Having moved to Panama last month I thought I would cast a few thoughts on the fishing opportunities Panama City has to offer.
Looking at maps from the cold confines of a bedroom in Europe, Panama looked like the ultimate fishing location.
Two distinctly different coasts and a canal made this look something of an anglers paradise. This is probably the case if you have an unlimited budget or access to a boat. I have neither.
So what are the options.
1 Fish with the locals in the city from the sea wall. There is something not right about fishing in a city centre and Panama is no exception. I’m sure there are fish there but the combination of high levels of water, noise and air pollution make this a no go for me. I’ve seen people doing it but I won’t be joining them.
2 Try the canal. Only a very short drive from the city the canal is a wonder of engineering but it’s designed for ships not budget fisherman. I’ve also been informed there are Crocs in there so wading and bank fishing are done at your perral. There are also surprisingly few access points to the water. It’s not like the Kennet and Avon canal back in good old Wiltshire England. So your only option is to hire a boat. You can hire canoes fairly cheaply up at Gamboa but I think the best and safest option is to go on an organised peacock bass trip out of Gamboa. Find 2 mates and for 225 dollars is a fairly sensibly priced afternoon’s entertainment, there are also a few other species to be had but bass are the norm.
3 This I think is the best option for the nomadic angler. Panama City connects a number of islands to the mainland by a well serviced ferry network. To date I have only been to Taboga but its definitely fishy. I did a bit of a look around with the snorkel and there are definitely Jack’s and a few other predatory fish there. Keep away from the main jump off point as the corral is badly damaged but work you way further round or across the island and there is definitely some good fishing to be had from the rocks. You can also hire canoes for the more adventurous. I didn’t get time this trip but I think the norther part of the island might house some monsters. The water looks deep.
I have also driven north and south of the city with little to no luck on finding good spots. Panama City has an enormous tidal range and a very flat beach meaning huge agrees of mud flats. Very difficult to fish. I plan on visiting more of Panama over the coming weeks and will update as and when I find some gems.