ZANE GREY TERRITORY: Zane Grey discovered the fishing potential of Panama and Piñas Bay in the late 1920's, but the secret was well kept for many decades. The famed author chased the world over searching for black marlin (what he called the silver marlin). The reef ranges from 120 to 350 feet and supports aquatic life beyond the imagination. Guy Harvey’s interpretation of what lies below the surface comes to life as a result of his numerous dives on the reef.
Zane Grey Reef is a relatively small seamount of solid rock which has its base on the flat continental shelf in 350 feet of water. The sides of the seamount rise sharply to the peak which is composed of three distinct pinnacles; the two to the south rise to within 150 feet of the surface and are joined, but there is valley 205 feet deep between these two and a larger peak to the north. A number of bait species and their predators congregate around the seamount, sometimes in astounding numbers.
The ocean currents, rich in plankton, push northwards past the seamount and bring food to all the assembled baitfish.
This abundance holds the larger predators such as amberjacks, Crevalle jacks, Cubera snappers, Mullet snappers and groupers. The ZGR holds the biggest schools of jacks I have ever seen.
Then there are large oceanic visitors such as manta rays, hammerhead sharks, bull sharks as well as a variety of requiem sharks waiting for an easy meal. Near the surface, four species of billfish are available; black, blue, striped marlins are targeted by anglers, as well as the quintessential sailfish. Other predators such as dolphin fish (dorado) and Yellowfin Tuna are often mixed in with the jacks, bonitos and rainbow runners that cram the waters around Zane Grey Reef. - Guy Harvey
Guy Harvey dove 205 feet down to photograph and gather information to make this possible. Left is a pen and ink drawing of the Zane Grey Reef done by Guy Harvey.
Little has changed in the interim years. Zane Grey's reef is now known as Piñas Reef, and to this day, the population of fish has not diminished. Most of our best fishing is only 20 minutes away, right out our front door, making this a truly unique location. Our seas are normally quite calm which makes Tropic Star Lodge® the ideal family fishing trip