Black Marlin

(Istiompax indica) (previously Makaira indica)

While blue marlin inhabit all warm seas, blacks are strictly limited to the Pacific and Indian oceans. And while blue marlin seldom venture from the deep-blue open ocean, blacks are known to prowl shallow banks and near-coastal waters. Australians often use huge live or rigged dead baits to hook grander blacks, which are also taken off Hawaii, Panama and north into Mexican waters, and elsewhere. Along with the blue marlin, this apex predator is one of the ocean’s ultimate trophies. And the ultimate black to date — the all-tackle-record 1,560-pounder — came from Cabo Blanco, Peru, in 1953.

Greatest attribute: Aerial acrobatics (17.8 out of 20)

Black Marlin in Panama.
Blue Marlin

(Makaira nigricans)

Hooking and releasing a large blue marlin qualifies for many anglers as sport fishing’s greatest challenge, thrill and accomplishment. Blues are caught in oceans around the world on live and dead baits and large trolled lures. Seeing the bill of a big blue in a trolling spread and then watching an amazing display of power as hundreds of pounds of angry billfish repeatedly go airborne, make for angling’s most unforgettable sights. Blue marlin populations are under siege primarily by (often illegal) commercial longline fishing, which is a threat to the species. The all-tackle record for the Atlantic is 1,402 pounds, 2 ounces, caught off Vitoria, Brazil, in 1979. For the Pacific: 1,376 pounds, taken off Kona, Hawaii, in 1982.

Greatest attribute: Aerial acrobatics (18.7 out of 20)

Blue Marlin caught and releaaed.
Pacific Sailfish

(Istiophorus platypterus)

Sailfish range throughout warm waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. I. Platypterus tends to run considerably larger in size than does its Atlantic counterpart, with 100-plus-pound fish being run of the mill. Its fighting ability and spectacular aerial acrobatics endear the sailfish to the saltwater angler, but it tires quickly and is considered a light tackle species. Fishing methods include trolling with strip baits, plures, feathers or spoons, as well as live bait fishing and kite fishing. The most action is found where sailfish are located on or near the surface where they feed.The world record has held since 1947: a 221-pounder taken off Ecuador.

Greatest attribute: Aerial acrobatics (18.5 out of 20)

Pacific Sailfish in Panama.
Yellowfin Tuna

(Thunnus albacares)

Yellowfin (and the very similar bigeye) tuna are incredibly popular worldwide among sport fishermen, whether running-and-gunning to throw poppers into great breaking schools of 20-pound “footballs,” or fishing kite baits for the world’s largest yellowfin (in the 300- to 400-plus-pound range) off Panama in the eastern Pacific. The current all-tackle world record is 427 pounds, caught off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in 2012.

The owner of PBGFC, Mr “C” rates the Yellowfin Tuna (along with the Broadbill Swordfish) as pound for pound the hardest fighting fish in the Ocean.

Greatest attribute: Stamina (14.2 out of 15)

Tuna Fish in Panama
Cubera Snapper

(Lutjanus cyanopterus)

Brute power — that’s what these giants of the snapper clan are all about. And stopping power is what an angler who would tangle with them needs to have, or he’ll find his quarry back in its reef or wreck in a flash. Pacific Cubera (record: 78 pounds, 12 ounces) lurk over shallower reefs where they’ll come up to strike (explode on) large poppers.

This Photo was taken in 2013 and had it not been released would have shattered the IGFA All tackle World Record as it weighed 89lbs 12oz and was caught by the Editor of Florida Sport Fishing Magazine Mr Mike Genoun.

Greatest attribute: Stamina (11.7 out of 15)

Cubera Snapper caught in Panama.

(Nematistius pectoralis)

The distinctive high, comblike dorsal fin of a lit-up roosterfish cutting through green inshore waters, hot on the trail of a live bait or popper, is one of sport fishing’s most memorable sights. Roosters are unique to the eastern Pacific, where they’re caught from Baja into northern South America. Once thought to be a species of jack (Carangidae), roosters are in fact in their own family. They do, however, certainly fight with jacklike stubbornness and power — but add to that fight the ability to jump, which further explains their appeal as game fish. Roosters are fish of beaches and rocky shores. They can reach weights in excess of 100 pounds, witness the IGFA record since 1960 of 114 pounds from La Paz, Mexico.

Greatest attribute: Sight-casting opportunities (13.9 out of 15)

Roosterfish caught on our big game fishing boat.

