The Atlantic Tuna Project’s John LoGioco recently returned from a tuna tagging project out of Panama Sportfishing lodge. In a short time span of five days, John and his team of six Atlantic Tuna Project anglers were able to successfully tag over 75 Yellowfin tuna! The quality of fish ranged from smaller grade 20lb tuna all the way up to cow 200lb class tuna.
Described as the best fishing any of his team has ever experienced, they were able to surpass their goal total for tags placed by a tremendous amount. To put this accomplishment in perspective 12 anglers in 2011 tagged 56 Yellowfin tuna, and last year 12 anglers were able to tag 27 yellowfin tuna. Prior to this trip, the team already had 3 tags recovered from these previous Panama trips. The tuna originally tagged in Panama were found in Equador, Costa Rica, and Southern Panama. With the additional 75 deployed tags they are looking forward to more recaptures to come.
John and team experienced a bit of weather as it was the beginning of the rainy season. Everyday they experienced rain and at times torrential thunder storm cells passing over South American toward Panama. However, the cloud cover and stormy weather seemed to get the fish active and willing to bite as they experienced fast and furious fishing from the get go. The captains targeted porpose and bird schools that would bring with them maurading Yellowfin tuna. Once an active school was found busting on blue runners, they would run & gun with poppers and jigs that would get instantly hit by tuna. The fishing never slowed down the five days of their stay and they kept on getting bigger! The team would have doubles and triples of 75-100lb tuna going as they fought through rain squalls, thunderstorms, and spots of sunshine.
This being the third year that the Atlantic Tuna Project members have been to the Panama Sport Fishing Lodge, the captains and mates are thoroughly experienced with how to properly tag fish. Boats are tagging machines as anglers, mates, and captains work together as a team. Each fish was carefully fought, tagged, and released. The method found to work best is to bring the tuna close to the boat, tag the fish in the water, then lift into the tuna into the boat and cover it’s eyes with a wet towel that renders the fish motionless. While this is taking place, meticulous measurements and records of each fish are logged by a team member. At the end of the trip, the ATP accomplished many goals: beat personal bests, beat previous Panama tagging efforts, and exceed their original goal of 50 tags deployed.