2017 Fishing Season Highlights

Getting ready for the fish

Honey I’m home…

After a short trip out of the Country I’m back at Tropic Star Lodge, an amazing place to be able to call home.  I find myself reflecting upon my life and this wonderful location. In the heart of the Darien Jungle is a fishing lodge that has been around for over fifty years. It is a fishing establishment for fisherman and their families run by fisherman and their families. I lovingly refer to the place as the original fishing lodge. Others have called it home of the Black Marlin or Jurassic Park, thanks to our magnificent coast line with beautiful jungle, the incredible number of Black Marlin we catch here and dinosaur sized fish that lurk just beneath the surface.

fishing tackle preparation for a day on the water.Over the past few weeks the seasons have been changing from our dry season to the green season. It is also the change from our billfish season offshore to our inshore fishing season. That is not to say that the Marlin and Tuna are not still out there, they are just not as abundant. During this time of year, we have a lot of fry hatching along the coast line and as they get to fingerling size (juvenile finger size fish) the action really starts to turn on. Apart from the fingerlings this time of year, we get shoals of sardines that ball up just off the coastline. With all this bait in the area the predator fish start ganging up on them and it’s game on! We find large numbers of Roosterfish moving in as well as a great variety of snapper, (including the biggest of them all the Cubera), along with grouper, AJ’s and on occasion a tarpon. On a good day guests can catch a multitude of different species within a few miles from the lodge in our calmest seas of the season. If you are into live bait fishing, jigging or popping: NOW is some of the most exciting inshore action that you can get with our smorgasbord of Jurassic size fish.

Our Marlin season this year was all sorts of crazy and fun. It started out with a HUGE bang. Our start of season tournament was really exciting with great numbers of billfish being released making it a lot of fun for all the participating anglers. Later on in the season our guests (who we call family) where lucky to be part of our record breaking week. Our guests got to release 102 Marlin in six days of fishing!!! That week in January we broke our own lodge record of 96 marlin caught in August a few years ago.  Just two weeks later, we released a staggering 69 Black Marlin in six days.

The Yellow fin tuna tested tackle and anglers alike, with tuna breaking the 150 lb mark regularly. We also had Sailfish slashing baits and putting on gorgeous aerial displays trying to outdo the giant Dorado that are so often sought after by anglers. Monster Mahi are found here in sizes that amaze even our most seasoned anglers who fish around the world.   We get them over that special 50lb mark consistently; and on my Birthday, my best present was watching my wife Mallory, boating a 62lb, her biggest to date.  We helped many guests apply for the new IGFA 50 pound Dolphin Club, including Mallory!

This year the Tropic Star Lodge team have again been hard at work making improvements and maintaining a special place that speaks of nostalgia and offers a home-like feeling for our extended family. We have started to upgrade some of our rooms with new interiors; from new beds and linens, new gorgeous art work by Guy Harvey and new inside and outside furnishings.  We even have a new Couples Only suite up the Stairway to heaven.

On the water side, we have also been working hard on improving our boats. We have started replacing our old engines with some 6BT Cummins engines with great results. The new Cummins engines are substantially quieter, more efficient and produce far less emissions. We are also beginning the up-grade of all the electronics on our boats to Ray Marine E series GPS’s and sounders with the Ray Marine radios to match. Our second boat with all the improvements will hopefully be ready by the end of May. All the boat crews have been issued with top of the range HUK rain gear, some great accessories from Buck knives, eye wear from Costa Del Mar, apparel from Guy Harvey, gloves from Aftco for wiring those great catches. Our tackle is also having a few changes coming soon with the change in the IGFA rules. Records will now count with braid backing and so, we will be spooling all our reels with Diamond braid backing and Diamond Moi Moi top shot. The reels we will be using of course will be Shimano’s paired with our Custom Tropic Star rods made by Rods by Dru. Pollyanna, our upgrade boat, a 45ft Hatteras has been a big hit with guests– so we will be starting work on the Miss TERESITA to be our next upgrade vessel.

We have also been working closely with the Minister of Sea Resources on fishing conservation in Panama and have made good strides.  Our 20 mile non-commercial fishing zone has again been drawn to their attention and they are backing us up with more inspections and restrictions.  Panama is working hard at regulating licenses, collecting data and getting this department improved.  Our TSL group manager Ursula, has had the pleasure of participating in many meetings in the city with the Minister and (finally) Sport Fishing is considered a government recognized sector of fishing in Panama.  The no kill billfish law since 2006 has also been reemphasized and new penalties are being established. 

Tropic Star has granted one of our Bertram boats in support towards scientific research and conservation.  The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation has already programmed to start scientific work at the lodge during this year which is incredibly exciting!  Satellite tags are going to be available for sponsorship should anyone be interested in participating and also in entering “The IGFA Great Marlin Race”.

Our Roosterfish Tournament is already sold out and will include Guy and Jessica Harvey placing 3 smaller Satellite tags and as many spaghetti tags as possible on roosterfish, working directly with our participants.  Our numbers of roosterfish released in the past two tournaments, give Guy the best chance to tag many roosterfish. I will be fishing with Mark Davis of Big Water Adventures and can’t wait to see what Neptune presents us with this year.

Tropic Star Lodge is famous for being one of the best fishing destinations in the world. Guests have been traveling to Piñas Bay for more than 50 years to experience our pristine remote fishing grounds and impeccable service.  Our guests love our Darian jungle location and the amazing Panamanian fishing adventures we provide.  Now our guests have even more to love; as we introduce New Panamanian Adventure Packages.

These packages give you the opportunity to experience more of the beautiful country of Panama by land and by sea. We’ve paired our fishing adventures with exciting and interesting land tours in Panama offering you more amazing adventures beyond Piñas Bay.

Three New Packages are Available:

10-Day, 9-Night Fishing Excursion, Playa Bonita Beach Resort & City Tour

9-Day, 8-Night Fishing Excursion, Bocas Del Toro Resort & City Tour

9-Day, 8-Night Fishing Excursion, Casco Viejo, Jungle Paradise & City Tour

For those of you who are planning a trip or have already booked your trip; take a look at our website, as we now offer some add-on excursions in the city for before or after your trip as well.

So to sum it all up, I find myself being very blessed. I’m living and working in this breath-taking place with my amazing wife, surrounded by a top-notch team, who are just as passionate about the ocean and the sea life as I am. Our Tropic Star Lodge family here are passionate about the Lodge and leading the way for others to follow in conservation, with our catch and release policy. We feel that it is all about respect. Respect the Ocean, the Fish that we catch and release, and have respect for the future generations.

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

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Contact Information

Mailing Address:

Tropic Star Operations 
18331 Pines Blvd.
Box 116
Pembroke Pines, FL 33029

Contact us by Phone:

US callers: 1-800-682-3424
International callers: 001-407-843-0125
Fax: 1-407-308-0092

Office Hours: 9 am to 5 pm EST (Monday thru Friday)

Panama City Office:

507-396-6414 or 507-396-6413

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