Dock Fishing, Tranquilo Style

Dock Fishing

While the majority of guests who stay with us here at Tranquilo Bay want to explore the surrounding forests, delve deep into dark bat caves or enjoy some serious snorkeling above our impressive coral reefs, we also happily invite those outdoorsy fishermen and women who come through now and again hoping to cast a line!

While the more serious tarpon fishing season includes a couple short seasons over the course of the year when the waters are calmest–a highly recommended time to come for ya’ll who dream of hooking these monumentally impressive, dinosaur-like fish–snapper, barracuda and jacks swim our calm, protected bay all year long.

Sometimes the there’s nothing better than the opportunity to jump in a kayak, either early in the morning or late afternoon when the sunlight is turning that beautiful late day sheen off the water, and drop a line, content to spend a couple hours in the peace that Tranquilo Bay offers.

Capitan Sanchez fillets a mutton snapper caught by a summer guest.

While the majority of fishing is catch and release, should you hook a good sized snapper or care to wrangle a barracuda off your line, the kitchen is happy to prepare a meal of it! One ambitious (and lucky!) guest got a mutton snapper right off the dock and was proud to share a bite with everyone in the dining room that evening!

Another perk is what fun this activity can be for our younger Tranquilo guests: we can easily get them set up and fishing off our service dock where the boats are kept. You’re almost always guaranteed to catch one of the smaller snappers hanging out under the dark safe nook the hanging boats provide. With mangrove crabs for bait, thanks to Captain Sanchez here, this mutton snapper was on the hook within seconds!

Tarpon Working Baitball

So, we received a drone for Christmas and have spent some time learning how to fly it and capture footage around the neighborhood over the past month after the end of high season.

Jay called back on the radio from the boat as he headed out to pick up guests recently telling Jim he needed to go check out the tarpon rolling around a large baitball near the lodge.  Fortunately for us the baitball was near the lodge for a few days.  Check out this footage of the tarpon, sting rays and snapper corralling the bait fish.  The change in shape of the baitball is all due to predators working the smaller bait fish.  Nature at its finest.

Reality Fishing from Italy

Tranquilo Bay Aerial PhotoWe were blessed with a group of anglers from Italy and France who stayed with us earlier this month.  This crew is different from others in that everyone in the group was both an avid angler and an accomplished photographer.  They used their knowledge of both genres to capture a fishing trip in a way we hadn’t seen to date.  Drone photography has granted photographers access to life in a way that wasn’t possible five years ago.

Antonio, Sebastiano, Dario and Yoann all played and worked hard.  It was a lot of fun to have therm around even if we didn’t all speak the same language.  At dinner each night we heard English, Spanish and Italian.  Each time we have an experience such as this one it reaffirms our decision to come and do this thing called Tranquilo Bay.  It has enriched our lives in so many ways.

Please check out the group’s quick blog post of thanks to the different groups within Panama that helped to make their expedition possible.  You will need to scroll down the page to find either English or Spanish as the blog is written primarily for Italian speakers.

Rainy day in the rainforest

So we had a bit of a rainy day to work with last Friday.  We were going to surf in the afternoon, but the morning was open so we went fishing to catch a fish we could print.  Each of the boys was trying for the fish, but in the end Plato caught it.  After we cleaned the fish in salt, each of the children took turns painting it with acrylic paints and printing onto a shirt.  We were able to finish nine shirts before lunch.  The afternoon was sunny and we spent it in the waves.

Rainy day activities for children at eco adventure lodge

More Sportfishing in Panama

We learned about Ocearch earlier this month when a group for The Billfish Foundation working on the Panamanian Sportfishing Study came to fish with us at Tranquilo Bay. Ocearch founder, Chris Fischer visited Panama a year ago to discuss sustainability issues with different Panamanian government officials. Check it out:

Ocearch is a non-profit organization with a global reach for unprecedented research on the ocean’s giants. You can check out more of their work on the National Geographic Channel’s Shark Men or on their website

Down at the dock

We were blessed to have a family return this year for a second time with their children for Spring Break. Our children and their children get along really well and have the best of times. The guests tell us they plan on coming each year to visit so it will be great fun to watch how the friendship between the kids continues to grow over the years. This is just an example of the fun times we had down at the dock. Only three of the six children are in this shot but they were all around playing and having a blast.


Sport Fishing Article goes live online

“Panama’s Forgotten Coast” – this article has been a blessing for us. We have received more reservations from people reading this article than we have from any other to date. We truly enjoyed having Doug and Rob here with us last October. If you haven’t read it yet – take a look at the article now on Sport Fishing Magazine’s website:

I Spear Lionfish (dot) org

Lionfish are not native to Caribbean waters. Originally found only in Pacific waters of Asia, they have entered, permeated and threaten to destroy marine environments throughout the Caribbean. Aquarium dumping of the popular imported fish is the likely source of their introduction to the Atlantic. It is suspected that possibly only four female specimens, as DNA profiles suggest, were dumped into the Atlantic off the east coast of Florida. Spreading from Florida waters, where the Pacific lionfish was first sighted in 1985, the invasive species has inundated reefs from the Bahamas to Belize, Turks and Caicos and further points south. They have been in Bocas less than a year, but seem intent on completely taking over the reefs. They have the ability to do so. (See

To date there have been two Lionfish round ups. In fact in the last round up they caught 572 fish. We must continue to fight them year round. One of the best things we can do in order to decimate their population and save the native fish populations is turn them into a food commodity. This is what Bocas restaurant
El Ultimo Refugio has done.

Here is a video shot off the coast of North Carolina. They use an ice brine to detoxify the lionfish. They are also catching them at extreme depths which is a bit different than most people catch them in Bocas del Toro. Eat Lionfish!