Bonefish and Tarpon fishing in Cancun and the Yucatan peninsula
Cancun as well as being known as a lively package holiday destination can also offer a great deal more to the traveling angler. Excellent package prices can offer the chance for lone anglers and familys to experience great sport whilst keeping everyone in the family happy.
Ascension Bay is one of the most productive salt water flats in the world. It has become a fly fishing and light tackle Mecca ever since Florida Keys guide, Capt. Jan Isley, first discovered this wonderful fishery in the mid-eighties. It lies in the heart to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in the tiny, picturesque lobster fishing village of Punta Allen (pop. 400). The Reserve contains well over one million acres stretching along the beautiful Caribbean coast of eastern Mexico. Sian Ka’an (“birth of the sky” in Mayan) is the home of over 300 species of birds, and many rare or endangered species of land and aquatic animals such as the manatee and jaguar.
Grand Slam Country
Ascension Bay is the home of the big three, bonefish, permit and tarpon. Some of the largest permit ever taken cruise these endless flats. It is truly “Grand Slam Country”. Sand and mangrove islands, vast shallow water flats, palm lined backwaters and lagoons make the bay a fascinating place to stalk these magnificent fish. But do not get the idea this is an area just for the fly fishermen, Lure fishers will have a fantastic time here with most of these species taking a lure ahead of a fly, 20 Barracuda of up to 30lbs is not unusual in these crystal clear waters and having had five Cudas follow a lure right up to the boat only to have a sixth come in from the side and nail it, I can testify that lure fishing will be fast and furious. We also have our own Saltwater casting tutor on hand if you need to iron out a few wrinkles in your technique.
The Bonefish Club
Permit may be the big game, but Bonefish is still our middle name. There are seemingly endless flats that stretch from Punta Allen for over a dozen miles southward. Most of these flats are hard packed white sand and provide easy wading and the perfect backdrop for spotting the elusive Bonefish. Some of the other flats are carpeted with turtle grass and dotted with mangrove shoots. These food rich Bonefish havens are best fished from one of our shallow-draft skiffs. The various flats have many little mangrove islands that act as nice wind breaks.
The Bonefish most often travel in schools, sometimes multiple schools on the same flat. These schools show themselves as areas of “nervous water” as they push over the flat. Even more exciting is the flash of shiny tails waving as they feed their way across the rich marl… perfect shallow water targets for a delicately presented fly.
Bonefish of Ascension Bay are very plentiful and are most often larger than in other areas of the Yucatan. However, unlike our Permit, they will never be contenders for the IGFA record books. Typical Bonefish are between two and three pounds, with some fish three to five pounds and just a handful in the five to eight pound category.
The most powerful highlight of fishing with us is our expertise at fishing for Permit on the fly. Permits are the saltwater equivalent of the Steelhead or Atlantic Salmon for the fly fisherman. They take some skill, persistence and a little luck, but once hooked the rewards run long and deep into the backing of your reel and your memory.
Ascension Bay acts as a nursery and giant feeding grounds for Permit. Because of the consistent depths and incredibly rich waters, the population and size of the fish are unequaled in the world. Many fishermen catch their first Permit in Punta Allen. Still others catch them over 30 pounds each season. In fact, Winston Moore, a world-class fly fisherman, has been very successful with us including catching and releasing a fish over 40 pounds in back-to-back years.
At the Club, we love to wade for most of our Permit. Here the guides will help you out of the boat into waist deep, hard bottom flats and wade with you right into the perfect casting position. With single fish or small schools, the other guide and angler will stay in the boat and monitor the movements of the fish for the caster. On the bigger schools, both anglers will get out and literally corral the fish, giving you shots at double hook ups.
Although Tarpon are not as plentiful as in some other tropical waters, they are here, and provide some very exciting and acrobatic action. Fall is your best chance at them; however they are present the entire season. Most are baby Tarpon from 15 to 30lbs with a few monster fish at over 100lbs hooked each season.
The reclusive Snook are present in many areas of the bay. These are hard brawling fish that when not jumping, are hard to keep away from the mangroves.
The most overlooked player on the flats is the Barracuda. He is a very flashy fighter who will streak over to crush your fast moving fly, and will then leap all over the place trying to get rid of it. Another angling diversion is to fish along the immense barrier reef that protects Ascension Bay from the Caribbean. Casting to a wide array of hungry creatures is a great afternoon sport.
The Mayan guides have many years experience on the bay. Many were originally trained by Jan Isley. They understand the tides and the movement of the fish and their sharp eyes are incredible. Anglers fish two to a boat. Each boat has an assistant guide, offering not only another set of eyes but the convenience of keeping the boat nearby when wading the flats. These Mayan guides are friendly and eager for your success. A typical day of fishing begins at 7:30 until 4:30, allowing at least 9 hours on the water and occasionally longer if conditions allow. All boats are equipped with VHF radios and safety equipment.
The sumptuous daily menu is included in this folder. Full breakfasts are served each morning complete with fresh juice and coffee. Lunches are prepared to your liking and packed in ice chests along with cold drinks insuring a full day on the flats. Dinner follows the cocktail hour and consists of locally caught fish, lobster in season, and fresh meats and vegetables.
The Inn and Surroundings
The lodge is designed to accommodate a “MAXIMUM OF 8 ANGLERS”. This allows us to give personal attention to every detail of your stay. The Inn consists of three individual double occupancy thatched roof cottages. Each cottage has two beds, private hot water bathrooms. tiled floors, rod racks and a shaded porch with chairs and hammock overlooking a palm covered beach with the second largest barrier reef in the world, and the blue Caribbean beyond. The main lodge, equipped with a full kitchen and dining area, also serves as a gathering area for cold drinks, fly tying and relaxing over cocktails – Or, After returning from your day of fishing relax at our beachfront bar.
Your trip starts with reception at your hotel or Cancun Airport followed by a van transfer south, past the Tulum Ruins to Punta Allen. One enters the Reserve just beyond Tulum following a sand road that runs to the end of the peninsula. The van will return you to Cancun at the end of your trip.
From £2965 per person
Includes: 7 nights Full Board Accommodation at the Bonefish Lodge, International Flights, 6 days Fully Guided Flats Fishing * Roundtrip transfers to Punta Allen, All prices are based on 2 persons sharing Room and Boat*