The latest episode of Field Trips with Robert Field is a literal whale of a time, as Field and his clients have an up-close encounter with a pair of hulking humpbacks. The group embarks from Panama’s Los Buzos Resort on a mothership fishing trip. As Field describes, “the action is hot and heavy with yellowfin tuna, roosterfish, trevally and more,” but the stars of the day aren’t fish at all.
Humpback Whales Breach Beside Anglers
“Beautiful conditions, could not ask for a calmer morning,” Field says as the mothership arrives at their first spot. He casts for bait from the motorboat and hooks a yellowfin tuna instead—only the first larger-than-expected encounter of the day. Field manages to land the tuna despite his lightweight setup.
Bait in hand, the group gets to jigging. Watch along for a great perspective on the fun of a guided Panama fishing trip. “Welcome to the Land of Giants, brother!” Field calls as one client wrestles with a roosterfish.
At 17:03, the weather is threatening to turn when the whales suddenly surface. “Look at this!” Field shouts as the whales breach and smack their fins nearby. He explains that “it’s rainy season, which is humpback whale season” in Panama, when the whales gather to raise their young.
As told to USA Today, Byron Young was the angler closest to the action:
“It made me realize how small we are as people,” Byron Young said, adding that the breaching whale in the footage was only 25 feet away. “When they hit the water I could feel a rumble through my kayak into my body.”
Do Your Best to Keep Your Distance from Whales
Field emphasizes that humpback whales “are gentle giants, they are very intelligent animals. They know that the kayaks are there, and we’ve never had a problem with them getting too close.”
The more pressing problem is the other way around—with humans getting too close to whales. You can’t always predict where they will surface, but make sure to follow these Guidelines for Kayak Whale Watching and help to protect these magnificent marine mammals.