We Catch and Release Billfish

What real adventure fishing is all about is to catch and release your fish. All billfish are caught and released on our sportfishing charters.

To catch and release a blue marlin, black marlin, or a beautiful sailfish is spine-tingling thrilling! It is actually more of a challenge to release a billfish or any fish, than it is to keep it.

There is also an art to catching and releasing giant-sized fish species. Bringing up a fish that has been down very deep might be somewhat traumatic so it is best to release it as quickly as possible.


Conservation in Panama has been very aggressive in it's preservation of sportfishing. In August 1997, a law was enacted that protects ALL billfish from being caught commercially. The IGFA gave the 1999 conservation award in the country category to Panama and the Panamanian President went to Florida personally to accept this prestigious award. Panama was also host and co-sponsor of the First Sport Fishing Economic Conference of Central America in September 1998, in hopes of getting some of its neighbors more involved in conserving this great sport.

panama fishing

The shadow of the marlin swims behind the boat in view of your tight line. You need to get him closer to the boat so you can have a good look at him. The mate holds the line with his gloved hand, watching closely not to harm the fish.

Your pal, grabs the camera and takes that quick photo of the marlin as it swims alongside the boat...preferably with you holding the rod showing the line still attached to the big fish.

The mate frees the beauty and it scurries away as swiftly as it can, diving to the dark depths of the Pacific. What adventure fishing to catch and release the marlin!

panama fishing

This heart-pounding excitement is the same with every fish species, whether it be a black marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, grouper, cubera snapper, wahoo, mahi mahi, or roosterfish.

At no time will we ever kill any billfish (any marlin, or sailfish). It must stay in the water alongside the boat so that it can be revived and released by the crew/captain.

panama fishing

Important things to consider for the catch and release

If a fish is removed from the water for unhooking and/or a photo, the important things to remember are:

  • to avoid having the fish exposed to dry hands or dry surfaces (e.g. shirt fronts) or putting them down on dry surfaces (e.g. rocks, boat gunwhales, boat bottoms)
  • to touch the fish only with a wet glove, wet towel or wet hands
  • to avoid hanging fish perpendicularly eg. from their mouth or gills
  • to remember to hold the fish by supporting it with a hand under the belly so that it remains held horizontally
  • and always try to reduce the time it is out of the water to a maximum of 20-30 seconds

panama fishing

panama fishing

Anglers should show responsibility and restraint when deep sea fishing. After releasing a reasonable number of deep sea fish, anglers might consider heading to shallower waters to continue fishing for other fish species. After all, there are many fish in the sea !

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