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“Off the hook fishing, first class servcie”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Come Fish Panama

Come Fish Panama
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Come Fish Panama offers the best and most affordable offshore, coastal inshore, and estuary sport fishing in the Republic of Panama.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
62 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Off the hook fishing, first class servcie”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 19, 2014

We were in Panama last weekend for www.ironmanpanama.com and had the opportunity to get in a day of fishing. I had heard from another captain that this was the right time of year to hit billfish on the pacific side so researched Come Fish Panama and gave them a call.

I have been out fishing a lot of places on good boats and bad ones. Captain Kerry runs a first class operation! He arranged our flights from Panama City to David, airport pickup, accommodations at Hotel Boca Del Mar, information for onward travels and the airport to airport transfer from the domestic to international airports back in Pan City.

We fished from a well maintained center console 29 footer with twin 225HP outboards that got us out there to the fish promptly, and within 20 minutes of getting hooks in the water we had a black marlin on the line. The on board tackle was high end and well maintained. Brothers Jose and Michael were the captain and crew that we fished with and they were very accommodating to my son and I and my friend who had never fished offshore before.

My son is only 7 and I have had skippers that were hesitant to take kids that age offshore in the past. No such problems with CFP and they even mixed up the types of fishing we did (trolling, bottom fishing, top casting, bait drifting) and species we pursued to keep him engaged in the activity. After 9 1/2 hours on the water the little guy really didn't want to quit so they stopped halfway back on the way in so he could catch a couple more snapper off the bottom.

Back at the dock they cleaned and cut up a nice pargo snapper that the kitchen at Boca del Mar cooked for our dinner.

CFP policy is to photograph and release marlin and sailfish to conserve this resource. They provide tuna to locals in the area as this part of Panama doesn't have a lot of industry or high paying jobs. My son will not soon forget touching a marlin, feeling the bill and sail and looking him in the eye before we unhooked him let him swim away.

We will certainly be back to fish with Come Fish Panama.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
9 Thank Kevin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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48 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Waterford, Virginia
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Let the crew be your guides”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 12, 2014

This was our second trip with CFP. Both trips were great, though last year we wasted a day by insisting upon fishing where and for fish in opposition to advice of our crew. This year we deferred to their best judgement. Crews talk with each other and know where the best fishing is to be had. Last year we caught tuna. This year there were no tuna, but sailfish and marlin were plentiful. We landed three marlin and a sailfish, along with a dorado, two red snapper, a rock snapper, and a great blue runner.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
6 Thank Kevin R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Kelowna, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great fishing trip.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 10, 2014

Our group of 3 amigos from British Columbia had a great five day fishing trip with CFP. The crew of Jose and his brother Michael were extremely good at their jobs and had us hooked up with a lot of fish. The bean counter in our party determined that we boated 13 game species. Our only complaint - we did not want Marlin but we kept hooking and boating them!
The Bocas Del Mar hotel and restaurant was first class and we really enjoyed bringing in some of our catch for them to cook.
Captain Kerry referred us to other fishing guides in Pedasi and Gatum Lake which really rounded out our fishing trip. Kerry also referred us to a great landlord in Boquete for that leg of our trip and helped us navigate with the car rental folks.
Would we go back to CFP? - in a heartbeat.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank Stanley D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, OH
Level Contributor
42 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Promised One Thing That Was Important to Us… and Failed to Deliver!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 6, 2014

I have separated the “fishing” from the review of CFP. The fishing had its slow days, great days and good days. This review is not supposed to be reflective of the fishing, but of the client experienced we had with CFP.

So this is the first non 5 star review of Come Fish Panama (CFP). As you will notice all previous reviews are when Kerry acted as the captain, we did not have that experience.

We booked this trip in August of 2013 for a January 2014 trip. We asked all the right questions, and were provided with all the right answers. Unfortunately some of those answers turned out to be NOT true.

My fishing partner and I speak very little, broken Spanish. So it is important for us to have, at the very least, someone on our boat that speaks basic English so we can fish effectively, ask questions and change our game plan as needed. At the same time we are NOT new to fishing in Central America; between my fishing partner and I we have combined for over 25 fishing trips to this part of the world.

