After listening to all the reports of Marlin being caught out on Hannibal Bank last week I finallly got out there to see for myself what all the talk was about. First time customer, but no stranger to Panama fishing, Andrea Gonella and I got out to the Bank about 45 minutes before the tide change around 9 AM.
It took a little longer to get out to the Bank due to the seas being a good 2-4 feet. But the water clarity was good and there was quite a bit a bait around. We quickly put 4 nice bonitos in the tubes and began to troll a couple of them with 2 live Blue Runners out in the spread. Not ten minutes later the short bonito gets eaten! Andrea gets to the rod, opens the reel, and lets the fish eat for for seemed an eternity. He flips the lever to strike and winds down hard. A nice Black Marlin about 300# breaches the surface and makes two or three more acrobatic jumps. My mate and I bring in the other baits while the Andrea manages the Marlin that is peeling 80# mono off the 5/0 Tiagra. I begin to back down. Ten minutes later, and a few more sweet jumps, Andrea has the fish to the boat and Jorge has got the leader.
The seas continued to get rougher as the day went on and the wind started to blow. We slow trolled the liveys for a while longer around the bank. The bait was in thick but couldn't get any more takers. We proceed to set a few drifts over the high spot where I was getting a strong mark on the sonar in hopes of a Tuna or AJ. A couple of baits down, one drifting on top, and one bait up on the kite for for drifts and only managed to get a couple of strikes from small fish. It had turned off.
We decided to make a move to Isla Montuosa.The weather continued to worsen and rose to a good 6 feet. We noticed a mark of birds on the radar and went to check it out. We found a floating piece of plywood. Andrea pitches a blue runner to a big bull dorado, who enhales it, and he's tight! A few minutes later the fish is boatside, a 30#er easily, jumps and he throws the hook right before my mate can get to him with the gaff. Damn!
After that we make it to Montuosa get a few more bonitos but the weather gets too sloppy and we head back to the lodge. Even though we didn't do too well in the afternoon it paid of getting to the Bank early to get the early bite!