2017 Fishing Season Highlights


The rains are now part of our normal weather pattern with afternoon showers and larger storm systems passing through every few days. With the rains comes new debris flowing into the ocean creating welcome salinity and temperature changes. This becomes obvious to our captains as the color line changes. All of these factors help school baitfish together and makes it easy picking for the predators. (And better fishing for us). The seas have been calm for majority of the days each week with the wind coming up only once or twice in the past thirteen days.

The shoals of Yellowfin Tuna have been an absolute blast to fish offshore with feeding frenzies seeming to pop up all over. Tuna from 40 lb to arm-stretching fish of over 200 lb have been busting the surface with Porpoise feeding alongside and schooling up baits along with birds of all sizes diving in on the action. The Blue Marlin are also cruising around the Tuna schools around 14 miles offshore. The Sailfish are delivering beautiful aerial displays for anglers inshore all the way out on the drop off. The world famous Tropic Star Dorado have been showing up with more consistency and our anglers have been excited to be catching them over that special 50 lb mark.

Tuna fishing in PanamaCathy Needleman, longtime friend of the Lodge, joined us with her daughter, Jessica Lewensztain, for her annual fishing trip. Cathy is an avid angler and travels all over the globe chasing all types of fish. For this particular trip Cathy just wanted to see her daughter have fun and experience what Cathy has come to love so much. Jess released her first Pacific Sailfish of 100 lb as well as her very first Blue Marlin. Cathy and Jess were both equally excited when, after Jess’s first blue marlin catch; Cathy went on to release her own Blue just moments later. It made for a day that neither of them will ever forget.

The Erickson family joined us for an adventurous family vacation. The entire family was jazzed about being down in the jungle to chase some giant fish and snap some great photos. Wyatt and Colt, 6-year- old twins, hooked up to some fun sized Dorado and loved fishing with their mom and dad, Angela and Arthur Ericson. Guest, Alana Hilgenberg told us on arrival that her dream fish was a Black Marlin and lo-and-behold… the first day out she released a 500 lb Black Marlin with some great photos as proof. We can’t wait to see the video that her brother, Austin Hilgenberg, puts together as he and his mom are both wizards behind the lens.

Thomas McCloskey brought his two wonderful sons, Will and Michael, for some father son bonding over some extra-large fish. Thomas visited us before years ago with his father and more recently with his older son, Will. Now it was time for Thomas to bring both his sons to carry on the family tradition. Neptune was favoring the McCloskey brothers as they both released their first Pacific Blue Marlin of 400 lb and 450 lb, respectively. Dad had his sights set on a Black but it evaded him on this particular trip. We can’t wait to see the guys back down here again soon to get dad his big old Black Marlin that’s here waiting for him.

Barry Kaufax brought his son Jerel for some fun out on the water. The duo always wore a smile and had fun exchanging fishing tales with their fellow guests at Lodge. Both father and son put their strength and technique to the test with some outstanding catches. Barry released his first ever Marlin, a Pacific Blue of 300 lb. On one special day for the father and son they returned to the dock with more than a few Dorado, a Yellowfin Tuna of 236 lb for Jerel and Barry released another Marlin of 500 lb! The gents had a fantastic time with each other and I know I speak for the whole team and our guests when I say we are going to miss them and can’t wait to see them back.

Toke Aw brought his friend “Big fish” Bob from Los Angeles. Toke visits us twice a year and we always have a great time while he’s here with us. Bob had fun hooking up to multiple Yellowfin Tuna on his fly rod. And on one instance Toke attempted an unorthodox technique. Toke attached the fly line to a down rigger to entice the bite and it worked. The friends released multiple Marlin with Bob releasing his first ever of around 500 lb. Bob told us it was a really tough fight and he had Toke get all his medical information ready for a possible emergency as the fight was so intense. On the last evening of their stay on awards night, Toke helped me hand out a very special award, the Mowgli award to our special guest Harry Brinkley. Harry visits us annually. This award was given with Toke and I singing “I wanna be like you” song from the Jungle book with a few changes such as “I wanna fish like you and hunt like you toooo.”

Mark Davis from Big Water Adventures was down to film with us again. As always, we had an absolute blast! The Yellowfin Tuna action on poppers was absolutely crazy with us catching so many of them that my arms were cramping. The sight of a Yellowfin Tuna hitting a popper is one that really gets a fisherman’s blood pumping. We also experienced the adrenaline pumping Marlin action offshore with a pair of beautiful Blue Marlin that we got up close and personal with. I can’t wait for you all to see the episode. We’ll announce show times when they become available.

By the end of the week, our guests had grown into our family and contacts and emails were exchanged so we could re-unite next year for some more arm-stretching fishing fun. We thought we had seen pretty much everything this week with loads of big Yellowfin, giant Roosterfish, and prized billfish coming out of our waters. But at Tropic Star Lodge, you never know what is going to happen. Our guest Curt Dykstra really proved this on the last day when he caught a 195 lb Tarpon!

Piñas Bay is a special place to me (and to all fisherman) because you never know what you are going to hook up to. This huge Tarpon proves once again that monsters lurk in our fabled waters.

Tight lines and fair seas,
Capt. Richard White

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Orlando Office:

635 N. Rio Grande Ave.,
Orlando, FL 32805
US callers: 1-800-682-3424
International callers: 001-407-843-0125
Fax: 1-407-956-3823

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


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507-396-6414 or 507-396-6413

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