The Caribbean? Must be some mistake. This photo has to be the Seychelles or some remote island paradise in the tropical Pacific. But no: It's one of hundreds of San Blas Islands off the northern (Atlantic) coast of Panama. A group of anglers — two shown here casting from a flats skiff — recently joined Panama Yacht & Fishing Charters to spend five days exploring these astoundingly beautiful waters. Enjoy a taste of the spectacular San Blas in this photo gallery.

Panama San Blas Islands mothership fishing excursion
IdyllicJason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com

On site: Panama Yacht & Fishing Charters' operation in the protection of the San Blas Islands, as seen from a drone flown by Ryan Danoff. Accompanying the 98-foot, luxurious mothership Ms. B Haven on all (Atlantic and Pacific) Panama destinations is a 66 Buddy Davis and a brand-new Strike 37.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing tackle Shimano

Gear Galore

Shimano marketing manager Marc Mills sent down plenty of gear for this trip.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing tackle Shimano rods reels

Gear for Any Occasion

Some of the new Shimano rods and reels in the beamy cockpit of the Ms. B. Haven, set up and ready to fish.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
Panama San Blas Islands fishing skiff
Simply DazzlingJason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com

In this drone’s-eye view, the PYFC skiff runs up a channel in clear, pristine flats that characterize the San Blas Archipelago.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing fishermen casting lures

First Casts

The skiff stops near a small sandy island so anglers can cast lures.Jason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing mutton snapper
Light-Tackle MuttonDoug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine

AFTCO CEO Bill Shedd prepares to unhook a yellow Shimano Waxwing lure from a mutton snapper.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing

River in the Flats

Anglers from the PYFC group work the clear waters of a channel along the edge of a large flat.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing horse-eye jack fish
Tough CustomerDoug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine

Big (and tough) horse-eye jacks seemed to outnumber the usually more common crevalles on this outing. Here, Sport Fishing's publisher, Dave Morel, admires a horse-eye that struck a Shimano Orca.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing Shimano fishing lure

Hook Crusher

The good news for Dave Morel was that this surface walking lure attracted the attention of a nice snapper. The bad news was that the punishing jaws of a big snapper quickly did a job on the freshwater hooks, no doubt leaving the fish laughing all the way back to the reef.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing dog snapper fish

Dave's Revenge

When the next dog snapper went after Morel’s lure — an Orca stick bait, designed for saltwater bruisers — the hooks held fine as the angler muscled the fish on a locked-down drag quickly from the reef.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
San Blas Islands Panama crabbing

Start Melting That Butter

Local fishermen dive the reefs for large channel clinging crabs like this and spiny lobster from their dugout canoes. Before heading back to the mothership, our guide — PYFC general manager Hennie Marais — stopped to buy some of the indigenous crustacea to top off our dinner entrees.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing

Enticing Salon

The ice-cold Ms. B Haven salon is a welcome sight at the end of a long day on the water.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing dinner

Crustacean Feast

Enough to make any mouth water: Dinner on the Ms. B Haven starts with a huge platter of fresh channel clinging crab claws and lobster tails.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama Guna Indians

As It Ever Was

The Guna Indians, native to these islands, take pride in living traditionally, as evidenced by their canoe and paddles and mostly traditional, colorful dress.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing

Whence Tomorrow?

After dinner, anglers and crew consider their options for the next day’s fishing, poring over the big chart in the wheelhouse showing part of the San Blas Archipelago.Jason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing

Having a Swell Time

The decision to do some jigging offshore wasn't affected by a bit of swell. Well, okay: a lot of swell. Even the 66 Buddy Davis Cherin III bobs about a bit like a toy.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing dog snapper
First DropDoug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine

These anglers would maintain that a bit of swell isn't so bad — Bill Shedd (left) and Marc Mills enjoyed simultaneous strikes from lovely dog snapper on their Shimano FlatSide fishing jigs on the first drop of the morning.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing king mackerel
Toothy SmileJason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com

