Great Flats Fishing in the Riviera Maya & Costa Maya – Get Your Grand Slam Here!
You will find that Bone, Permit and Tarpon thrive in the remote saltwater flats and shallow brackish bays of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. Farther south, in the remote village of Xcalak and Bacalar Chico you can land some world-class fishing. Take advantage of local fishing services and guides who take you to the best spots to cast your line. Insiders Tip: November – June are generally the best months!
Fly fishing is a popular world-wide sport that provides therapeutic entertainment to anglers and their families. Like any sport, the more enthusiastic you are the more you get out of it and look for unique opportunities to further your passion. Part of fly fishing is finding the right destination that challenges your skills, provides you with great scenery and offers up plenty of fish. The Riviera Maya is that place with over three interesting fly destinations to choose from. The Sian Ka’an, Xcalak and Chetumal Bay are the ‘it’ destination for fly fisherman. This is where you can get your first grand slam and fish in some of the beautiful flats in the world. If your family does not share in your passion in for fishing, no worries, there is lots for them to do while you are occupied in the flats.
Located at the northern tip of Cozumel, there exist three exquisite lagoons, serving as a paradise for fly fishing enthusiasts and those seeking light tackle fishing. Throughout the year, these lagoons offer exceptional fishing experiences, complete with the chance for remarkable accomplishments like the grand slam.
Among the trio of lagoons — Rio de la Plata, Montecristo, and Paso Balem — in Cozumel, Bonefishing is a prominent attraction. The landscape is a fusion of sandy and coral flats, mangrove-fringed coastlines, tucked-away coves, inlets, and stretches of grassy shallows. Crystal-clear waters form a captivating estuary where schools of Bonefish, Permit, Snook, and Tarpon flourish.
The potential for a grand slam beckons, making this an unmissable opportunity for those venturing to Cozumel. Whether you're engaging in fishing or indulging in fly fishing pursuits, the chance to encounter Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Snook, as well as other species like Barracuda, Snapper, Jacks, Sea Trout, and Ladyfish, promises a thrilling day.
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Sian Ka’an Biosphere Near Tulum
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a 1.3 million acre UNESCO site, is roughly 90 miles south of Cancun in the Riviera Maya, Mexico. This unique area has the Mexican Caribbean to the east and the saltwater flats and estuaries of the Sian Ka’an to its west. It stretches from the inlet at Boca Paila (north end) to the fishing village of Punta Allen on its southern tip. The best fishing flats are easily accessed by boat via the fishing services and lodges in Boca Paila and Punta Allen. There are also extensive flats in Ascension Bay, off the tip of the barrier strip that ends at the fishing village of Punta Allen. Ask local guides about getting access to Campechen, Boca Paila or San Miguel other great locations in the Sian Ka’an that will have you coming back for more!
Xcalak in the Costa Maya
Experienced guides, who live and work in Xcalak, continually search for the most productive flats in this world-class fly fishing destination. More than thirty productive flats and lagoons have been mapped including mangrove labyrinth surrounding Chetumal Bay. It is not unusual to get your first grand slam in this fly fishing area!
Chetumal Bay – Bacalar Chico River
Some of the best bone fishing is in Chetumal Bay, a 7 mile boat trip from Xcalak via sea and remote waterways. Many of the bonefish are larger and less accustomed to seeing anglers. Any month of the year is a great time to fish in this remote area, but there are some notable seasons. November is probably the most productive month, with May, June and July having produced the largest bone fish. One bone fish is believed to exceed the current fly rod world record. The Chetumal Bay area is not just limited to the flats. Ocean-side fishing has more permit and bone fish in turtle grass flats located off the shores of the Mexican Caribbean. Giant tarpons move into the area in June and July. Fishing permits are limited during these times, with a maximum of four fishermen booked per week. These limits ensure the flats are not overwhelmed, anglers have a solitary experience and trip service remains exceptional.
Bonefish - Bonefish live on both hard and soft bottom flats so fly fishing will be ½ wading and ½ boat casting. If you have fished in the Bay of Ascension you can expect fewer but larger fish in Xcalak, the average being 3 to 4 pounds. The average catch is 6 – 12 bonefish per day. These “ghosts of the flats” swim about 27 miles per hour… the average trout 9 miles per hour. Bonefish are available all year long.
Permit - Permit are the perfect target for the solitary angler, as they are difficult to locate and picky located. Smaller permit are found in the bay and at the lagoon mouths. These fish school in numbers of 5 to 20 and rarely stop for very long. The larger permit feed both in the turtle grass flats along the ocean on the incoming tide, and in Chetumal Bay in the mornings. The best months for fishermen specifically targeting permit are May, June and July. March through July are the best months for permit.
Tarpon - Tarpon live predominantly in Chetumal Bay, the bay-side lagoons and along the ocean front just beyond the barrier reef. You can cast to mangrove edges in 6 to 10 feet of water and fish the flats and shallower lagoons. Tarpon weigh from 5 to 70 pounds except on the ocean-side in June and July when the bigger tarpon move in. These fish are in the 130 to 180 pound range. November, December and February through June are the best months for Tarpon.
Snook -Snook live along the mangroves in the numerous lagoons found through the Sian Ka’an and Costa Maya. Some people prefer to use blind cast diver, popper and slider patterns in the mangroves, while others will enjoy the early morning spotting of the larger fish along the open point, flats and deep cuts. There are larger fish in the 10 to 20 pound range. The smaller Snook are called ‘Robalitos’ in Spanish.
Barracuda - Barracudas swim about 30 miles per hour. When you hook a Barracuda they will perform powerful jumps in the shallow lagoons where there is nowhere to go but up.