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Fishing in Mexico

Mexico fishing charters tick all the boxes on any angler’s sportfishing bucket list. With two oceans and literally hundreds of species to choose from, there’s something for everyone in these warm, Central American waters. 
Mexico is best known for its bluewater bite, and with good reason. The Marlin fishing Mexico enjoys is unlike anything else in Latin America. You can find every species of Marlin somewhere in Mexico, and you’ll often find three or even four Billfish in town at the same time. And that’s without even mentioning the Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and other big game pelagics waiting in huge numbers offshore.
But Mexico’s shallow waters are just as loved by those in the know. There are few inshore species as dramatic or aggressive as Roosterfish, and they get bigger here than anywhere else. Head over to the Caribbean, and you’ll find every fish on the IGFA’s Inshore Grand Slam list. If you’re looking for a tasty meal, you can also enjoy the country’s vast natural reef system and ancient Spanish wrecks bursting with bottom fish.
In fact, Mexican fishing is so good that it’s easy to forget everything else the country has to offer. Stunning coastlines, white sandy beaches, amazing food, great music. No wonder this is America’s number one travel destination.

Mexico Fishing Spots

There are a lot of options when it comes to Mexico fishing vacations. The country has almost 6,000 miles of coastline spread across the Pacific, the Caribbean, and the Gulfs of Mexico and California. You can find great fish everywhere, but picking a certain species or style of fishing will help to narrow down where you should go.

Riviera Maya - All the Fish, All the Time

If you can’t decide what to fish for, go to Riviera Maya. Mexico’s Caribbean Coast is home to every habitat you could possibly ask for. Cancun may be most famous among spring-breakers and beach lovers, but the area also has some of the best fishing in Mexico, with an incredible Billfish bite. Head south to Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, and you can catch Blue Marlin, White Marlin, and Sailfish just a mile from shore! 
Riviera Maya also sits on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. It’s a sanctuary for sea turtles, Whale Sharks, and a ton of delicious bottom fish (think Snapper, Grouper, and Amberjack).
As is that wasn’t enough, Cozumel and Tulum also boast sandy flats to rival even the Keys or the Bahamas. Tarpon, Bonefish, Snook, and Permit can all be caught here. If that list sounds familiar, you may have been reading up on the IGFA’s Super Grand Slam list recently. And the best part? You can hit all three of these fisheries in a single day!

Baja California Sur - Marlin Madness

You don’t get the nickname Marlin Fishing Capital of the World for nothing. Cabo San Lucas has more than earned the title, with hands down the best deep sea fishing Mexico has to offer. Blue, Black, and Striped Marlin all spend much of the year here, along with huge numbers of Sailfish and Tuna. 
This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the sportfishing community. The Bisbee’s Tournament Series is one of the biggest and most famous competitions on the planet. The Black & Blue tournament has paid out millions of dollars to single teams in the past, with pro anglers flocking to town from around the world to take part.
And it’s not all deep sea fishing. The Gulf of California is amazing for reef fishing. The beaches around Baja California Sur also have some of the best surf fishing Mexico can give you, with Sierra Mackerel, Roosterfish, Jack Crevalle, and more patrolling the beach fronts.

Banderas Bay - Going the Distance

Banderas Bay is a bay in the way Greenland is an island - it’s the right shape, but way, way too big. You can catch pretty much anything here, from inshore gamefish like Roosterfish and Jacks to pelagic monsters like Blue Marlin and Hammerhead Sharks. You can also find untouched beaches, stunning rock formations, marine parks. Pretty much anything that can be enjoyed from the water.
Puerto Vallarta and nearby Nuevo Vallarta have everything from 20-foot pangas to 80’ cruisers ready and waiting to take you out. Why do the boats get so big? Because some of the best spots are over 50 miles away, out beyond the mouth of the bay. Overnight and multi-day trips are common here, and the fishing is more than worth the long journey.

Oaxaca & Guerrero - Off the Beaten Trail

Most of Mexico’s tourist towns are very developed and adapted for American visitors. If you fancy getting away from the crowds and discovering Mexico as it was 50 years ago, the country’s Southern Pacific Coast may be for you. Tales are told from Zihuatanejo to Crucecita of monster Marlin, Sailfish, Grouper, and Roosterfish with none of the fishing pressure found elsewhere.

Mexican Lakes - The next big thing?

Mexico’s freshwater fisheries don’t draw anywhere near the numbers that the country’s salt waters enjoy. Mexico is still getting into freshwater sportfishing and most lakes are remote and inaccessible. Freshwater lodges are getting more popular, though. Largemouth Bass have been introduced throughout much of the country, especially in the western states of Sinaloa and Sonora. Mexico Bass fishing has a long way to go before it can rival Texas or Michigan, but it’s worth keeping an eye on how it develops.

