I had the privilege of fishing at Los Buzos Lodge in Cambutal, Panama with a great group of anglers this summer. I knew a lot of the names through social media but had never met them in person. One of these anglers I became friends with was Robert Fields from YakFish TV.
We spent a week fishing the Pacific Ocean from the lodge. There were daily panga trips mother shipping two anglers out to the humps with their Hobie Mirage Outbacks. I hadn’t planned on taking that extra trip as I was having a blast fishing the area surrounding the lodge but Robert talked me into fishing with him. I am glad he did.
The morning started off at 5 a.m. as we were up getting coffee and double checking our gear for the day. As we met up while wheeling our kayaks down to the beach we started to question if we were making the right decision as we looked off in the direction we had to go and saw nothing but black skies and walls of rain. We discussed it briefly deciding we didn’t come this far to Panama to back down now.
As we took the 30 minute panga ride in the rain we watched lightning strike in all directions. The panga driver didn’t seem to mind it all and we were hoping it would clear up by the time we made it out there. The lightning stopped but the rain kept coming as we slipped the Outbacks off into the Pacific Ocean. We were being dropped off at a spot called the humps. It is where a rock formation comes up from the bottom in 230 feet of water making a good reef and only 70 feet deep over the rocks.
We were told this area holds everything from yellowfin tuna to rooster fish. I started off throwing a Sebile splasher not knowing what to expect. It didn’t take long before my first fish was on. I was excited with anticipation thinking a wahoo or maybe a rooster as it ripped across the surface only to see a huge wolf fish. I removed it quickly and went back to throwing the topwater looking for the target species. Again it didn’t take long before I had drag screaming.
This time I knew I had something good only to find out a bigeye jack had slammed my lure. Don’t get me wrong they are a hard fighting fish but when you are sitting in a rain storm in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by poisonous sea snakes and breaching whales you want to be rewarded with a tuna!
Robert and I regrouped as the rain stopped and the ocean calmed down. As we were discussing our next move we could hear the surface erupt from bait busting off in the distance. Not much was going at the humps so we decided to make the move and chase down and investigate to see what was busting the bait. I was amazed to see all the activity when we finally caught up to the bait line. It was bonito ripping up some sort of small minnows and it seemed to go on for miles.
It was awesome to watch until I saw a yellowfin break right in front of me. I made a cast working the splasher hard making all sorts of commotion and was rewarded quickly. A yellowfin tuna broke the surface missing it and was immediately followed up by another tuna that wasn’t as lucky. When I finally got that first tuna up to the gaff I couldn’t believe it. Never in my wildest dreams when I started kayak fishing did I ever imagine catching a yellowfin tuna!
It didn’t take long for Robert and I to figure the tuna were hanging on the outside edges of these bait balls and it was nonstop action for the rest of the morning. We ended up landing over 10 yellowfin tuna on poppers catching and releasing them by the end of the day. Catching tuna in the Pacific Ocean surrounded by mountains will be a day I never forget!
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