Turn Up the Heat for Sailfish and Yellowfin Tuna

by | May 17, 2024 | fly fishing Colombia

yellowfin-tunaI’ve suspected that my left shoulder issues over the last two years have come from over 30 years of stripping flies violently to entice gangsters with fins.  Today I’m certain.  My torn rotator cuff that I’ve been able to limp along with thanks to physical therapy bands and light weight lifting for the last 18 months woke me several times last night.  No doubt, it was from ripping in tuna flies yesterday along with the torque from clinging to the bow rail here at Darien Lodge on the Pacific side of Colombia.



Photo by Jess McGlothlin

But that’s life.  If I got repaired last fall like originally planned I’d have missed about five dream fishing trips and possibly a show season of work.  And there’s no guarantee I’d be better. When I quietly snuck out of Bens and my cabin this morning I popped a couple Advil with a cup of delicious Colombian coffee then got ready for four more full days of fishing.




Photo by Jess McGlothlin

Today I was back with Ben and Jess and the same boat crew consisting of Edward and Wilmer.  While the weather began with partial sun, clouds filled the sky as we left the lodge.  As we drove north towards Panama the heavens became more ominous and the unique rocky Darien Gap shoreline was breathtaking with the mist and fog.




Photo by Jess McGlothlin

With the dark clouds came rain and wind.  The Pacific Ocean swell grew and balancing to cast from the bow was a chore.  In addition, there’s not a lot of wind protection for fly line on the deck.  My SA Big Water Taper was a challenge to manage.  We had two decent shots at tuna but neither Ben, Jess or I were able to get a successful cast for them.  We had a slow morning.




Photo by Jess McGlothlin

Fortunately the storms let up in the afternoon.  The first rays of the sun were soothing and I put them to use.  In the process of drying off my clothes I managed to scrape out a 20 minute power nap as well.






Sailfish-fliesThe siesta would be useful.  Soon the waves eased and not only could you stand on the bow again but we could see for miles.  There wasn’t much going on as for tuna busting but in the distance we spotted a pair of free leaping sailfish.  Edward suggested trolling a teaser to entice them to stick around long enough to get a cast.  I laid out some line on my 12-weight Air Max 2 with a sailfish popper and relaxed in the bow again.



Photo by Jess McGlothlin

Attempting a second snooze didn’t last long.  Within minutes the crew was yelling at me to get my butt up.  I thought they were joking but I could see the sailfish thrashing our teaser with its bill.  It was about the fastest I’ve moved in years and in a second I had my oversized colorful popper in the water.  Soon I was driving the hook into the sleek looking game fish.  We enjoyed a screaming run and one jump before the sail shook the fly.  Perfect!


Jess-McGlothlinIt took a few minutes for us to catch our breath after the sailfish excitement.  It was our first hook up all day so we popped a round of Colombian Poker beer.  That’s usually all you need to get things happening.  Before we knew it Ed and Wilmer had us full speed ahead for a tuna blitz in the distance.


It turned out to be quite an afternoon.  We had casts to yellowfin tuna for the remainder.  We had Clouser’s and sardine imitations zipping through the air from all directions.  We did a much better job with line control than yesterday.  Practice helps and believe it or not the three of us were casting at the same time.


Jess-McGlothlinAll of us hooked up at least a couple times and all boated some of these beautiful fish.  We nearly landed a double.  It wasn’t that we didn’t have two or even three tuna on at the same time, it was more that they weren’t caught at the same time.  When Jess landed her first, the last thing she wanted to do was wait for me or Ben to land ours.  She released hers and launched another cast for more.




Photo by Jess McGlothlin

By the time we wrapped it up all of us were done.  It was hot under the Colombian late afternoon sun and starting fights with tuna had us sweating and muscles quivering.  I’m certain my shoulder will remind me of today’s fun.  But that’s alright.  The Advil will flow tonight and I’ll wash them down with a smile.  The fishing here at Darien Lodge has been no less than spectacular our first two days.



Darien-LodgeScott and the Marrese father/son combo had a superb afternoon as well.  It was a fun night around the dinner table with beer, sashimi and another fine dinner.  Naturally tonight was rare cooked tuna steaks.  I’m absolutely bushed now.  Time to finish that second nap.  We’ll be back at it in the morning.


Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing


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I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!