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“Nice lodge bad fishing” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Panama Big Game Fishing Club

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Panama Big Game Fishing Club
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Isla Boca Brava | Near Boca Chica, Isla Boca Brava, Panama   |  
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Award Winning Lodge
Fairbanks, Alaska, United States
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Nice lodge bad fishing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2012

The lodge is beautiful and in an incredible setting, the people are friendly and helpful.

The fishing here is very hit and miss, they are located on the inshore islands not the Hannibal Bank and not on Coiba Island on a good day they could get us to the edge of the bank or Coiba in 2+ hours. The currents here change dramatically so the fish could be out in the bank further if the waters are warm. The outfitters on Coiba Island do not have this problem because they can get you to the deeper water quicker, Panama Big Game Fishing is 52 miles from Coiba. Our group fished hard for four days and did not catch 1 big game fish, the two parties before us had the same bad luck. This is the first time I have been skunked on a big game fishing trip. If you are coming here to hang out and fishing is not important to you this is a great lodge with good people. If fishing is first for you like it is me you want to go somewhere else. We fished during prime season under a full moon phase. Every day 2+ hours out 5 to 6 hours fishing (half day) 2+ hours in. I have fished at no less than 20 lodges and placed in the top 3 in several tournaments including marlin tournaments. This is the most expensive lodge I have stayed at with the worst fishing.

Room Tip: All rooms are equally nice.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mcharman, Owner at Panama Big Game Fishing Club, responded to this review, April 26, 2012
Sean

Thank you for your review and your kind comments regarding the lodge and my staff.

I do have some issues with your comments regarding the fishing though, our high season is Jan - April 13th which is why we charge more, you fished in our LOW season, which can also produce huge tuna and you have a 50/50 chance of a Marlin. I am sorry that the week you were there that the fishing was slow but even in Jurassic Park it does happen from time to time, and the fishing went off of the bite for the entire Panama Pacific coast for the week that you were there.

Saying that one of the best fishing grounds in the world is HIT or MISS because the bite is bad for 4 - 5 days is ridiculous, as all of the other testamonials seem to disagree with you, we are very sorry that the fishing Gods did not obligue on this occasion. But I assure you that we love to fish here at Panama Big Game but sometimes,not often, maybe a couple of times a year the fish do not play ball. That's why it's called "Fishing"and not "Catching" as the saying goes.

As far as advising people to fish elsewhere, after saying that everything is fantastic at the club, just because you were unlucky to arrive just as the fish went off the bite, I really do not know what we can do when that happens, as it is a little out of our control.

The good news is that the Tuna have know arrived in huge numbers, but are feeding on very,very small bait, but our clients are still managing to catch some 100lbsplus Tuna, and the fishing is improving each day.

Once again, I am very sorry that your timing was not great this time around, but lightning seldom strikes twice as they say, if you would like to contact me on my e-mail mcharman@emirates.net.ae, I would be happy to discuss this matter further, and see what we could do for you in the future.

We want happy clients, and try very hard to make this happen.

Tight Lines


Mr C
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112 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (40)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Manteo, NC
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2012

My son and I fished at the lodge for his spring break. While the fishing was a bit slower than normal, everything else about this place was outstanding. The accommodations, food, booze, captains, mates, and other staff were simply the best and did everything possible to make our stay the best it could be. We never asked for anything twice, and in most cases got what we wanted without asking. Captain Lee and company are incredible cooks and you should not plan on losing any weight at this lodge.
I did check all the competing lodges on the Panama coast and it seems that they all had an unusually slower fishing week. That's fishing, so I have no issues with it. I know our captain and mate did everything possible to put us on, or keep us on fish, and never stopped trying. The live baiting was new to us as we have only trolled dead bait and we learned a lot. We also did some inshore fishing and had some really nice Snapper to go with the Tuna and Marlin we got offshore.

Room Tip: No fitness center or spa on site. A pool table would be a welcome addition
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mcharman, Owner at Panama Big Game Fishing Club, responded to this review, April 22, 2012
Rocky, thanks for your kind words, YES even when you fish JURASSIC PARK the fishing can be a bit slow, but having reviewed your photo's you still managed a Marlin and some huge Cuberra etc,etc, We have only owned the Club for 11 months and have been working at a million miles an hour refurbishing everything and building infinity pools, buying 5 new boats, only one was there when you arrived which was the Carolyna and all existing boats enjoying brand new engines, tuna tubes, top of the range fishting chairs etc etc, we have more or less finished stage one out of a ten stage program, stage two will consist of another 300 feet of dock, off road extreme vechicles to explore the island, new frontage with dock side bar and pool, new dinning room with games room and terrace (Pool table will be english style full tournament size, no american pool crap) with a Thai/Bali massage and Spa pavillian, plus a few more surprises.

It is not that we don't want to do these things, it is the short time that we have had to do what we have done, if you had been to the club in April, 2011 you would understand what we have achieved already.

But I am a father, the same as your Dad and I think that the best thing a Dad can do with his son is to take him on a fishing adventure, so here is my offer to you my friend, you get to the club (pay domestic flights) you Dad has to pay the full rate, and you come free next year, your Dad lives in Dubai so get him to call me and I will try to be there, and we will catch some MONSTERS.

Thanks for coming to the club.

And see you and your Dad next year.

