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!
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.
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
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.