The northeast shore of the Bay of Campeche is a mangrove preserve holding tarpon in the weight range from 5 to 40 pounds with an average between 10-12 pounds year round. There are different scenarios or areas that bring different casting opportunities, from baby tarpon against the mangrove to offshore turtlegrass banks holding schools of packed juvenile tarpon. The closer to mangrove shore the smaller fish and the deeper the turtlegrass banks the bigger the juveniles schools.
All fishing is from the boat with no wading at all even though depth looks feasable for it. Water is gin glear but bottom is a soft multilayer sediment that gets very murky if stired up.
Campeche Bay is a shallow bank that runs from coast to 120 miles offshore with a smooth steep going down about a foot per mile. There is no trace of the big tarpon migration in the 25 mile-to-coast range but juveniles pack in great numbers nearby during the winter and spring while baby tarpon populates year round the mangrove shore.
A typical day will literally show 50 to hundreds of tarpon. If twelve fish are jumped and 2 or 3, even 5 are landed, it should be considered a good day. The most significant factor to finding the fish will be the wind or the lack thereof, tide and the interaction of the two.
Facts on the tarpons you'll fish
- The Off-shore turtlegrass banks are located 2 or 3 miles offshore, with casting requirements 50-80 feet, some blind casting needed to rolling schools. With the lack of wind, schools can be spotted from 100+ yards away. You can expect long fish runs and many jumps.
- Mangrove shore produces lots of fun having countless shaded slots during the high rised sun and also sneaking around creeks mouths, bays and lagoons. In this shoreline fishing mid-distance casting from 20 to 50 feet against mangrove branches will produce explosive hook ups. Sight casting to cruising fish and blind casting to shaded slots is the key.
- Creeks & Inlets are fresh water streams that run out to the Gulf of Mexico but are flooded with saltwater tides making these channels the shelter for fish so We’ll take you through to cast under a beautiful mangrove canopy ranging 10-30 foot cast or rollcasts.
Anglers using light spinning gear will not require long casts but you need to be very accurate. Instructions will be given in advance.
Preveliant winds blow from East or Southeast on this part of the world and the mangrove shore is always on the lee thus glassy water is mainly fished, but when it swings to west or northwest after noon, things get difficult to sightfish as the “brisa” (breeze) ripples the water and push it against the mangrove
Yes, we fish year round. While baby tarpon are resident, Winter and Spring bring more larger Juveniles in decent schools to the game.
May thru October is considered the rainy season which means lots of fresh water flowing into the brackish Gulf of Mexico. It is also the lowest wind season and temperature can range from 85 to 100 F. Expect more happy fish along the shore the first and last hours of daylight like anywhere else in the tarpon world.
November thru December is the transition to the winter and can be the steadiest weather of the year with ocasional slow-running cold fronts which drop the temp down for a few degrees. Hi expectations for the arrival of big schools of juveniles chasing the pinfish run, outside the offshore banks and as long as weather cooperates and cold fronts dont get violent. More intensive action during the middle of the day is added to the normal fishing.
January thru April is the prime time for travelers looking to escape from cold and also for the bigger fish (and more on for returning anglers) due of the presence of the big schools of juveniles. The seagrass banks fishing could be epic and tarpon schools ranges the 20-30 pounds. This adds up to the year round shore fishing for baby tarpon. Weather could play tricks in this period with the chances of cold fronts. Cold fronts are the same storms from the north that drift our way across the Gulf of Mexico and hit the mangrove in the face. In the worst case scenario, when that happens, harbor is closed to navigation by Mexican Navy so we opt for a ride to a nearby river to fish with the locals for deeper water tarpon or to do a break from fishing and stroll around some of the landmarks of town or mayan ruins. We treat every case upon the current conditions.
A typical day fishing
Upon hotel Check in, we strongly suggest to have your rod/reel rigged up and tied up in two pieces for ease of handling and transportation to the dock. This will save lots of time to reach the fishing grounds and get ready for a first cast as early as possible. Then guides will rig the leader and choos the right fly.
Raul or Carlos from Tarpon Town Anglers will greet you every morning and will discuss about fishing details every morning.
Breakfast will be served 30 min before sunlight (time depends on the season but should be between 5:30 and 6:00). We will get in the boats in the next 10 to 15 minutes either across the hotel or at the marina.
Fishing will last up to 9 hours and rides can vary depending on the guides plan on where to fish. A short ride could be 15 min and a long ride up to 1:20 min to the farthest spots. When you reach your destination mark, the guide will cut the motor, then anglers and guides start the polling and chasing game. If bite is slow, guides will move spot after spot until the trophy is located.
Be sure to show your guide your casting skills while preparing for a first real shot. Also agree with the guide the casting distances and directions and have him know if you are left handed or any other requirements you may have.
Lunch is normally agreed to have it at 11:00 am but feel free to grab whatever and whenever you´d like.
Lunch is always in the cooler as it is primarily cold turkey, chicken tuna sandwiches or baguetts along with some snacks and refreshmentes. Let us know of any dietary restrictions or allergies beforehand. We could swap to vegetarian for a surcharge.
Gear yourself up!
It is important to remember that you’ll be travelling to a remote area where there are no sporting goods stores. Purchase what you need before departing for your trip. We strongly recommend to bring rods that can be easy carry on an overseas trip either 3 or four pieces.
- Flies: Classic tarpon flies, seaducers, minnows, cockroaches, gurglers, EP’s, bunnies, classic Stu Tarpon Fly, Gary Merriman Tarpon Toad. No longer than 3 inches.
- Assorted colors: Black death, purple death, black/white, white/red, red/yellow most of them with flashabou/crystal flash/ rainbow flash.
- Hooks: # 1, 1/0 and 2/0, Gamakatsu/Owner/Tiemco/Varivas
Line: Floating line WF, 100 yards backing, 10 Wt with sinking tip or slow sinking line
- Rods: Four Piece Rods on 8/9 and 10 wt. Fast action.
- Leader Spools: 20# Monofilament leader 40# Fluorocarbon tippet, or 9 ft tapered to #40 bite tippet
- Backing: At least 100 yds required
- Line: tests 8, 10,12-lbs, mono, braided or nanofil
- Rods: Light spinning rods of 6’6″ to 8 –feet length with medium to heavy action; two or more pieces rod for easy storage while ground transfers
- Leader: Monofilament spool for leader of #40. Wire for Barracudas.
- Lures: 1/8 – 1/4 Oz. Marabou or bucktail jigs, leadheads with softbaits such as shads/tailed grubs bright and dark colors.
- DOA LURES have shown to be very effective in the lightest versions of the Terror-eyz model.
HARDBAITS: 3-4 in. poppers or surfwalkers with single hooks. Any brand.