Fishing in Spanish: a Traveling Angler's Phrasebook
Mar 12, 2021 | 5 minute read
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Latin America has some of the best fishing in the world. Countries like Mexico and Costa Rica are famous for their monster Marlin and hard-fighting Roosterfish. If you’re not great with languages, fishing in Spanish can sound a little tricky, but don’t let the language barrier put you off. The fishing is way too good to miss!

Even without speaking a word of Spanish, hand gestures and scribbled drawings can get you a long way. However, learning a few phrases will really help you get the most out of your trip. With that in mind, here are some essential words and phrases for fishing in Spanish-speaking countries.

Meeting the Captain

A Mexican charter fishing captain standing at the back of his boat in Cabo San Lucas.

Key Terms

  • Captain – Capitán.
  • Mate – Marinero.
  • Dock – Muelle.
  • Marina – Marina.
  • Boat – Barco.

Useful Spanish Phrases

Where/when should we meet? – ¿Dónde/cuándo nos vemos?

Can we meet at (the marina)? – ¿Podemos encontrarnos en (la marina)?

Is the weather ok today? – ¿Hace buen tiempo hoy?

Good morning, Captain – Buenos días, Capitán.

What is your name? – ¿Como se llama?

My name is (Chuck) – Me llamo (Chuck).

Let’s go! – ¡Vámonos!

Boat Amenities and Equipment

A charter fishing boat in the marina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with the town and other boats in the background.

Key Terms

  • Air conditioning – Aire acondicionado.
  • Bathroom – Baño.
  • Cooler/ice box – Nevera.
  • Refrigerator – Frigo.
  • Life preserver – Chaleco salvavidas.
  • Snorkeling equipment – Equipo de esnórquel.

Useful Boat Phrases

Does it have (air conditioning)? – ¿Tiene (aire acondicionado)?

Is there (a bathroom)? – ¿Hay (baño)?

Where is/are (the life preservers)? – ¿Dónde está/están (los chalecos salvavidas)?

How many people can go on this boat? – ¿Cuánta gente puede ir en este barco?

Fishing and Tackle

An angler struggling to reel in a big fish on a fishing charter in Latin America.

Key Terms

  • (Fishing) Rod – Caña (de pesca).
  • Reel – Carrete.
  • Hook – Anzuelo.
  • Bait – Carnada.
  • Lure – Señuelo.
  • Fishing line – Línea de pesca.

Useful Fishing Phrases

Go fishing – Ir de pesca.

Trolling – Troleo.

Bottom fishing – Pesca de fondo.

Fly fishing – Pesca con mosca.

Live bait fishing – Pesca con carnada viva.

Can we try (trolling)? – ¿Podemos hacer (troleo)?

We want to (troll) – Queremos hacer (troleo).

We don’t want to (troll) – No queremos hacer (troleo).

Food and Drink

A selection of fruit and drinks laid out on a table on a boat.

Key Terms

  • Drinks – Bebidas.
  • Water – Agua.
  • Beer – Cerveza.
  • Food – Comida.
  • Sandwich(es) – Bocadillo(s).
  • Breakfast – Desayuno.
  • Lunch – Almuerzo.
  • BBQ – Barbacoa.

Useful Food and Drink Phrases

I don’t eat (meat/dairy/gluten) – No como (carne/lácteo/gluten).

How much beer is there? – ¿Cuánta cerveza hay?

We’re hungry/thirsty – Tenemos hambre/sed.

Other Activities

Key Terms

  • Snorkel – Esnórquel.
  • Swim – Nadar.
  • Scuba dive – Bucear.
  • Beach – Playa.
  • Island – Isla.

Useful Activity Phrases

Can we go swimming? – ¿Podemos nadar?

Can we go to a (private) beach? – ¿Podemos ir a una playa (privada)?

Can we stop at that island? – ¿Podemos parar en esa isla?

Problems Onboard

A woman holding on to two fishing rods on the back of a boat in rough weather.

Key Terms

  • Seasickness – Mareo.
  • Waves – Ondas.
  • Sunburn – Quemadura del sol.
  • Sunstroke – Insolación.