Tight Lines


Mr C
Owner, Panama Big Game
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Vermilion bay
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2012

A friend and i stayed at PBGFC for 6 days from april 5th to the 11th. The vip service as soon as we landed was excellent and it literally took us less than 3 minutes to get through customs etc.
We then took our short flight to David and were greeted by Victor and Capt Scott. So far everything was smooth and we could already sense the professionalism and courtesy of the operation. After a pleasant 1 hour ride to Boca Chica we boarded a small water taxi and 5 minutes later we were on Boca Brava ( the island the resort is on). Our bags were taken from us, we took a short cable car ride up to the top of th resort ( was fun) and once there we were very impressed by how beautiful the surrounding jungle was but even more impressed with the resort. Awsome pool, clubhouse, and the villas were 5 star, just perfect. So far i was impressed and we had not evev fished yet.
At 5.30 am our crew woke us with fresh coffee and we started our adventure. We came down to the marina and were greeted by great boats and impressive very new equipment, (having been all over central america i really appreciate good equipment as i have been burned by it before).
We boarded and quickly went and caught bait. After that a comfy ride to isla montousa and some awesome sportfishing. I won't bore you with every days details but i will say it was the best 5 day fishing trip i have been on. I personally caught my biggest tuna(125 pounds), biggest amberjack (60 pounds), biggest rooster (60 plus pounds) and biggest mutton snapper (35 pounds). My partner also had a goal of catching a large rooster and big cubera and he succeeded at both catching a 50 pound plus rooster, 45 pound and 55 pound cubera all in the same day.
In closing all i can say is....get off yout butt and go here. You will catch fish and be treated like royalty and the food? My god it was amazing
I have been all over traveling and fishing and this place is simply head and shoulders above the rest.
Brad

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pensacola
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2012

Sorry for late response but is no reflection on the superior quality of our experience at PBGFC. My father and I had a great time at this top level lodge. Our travel through the country with VIP service was the best I have experienced in a foreign country (a private trip to the Panama Canal was even arranged). The renovations to the pool/restaurant/lodges speak for themselves. The food and personalized service was outstanding and began upon arrival (who gets personal laundry service at a fishing lodge?). Although the fishing was slow our crew worked has hard as possible to put us on the fish. We hooked to 2 blacks and my father landed his first sail which will always be rememebered. I have fished in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Bermuda, Grand Cayman, and Madeira and have not a harder working crew.

I urge anyone who wants a top notch fishing experience in a first class, laid back atmosphere to go to PBGFC!

Terry Neill Sr./Jr.

Room Tip: all rooms are great but rooms nearer to dock have a longer uphill walk to restaurant
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

Could not have been a better trip. The improvements to the resort are excellent. We did not see the need for a pool but that atitude has changed 100%. Getting in at 5:00 PM and going to the pool for an hour makes the experience even better. The food was, as usual, excellent but unfotunately I gained 5 lbs which I am not regretting. The staff is excellent and the service they provide could not be better.

I would not think about going anywhere else. At a minimum my brother and I will return in the summer and definitely will be back, probably with a big group, in March. Anyone can call me at any time to ask me questions about my experiences at the Panama Big Game Resort. This was out third trip.

Room Tip: They are all the same. The closer the room is to the pool and dining room would be the best.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Deert Park
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2012

Well I just can't express how much Capt Lee and his staff bent over backwards for you. The accomidations were nothing but fantastic, all completely remodeld and clean. The food was just out of this world, it was as if you were at a 5 star resturant, with the open bar. I recommend PBGFC to all who would like to fish Panama, their prices are far superior to other lodges in the area. Thier VIP service is incrediable from the time you arrive Panama until you leave you are catered too. The boats, crew and gear are all top notch. Made some great long distance friends and we will be back to see them in the near future. Victor, thanks for making the crown for the Bonito King. For an experience of a life time you must visit PBGFC.

Doug R

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hershey, Pennsylvania
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2012

I have fished different areas of Panama and Panama Big game by far has the most diverse fishery in the country. I cannot say enough about how well Capt Lee and Capt Scott made our experience second to none. The food and drinks by Capt Lee and Victor was like being at a 5 star restaurant and Capt Scott and the crews all worked very hard every day. I would recommend this trip to anyone looking for fishing or just R&R. All you Guys out there great place to fish and bring the significant other top notch accommodations. You wont be disappointed with Big game Fish Club

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Panama Big Game Fishing Club

Address: Isla Boca Brava | Near Boca Chica, Isla Boca Brava, Panama
Phone Number:
Location: Panama > Chiriqui Province > Isla Boca Brava
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Specialty Lodging in Isla Boca Brava
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Awarded a Certificate of Excellence 2012, 2013 and 2014 by Tripadvisor, the first and only fishing resort ever to be honoured with this award. Our upscale waterfront jungle location is abundant with wildlife. These natural wonders help make this sport fishing lodge equalled by few places left on the planet. We are able to provide dream vacations where you can fish the big game fish, relax in a tropical setting and enjoy gourmet dining. The Club is located on the Island of Boca Brava and has proximity to the famous fishing grounds of Hannibal Bank, Isla Coiba, Montuosa and many other islands dotted throughout this area. Fishing is good year round with a lot of that due to the many sea mounds and banks that bring the bottom up from a Thousand Meters to less than Forty Meters. These areas hold a lot of baitfish. Inshore and offshore fish species include: black marlin, blue marlin, tuna, sailfish, wahoo, mahi mahi, cubera snapper, rock snapper, mullet snapper, yellow snapper, rooster fish, amberjack, crevalle jack, blue jack, horse-eye jack, sierra mackerel. Our sportfishing packages are all inclusive: accommodations, fine dining, open bar, Infinity pool with swim-up bar and Spa and local air and land transfers. The resort has undergone a multi-million dollar upgrade completed in May 2012. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Panama Big Game Fishing Club Isla Boca Brava

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