Black Marlin

Panama is the worlds top sport fishing destination for Black Marlin because Australia is much too far away. Here in Panama’s Pacific Ocean, black marlin could be found in many areas, however we have only two regions where black marlin have been found to frequent in abundance.

One area is the waters off Tropic Star Lodge near the Colombian boarder. The other is here, three hundred miles west of Tropic Star, closer to Costa Rica, off the remote and formally notorious island named Coiba.

Black Marlin Jumping

The Coiba region attracts big black marlin and receives considerably less sportfishing pressure than the area fished from TSL. The reef 8 miles from TSL gets crowded by a fleet of 14 lodge boats with 40 anxious anglers. Big sportfish yachts come down from Panama City to mix in and create an atmosphere more like fishing Cabo San Lucas.
Coiba is more remote, logistics make fishing here difficult for others. There are no fishing lodges, villages or services anywhere nearby. Only us fishing from Coiba and some outboard boats from the mainland which run 60 miles or more to reach Isla Montousa or the Hannibal Bank.

In both regions the black marlin are most often found up over a bank or reef in two to three hundred feet of water. Tropic Star has the Zane Grey Reef. Isla de Coiba has The Hannibal Bank, Isla Montousa and Isla Jicaron. The three spots near Isla Coiba are areas known to attract the bait black marlin want to eat. Since the bait holding areas are known, live bait slow trolled in those areas is the most productive way to get a black hooked up.

Lures also frequently catch black marlin. I pull marlin lures off the outriggers while fishing for bait off the flatlines. Dark color dark lures quite often get us surprise black marlin hookups while bait fishing. I also pull lures around the outer top edges of the bank in 300 feet and over the dozen high spots with frequent black marlin success.

Black Marlin are sit and wait predators. All white meat fish are. When working a bait holding spot it’s important to be careful not to spook the fish. All fish get wise to fishermen, some sooner than others. It’s important to present your live baits in a most natural manner and not disrupt the surface water with noisy boat maneuvering.
When lure fishing and I suspect a black marlin came up on a lure and missed or refused it. I’ll MOB the spot give it a couple minutes, then troll over the exact spot again, sometimes getting a second shot, because a black will sit there. Feeding blacks wait and ambush, blues are out on the move, hunting bait down in a more vast space.

Blacks fight different than blues. While every marlin hook up is unique and the fish will do what marlins do, blacks tend to fight in heavy powerful manner, heavy more deliberate jumping closer to the boat. Black Marlin jumps are more predictable leading to better camera shots. Blues run off faster, further and switch directions more, more unpredictable. Often all you see of a blue marlin is a white splash way out there. With black marlins you get up close and personal!

Black Marlin Panama Sport Fishing

A black marlin was tracked to have swam 9,000 miles from Australia to Costa Rica. Another was tracked to travel over 3,000 miles in under three months. Blacks can grow up to 15 feet long, weigh 1,650 pounds and live up to 25 years. Most fish caught are between 5 - 11 years old. We rarely catch a fish here under 300 pounds and the blacks feed here year-round. Most seem like 400-600 pound fish. Bigger fish 700 and up tend to be caught August through November.

black marlin fishing coiba adventure