Useful Phrases for Problems Onboard

I feel sick/tired/seasick – Estoy enfermo/cansado/mareado.

I am very cold/hot – Tengo mucho frío/calor.

My friend/partner/kid doesn’t feel good – Mi amigo/pareja/niño se siente mal.

The sea is too rough – El mar está demasiado agitado.

Can we go back? – ¿Podemos volver?

We need to go back – Tenemos que volver.

A sea lion stole my sandwich! – ¡Un león marino me robo mi bocadillo!

Keeping or Releasing the Catch

Lots of freshly-caught Mahi Mahi fish in a bucket of ice

Key Terms

  • The catch – La pesca.
  • Catch and release – Captura y suelta.
  • Fish cleaning/filleting – Limpiar/filetear el pescado.

Useful Fish Phrases

We want to release the fish – Queremos liberar la pesca.

We want to keep the fish – Queremos mantener la pesca.

How much fish can we keep? – ¿Cuánto pescado podemos mantener?

Where can I get my catch cooked? – ¿Dónde se puede cocinar mi pescado?


A stack of dollar notes on a beach with a 100 dollar bill folded into a boat. Confusions about money can be the most uncomfortable part of fishing in Spanish.

Key Terms

  • Gratuity/tip – Propina.
  • Credit card – Tarjeta de crédito.

Useful Phrases for Paying

Is (beer/tip) included? – ¿Está incluido (cerveza/propina)?

How much does (lunch) cost? – ¿Cuánto cuesta (almuerzo)?

What is included (in the price)? – ¿Qué está incluido (en el precio)?

What is the total price – ¿Cuál es el precio final?

Can I pay by credit card? – ¿Se puede pagar con tarjeta de crédito?

Do card payments cost extra? – ¿Los pagos con tarjeta cuestan extra?

Saying Goodbye

A happy angler saying goodbye to his Spanish fishing charter captain.

Key Terms

  • Good – Bueno.
  • Amazing – Increíble.
  • Thank you – Grácias.
  • Goodbye – Adiós.

Useful Phrases for Saying Goodbye

We had a great time – Nos lo pasamos muy bien.

Thanks for everything – Grácias por todo.

Until next time – Hasta la próxima.

Tight lines! – ¡Buen pique!

Fish and Wildlife

A blonde woman in sunglasses and two men in caps holding a large Marlin on a fishing charter in Costa Rica

Useful Phrases for Talking About Fish

A huge fish – Un pez gigante.

Lots of fish – Muchos peces.

The one that got away – El que se me escapó.

Inshore Fish Names in Spanish

  • Roosterfish – Pez Gallo.
  • Snook – Robalo.
  • Tarpon – Sábalo.
  • Bonefish – Macabí.
  • Permit – Palometa.
  • Jack Crevalle – Jurel Toro.

Reef Fish Names in Spanish

  • Snapper – Pargo.
  • Grouper – Mero.
  • Amberjack – Pez Limón.

Big Game Fish Names in Spanish

  • Shark – Tiburón.
  • Tuna – Atún.
  • Marlin – Marlín.
  • Sailfish – Pez Vela.
  • Swordfish – Pez Espada.

Names for Marine Life in Spanish

  • Whale – Ballena.
  • Dolphin – Delfín.
  • Seal – Foca.
  • Sea lion – León marino.
  • Turtle – Tortuga.
  • Bird – Pájaro.
  • Seagull – Gaviota.
  • Seaweed – Alga.
  • Sea monster – Monstruo marino.

Fishing in Spanish: Easier Than You Might Think

We’ve tried to cover everything you’ll need to go fishing in with a Spanish-speaking crew. Whether it’s a spring break trip in Cancún or a sportfishing adventure in Nicaragua, print these phrases out or write a few down and you should be set for a great day on the water. ¡Buen pique!

Did these expressions come in handy on a Spanish-speaking fishing charter? Are there any important Spanish fishing terms we missed? Let us know in the comments, we love talking fish in any language!

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