2020 Fishing Season Highlights

Marlin are a powerful fishDecember is the season to be jolly and the fish definitely helped our guests get into the holiday spirit. Our jungle elves made their appearance for Christmas along with captains, mates and the rest of the staff spreading holiday cheer. For New Years we had our Flappers and Dappers 1920’s themed party. The celebration included a more than few champagne toasts and fireworks display to ring in the New Year.  

The Marlin bite was tougher this December than previous years but we were still finding a few Grand Slams, consisting of Black Marlin, Blue Marlin and Sailfish. There were larger Black Marlin showing up and showing people just why she is considered her Majesty of the deep, with over 15 anglers releasing fish over 500 lb. Dorado once again were around in swarms with anglers easily besting the 50 lb mark. The big Yellowfin Tuna showed up just as expected, the same day angler Gregg Yaffa did as with the previous few years. We all really enjoyed the sushi that comes with them.

Tropic Star clients catch dorado in the waters off Pinas Bay, PanamaWe had more rain in late December this year than in any other year than I have experienced in the last five years which was great since our “rainy season” was dryer than normal. The reason the seasonal rains are so important is because they flood the rivers bringing all that nutrients and floating debris into the oceans. The seas were calm and the blue water kept teasing us as it was further out than normal at around 25 miles in the beginning of December. Towards the end of the month, the water moved in closer to the Lodge. The winds were light and consistent from the South which helped push in the rain and blue water.

The Yaffa Clan had grown yet again! Each December Andy Yaffa brings friends, family and loads of laughs to the lodge. The group has become a staple part of December at Tropic Star Lodge. It is always great getting to hear the latest antics. Edgar and Bret Benes always join Greg and Andy for their annual trip. The group released astonishing fish and had loads of firsts. Meghan Yaffa released a 350 lb Black Marlin and Amanda released a 500 lb. Black Marlin making their dad, Sam, the happiest guy on the dock! Bernie Yaffa released his first Black Marlin of 400 lb along with Aaron Yaffa, Shmu Yaffa releasing their first Blue Marlin of 200 lb. Lastly, Jeff Yaffa released his first Black Marlin of 300 lb.

Ralph Dick, first fished with us two years ago, and on his first trip he caught a grand slam cementing Tropic Star Lodge in his memories forever. The start of his trip didn’t get off to the same great start as the last time as Ralph experienced a really tough bite and was shut out for the first few days, but then on his last day of fishing Neptune gave him a blessing. Ralph released three Blue Marlin! It was great to hear the story on the dock and I’m sure it will be told many times over.

Meredith Ouzounian is new to big game fishing and man big game fishing needs to watch out for Meredith. She has had some great people teaching her the ropes and she has enough determination to bring even the mightiest of fish to heel. The first time Meredith ever went fishing deep sea she got to release a Striped Marlin on day one. Her next stop in her fishing extravaganza was nowhere else but the fabled waters of Tropic Star Lodge. Meredith no longer had her newbie luck and she had to work for her next billfish. Any bill fisherman can tell you that is just part of hunting for Marlin. Meredith was happy and carried on optimistic. On day four Meredith released her first Blue Marlin, Black Marlin and Pacific Sailfish in a single day getting herself a Billfish Grand Slam.

Mike Gagliano, Bryne Schultz, Edwin Pereira and Eric Fabritius fished with Captain Luis on Costa Rica. The guys had incredible Dorado action but what impressed them was the Marlin. The guys released Blue Marlin and Black Marlin which put on mesmerizing shows of heading for the horizon and just stripping line off the reel. The stories of their days on the water told over drinks in the evenings had people in stitches and the comradery was infectious. We can’t wait to see the Miami group back next season.

Nigel Philips and Shona Chadwick have been fishing with us many times and have become good friends with many people at the lodge. On this trip, they brought some friends from Florida with them to experience the jungle getaway where they love to relax. Andy Flint, Gary Bernhard and Randy Whidden came along to enjoy New Year’s Eve and catch some mythical fish. Every angler in the group caught Dorado over 50 lb, which in most parts of the world is unheard of. Collectively they caught over 60 Dorado with most being over 30 lbs. Randy caught one of 60 lb which is an incredible fish. Andy released his first Blue Marlin of 300 lb which earned him walk down the Plank . He walked the plank with Nigel who released a Black Marlin of 500 lb.

Eric Guider AKA the Viking and his daughter, Hannah, returned to the Lodge for a few days to get a respite from the snow to spend some good father and daughter time in the sunshine chasing fish. Both Eric and Hannah are crazy about fishing and getting to swop stories with them is always a blast. Hannah has caught some incredible fish at the Lodge in past trips, including a giant Black Marlin, Blue Marlin and one of the biggest Roosterfish I have ever seen. This trip Hannah was searching for a Sailfish to finish off her Tropic Star Lodge billfish extravaganza, and she nailed it with a 110 lb Pacific Sailfish.

Fredrick and Alison Benners from Dallas, Texas brought their sons, Tryp and Will, for some offshore fishing to enjoy the hunt for big fish and hopefully take on some Marlin. The family fished on Pollyanna with Capt. Fidel and had some incredible fishing with both sons releasing Marlin and bringing in some giant Dorado. There were also Sailfish in the spread. However, the fish that really blew everyone away was Will’s big Yellowfin Tuna of 252 lb. The entire lodge was excited about the fish and the sushi and sashimi that Chef Gabriel prepared was incredible.

Eric Havens has been fishing at Tropic Star for many years with his brother, Jeff, and son, Shane. Between them they have now officially caught pretty much everything that swims down here. On this trip Jeff and Shane were looking for their Black Marlin and with Captain Gustavo on the helm of Miss Hawaii.  They had some great billfish action releasing Marlin every day. Included, were Jeff’s first Black Marlin of 300 lbs and Shane’s, a beauty of 500 lb.

Steve McGill is an avid Marlin angler and has traveled the world chasing these incredible animals. The last billfish to elude him was the Black Marlin, which he had hooked before in different parts of the world but never got the release. That all changed during December when released his first Black Marlin on day one at Tropic Star Lodge! Steve released a 350 lb Black Marlin that put on one hell of a display and showed Steve just why anglers call the Black Marlin Her Majesty.

December was a really enjoyable month here at our jungle home. Seeing our guests have fun together for the holidays and the excitement involved being part of the first Marlin releases really makes this time of year special here at Tropic Star Lodge. We can wait to share more stories with everyone next month as the Marlin bit gets hotter and hotter.

Panamanian Mola

Tropic Star Lodge

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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