The Best Cancun Fishing Experiences
The ocean stretches in every direction as you carefully work your line, dancing the fly across the its blue-green surface.
Suddenly the tarpon - sábalo, your guide calls it in excitement - rips into the air, a hundred pounds of silver-plated muscle flashing in the sun. The line draws tight again as the fish vanishes in a spray of saltwater, and the fight is on.
An Angler’s Paradise
Whether you’re a first-time angler or an experienced pro, you’ll find new memories waiting for you on the waters surrounding the Yucatan Peninsula. Fly or baitcasting, shallow or deep water, private or group trips - you’ll find the right fit for whatever you want to do. Let’s take a quick look at what to expect from these various Cancun fishing experiences.
The classic “worm on a hook” fishing technique, bait fishing uses live bait or artificial lures to attract fish. Bait fishing can be as simple as hanging your line in the water and letting the bait fo the work, and it can be highly effective for fish of almost any size. Bait fishing is a popular choice throughout Cancun and its surrounding waters.
Fly fishing may conjure up images of hip waders and quiet streams, but it’s an equally effective method for hooking saltwater fish in the open ocean. Fly fishing relies on the use of elaborate lures, called flies, as bait. The fisher uses skill and technique to make these flies mimic the behavior of real-life insects or small animals, tempting the fish into striking. Fly fishing
Cancun is the perfect place to wade into a few inches of water and hook a spirited sport fish. If your ideal fishing trip involves clear blue shallows and crisp white sands, you’ll want to plan a shallow water fishing adventure.
Deep Sea Fishing
Get in the boat and head for deeper waters, where you’ll find sailfish, marlins, and other behemoths. Whether you charter a private boat or turn it into a party with a small group of other fishers, there are few experiences as unique - and as uniquely beloved - as deep sea fishing.
A specialized form of deep sea fishing, bottom fishing targets the monsters living at the lowest depths of the water, including grouper and snapper. These giants may not make for pretty trophies or the challenging fight of other sport fish, but they almost universally make for decidedly better eating.
The Best Spots to Explore
Many world-class fishing spots exist just minutes from the Cancun Hotel Zone. Here are a few choice destinations to experience.
The breathtaking Nichupte Lagoon is home to younger versions of the sport fish that swim the open oceans, including snook, tarpon, barracuda, and snapper. Boat rides in the Nichupte Lagoon rarely take longer than 15 minutes from shore to spot, and the smaller fish make this a family-friendly option should you have little anglers who want to join in the fun. Many Cancun fishing guides will bait the line and set the hook, then hand over the rod so your little one can reel in the catch!
This gorgeous island to the north of Cancun, is another popular destination for shallow-water fishing. Here, elusive permit pose a challenge for even the most experienced fisher, and the sand-bottom flats and shallow water make the perfect backdrop for chasing after them. Isla Blanca is an hour’s drive from Cancun, and can be reached by boat as well.
For marlins, tuna, sharks, sailfish, and other giants, you’ll want to charter a boat for the open ocean. Cancun offers plenty of deep-sea fishing opportunities, with experienced guides taking boats onto the water daily. Most fishing tours can be scheduled for between 4 and 8 hours.
If you want to lose sight of land and hook some of the biggest and most powerful fish on the planet, you’re ready to experience the wonder of deep-sea Cancun fishing.
Chartering Your Trip
With a little research, it’s easy to find experienced fishing guides in Cancun. Here are some of our favorites to get you started:
Before You Go
Cancun fishing season is all year round, but each species of fish has its own busy season. Check out this fishing calendar to see what’s going to be active when you hit the water, or if you want to schedule your trip around catching a certain type of fish.
You Should Also Know…
The most popular fish in Cancun are the Sawfish, Bonito, Snapper, Grouper, Kingfish, Roosterfish, Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon, Snook, and Sea Trout.
Deep sea species near Cancun include Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Barracuda, Catfish, and Tuna.
Certain protected species (such as Blue Marlin) must be returned to the water immediately after being weighed and photographed. Your guide will help make sure these rules are followed.
Any edible catch can be kept for free. Most marinas offer the option to fillet your catch, and most hotels will even cook your fish for you.
Most fishing charters leave early in the morning, and many offer an option to return after a few hours, leaving your afternoon open for other Cancun adventures!