Panama City Mountain Top View
For the BD Outdoors crew, the trip to Isla Secas begins with a few nonstop flights from both coasts to Panama City. Moments after arrival, a resort representative had us sitting comfortably in a lounge, beer in hands, while they expedited the customs and baggage clearance.
Brant Panama City View
Typically on a trip to Islas Secas, you spend a night in Panama City, and then catch another flight to David in the morning. We decided to spend a whole day checking out the city before continuing to the resort.
Casco Viejo was rebuilt after the pirate Henry Morgan destroyed the area in the late 1600s. Its geographic location made PanamÃ¡ Viejo an important stopover where lots of gold and silver passed through.
Panama City Tides
Looking over the old wall of the city you notice a void of water during the dramatic tide swings of the Pacific bay. Shallow coastal water and long extending mudflats cause tidal variations of up to 700 cm compared to 70 on the Atlantic side.
Fish Market Panama City
A good way to get an idea of what you can expect to fish for is to visit the local fish market and check the day’s catch.
Panama City Fish Market Pargos
A pile of pargo rojo ready for market.
Panama City Fish Market Dorodo
Plenty of dolphin, wahoo, amberjack and Pacific snook for sale.
If you have any time in Panama City, be sure to check out the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal. Because of this engineering feat, vessels can take the 48-mile shortcut between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans rather than circumnavigating South America.
Panama City Dining
With plenty of good food in Panama City, you can feel comfortable veering away from the Bennigans and trying something a bit more local.
Eating the Local Seafood
A seafood platter, with fried fish, octopus, lobster, calamari and muscles, topped with French fries and fried plantains.
Flying to Isla Secas
When it came time to continue our itinerary to the Las Secas Archipelago, our resort representative was there to shuttle us through our flight to David and water taxi to the islands.
Islas Secas Water Taxi
We boarded a comfortably large Panga with twin Suzuki four-stroke outboards and set off for the 25-mile run to the resort.
Isla Secas Taxi Pangas
The resort owns several immaculate panga-style vessels perfectly suited for inshore excursions and guest transport situations.
Pulling up to Islas Secas
Pulling up to the island you can see Casita Mogote, one of seven eco-friendly Pacific Yurts that make up the Islas Secas accommodations.
Islas Secas Mai Tai Greeting
Arriving at the dock you are greeted with a Mai Tai and a friendly staff that’s ready to take your bags and show you to your casita.
Islas Secas Solar Powered Casita
The resort features seven Pacific Yurt “casitas,” which are modern adaptations of the ancient shelter used by Central Asian nomads for centuries. Completely solar powered, these casitas offer low-impact, green, double-occupancy accommodations.
Inside Islas Secas Accommodations
Comfortable bed, hot shower, mini fridge, Wifi internet access, VHF radio and a killer view.
Lunch at Islas Secas
After settling into our casitas, we met back at the terrazzo for a gourmet lunch prepared by chef Eric before going on a sunset island boat tour.
Isla Secas Lunch Cuisine
Our first meal consisted of fresh salad, seared tuna and kiwi sorbet for desert.
Snorkeling near Islas Secas
After lunch we loaded a panga with some snorkel gear and headed to a nearby reef to cool down and check out some of the underwater life.
Isla Secas Island Tour
Wrapping up the day and our arrival, we circumnavigated the islands while our guide Thomas showed us out several private beaches and interesting points of the archipelago.
Islas Secas Frigate Bird Population
The islands of Isla Secas are home to one of the largest breeding populations of frigate birds in the area.
Sunset Island Tour
Catching the sunset on our way back to the resort.
Islas Secas Breakfast Table
Beginning each day at the terrazzo, Breakfast is ordered a’la carte with choices including pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, eggs Benedict and juevos rancheros.
Islas Secas Food Preparation
Because the resort only hosts 14 guests at a time, the staff is able to provide tailored service. With us on the island was a family from Boston who said they choose Islas Secas over other options because of the resorts ability to accommodate a peanut allergy.
