Right at the top of Mexico’s famous Riviera Maya resort district, you’ll find the city of Cancun. There are so many reasons to visit this beautiful part of the Yucatan Peninsula, but here we’re only interested in one thing – fishing. Buckle up, because we’ll be covering all of Cancun’s fishing seasons so you know exactly when to go for your own dream catch.
Something you should know about Cancun fishing is that there’s actually no bad time to be casting a line here. There’s something here to catch any time of year, so you’re only limited by what you’re hoping to go after. If you’ve got something specific in mind, like fly fishing for Bonefish, you’ll want to make sure you come at the right time.
What is the best season to go fishing in Cancun?
As you can see from the table above, summer is usually the best time to be on the water in Cancun. Of course, every season has its charms, and we’ll give you some good reasons to check out all of them. Without further ado, let’s jump in!
Generally speaking, it really doesn’t get better than summer for all kinds of fishing in this part of Mexico. June and July are the peak of Cancun’s offshore fishing season, making them the perfect time for some adrenaline-pumping big game fishing action. Ever hear of the “Billfish Grand Slam”? That’s when you manage to hook the local big four – Sailfish, Swordfish, Blue Marlin, and White Marlin – over the course of a single trip.
Sounds tricky, doesn’t it? Fortunately for you, these deep blue waters are positively teeming with Billfish. So much so that catching over a hundred Billfish in a day is completely possible if you get a good run. After you’ve had your fill, you can focus on going after the likes of Mahi Mahi and Blackfin Tuna, both of which are delicious to eat and more than worth your while. Welcome to trolling paradise, plain and simple.
To top it all off, fishing inshore is just as good during these couple of months. It’s even got its own grand slam! In this case you’ll need to catch a Tarpon, Bonefish and Permit before getting your well-earned bragging rights. The plentiful flats and lagoons make this a perfect option for any angler who wants to carefully plan every cast. All you fly anglers out there are in for a treat, that’s a guarantee.
Come August, offshore fishing starts to gradually drop off. This might be your last chance to reel in a Billfish until next year, so you should make the most of it. The flats are still great for fishing, but keep in mind that it can get scorching hot in August. We’d recommend a trip in early fall instead if you’re sensitive to high temperatures.
Opportunities for fishing in Cancun during the fall season are influenced by the weather, especially in September and October. This is because it can get very rainy at this time of year, and there’s also the hurricane season to keep in mind. It can vary between short-lived showers to full-day storms, so flexibility is key.
As far as local anglers are concerned, fall is all about the flats. Be it from a skiff or the beach, there’s no lack of anglers trying their luck against the humble Bonefish. Add some Tarpon and Permit to the mix and you’ve got yourself a perfect environment for any fly angler worth their salt. Inshore hotspots like Isla Mujeres and Isla Blanca allow you to start fishing only minutes after leaving your hotel!
November brings a new contender to the inshore hotspots – Snook. They jump around like Tarpon and are famous for their long high-speed runs that’ll leave you sweating hard by the time you reel one in. Since they’ll go after anything that can fit in their mouth, you won’t even need to go after them on purpose – they’ll come to you.
That’s all well and good for sportfishing fans, sure. But what if your main goal is to bag something to eat at the end of the day? Try out bottom fishing. Your main target on these trips is bound to be Cubera Snapper, one of the biggest and tastiest members of the Snapper family. They can reach up to 40 pounds, so you’d better bring some braided tackle to avoid a snap and break.
Winter is peak tourist season in Cancun, with good reason. The average temperature won’t go over the low 80’s and there’s hardly any rain to get in the way of a proper fishing trip. It’s a great opportunity to bring the whole family aboard for a couple of hours and make some memories together.
Bottom fishing is the name of the game during December and January. We already mentioned Cubera Snapper, but with the Gulf of Mexico just around the corner you can also get lucky with Red and Mutton Snapper. They’re not as big as their Cubera cousins, averaging 5–10 pounds in these parts. Either way, what’s certain is that you’ll be left with a tasty treat at the end of the day.
The winter season in Cancun is also perfect for Amberjack fishing. Like Snapper, they also hang around the deep reefs. They also travel in schools, so don’t be surprised if your entire boat starts fighting Amberjack all of a sudden. And as is often the case, the further out you go, the bigger your potential catch.
For a more active day on the water, you can also do some trolling. In wintertime, that means you’ll be going after Great Barracuda and Kingfish. If you want to try something new and fish like the locals do, sign up for the annual Barracuda handline tournament. Anglers gather every year on Isla Mujeres to help raise money for local charities. Not only will you have the time of your life, but you’ll also be helping out someone who needs it!
Later on in February, the warmer currents bring in a better pelagic bite. This is when Sailfishing starts to get really good and stays that way for the next 5–6 months. Experienced anglers have even successfully tackled them using fly fishing gear. It’s a holiday-filled month in Mexico, so you can take a night off and enjoy Carnaval in nearby Playa del Carmen. It’s more than worth it.
With mild temperatures and low humidity, springtime is great for being outdoors. Whether that involves fishing or not is completely up to you. Whale sharks have just arrived to the local waters, making various eco tours very popular with tourists. Combine fishing in the morning with jungle ruins sightseeing in the afternoon and you’ve got yourself an intense but memorable experience to remember.
Fishing-wise, things just keep getting better and better. Starting March and April, you’ll see more Billfish out and about. Sailfish are joined by Blue and White Marlin, which means you’ll have your hands full when fishing offshore. The great thing about the Cancun deep blue is that you can reach some very productive fishing spots only 15 miles out. What’s more, you can start trolling almost straight from the marina.
There’s another new star that will demand your attention this time of year – Blackfin Tuna. Sure, you can run into them almost any time of the year, but this is when they’re at their peak both in size and numbers. Trust us when we say you’ll have to work hard to earn your dinner with Tuna on your mind!
Moving onto May, there’s no stopping the action wherever you go fishing. Offshore, Mahi Mahi will join the Billfish in force, giving you yet another reason to book a charter and head out. On the other hand, Bonefish and Permit are approaching their peak inshore. This means you can have a world-class time at the beach on your own if that’s more your style.
Cancun Fishing Seasons: Jewel of the Yucatan Peninsula
That about covers it for what fishing seasons in Cancun have in store for you. As you can see, there’s always something going on during every single month of the year. Be it deep sea fishing for huge Billfish or prowling the flats on the fly targeting Bonefish, there’s a perfect trip here for any type of angler. We hope this helped you figure out what your own perfect trip will look like.
Ever been fishing in Cancun? When did you go? Any insider tips you have to share with other readers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.