as it would be for you. So Dennis got to release a Black Marlin and Ciera got to see one up close and in person for the first time ever. There was more action for the family duo but unfortunately Ciera didn’t get to do the swim, so we have a deal that when she comes back for her Marlin I will be doing the swim with her and I can’t wait!

Jim and Robin Freeman came to the lodge with their son Jim Jr and his girlfriend KK. The fishing was pretty tough but the guys fought some great fish, especially Jim. Jim released his first ever Black Marlin of 400 lb to complete his Royal Slam. Jim has been a sports fishing captain for many years and his son is following in his footsteps working on boats and enjoying the world one bent rod at a time. The Royal Slam is a life time achievement award for those who have caught or released all nine billfish from around the world. So a very big congratulations to you, Jim, on completing a lifelong dream and goal! And to do it with friends and family around, I couldn’t think of a better way.

John and Chrissie Jackson have been a part of the Tropic Star family for quite some time. Together they are working towards to their 250th Marlin caught together and it was great having them here and see them get closer to their goal, as both released Black Marlin. John and Chrissie are part of an international organization called Conservation Force which help with wild life conservation around the world as well as helping remote communities. We would like to say thank you on behalf of Tropic Star for your conservation efforts as they are so important so our children’s children can enjoy what we love.

This fishing report would not be complete without mentioning angler Tim Morris from Alabama who had the privilege to release a 600 lb Black Marlin. Well done, Tim, on fish of a lifetime!

All in all, the fishing has been tough for some and really rewarding for others. We have had difficult days on the water with fish looking at baits and days where a Black Marlin heads for the horizon with the reel screaming. Roosterfish have watched poppers from a safe distance and others have pounced on them. The oceans will always be changing and we, the anglers, will always be evolving with them… for in the eyes of fish all anglers are equal.

So from me, Richard White, I will be having a chat with Neptune to see if we can’t get those fish fired up for the end of our offshore season.

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

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635 N. Rio Grande Ave.,
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