So full disclosure – even though it was a year ago, it seems like only yesterday. Further, it was almost exactly a year ago, and I’ve gotten the bug bad. Really bad. Even though I grew up 2 hours from the Atlantic coast, my trip to Panama was my first saltwater fishing trip and it couldn’t have gone any better. It was amazing and I attribute that to the class operation that is Pesca Panama
More important than the adventure however, is the operation that made it a trip of a lifetime. First off,once you get your rate set with Captain Mike that rate includes pretty much everything except alcohol and gratuities. You need to get yourself to and from Panama City. Everything else is included, including a small flight from Panama City to David, on the other (Pacific) side of Panama, and the same flight back at the end of the week. You’re picked up at the Panama City airport and put up in a great hotel for the night. The next morning you’re picked up again and taken to the airport. Youre picked up at the airport in David and taken to the marina where you board the boats. The process is seamless and trouble free.
The cool thing about Mike’s operation is that the “lodge” is actually a converted barge that moves with the fleet. This minimizes commuting time each day as you go to new spots, or head farther out to sea. The barge is amazing, having comfortable rooms (2 double bunks per), a living room, 2 restrooms with showers, and a bar with seating area aft. Deep within are the crew’s quarters, the galley and laundry room.
Mike’s staff are amazing throughout every task is done in a friendly and efficient manner. Heck, your gross laundry is washed and neatly folded for you, every day. Mary, the Hostess in Chief, is a perpetual motion machine. She lords over the gathering area on deck, serving meals and snacks and cocktails. She’s the bartender, and in that role listens politely to all of our stories and witnesses untold debauchery. She greets every client heartily and dotes on you constantly whether it is wiping tables, topping off your drinks or taking away empty plates. To say the food is amazing is to do it a disservice. It is delicious, expertly prepared and presented in a manner you might expect at a high-end restaurant.
Of course, at the end of the day, it is the crews that make or break a trip. These guys are experts and it is clear that Mike sets high standards for his crews and holds them to it. They know how to fish. They know where the fish are, and the best way to catch them. They know how to coach rookies and stifle their inevitable frustrations. They are funny and friendly and they too never stop moving. In between hookups they are checking equipment,cleaning the deck, making lunches (delicious) or fetching beer or cold sodas. It’s amazing to see these guys fiddling with tackle while skimming along to our next spot. When you’re hooked up, they know exactly what to do to maximize your chances of boating that fish. My Captain and Mate, Tomas and Felix were amazing. Every guest loved their crew.
All of this circles back to Mike Augat. This is a first class operation, start to finish. There isn’t a single corner cut, anywhere. The boats and equipment and tackle are all top notch and well-maintained. Food is over the top. Every crew member knows their job and does it cheerfully, and well. The accommodations are great. The food is amazing. The hospitality is sincere. Mike is around, talking to each guest and making sure they are getting the trip they want and expect. He is a wealth of knowledge, having fished around the world.
Panama is beautiful, and the travel was relatively simple even for a rookie. The weather was perfect, the water was beautiful and if you want, you can take a break from fishing to have a swim and explore a beach. This trip was life-changing for me. An amazing journey, and fishing that was beyond my wildest dreams.I boated 9 different species including a 275 pound yellow fin tuna. Whether you are a novice saltwater fisherman, or a veteran – I would highly, highly recommend Pesca Panama
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