Pacific Fly Fishers hosts trips all over the world. Our most recent one just concluded, by Ben Zander, was on the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. The trip was a success and is recommended to any angler wanting to pursue baby tarpon on a fly rod.The trip started with a flight to Cancun, easy enough, followed by a 5 hour van ride to Tarpon Cay Lodge in San Felipe. We were greeted by our lodge host Bato with a tray of Margaritas that I think must taste exactly like holy water. Tarpon Cay Lodge is a three story building, the tallest in San Felipe, that boasts fantastic Mexican decor and air conditioned rooms that sleeps weary anglers well.
After being shown our rooms we headed down stairs for a fantastic meal of chicken and local fish.
After preparing our fishing gear for the next day we hit the sack barely sleeping in anticipation of what is to come. There were six of us divided up into three boats. We took to the water at 6am, loaded with rods, reels, fly boxes and plenty of adrenalin. Within the hour I had jumped two tarpon, lost both then landed one. A few years back I had done migratory tarpon out of Key West and had forgotten how hard you need to set the hook on these fish. It really is like starting a lawn mower. Strip sets were hard and aggressive and did not always end in a landed fish.
Not one time throughout the trip did any of us use the reel to fight a fish. The fight was more in the air and very hands on, knees bent and back hunched over keeping the rod tip low to the water as not to let the jumping tarpon spit the hook. Some tarpon would jump 7-10 times before the fight would turn into an underwater tug of war. The first half of the day ended at 11:00 when we returned to the lodge for lunch. Each angler jumped many fish and landed at least one. Pretty amazing to me that this fishery can be that good! My boat landed 6 fish the first day!
At Tarpon Cay Lodge you fish a split shift with a siesta in the middle of the day which was a very nice way to adjust to the temperature. We spent a total of 3 days fishing at Tarpon Cay Lodge and all anglers did very well. Jumped a lot of fish and landed, well, some of them. The next stop was Isla del Sabaol (tarpon in Spanish).
A six hour drive through a few small villages and the bustling town of Merida we ended up on Isla del Arena, a small island off the north west side of the Yucatan peninsula. Small cabanas lined the white sand beaches would be our home for the next 4 days. As with any traveling in foreign countries you never know what may come your way. We had a ceiling fall down in a massive wind storm, a 15 pound tarpon jump in the boat, a few excellent shots of tequila and no power (air conditioning) for a day. It was a blast!!! The tarpon at Isla Del Sabalo were in the 6-15 pound class and worked us all over. They fought harder and jumped higher than at Tarpon Cay. Not only did we catch fish off shore but had many opportunities to catch fish deep in the mangrove rivers and canals.
This is one of the best fishing trips I have ever had the pleasure of going on and will absolutely return next year. Each angler hooked fish and landed fish every day. I could tell you stories for days. If you would like to hear more about this trip or have a hankering for going come on in or give us a call.