Archbold-Pflueger Sport Fishing understands that fishing Coiba Panama is a privilege. Overfishing will deplete our stock, endanger the environment and depress tourism. For those who want to fish Coiba, it is important to support charter services that are dedicated to conservation. Creating a sustainable experience for fishing in Coiba is a Panamanian government priority. We have also made conservation a top priority and are firmly committed to sustainable fishing in Coiba.

Environmentally responsible fishing in Coiba is in Panama’s best interests. The government supports fishing in Coiba and has carefully drafted a comprehensive set of marine fishery laws to allow fishing in Coiba while preserving fishing stock for both tourism and commercial purposes.

The government of Panama has developed guidelines that create a sustainable fishing tourism industry and Archbold-Pflueger Sport Fishing will absolutely follow the agreement that is being prepared to allow fishing in Coiba (and Panama in general) as follows:

  • 1. All fishing in Coiba and in Panama must follow a strict policy of hook and release of all marlin, sailfish, rooster fish, grouper and Cubera snapper (Pargo).
  • 2. For all consumable fish, there will be a daily limit for each fisherman. Species subject to this limit include Dorado, tuna, mullet snapper, wahoo and triple tail.
  • 3. Certain species will be subject to a size limit.
  • 4. The Panama Marine Resource Foundation will provide officials at both A.R.A.P. and A.N.A.M. a strategic plan to establish the role and intention for the sport fishing industry. That plan, along with a companion plan by the commercial fishing industry, will be submitted to the government.
  • 5. We will cooperate with governmental agencies to enforce the law and report violations.
  • 6. We will support research and development to determine how to improve the fishery so that fishing Coiba Panama may continue and thrive.
  • 7. We will protect and provide for a sustainable marine environment.

Archbold-Pflueger Sport Fishing has already begun to implement these recommendations. We have instructed our captains that if they see any illegal long liners or netters they should document the activity and contact the lodge. We will then report the illegal activity to A.N.A.M.

We invite sport fishers to partake in the acclaimed experience of fishing in Coiba. With our guidelines in place, you can have an outstanding fishing vacation while also having a gentle impact on the environment.


The largest island in all of Central America, Coiba is over 503 kilometers squared (194 square miles) in size, found off of the Pacific coast of Panama. Fishing Coiba island and its surroundings fall under the jurisdiction of Montijo District in Veraguas Province.

Over 18,000 years ago, rising sea waters split Coiba from mainland Panama. As plants and animals on the island began evolving separately from their mainland cousins, a vast new array of species arose in and on the island, including the aquatic species that anglers enjoy fishing Coiba Island for. On the island itself, visitors can marvel at the Coiba Island howler monkey, the Coiba agouti and the unique Coiba spinetail.

Prior to European exploration, Coiba was home to the native Cacique Indian tribe. In 1919, local authorities built a small penal colony on the island. During the reign of Panamanian strongmen Omar Torrijos and Manuel Noriega, the prison became a fearsome place for enemies of the state, with many prisoners suffering torture and worse. Today, experts are still trying to assemble reliable data on how many people died in the prison, with some historians quoting a number of about 300. Because of this brutal history, the island was long avoided by most Panamanians, and the rest of the island was left undeveloped.

After a series of reforms in the government, the prison on Coiba was closed in 2004. The government realized that its pristine condition made it ideally suited for a reserve, including the excellent waters for fishing Coiba Island. Today, locals like to entertain visitors with ghost stories about the prison, including one about a guard who engaged in a merry chase to apprehend an escaped prisoner, only to find that the prisoner was actually a ghost.

Because the island was left in its pristine state, it is now one of the last places in Central America where the rare scarlet macaw bird calls home. Right now, the island is approximately 75 percent trees, with most of that being original ancient forest. Because it was left undeveloped, many rare tree species that were exterminated on the mainland can still be found on the island. Coiba Island is also where a large gamut of rare plants can be found. In 1992, Coiba Island was declared a national park. In July 2005, UNESCO declared the Coiba National Park area a World Heritage Site.


The clear waters that make Coiba Island fishing so bountiful are due to the underwater topography, which links to the Galapagos Islands via the Coco Ridge subaquatic mountain chain. Notable scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Island have declared the area a rich environment for discovering new species. Rachel Collin, the project coordinator for the Smithsonian, stated, “It’s really difficult to believe, as you snorkel near and fish Coiba Island, you’re really close to the United States and yet half the species we’ve observed are still completely unknown to science.”

Coibo Island’s special location shelters it from high winds and the damaging effects of El Nino. This unique position gives it the special ability to sustain continuing evolution of marine species, including: sperm whales, sea turtles, tiger sharks, whale sharks and vast schools of other aquatic animals, making it an angler’s dream to enjoy fishing Coiba Island. The island also serves as a refuge for several endangered land animals, including the crested eagle, agouti, opossum and several species of howler monkey.

Most visitors to the area remark on the abundance of marine life, making for outstanding fishing in Coiba Island opportunities. The island itself is surrounded and protected by one of the biggest coral reefs in the western hemisphere. And, because the Indo-Pacific current runs right through the Gulf of Chiriqui, the locale provides superb diving opportunities. The warm current is perfect for coral and provides a rich stream of nutrients that make fishing Coiba Island so profitable. Many other aquatic species found in the area include: humpback whales, orcas and whale sharks. Scientists have documented more than 760 different species of fish, including snapper, amberjack, barracuda and three types of marlin. Due to this rich abundance of marine life, the waters of the park are an unparalleled paradise to snorkel, scuba dive and enjoy fishing Coiba Island.