(Seriola dumerili)

Amberjack, or “Reef Donkeys”, are not a great looking fish but they sure pull hard.  In many parts of Latin America they are called “Pez Fuerte” which literally means “Strong Fish”.  They are found in tropical reefs in both the Atlantic and Pacific.  They sometimes come up to the surface but are generally found nearer to the bottom. Although they are not as adept at bricking you in the rocks as Snappers or Groupers, you do need to pull hard to ensure that doesn’’t happen

Amberjack readily eat lures and bait fished either at the bottom or at whatever depth they happen to be at.  They can sometimes be coaxed to the surface with chum.

Amberjack caught in Panama.

(Acanthocybium solandri)

Built for speed. One look confirms that description of wahoo: torpedoes with fins. Many anglers believe wahoo to be the fastest fish in the sea — and perhaps size for size they are — but in any case, their first run (particularly if on tackle of appropriate size) is simply smokin’ hot. A testament to their velocity: Some wahoo trollers pull lures at speeds exceeding 15 knots. ‘Hoos are found around the world in tropical/warm seas and may travel in packs. They typically patrol near the surface, from blue water far offshore to the edges of steep rocky shorelines and submarine shelves. One of the largest members of the mackerel family, wahoo are esteemed for their white flesh. The all-tackle world record weighing 184 pounds was taken off Cabo San Lucas in 2000.

Greatest attribute: Speed (14.4 out of 15; highest rating of any game fish)

Wahoo with a lure.
Dolphin (dolphinfish, mahi-mahi, dorado)

(Coryphaena hippurus)

“The ideal and arguably most popular offshore game fish: a willing striker, sight-casting friendly, determined and often aerobatic fights, stubborn tendency to sound, great table fare, and beautiful. What else could one want?”. The perfect game fish,” says Marlin magazine’s Dave Ferrell. The flashing neon hues of emerald, peacock blue and brilliant yellow among a lit-up school of rapacious dolphinfish around a boat is both common and extraordinary; there’s nothing quite like it in fishing. Dolphin eat insatiably and grow at an astounding rate, up to 18 inches in a year. The all-tackle-record 87-pounder was taken off Papagallo, Costa Rica, in 1976.

Greatest attribute: Aerial acrobatics (17.5 out of 20)

Dolphin Dorado Mahi-mahi caught.
Mullet Snapper

(Lutjanus aratus)

Mullet Snapper (Pargo Lisa) are an elongated Snapper found in the Eastern Pacific between Baja down to around Peru.  Unlike many Snappers, they are a midwater fish found over rocky areas down to around 150 feet.  They sometimes come up to the surface and can be caught on poppers.  They are an excellent fighter for their size.  The current official world record is 45lbs. The biggest ones are caught on large live baits fished on the bottom.

When they are up shallow, these fish can sometimes be seen from the surface.  At these times poppers work well.  Make sure you pause in between “chugs” and fish them a little slower than you would for Jacks etc.  Poppers are worth a try even if you can’t see them if you are over rock piles that rise up to 40ft or so.  If a more subtle presentation is called for, try a surface iron jig  They can also be caught on metal jigs fished deeper. Live baits such as sardines work well.  For the really big ones, larger live baits upto 2 or 3 lbs can work.

Mullet Snapper in Panama.
Almaco Jack

(Seriola rivoliana)

Almaco jack is a game fish of the family (Carangidae); they are in the same family as Yellowtail and Amberjack. They feed, both day and night,on other smaller fish such as baitfish and small squid. The flesh is thick and dense like Tuna and can easily pass for white albacore if prepared as sushi.

The Almaco jack is a pelagic species that can be found in small groups on slopes and off of reefs at depths from 5 to 160 meters (2.7 to 87.5 ftm). They visit wrecks more often than most other jacks. In the eastern Pacific, Almaco jack live from California to Peru and the Galapagos islands..They typically swim at depths ranging from 5–35 metres (16–115 ft). Almaco jack’s unusual stamina makes them a prime target for deep sea fishermen.They remove skin-based parasites by rubbing against the rough skin of passing sharks,they also rub against passing scuba divers  because they mistake them for sharks.

Greatest attribute: Stamina and Aggressive take.

Almaco Jack caught with a lure.
“The inshore dinosaurs were too much for any light tackle under 60lb. I caught five different species of fish in four hours and all of them were world class fish. But that was to be out done by the a 160lb. yellowfin tuna that hit while trolling skipjack, about 15 minutes later a 400lb. Blue Marlin struck with a quick battle to the boat and a nice healthy fish release!”
Male Testimonial