Panama Fishing Report - Hannibal Bank YFT & Pacific Provider Mothership - May 7, 2013
A Panamanian Captain friend called me and mentioned that a yacht anchored at Coiba was looking for a charter boat. I called the number he gave me and spoke with Captian Nelson of the Pacific Provider...West Coast Fishing Club's mothership. Nelson mentioned that their ship was anchored at Punta Hermossa on the northwest side of Isla Coiba and were in need of a boat for a day of fishing. I jumped at the chance. I wanted to check out the mothership I'd heard so much about and get back into the Tunas around Hannibal Bank as I hadn't fished in two weeks.
Steve and I ran out of Pedregal (the marina just south of the city of David) and out 60 miles to Punta Hermossa the afternoon before to stay the night on the boat. We showed up around 6pm just in time for a gorgeous sunset. We tied off and bumpered the TOP Cat on the stern and were met by Elliot Stark the General Manager/Director of Fishing of WCFC. Elliot was kind enough to give us the grand tour and it was apparent that this rig was no joke! 160 feet, 90,000 fuel storage capacity, 7,500 gallons a day freshwater maker, 900 #s a day ice makers, 6 luxury staterooms, full restaurant/bar/club lounge with commercial kitchen, and four 500 gallon livewells on the huge back deck. This boat is a fisherman's dream. And for it to be anchored at Coiba, only a few miles from Hannibal Bank, was truly awesome!
I got to talking to one of the Pacific Provider's engineers Dominic, a neighbor of mine in Pedregal, and he was nothing but amazed at the systems that this boat had installed. The boat's 650 hp diesel engines and monster A/C units are are keel cooled...which means that the engines pump the coolant through pipes on the outside of the hull where the surrounding seawater cools the coolant before it is pumped back into the engine so salt water never enters the engine or engine compartment! Also a diesel centrifuge which is a high tech fuel filtering system that cleans fuel ten times more than standard filters and is usually only found on large ships. All the boat's systems, he mentioned, were commercial grade and built to last. So apart from being a magnificent looking mothership it is also a top of the line ocean going mini ship!
We fished the first trip on April 26th with Ted & Ted father/son team and real nice guys from Canada. We left the calm protected waters at Punta Hermossa and shot directly to Hannibal Bank which was only a short 18 mile run. It was kind of a dreary day with some rain clouds and wind moving through the gulf. En route we ran across a group of working Porpoises with diving Birds and it was apparent that they were with Yellowfin Tunas. Right off the bat we hook one on a live Blue Runner and Ted Jr. catches his first Tuna that went about 65#s. We go to the high spot on Hannibal and there is a nice mark on the sonar. We drop a bait down and Ted Sr. gets a nice AJ. I had plans to fish the Hannibal for a Marlin but a storm with lighting moves in and I decided to run to Isla Montuosa to try our luck. Plenty of Tunas around at Montuosa but no takers. It was one of those days where they are busting around you everywhere but just won't eat! Frustrating!
We returned to the Pacific Provider on May the 6th after being invited by Elliot again to come out and fish with Dale Wills and friends. Dale is the publisher of InTheBite magazine and CFO (chief fishing officer) of the Release Ruler (www.releaseruler.com) a cool invention that lets you measure and estimate weight on big fish before release. Dale and his buddies Cliff & Bubba from Galveston Texas joined me for what turned out to be a pretty good day. After a failed attempt at finding them a Roosterfish inshore (we did get a nice Blue Trevale though).....we got into some pretty nice YFTs and saw some good action with the biggest Tuna going about 125#s. There was alot of bait at Isla Montuosa in our search for Marlin. One of WCFC's boats released an estimated 500# Black right next to us that day but we didn't get our shot. All and all it was a good time fishing with these guys even tough we didn't get to bust out the Release Ruler.
Special thanks to Elliot Stark, a super nice guy, for his hospitality and the opportunity to fish/stay on the Pacific Provider we had a great time!