Making the best of it in Panama

Putting in the miles in Panama

Putting in the miles in Panama

I have said many times that Panama is right at the top of places I love to visit and go fishing. I have also said many times that if you have to have good fishing to have a good time you will be disappointed a lot. Fishing is fishing and even at the most remote, little fished areas you can at time hit a cold spell where the fish just don’t want to bite, and this was kind of the case in my most recent trip down south.

Because we had to canceled some trips late in our shooting season, due to weather, we were down a few episodes for the upcoming airing season. I approached our friend Hennie Marias from Paddle Panama to see if he could squeeze us in for a week of fishing at his place in Jaque Panama and he very nicely obliged. Of course because it was a last minute thing we had very little flexability on when we would be able to make the trip and just picked the dates that worked for all of us.  I am not one to generally make excuses for not catching fish but this area was just too pristine and perfect habitat to not catch fish unless there were extenuating circumstances, so here goes, here is my excuse. It was about as bright a full moon as you will find without a cloud in the sky each night. When I am planning trips I generally try to avoid the full moon periods of the month and this trip just proved why.

Now just because we had tough fishing doesn’t mean we didn’t catch fish, it just wasn’t up to the standard I have come to expect in Panama. We worked hard every day to get on fish and when not out fishing had a wonderful time at this amazing location. Heck even if we were not down there to fish this is just an incredible place to paddle and explore. This place is an absolutely beautiful location and it is filled with friendly people.

To start off the trip we flew into Panama city and stayed the night at a small hostel, just a quick nights sleep and we were back at the regional airport for our hop to Jaque,

Heading to Jaque

Heading to Jaque

Joining me on this trip was Andy Gilbert from Raymarine, he was a great guy to fish with and also gave us some good tutorials on how to fine tune our fish finders.

Hennie’s house in Jaque is right on the beach and made the perfect base of operations, perfect for launching for our fishing days, perfect for our nightly surf sessions and perfect for just hanging out and rigging up gear.

Hennies Place

Hennies Place

Jim Rigging up his new FOX travel rods

Jim Rigging up his new FOX travel rods

Andy getting ready for his first run at kayak fishing.

Andy getting ready for his first run at kayak fishing.

AS you can see we did catch a few fish.





Nothing huge on this trip but we did get some decent fish

Nothing huge on this trip but we did get some decent fish

As mentioned we did a bit of kayak and body surfing each night out in front of the house, which in that heat brought welcome relief and was just a whole lot of fun.



kayak surfing is fun.

kayak surfing is fun.

Here is a little video I put together of the surf in front of the house.

If you are just looking for an awesome place to paddle you would have a hard time finding a cooler place.







Jaque is the closest village in Panama to Columbia and because of this we had to check in with the local military each day when we left to go fishing and when we got back. This was rather interesting to me but they were always very friendly about it so other than the few minutes it took out of our day it was no bother.

One of our daily checkpoints.

One of our daily checkpoints.

I think all of us on the trip agreed that the highlight of the trip for us was a visit to a small Indian Village about an hour upriver from Jaque. This was not a tourist destination and the people live a very simple life. They were so warm and welcoming to us on our visit and we had an entourage of from ten to twenty kids with us the entire visit.








Good fishing or bad fishing I don’t think you would ever regret making a trip to Panama with Paddle Panama, it will truly be an experience you will never forget.

A huge thanks to our host Hennie Marais for helping us make this trip happen on such short notice. This really was a trip to remember.

Hennie from Paddle Panama

Hennie from Paddle Panama

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