Fishing Trip to Lake Gatun

By Elise Van Enoo (


One very stormy morning we sat sipping our coffee on our terrace at 5:00 wondering if the fishing in Lake Gatun would be possible due to the violent weather.  But we were committed to participate on a fishing excursion, and at 5:50am we were picked up by Neil Patrick of Panama Roadrunner, who had arranged for a day of peacock bass ‘hunting’.

The last time I went fishing, I was a kid on Lake Michigan and stuck a gigantic hook through my flesh at my thumb!  Well, the storm had turned to showers as we were picked up, and along with two other intrepid adventurers whom we hadn’t met before, my husband and I took off.

IMG_0365As the sun rose, the rain subsided, and by the time we arrived at Arenosa at what seemed like the end of a gorgeous countryside road, the sky was friendly, but overcast.   We trooped over a lawn to a cute little dock where our water chariot awaited.   A double pontoon boat with a welcoming shade cover and comfy lawn chair seating was to be our vehicle as we entered a tranquil, glassy Lake Gatún . It was a marvelous experience and one that even non-sailors and little kids would enjoy. Everyone bonded immediately and we set a goal of catching 100 fish between the five of us.  Our guide and captain, Armando, was a super hook-baiter, as those little minnows were pretty tough to snag.

IMG_0390At first, it seemed like everyone else had a catch and finally I too got one.  What an exhilarating feeling to feel that tug on the line!  In came a lovely, but tiny peacock bass. Back he went to finish growing up.  But soon a few good-sized ones came along and everyone caught a few.

Lunch was courtesy of ourselves, as were the drinks; so if you go, BYOLunch, etc. But I recommend going.  The weather cooperated fully, the breezes blew most of the day and by the time we finished our day, we had seen numerous gorgeous birds, had gotten to experience the  vastness of this wonderful lake, see the beauty of the environment and relax and know that we were bringing home a lot of dinners!

Armando cleaned all the catch, and he showed us how to fillet an entire fish in 14 seconds flat. It was like witnessing an artist at work.  We all left with a large ziplock full of fillets, smiles on our faces, and happy to have made some nice new friends.

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