Black Marlin On Spinning Rod – Isla de Coiba, Panama

sportfishing isla coiba, panama
On this day, there was no apparent action anywhere to be seen around the island of Isla Coiba. Flat calm, no birds, no bait on the surface and not much to see on the sounder. We fished an area one mile off Isla de Coiba on the East side, close to the airstrip for a half hour, it’s a favorite spot of mine.

Don Allen - Isla de CoibaDon had brought a case of Select Ballyhoo frozen bait with him on this trip to see if that might “give him the edge” with the fish.As it turned out, on this trip, all the largest fish caught were on Ballyhoo as opposed to other baits or lures. There seems to be something about the Ballyhoo that makes fish want to eat them. We had rigged Ballyhoo on our outrigger lines.

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More often I pick up Wahoo, Dorado or small tuna on this spot but, nothing was biting. As nearly always, no boats were anywhere in sight. I slowed the boat and asked to pick up the lines, said we’ll head to the shoreline and fish for some Roosterfish. As the boat slowed, Don picked up his spinning rod to pop it out of the rigger, that’s when this 300+ pound fish took the bait.Don had 25# line on his Penn spinning reel. I had put on nine feet of 80 pound wind-on fluorocarbon leader with 12 inches wire attached to the sharpened J hook.

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During his epic battle with this black marlin off the coast of Isla Coiba, Panama – Don’s wife Georgene kept his fighting chair pointed in the right direction for him (after he tired of fighting this fish standing up) and my daughter Jessica took photos with Don’s camera for him. If Don had been riding a motorcycle, he would have gotten a lot of bugs in his teeth due to the big smile on his face.

Three and half hours later, an exhausted Don had some of the leader on his reel, I left the boat in idle forward, came down, took the leader as this fish took off, popping the leader and jumped away under my outrigger.

That day, Don became a member of the 10-to-1 club and was a very happy camper.

This was the 4th. trip for Don to Isla de Coiba, Panama and Hannibal Bank for sportfishing. 

sportfishing Coiba

His first couple of trips were in the early 70’s when he was living in Panama City and helped the defunct Club Pacifico with their radio traffic. Don also came with a couple of sportfishing buddies in 2016 and chartered with us. 


That trip his group caught 12 different species of game fish in one single day! Don and his friends caught huge Tarpon, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, Barracuda, Snapper, Roosterfish, Shark, Trevally, Jack, Houndfish, Dorado, and many other types of game fish.


For pure variety of species, the sport fishing here around Coiba and Hannibal Bank is amazing. Call or email us today for more information on our various charter packages and rates. You’ll be glad you did.

sportfishing Coiba

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