Report: Big Cuberas in Panama

The 'rainy season' pays off on Hannibal Bank

Gulf of Chiriqui/Hannibal Bank, Panama

Submitted by:
Propiedad de Paradise Lodge



Although the “rainy season” here in Panama is supposed to be in full swing it sure does not seem like it. The weather has been unseasonably nice with little rain and sunshine and the seas have been smooth. Don’t get me wrong…we have had a few inclement days but at least it was nice for our fishermen last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Friday I loaded up the livewell with blue runners I’d caught the day before and picked up Doug Mead in Boca Chica for an inshore day charter. He was hoping to catch his first Roosterfish. We got what he was looking for right off the bat with a small Rooster at Isla Paridas but the rest of the day was pretty slow. We did get a couple of decent Mullet Snappers at Isla Ladrones and missed an unusual amount of fish due to some bad luck with pulled hooks and break offs on the rocks. We saw a bunch of Humpback whales all around Isla Ladrones and got some good photos as well.

Saturday morning I picked up had a group of anglers from Panama City for a two day trip. Saverio, Bob, Paulo, and Greg otherwise known as Thor, Aquaman, The Green Lantern, and Captain America. It was a little rough so went directly to Isla Montuosa the first day and much to our dismay it was dead. No bait, no activity, nothing. I decided to head in the direction of Isla Ladrones because the day before I’d heard that friends of mine had found the Tunas in that direction. We ran around searching for the Tunas and found some birds working with some Porpoises. I noticed some good marks on the sonar with the Porpoises but the Tunas just did not want to eat our baits! We ended up dropping some baits down on a deep seamount near Isla Ladrones and Greg caught a monster cubera snapper and Saverio a nice mullet snapper. Pretty slow the first day.


Sunday morning the seas were nice so we shot directly to Hannibal Bank. As we pulled up to the high spot around 8:30 a.m., much to my dismay, there was a long line drifting directly over the top of the bank. I had to manuver around and avoid trolling our Bonitio rigs over the longline not to tangle in it. We tried for a good half an hour to catch a few bonito for baits but they were scarce and wanted nothing to do with our rigs. We put the jigs down as well, in hopes of getting a bonito, but no luck. I moved to another high spot that was close and the mark on the sounder was enormous! As soon as we put a blue runner down…and BAM! Inhaled by a big cubera! The Green Lantern (Paulo) managed to get he fish to the boat for a photo and then it was released to fight another day. We missed a few more bites after drifting over the mark a few more times and finally Saverio puts the hook into a BIG yellowfin tuna and the fight is on! The Mighty Thor (Saverio) fought the fish for a good hour before relinquishing the rod to Aquaman (Bob) who took another 30 minutes before the fish was gaffed. The superhero duo did a great job tag teaming a 150-pound tuna on a light tackle setup with 50# braided line. Not a bad couple of days here in the middle of the rainy season in Panama!