Islas Secas Breakfast Menu
Aside from killer breakfast, the team of chefs prepare gourmet boat lunches which are a far cry from the typical sub sandwich.
Meeting Carter at the dock
Meeting Carter Andrews at the dock to load up into the 34-foot SeaVee center console.
Isla Secas Sea Vee Fleet
As director of fishing operations, Carter overseas a fleet of two 34-foot SeaVees, and a 55-foot custom Donzi walkaround.
Islas Secas Fishing Operation
The hub of the Islas Secas fishing operation is the World War II landing craft that houses the mates, fuel, spare parts, and even a spare 300-hp Suzuki outboard!
Islas Secas Fishing Boats
Carter Andrews is a well seasoned captain and guide with experience ranging from chasing marlin in the Bahamas to trout fishing in Wyoming. Carter’s fishing operations have been featured in many magazines and television shows including the Spanish Fly with Jose Wejebe.
Live Bait Fishing Islas Secas
Carter and his crew do a lot of slow trolling live skipjack which are plentiful in the area. The dramatic pinnacles that form the fishing grounds of Hannibal Bank provide the perfect situation to drag a bridled skippy around in hopes of a large tuna or black marlin.
Catching bait islas secas
Chasing down schools of skipjack with a butterfly jig and a spinning rod, we make a few choice baits before heading to the bank.
Trolling Live Baits
With Hannibal Bank being perfectly situated to capture the ocean currents and create a constant upwelling, about 90 percent of the marlin are caught slow-trolling live baits.
Trolling lures islas secas
During our time offshore we were having an issue with the porpoise terrorizing our baits. Switching to lures solved that problem and was a good way to cover a lot of ground when the live bait bite was slow.
Shimano Tiagra Islas Secas
The entire Islas Secas fleet is outfitted with some of the best Shimano gear including Tiagras, Talicas and Stellas, all spooled with PowerPro braid.
Islas Secas Outrigger Clip
Putting baits on the long and short rigger lines, flat lines and even down riggers helped to mix up the spread and increase our chances.
Islas Seacas Juan watches spread
Carter’s mate Juan was on top of his game, always ready to jump on a bite or set up a rig for another situation.
Islas Secas Dorado
Trolling around Ladrones, the rigger clip pops for a nice dorado.
Derek Islas Secas Dolphin
Derek follows suit with another dodo for the box. The chefs on the island will prepare our catch and serve it up back at the Terrazza.
Large Cockpit Sea Vee
We were all impressed with the ride of the SeaVee fleet. Fast and comfortable to fish several people.
Switching to inshore Islas Secas
With the bite offshore slower than usual, the numerous inshore options became very attractive. We decided to fish baits on rock piles and throw poppers along some of the inshore rock formations.
Leaving no stone unturned, we threw poppers and swim baits into the turbulent shoreline waters in hopes of cubera, roosterfish, mullet snapper and bluefin trevally.
Ali panama rooster fish
One of the prized inshore game fish of the Pacific, the roostserfish will readily pile on a popper and provide a good flight on spinning tackle.
Islas Secas Bluefin Trevally
Another member of the jack family, bluefin trevally school up all along the coast.
Dramatic Panama Coast
The view never gets old when you’re inshore. Surging water reveals rocks just bellow the surface and many choices for your next cast.
Derek Islas Secas Roosterfish
A brief moment to admire the ribbons of this rooster before we release it to fight another day.
It’s a mix between Jurassic Park, the set of Lost, and Gilligans Island in every direction. You hop from one lush tropical island to the next thinking any one of these will do.
Islas Secas Mullet Snapper
Chumming rock piles for mullet snapper. This was another species for Derek to mark off his list.
To give the arms a rest, Carter would cycle out anglers as we tagged miles of shoreline.
Derek Culbera Snapper
Derek was dying to catch a “Supper Cube” on this trip, but settled for this smaller cubera.