When most Americans think of Colombia, they remember the phrase “Coke is It”. This country has changed so much from the Cartel days in the 1980’s, and the death of Pablo Escobar in 1993. Those deadly and frightening activities were rampant 15 – 30 years ago. Now, Colombia is a safe and secure country to visit. Medellin is now considered one of the safest cities in Latin America.
Colombia is modern, with a bustling economy and a lot of high rise apartments and hotels. Fashion, cell phones, and laptops everywhere … very much like Brazil. This place is hoppin’! The men and women are kind and helpful. The food was great and the US Dollar goes a long way.
My interest was to travel there and explore the fishing opportunities that exist now, and hopefully discover some exciting possibilities for the future.
I found both … Big Time.
FISHING in Cartagena, Colombia
Atlantic Coast – > between Panama and Venezuela
I spent several hours with Carlos Londono on 1/20/09, President of the Cartagena Marina in Cartagena. Carlos is a native of Cartagena and used to fish the local waters as a boy. He remembers times when Tarpon, Permit, and Bonefish were common in the shallows around Cartagena. These species still exist here, but have been impacted dramatically by locals and their nets. Hopefully, someday there can be a recovery as seen in Belize and Roatan Island, Honduras.
The Offshore “Blue Water” fishing is VERY GOOD NOW. Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Dorado, Tuna, along with other typical species abound here. The biggest issue here is the Sea .. and its condition. The High Season is typical of Central / South America ->December April.
The fish abound offshore during these months, but the seas can be rough, not so much from swells, but from wind waves. Always a “Breeza”. The calmer seasons during May November offer quieter ocean conditions … but a few less fish. October 9, 10, 11, 2009 is when Carlos will hold his annual Marlin Tournament here in Cartagena.
THE BOATS: There are typical Offshore Cruiser type Sportfishing boats, but the most popular and efficient are these “Cigarette” type offshore boats. Moats have Twin or Triple GIANT outboards, but Carlos likes and uses twin inboard JET DRIVEN powered boats. These craft are very fast and can run on top of the chop so often encountered in the seas around Cartagena. These boats are stored in racks at the Marina.
FISHING the Interior of Colombia
There has been a long history of fishing PEACOCK BASS in the rivers of the Eastern Side of Colombia even before Brazil ! This area is well worth exploring soon. Much safer now, there are several operators, and endless waters to be rediscovered in this Amazon-like region. More on these opportunities down the road.
FISHING the PACIFIC COAST – The Next Great Opportunity
Where Panama connects to Colombia on the Pacific ocean is probably the Greatest Offshore fishing in the world. Topic Star Lodge in Pinas Bay, Panama sits right next door to the border of Colombia. Tropic Star and it’s waters have been known for over 30 years to be the best fishing destination in the world…period.
There are rumors of a small bay on this Pacific Ocean area of Colombia that Sailfish cruise into and circle around…within reach by a cast from shore! Now this would be a sight to behold, and well worth waiting for.
At this time in history, these Colombian waters are still too dangerous to visit. It is in this region that the Drug Runners and FARC still exercise power and control. The Colombian Government has yet been able to control this area like it has been so successful in the rest of the country over the last 15 years.
We will keep a close eye on this area and it’s opportunity.