In July 2013 when we had Kerry on the phone we specifically told him that we don’t speak Spanish and asked if there would be someone on the boat that speaks English. He unequivocally said yes. THIS WAS ONE OF THE KEY REASONS WE BOOKED WITH CFP. Further his website had the following (he has since taken it down after we pointed out his false statement):
“At least one member of your boat crew will speak English as well as a Come Fish Panama Representative who will meet and greet you when you arrive Panama. Our customer service is 100% English speaking, you will never have to worry about calling with a question and getting someone who doesn’t speak English fluently.” (I've included a screen shot from CFP's website with the claim under his FAQ section before he took it down.)

So we landed in David to find out we would be fishing with two locals for our six day trip, neither of which spoke but a few words of English. I do not hold the locals accountable for not speaking English – that is the responsibility of the owner. Kerry then told us in the van that he would fish with us on day #2, OK. Guess what… Day #2 – no Kerry. No English. Later that night at 10:22pm (about 4.5 hours after leaving emails and voice mails) Kerry finally called us back. We expressed our disappointment, all excuses no apologies. Further, he even tried to deny that he ever promised an English speaker on the boat. When we pointed out that it said so on his website he was caught in his own lie. While on the phone he then told us that he would fish with us on Thursday and Friday. Guess what? No Kerry on Thursday or Friday. Why? Because he had to take out other clients on his bigger boat. I’m sorry but these trips are NOT booked 36 hours in advance. He knew that he was booked when he made these promises; pure deception on his part. Again, excuses, excuses, no apologies.

Other issues with CFP:
-We booked a tour through CFP for Panama City on our day of arrival. The local tour guide was a no show. OK, this is Central America, sometimes these guys do flake out; we weren’t too worked up about that. However, I tried to reach CFP three different ways around noon from the airport – cell, email and landline. Left messages, no responses. When CFP picked us up at the David airport Kerry still hadn’t received our messages (6 hours later). We had also pre-paid the tour to CFP in advance and had to remind him to get the refund… multiple times.

-A smaller item, but another failure of customer service. I asked Kerry if he could pick up some cigars as I had not had the chance. He said sure, I can get them tomorrow when I’m in David. Guess what – cigars never showed. Another broken commitment.

-Food on boat was not acceptable. I don’t need 5 star meals, I don’t even need 3. But I would like a decent sandwich. Not too much to ask. A single slice of salami, a single slice of ham, lettuce & tomato sandwich… doesn’t cut it. That was the lunch 5 days out of 6. 1 day we had a lunch that was just fine.

In short CFP has expanded their fleet from 1 boat to 3. If you don’t get Kerry because he is taking out the big boat, I hope you have brushed up on your Spanish.

I personally think CFP will say what they need to say to book a trip and Kerry can’t apologize or admit when he has made a mistake. Not acceptable in the client service industry.

Positives about CFP:
-Boat & tackle were first rate
-Bocas del Mar – resort-hotel not affiliated with CFP – was outstanding!!
-I do believe that our local captain and mate were pretty good fisherman
-Our local captain and mate were punctual about picking us up in the morning (an area that can sometimes be a challenge in Central America)
-Fresh fruit on boat was good

The good news is that going forward anyone booking with CFP will not be under any false impressions about whether or not English will be spoken on board. If you are spending 9.5-10 hours a day on a boat the ability to communicate with your captain and mate is a necessity. What if your original game plan is not working? The tide isn’t right? The green water has moved in? Not being able to communicate WILL almost definitely reduce the amount of fish you catch.

I’m given CFP three stars. I was very close to giving CFP only two stars. Since the operation is now more than just Kerry, I incorporated that into my review. If I could give Kerry a star rating he would be receiving just 2. Had he been more honest and upfront with the changing dynamics of his business, apologized and admitted his mistakes, and looked for a way to make it up he could have easily earned 3… maybe even 4 stars.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
21 Thank cingitall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
54 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Second Time @ Come Fish Panama”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2014

Enjoyed a great couple of days fishing with Captain Kerry and his mate, Martin. Came in January and landed our first sailfish and numerous dorados. Had many marlin bites but could not get them to the boat. Wish we had more time as the bottom fishing experienced guests looked strong and I would have liked more time to go after a Rooster fish. Cannot leave a good bite though and with only two days available in our schedule, we stayed at Isla Montuosa where the bite was strong.

Went out on the new 31 footer which is very nice and fast! Looking forward to another trip,

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank TR-SoCal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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