I had not met Cos until the day I took these photos. I happened to be staying with the O'Donnells at La Boca. Jim and his parents, Jim and Gemma, had graciously taken me in on short notice while I was on a low budget trip to Panama in January of '80. Cos was storing his outboard motor and fishing gear at their residence. I asked Cos if he would take me fishing with him and I off on another of those "most perfect days in the world".
Cos fished with bottom traps in the water off the point between Kobbe and Taboga. A snag line connected each trap with a weight. Cos trolled a hook to snag the line and bring up each trap. No floats were used to mark each trap's location. Cos used land marks on the causeway, the islands, and the mainland to find each trap. I was impressed with his ability to remember the locations of all his traps.
When Cos snagged a line, he stopped the boat and lifted the trap with great muscular effort, brought the trap aboard, and emptied the fish into a dry well. He captured a few nice red snapper and several smaller fish. He then dropped each trap back in the water and laid out his snag line.
When we returned to La Boca, a few of his fish customers were waiting. Wasting no time, they waded into the water to have the first choice of his catch.
Our images of the Canal Zone are often filled with big boats. I was very privileged to share one day in the life of a man in a small, wood boat. This is among my best memories of Panama. I was fortunate enough to have my camera along to be able to share it with you now.
Thank you Cos. Thank you Jim, Jim, and Gemma. Thank you Bill.