Sportfishing in Pedasi and the entire South Coast of the Azuero Peninsula is terrific. The wide variety of game species and the abundance of marine life in these parts have attracted anglers and divers “in the know” for years. The info below comes from our resident fishing expert and Pedasi real estate guru Tedd Tennis:
Part of the reason for the good fishing in Pedasi is that the Humboldt Current comes closer to shore along this coast than in any other place in the Western Hemisphere. This current of cold water brings with it a myriad of bait and the big predators like tuna, wahoo, dorado, and billfish that feed on this resource. Unlike most places, big fish can be caught close to shore here, letting smaller boats with less range get anglers into the action. The coastal waters are also very healthy and replete with snapper, jacks, roosterfish and other species. Finally, in addition to the large numbers of game species, you will very likely be treated to the sight of sea turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales in season (the latter half of the year).
Types of Fish in Pedasi
Part of the fun of fishing these waters is that you never quite know what you’re going to catch. For the most part, anglers here troll for yellowfin tuna, dolphin fish (dorado), and wahoo. Other species commonly caught trolling include mackerel, albacore tuna, and skipjack tuna. The lures of choice are Rappalas, crystal minnows and cedar plugs. Billfish like sailfish and marlin are also caught regularly but aren’t as common as the other species and respond best to live bait like small skipjacks and sardines.
Anglers who prefer bottom fishing use live bait or jig for snapper, grouper, and amberjack. This is the method of choice for most local commercial fishermen because the market price of snapper is generally better than the price of tuna and bottom fishing uses less gas and is, therefore, less expensive than trolling. In addition to trolling and jigging, Fishermen also spend many enjoyable days casting poppers, spinners and bait from the beach. Jacks, snook, snapper, corvina, roosterfish, pompano, and many other species can be landed from any beach in the area.
Fishing in Pedasi with Pangas
With very few exceptions, the waters around Pedasi are fished with pangas. These are fiberglass open boats around 8 meters long that are powered by 40, 60 or 75 hp outboard motors. The main attraction of these boats is that they’re cheap to run, virtually unsinkable (although it can be done!) and maneuverable enough to pick up and drop off passengers on the beach. If you have your own gear, the going rate for a day of panga fishing is $120 to $150 plus gasoline for the boat. The local pangeros, or fishing captains who run these boats, can be found at Playa Arenal in Pedasi waiting for charters. There is also a boat ramp just north of Playa Arenal, but it is in a river mouth and boats can only come in and out at high tide. Alternately, some anglers opt to leave from the boat ramp in El Ciruelo, 5 minutes east of Playa Venao, which is accessible any time of day. It’s best to set up your trip the day or more before if possible. Most captains can also rent your rods and tackle if you aren’t traveling with your own.
A word of caution: panga fishing is a no-frills kind of deal. You will be exposed to the elements the whole time you are fishing. Your captain will not have a radio nor GPS, may not have life preservers and will almost certainly speak very little English. For this reason, many tourists opt to book through one of the tour operators or book with one of the few captains who are better-equipped. In addition to booking the boat and providing rods, tackle, coolers with food and drink, etc., the tour operator should make sure that your boat is equipped with life preservers and other safety devices. You’ll pay a premium for this service, but it takes the guesswork out of it.
Good luck and tight lines!