Mexico Fishing Techniques

Mexico’s deep sea scene focuses mainly on trolling. Whether you’re using live Tuna, brined Ballyhoo, or lures, trolling spreads dominate the deep sea grounds all over the country. If you fancy something a little different, some experienced charter captains in Cabo or PV offer kite fishing trips targeting Tuna and Sailfish. Mexico has come a long way when it comes to catch and release of Billfish, and circle hooks are much more common now than they were even five years ago.
There are a few fly fishing specialists offering big game fly action out of Cozumel. But the best fly fishing Mexico can give you is on the flats around Tulum and Cozumel. Riviera Maya is heaven for fly anglers, with Permit, Bonefish, Tarpon, and Snook just waiting for a colorful treat to come their way. You can also try battling Roosterfish on the fly, although many anglers prefer popping or using live Lookdowns to bring in these brutish fish.
Bottom fishing is really getting big with local anglers and jigging tournaments are popping up each year along Riviera Maya. Deep-dropping in the further reaches of Banderas Bay or the Gulf of California can bag you some real monsters like Dusky Grouper and deep-water Snappers.

Need to Know

You’ll need a Mexican fishing license whether you’re on a charter or fishing from shore. Most Mexico fishing charters include these in the price, but it’s always best to check when you book. If not, a week license only costs around $20 per angler. If you’re fishing on your own, remember that you can’t wet a line within 250 meters (820 feet) of swimmers or beach-goers.
Catch and release is preferred aboard many boats in Mexico, but few charters have an iron rule about releasing Billfish. If you feel strongly about preserving fish, let your captain know so he can prepare less damaging methods. On the other hand, if you do want to keep your fish, you can keep up to one Billfish or Shark per day, which counts as five fish towards your total ten-a-day catch limit. 
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Mexico Fishing Seasons


Striped Marlin, Hammerhead Sharks, and Wahoo patrol the deep waters around Cabo. Puerto Vallarta is great for Black Marlin and Sailfish. Inshore, this is a perfect time for Snook fishing in Riviera Maya.


Striped Marlin and Sharks bite hard in Cabo San Lucas. Jack Crevalle join the Snook on Riviera Maya’s flats. You can catch the last of the winter Sailfish and Black Marlin bite in Puerto Vallarta.


March brings tasty Yellowtail to Cabo, just as Snapper and Grouper show up on the reefs. The first of the Marlin show up in Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel, just as the Billfish leave Banderas Bay.


Striped Marlin show no signs of leaving Baja, and Puerto Vallarta’s reefs are full of fish. In the Caribbean, Permit, Tarpon, Snook, and Jack Crevalle are all around in big numbers.


Hundreds of boats swarm the island of Cozumel for the Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas (Mexican Boat Rodeo). Meanwhile, fly angler head to Tulum for the Ascension Bay Permit Tournament.


Snook, Roosterfish, Sierra Mackerel, and Jack Crevalle offer epic shore fishing in Cabo. On the other side of the country, Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, and Mahi Mahi will put your skills to the test in Cancun.


July offers the best Tarpon fishing Mexico sees all year long in Cozumel’s shallow flats. It’s not just Tarpon, either. Bonefish, Permit, Snook, and Jacks are all waiting – if you can take the heat!


Blue Marlin explode onto the scene in the Pacific, just as the Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore kicks off Cabo’s tournament season. All your inshore favorites are still in town in Riviera Maya.


Across the country, locals celebrate Diez y Seis, Mexico’s Independence Day. Crowds gather at midnight on the 15th to utter the grito (shout) that started the revolution. Expect fireworks, music, and dancing.


There’s only one event on everyone’s mind: the Bisbee’s Black & Blue. With millions of dollars in prizes and all the biggest names in sportfishing, this is unlike any other tournament on the planet.


Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is Mexico’s most iconic festival. Watch costumed crowds parade through the streets after an awesome day offshore in Cabo or fishing the reefs in Riviera Maya.


Fancy something a little different this Christmas? How about beaches and fresh Tuna steaks? December has the best Tuna fishing Mexico sees all year, with Yellowfin and Albacore across the Pacific Coast.

Mexico Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Mexico

Fishing on Viviana IV - 250 pound Sword Fish !
Harold K. fished with Viviana's Fleet – Viviana II on July 27, 2020
The crew of the boat are everything. Read reviews on boat and check fishing reviews for the month your planning your trip.
Half day
Kurt L. fished with King Mackerel on July 8, 2020
Definitely stick with trolling in the summer.
Awesome trip!
David D. fished with Gardi Crew on March 15, 2020
Definitely hook up with this group!?????
Half day with captain Juan
Joseph Z. fished with Cabo Sport Fishing - 28' Californian on March 11, 2020
Be ready to troll a while if you target marlin.
Full Day Trip with Hollywood
Steve H. fished with Daliken Sportfishing on March 8, 2020
Keep an open mind, don't let what you want to catch, versus what you do catch determine the quality of time on the water. Because, remember, its all about the tug!
Rough sea so
Tami L. fished with Discovery Loreto Sport Fishing 23' on March 5, 2020
To get Louis with Discovery fishing in Loreto to take them out fishing.
Best day ever!!!
Katherine B. fished with Mininos Mujeres Charters – Chula on March 2, 2020
If you're headed down here DEFINITELY check out Mininos Mujeres Charter! Awesome guys, great fishing, FUN!!!
5 hour trip
Dawn P. fished with Calypso on February 26, 2020
The seasoned angler may be disappointed with the lack of “hands on” fishing

Top Fishing Techniques in Mexico

Top Targeted Species in Mexico