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A Panamanian Fish Tale by Dick Cooper

Low, wispy clouds drift down the Chagres River valley as dawn breaks over the crown of the Panamanian rainforest. Broken tree branches covered with leaves f loat by in the swirling river currents as Ernesto, our driver, slows his new van to a crawl and we thump our way over the narrow, centur y-old wooden bridge into the village of Gamboa on the Panama Canal. “The locals say a 12-foot-long cayman lives under this bridge,” Ernesto says. My wife, Pat, gives me a look that I have learned means, “Where are you taking me this time?”

We are going fishing for peacock bass on Lake Gatún, the vast manmake lake in the heart of this narrow isthmus that has supplied the water for the Panama Canal locks since they opened for shipping traffic in 1914. Now we are not great fishers. We have an 18-foot boat we keep on Spencer Creek off the Miles River near St. Michaels that we call our “fishing boat,” but that is only to distinguish it from our sailboat. I have been known to drown a carton of night crawlers in return for a few small perch. I once caught a

Gamboa Rainforest Resort 23

September 2012 Tidewater Times  

September 2012 Tidewater Times

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