Waterman's Journal

Aug 19, 2012

Panama: Offshore and Out of Sight

Panama: Offshore and Out of Sight
by Brett Seng

As fishermen, with years under our belts, continents covered, uncharted waters explored, we end up learning from within that the our pursuit is the addiction and holds the superior precedence to the species of our choice. As I travel to more and more fisheries around the world I find myself content from the comradery of those I choose to fish with, the peripheral elements only found during my pursuit, and of course, the moment of truth when all the persistence and patience pays off and in one blink, no matter how you dreamed it up the night before, the next moments happen with an originality you couldn’t ever re-create and most times have a difficult time remembering the exact details. This is the drug, and we are all addicts.

Below: A fish eye lens motoring away from the islands // There's no lack of bait in Panama

Wade Richardson and Carter Andrews met us on a pier in Boca Chica, Panama in early May with a look on their faces that I’ll never forget.... welcome to the fishery we’ve been looking for our whole lives. We were anchored on a mother ship on the south eastern side of Islas Secas, right in the heart of what I would come to learn one of the most dynamic offshore fisheries in the world. To the north was Isla Montuosa, to the east was Hannibal Bank, and to the south was Isla Ladrones. Each location held pelagic species of unknown potentials, you couldn’t miss in any direction.

Below: Casting poppers for tuna // Mahi Mahi lit up boatside

Each morning came with a swan dive off the bow of our 96’ mother ship with Bonito, Roosterfish and Jack Crevalle crashing bait all around the bait-rich waters of our bay. After breakfast, hard decisions were made to either go aboard the world-famous 48’ “Hooker”, captained by Wade Richardson and the finest deck-hands in Panama, or Carter Andrews of Islas Secas Resort which entailed a 34’ SeeVee loaded down with specific gear ready for inshore/offshore pursuits fly or gear ready.

A day on the boat with Wade is one to remember, he’s probably one of the most talented guys I’ve ever met and runs the “Hooker” with absolute finesse from the tower to the deck, stern to bow. The communication between him and his crew is like a fine-tuned diesel engine at all levels of the day. These guys breathe Marlin, they see the rise of the fish, the take, and know exactly how to safely leader our fish in a timely fashion. This comes with an immense amount of time and experience, you couldn’t re-create another crew like this one... period. As a trout fishing guide in Montana, time on the water with Wade and company made me re-direct my path of professionalism, I can tell you that.

Below: A Blue Marlin takes flight // The world-famous 48' Hooker

You can’t help but smile when you see Carter Andrews idle down for the pick-up in the mornings, his charisma, attitude, and energy is contagious and his big smile in the morning compliments the best Panamanian coffee you can drink. Some people spend their whole lives looking for what they were put on this earth to do... truly do. Carter has found his, without a doubt, he defines the term “fishy” and personifies professionalism. Every fisherman on earth, on all levels, develops intuition that only time on the water can develop. I admire that in my elder role model fishermen and Carter is right up there at the top. If you haven’t fished with him, I highly recommend it.

Below: A back breaking fight with a Yellowfin Tuna on stand up gear // Victory!

At the end of five days, my legs and back were exhausted from Yellowfin Tuna ranging 40-150 pounds, my arms were spent on cranking huge Penn reels with Blue and Black Marlin attached to the other end and Wade Richardson practically planing the boat in reverse. Dorado, Jack Crevalle, Cubera Snapper, Mutton Snapper, and Yellowfin Tuna all achieved on the fly with Carter Andrews... think twice before attempting tuna on the fly, you’ve been warned.


Photos and story by Brett Seng