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January 29, 2010

Trophy Panama Roosterfish

Target Panama's trophy roosterfish for extreme light-tackle fun.

Maximize opportunities
Setting up the boat correctly helps maximize your shots at fish. You can always troll live baits from both sides, but we increased our odds by slow-trolling live baits from only the offshore side of the boat and repeatedly casting popping plugs toward the shoreline off the shoreward side. This covers more water with both bait and lures.

How Deep?
The bigger roosterfish often swim in slightly deeper water over rock piles, but they move around quite a bit too. Working different water depths will bring dividends. Trolling on and off the shoreline can help you zone in on where they're feeding. Once you get a strike, work the area for awhile, as there may be more fish around. In addition, bonus species like big jacks, cubera snappers, trevallies and African pompanos inhabit the same areas. If a pod of bait has attracted a school of feeding roosterfish, chances are other species are bound to be close by too.  

What to Bring

Rods and reels: For trolling, use stout conventional rods with your line of choice up to 30-pound-test and with conventional reels with ample line capacity. Rods should have lots of lifting power for keeping fish, especially cubera snappers, out of the rocks. Casting tackle should be medium-action spinning or plug tackle spooled with braided line up to 30-pound-test.

Baits: Small live bonitos, tunas or goggle-eyes bridled to 10/0 or larger circle hooks on heavy leader, as roosterfish seldom seem to be leader-shy. You can also use Panama strip baits or sewn mackerel if live bait is scarce, a situation you'll almost never encounter.

Lures: Popping topwater plugs like Yo-Zuri's Sashimi Bull, Sebile's Splasher or Bomber's A-Salt Popper. For tuna, keep a casting rod rigged with a vertical jig like Bomber's Vamp or a Shimano butterfly jig.

Tropic Star Lodge

Tropic Star Lodge provides a perfect base of operations for a wide variety of fishing options. You can fish the rocks for roosterfish and other species; head just offshore for sailfish, blue and black marlin, and dorado; or split up your day and do both. And during one of our trips to TSL, we found yellowfin tuna and sailfish very close to shore, where the roosterfish live. Someone even had a shot at a black marlin close by the rocks too! You never know what you'll find in this tropical fishing paradise.

Tropic Star Lodge
Piñas Bay, Panama
635 N. Rio Grande Ave.
Orlando, FL 32805

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