Panama City Travel Guide
The Bay of Panama has good sportfishing, but the best fishing is around and beyond the Pearl Islands, which are best fished out of Isla Contadora, a short flight, or ferry ride from the city. Day charters are available out of Panama City and usually head to the area around Isla Otoque and Isla Bono, which are about 90 minutes southwest of the city. You have a chance of hooking mackerel, jack, tuna, roosterfish, or wahoo in that area (billfish are less common there than in other parts of the country). A closer, less expensive option is light-tackle fishing for snook and peacock bass in Gatún Lake, the vast man-made lake in the middle of the Panama Canal. The lake is full of South American peacock bass, which fight like a smallmouth bass but can reach 8–10 pounds.
Panama Canal Fishing. This is the premier operator for freshwater fishing on Gatún Lake, which is famous for its peacock bass. Tours can be catered to serious anglers, beginners, or families, since they also include wildlife observation and views of ships on the canal. An all-inclusive day of fishing for two people costs $345 and $25 per extra angler, up to six per boat. They also offer snook and tarpon fishing on the Bayano River. Panama City. 315–1905 or 6678–2653. www.panamacanalfishing.com.
Panama Fishing and Catching. Captain Tony offers bass and snook fishing on Gatún Lake ($450); snook and tarpon fishing on the Bayano River ($490); and deep-sea fishing charters in the Bay of Panama for mahi mahi, jacks, wahoo, tuna, sailfish, and ocassionally marlin ($1,500–$2,000 per day). Panama City. 507/6622–0212 or 507/6505–9553. www.panamafishingandcatching.com.