I first set foot on the property of Tropic Star (tropicstar.com) in December of 2009. I was there to fish for marlin but had a fly rod rigged for sails, dolphin and small tuna. There are plenty of tuna in Panama — the problem is finding ones under 80 pounds. Most fishing days out of Tropic Star start with a run to Zane Grey Reef for bait. In Panama, baits are bonito or skipjack tuna anywhere between 5 and 20 pounds. These are serious baits that are kept alive in tuna tubes and slow-trolled on 50-pound stand-up rigs for marlin, which run from 200 to 800 pounds. If you’re interested in dolphin, you have to explain to your captain that you want him to look for floating trees, rips, weed lines, etc. so you can catch dolphin on a fly rod. If you don’t, he will run away from them to protect the baits. A 40-pound dolphin will attack a live bonito but won’t be able to eat it. The tuna tubes hold only six baits, and when they are gone, you have to sacrifice crucial fishing time to find more. When a big dolphin comes into the spread, all you’re going to wind up with is a dead bait or two, so the mate will try desperately to get the bonito out of the water before the dolphin kills it. This same action actually works well for teasing the dolphin right up to the boat for a perfect shot at a trophy fish on fly. Casting can be a problem because of the other baits and teasers, but there is good news. A teased dolphin will follow the bonito right up to the transom, so you’ll rarely need to cast more than 20 feet. The key is to place the fly in the salt just as the bonito is yanked from the water by the mate. This is the only scenario that I’ve found for effectively teasing a dolphin into fly-rod range. Usually one will make a single pass at a bait or lure, and if it isn’t hooked, it’ll simply leave. At times, we got them to hang around for a couple of passes by dropping back a hookless Panama-rigged bonito belly, but it didn’t work as well as the live bonito.