9 reasons my kayak fishing trip to Panama was so thrilling

Fishing Panama's Wild Coast… from a kayak

If you have a taste for true angling adventure, this is the place for you

This is fishing for REAL anglers

For me, the least appealing kind of saltwater fishing is when you sit on a boat piloted by a captain, trolling rods in holders. Especially since the boat crew is usually baiting—and often even setting—the hooks for you. If you’re the kind of angler who likes to tie on your own lure, and then cast to spots of your choosing and actually hold your own rod, this fishing is for you. I’d rather catch one fish where I where I did it all myself, than 10 when a mate just hands me a rod, with a fish ready to be cranked in.

In fact, the afternoon we arrived at the lodge was spent getting our gear ready (above left), under the tutelage of Sam Wadman, a partner in the lodge, and the head guide (and also a self-described “fishing nutter.”) Which brings up an important point: To be successful on this trip,  you definitely need to know how to fish. Though interestingly, you don’t have to be a kayak expert. When I was there, 50 per cent of the guests had never even been in a kayak before, but within a few minutes they were totally comfortable (above right). The key is knowing how to handle a rod, as well having as some general boating background. There was a bit of a learning curve, but it was less about the kayak aspect, and more about getting a feel for casting six-inch poppers into the rocks, and learning how to use the flat-fall butterfly jigs.

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