A Guide | Different Types of Fish in Panama

A Guide | Different Types of Fish in Panama

The shimmering turquoise waters off the coast of Panama are home to many fish species. Down in the deep, you will find the biggest fighting fish in the world. Hooking into an enormous blue marlin, getting into a fighting chair, and trying to reel it in is the thrill of a lifetime. They’re called trophy fish for a reason, and they don’t go down without a fight. Several world records have come from these warm waters. If you want to catch monster marlins that weigh over 1,000 lbs. or snappers that will put up a memorable fight, there is that and everything in between in Panama’s waters. This list provides just a sample of the bio diversity that exists here. There are many different types of fish in Panama, so book a fishing charter, and try to catch them all.


Almaco Jack

The Almaco jack is a fish like the yellow tail tuna and amberjack that swims in smaller schools. They feed on smaller bait fish and squid. Like the tuna, they have very thick, dense skin. They will rub against a shark’s rough skin to remove parasites as well. They’re also known to rub against scuba divers, mistaking them for a shark. They live in the coastal waters from California to Peru. Wrecked boats and planes, or reefs in shallow waters, are the preferred hangouts for this fish, but you can find them in depths around 90 ft. deep.


Rooster Fish

Panama rooster fishing is among the best in the world. The rooster fish gets its name from the distinctive dorsal fin that looks like a rooster’s comb. They’re known to trail bait lines behind a boat, and you can see the signature fin will break the surface. Rooster fish are unique to the eastern Pacific Ocean; you can’t find them anywhere else in the world. They fight long and hard with signature strength and power. Breaking the surface in an acrobatic display makes them a sought-after prize by anglers.


Mullet Snapper

Mullet snappers are among the smaller trophy fish, and the current world record is 45 lbs. What they lack in size they make up for in fight. Pound for pound, the snapper is the toughest fish in the ocean, and you will know if you get one on the line. Unlike other snapper varieties, mullets prefer midwater depths of around 150 ft. Mullets also choose rocky areas that provide structure and shelter for their feeding grounds. A distinctive red and pinkish hue sets them apart from other species of fish. The waters of the eastern Pacific, from Peru to Baja, are where they can be found.


Dolphin Mahi-Mahi Dorado

Everyone thinks of the blue marlin or sail fish when deep sea fishing comes up. Many can make the case that the dolphin mahi-mahi dorado is the most popular sport fish in the world, though. This determined and acrobatic fighter is stubborn as all get out once on the line; an angler can’t ask for more than that. Aside from their fighting nature, the dolphin mahi-mahi dorado is a uniquely beautiful fish. It has bold yellow, peacock blue, and deep emerald coloring that blend perfectly together, which gives it a truly distinctive look. The dolphin mahi is a voracious, nonstop eater, and they can grow 18 inches of length a year.


Blue Marlin

Bill fish are the most beautiful, and sought-after, sport fish in the world, and the king of them all is the blue marlin. Blue marlin is found all over the world, but you can find the biggest in the Atlantic Ocean. Hooking into a massive blue marlin, strapping into a fighting chair, and reeling it in is the pinnacle of sport fishing. They’re enormous, beautiful fish that will fight for hours. They also put on a spectacular acrobatic mid-air show. The current world record is over 1,400 lbs., and it was caught off the cost of Brazil. Overstating the amazing power and beauty of these fish is impossible. Anglers all over the world try to catch them year after year.


Yellowfin Tuna

Tuna are a prized catch for anglers, especially the yellowfin. This highly migratory species can cover thousands of miles in their lifetime. Because of their nature, they live in waters all over the world. The only place you won’t find them is in frigid polar waters. Also known as “ahi” tuna, the yellowfin is a prized commercial fish too. Sport anglers want to catch a tuna because they’re huge; they can reach 7 ft. in length and weigh in at over 400 lbs. Tuna will stay in cooler, deeper water during the day and follow the bait fish to the surface at night. They tend to stay in schools with other tuna of similar size, so if you find one monster, you’ll likely discover more nearby.


Cubera Snapper

Many beautiful fish roam the depths of the world’s oceans—the Cubera snapper is not one of them. It resembles something out of a horror movie. It makes you think of a lurking menace with long, jagged, pointed teeth waiting to bite an unsuspecting swimmer in half. They don’t do that, of course, but they look like they could. Their unique copper coloring and nightmarish teeth set this fish species apart from the rest. They’re known for their brute strength and the fight they give when hooked. They max out around 80 lbs., but they fight as if they’re ten times that size.



If the amberjack were an ice cream flavor, it would be vanilla. It’s not beautiful like a marlin or terrifying like a Cubera snapper, but it’s right in the middle. Also known as reef donkeys, the amberjack is not a beautiful fish, and it’s not an ugly fish. It’s just a fish. What it lacks in style, though, it makes up for in substance. The sea floor is where they prefer to hang out, but they will surface. These fierce fighters will take off for the bottom or underwater structures when hooked. If that happens, the angler needs to settle in for a tough, prolonged fight.

types of Fish in Panama

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