Toothy grin from a school-sized king mackerel for Dave Morel, after it struck his speed jig on the way down.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing swells offshore deep sea

Following Sea

A large following swell looms astern of the Cherin III as it heads to a new jigging spot.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing tackle

Jigmeister's Decision

Welsh fishing journalist and outfitter Dave Lewis has an array of Shimano jigs from which to choose for his first drop offshore.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing Nassau grouper

Very Red Nassau

It would seem that Lewis picked a winning jig, since he came up with strikingly colored Nassau grouper, which are apparently much more red than they are in much of their range.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing cero mackerel

Speedy Cero

Lewis strikes again: This time the writer’s jig was picked up by a large, speedy cero mackerel.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing lion fish
Handle With CareDave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com

They're everywhere: lionfish, a toxic-tipped reef dweller not found outside the Pacific until recently, are now established in most tropical Atlantic waters. This one went for a large Butterfly jig.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing dugout canoe

Island Outpost

Simple thatch huts and dugout canoes characterize Guna outposts on small islands.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
San Blas Islands Panama Guna indian

Colorful Custom

Gunas are well-known for their short stature and vividly colored traditional clothing (molas).Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing

Traditional and Modern

Near a reef just beyond a San Blas Island: in the foreground, two native fishermen in a sailing canoe; in the background, two anglers cast from PYFC’s inflatable.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing

Why, How Do You Do?

Caught by the camera in the moment: Bill Shedd only appears to be shaking hands with a ghost; in fact, an angler in the stern of the skiff tossed up a glove to Shedd who is just about to make the catch.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing dog snapper
Shallow-Reef SnaperDoug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine

The reason Shedd asked for one of AFTCO's Release Fishing Gloves: The better to grab this feisty dog snapper that he caught on an Orca stickbait.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing

Endless Flats

Except for the drone overhead, fly-rodder Dave Morel has this huge flat to himself. Despite several permit and bonefish spotted during the trip, these flats trophies eluded anglers on this expedition.Jason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com
San Blas Islands Panama fishing bar jack fish

Fly-Rod Surprise

But the flats did provide fly-rodders with action such as Dave Lewis’s lovely bar jack.Marc Mills
San Blas Islands Panama fishing

Contrasts

Another study in the traditional (fishermen in dugout canoe) and contemporary (fly-fisherman) working the same flat).Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
San Blas Islands Panama fishing
Jungle RiverDoug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine

Although the rainy season here was running late in late July, some rivers still had a clear and clean if modest freshwater outlflow. Here, Henny Marais puts the inflatable into position as Dave Morel casts along a cutaway bank.

San Blas Islands Panama fishing cubera snapper

River Snapper

Morel scores when this young cubera snapper attacks his Jackall minnow lure.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
Horseeye jack fish caught Panama fishing

Horse-Eye Attack

Why, the horse-eye jacks were so abundant even SF's editor-in-chief caught one. A floating Orca lure did the trick.Dave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com
Dog snapper caught fishing San Blas Islands Panama

Omnipresent Doggy

The most abundant snapper we caught in the San Blas Islands were these guys — dog snapper, Lutjanus jocu.Jason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com
Schoolmaster snapper caught fishing Panama San Blas Islands
Substantial SchoolmasterDave Lewis / davelewisfishing.com

Schoolmaster snappers don't get a whole lot larger than this one that Marc Mills nailed using one of Shimano's new Pop Orca topwaters.

Lagoon San Blas Islands Panama

Muy Tranquilo

Anglers in the inflatable motor slowly into a still lagoon. It proved to be loaded with sardines.Doug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine
Panama San Blas Islands fishing mothership boats dusk
Settled InJason Arnold / jasonarnoldphoto.com

A serene scene — as dusk approaches lights begin to come on in boats at anchor in the protection of Panama's San Blas Islands.

Panama San Blas Islands sunset fishing boat
A San Blas SunsetDoug Olander / Sport Fishing Magazine

An orange sky paints the surface of the Caribbean in the islands on the trip’s last night.