Man vs. fish in Panama

California angler, David McNatt, lands 320-lb “Super Cow” yellowfin tuna on Hannibal Bank in Panama

This post is also available in: Spanish

On-the-Water by Ilene Little

Our correspondent provides us with this vivid account of a sports fishing aficionado’s experience angling off the coast of Chiriqui.

California angler, David McNatt, described landing a 320-lb “Super Cow” yellowfin tuna on Hannibal Bank May 2, 2015 as a “three-hour battle from hell. I am 5’8”, weigh 185 lbs and I’m going to be 64 years young in July,” he said.

See David McNatt describe his love of fishing and this experience in Panama by visiting our website, Facebook.com/TheVisitorPanama.

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Hannibal Bank off the coast of Chiriqui

Hannibal Bank off the coast of Chiriqui.

His crew for the week was Capt. Jose Rios and deck mate Eliecer “Chewie” Pupero. “That’s the same crew who hooked up Ken Faust on the pending record breaking Pacific sailfish back in February 2015,” said Capt. Kerry H. Leggett, avid angler and owner of Come Fish Panama.

McNatt was not in a fighting chair. “I was in stand-up gear with a back harness,” said McNatt, “I wasn’t really set up to catch a fish that big.” Like most serious fishermen, McNatt travels with his own gear.

California angler, David McNatt, lands 320-lb “Super Cow” yellowfin tuna on Hannibal Bank in Panama

California angler, David McNatt, lands 320-lb “Super Cow” yellowfin tuna on Hannibal Bank in Panama.

“We were just out there drifting on Hannibal. I threw out a little piece of sardine tail about four inches long, and all of a sudden ‘Boom!’ The tuna took almost all my line so we had to start chasing him,” he said.

“We got some of my line back, and then we got him close enough to the boat where we had to stop. At this point I started a three-hour battle from hell. At an hour and a half I was pretty much done physically. I had a lot of back pain and I knew that fish was the biggest I’d ever hooked.”

He continued: “My muscles, and my fingers, my hands and my back were just done. I started quivering and my hands were frozen in the shape of the pole. Little did I know that I was only halfway into it at that point.

“Later, I almost went overboard when the tuna pulled me to the side of the boat. The deckhand, Chewie, grabbed me from behind and pulled me back. The guys were dumping water on me. Chewie was supporting me from behind. My endorphins had taken over and I was numb.

“I can hardly remember the last hour of the fight. It was so incredibly painful. It just took every single thing I had in my body to give, and more. Captain Kerry Leggett and his boys, Captain Rios and Chewie, are super,” said McNatt. “I would never have caught that fish without those guys. It takes a full crew to be able to manage and land a fish like that.”

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