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Fishing in Zihuatanejo

Passionate anglers looking for superb sportfishing action and trophy Billfish should definitely give Zihuatanejo fishing a go. Located in the southwest of Mexico, this old fishing town is also a resort, where you can come to enjoy the stunning views and even better fishing opportunities.
What makes Zihuatanejo so appealing to anglers worldwide is the fact that you can find a diverse array of fish species only a couple of miles from shore. What’s more, fishing in panga boats like the locals do makes fishing expeditions as affordable as they are productive. Though it doesn’t get as much pomp as Cabo San Lucas or La Paz, Zihuatanejo can wow and amaze sportfishermen who discover this lesser-known mecca of Mexican fishing.

Known For

The Pacific waters around Zihuatanejo are the playground of the most sought-after fish you can think of, and you don’t have to travel for hours to get to the best honey holes. In fact, you usually have to venture 5 or so miles from the land to be on the trail of Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and other pelagic superstars. If you’d prefer not to go to the bluewater, you can have the best time hooking monster Roosterfish, Yellowtail, Jack Crevalle, Snapper, and Grouper.

Inshore Fishing

If you’re not a Billfish chaser, but enjoy a bountiful day on the water, then you’ll like the inshore fishing Zihuatanejo boasts. The calm, pristine waters of the area have made it possible for gigantic Roosterfish to thrive here, and they will be your prized catch on inshore excursions. Jacks are another local favorite, so you can look forward to reeling in beauties like Bigeye Trevally, Jack Crevalle, Green Jack, and Yellowtail. Mackerel of all shapes and sizes are a common catch too, as well as Snappers, Groupers, and peculiar Needlefish. A rare delight is the Black Snook that can make an appearance in the inshore waters from July to October, and these fellas can weigh as much as 40 pounds. 
Still, Roosterfish remain the best catch, not just because they come in impressive sizes, but also because they’re smart and hard fighters. They’re not easy to catch, but can’t resist live bait, especially if you target them around Los Morros de Potosí island and the Rio Petatlan beach. 

Offshore Fishing

The bluewater 5–20 miles from shore is the domain of Pacific Sailfish. This is the most frequently caught fish in offshore waters, and when they’re in their prime season, from May to December, double-digit hookups are an everyday occurance. The average weight of Sailfish is anywhere from 75–100 pounds, though they can grow up to 170 pounds. Equally popular are Black and Blue Marlin, averaging at an incredible 200–500 pounds. These gorgeous game fish love to hang around Zihuatanejo between November and May, though you have a good chance hooking one year-round.
On the non-Billfish side of the spectrum, Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, and Wahoo are the most desired quarry. You can find big Yellowfin Tuna here anytime between January and April, and the Mahi Mahi bite is consistent throughout the year. In case you’re feeling particularly adventurous, go after this offshore royalty using a fly, it will be an unforgettable fishing experience.

Fishing Tips

  • When you’re on the prowl for that big Yellowfin Tuna, using Green Jack, Bonito, and bigeye scad as live bait is the foolproof way to land a giant.

  • To successfully target Sailfish and Mahi Mahi, rig a feather jig with a bigeye scad and you won’t have to wait long for the reel-screaming action.

  • Roosterfish aren’t easy to reel in, but you’ll have the best chance of doing it when casting surface lures around rock structures. Slow trolling with live bait is also productive.


Need To Know

Whatever you want to catch, chances are that fishing in Zihuatanejo, Mexico won’t disappoint. With such a varied fishery at your disposal, it’s not a question of whether you’ll catch something, but how many fish you’ll catch. Before you head out, you need to be familiar with what to expect and what rules to follow.


Like anywhere in Mexico, to cast your line and fish freely, you need a valid Mexican fishing license. You can buy one easily online or in the nearest tackle shop. If you decide to go fishing with one of the numerous Zihuatanejo fishing charters, the captain will take care of the license, you just need to show up and catch something you’ll want to brag about.


Because fishing from panga boats is so popular in this part of Mexico, you can book a full day trip for a great price, and have everything, except food, included in the charter. Everyone who wants to go on an eight-hour trip will pay between $250–$500 for the whole day of chasing offshore aristocracy. Extended days on the water can cost up to a $1,000, and the price varies depending on how many people are fishing, as well as the type of the boat. You can find shorter, four-hour expeditions at the price of $180–$300, while “fish and snorkel” combos are somewhat cheaper.

Getting There

You will find Zihuatanejo (in Nahuatl it means “place of woman”) 280 miles south of Mexico City, rimmed with white-sand beaches and beautiful waterfront – the picture-perfect place to unwind. Seeing as it’s still under the radar, Zihuatanejo has a lot to offer to everyone who wants to experience the authentic, less touristy side of Mexico, and enjoy some first-class fishing while they’re there. Unpretentious small-town vibes, genuinely pleasant locals, and sunsets to die for are just some of the perks you can enjoy in this picturesque coastal pueblo.
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Zihuatanejo Fishing Seasons

Whether you’d like to hook a Sailfish, Black Marlin, or Yellowfin Tuna, January is the month to visit Zihuatanejo. The Wahoo bite is also very good, and Grouper are active as well.

The mild winter temperatures and calm waters allow for excellent Sailfish and Black Marlin bites, and an occasional Striped Marlin could surprise you. You can also snag Tuna or Wahoo.

The spring is fast approaching, which means Blue Marlin are coming back to the Zihuatanejo waters. Inshore, Roosterfish are waking up, and Snapper and Grouper are not giving up either.

All Marlin relatives (Blue, Black, Striped) are on everyone’s to-catch list, while Sailfish is hiding more than usual. Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, and Roosterfish are all up and biting.

If you prefer offshore adventures, May is the best month to come to Zihuatanejo. Billfish are in a frenzy these days, and Yellowfin Tuna and Mahi Mahi aren’t falling behind.

As Black Marlin leave the stage, Blue Marlin start taking over along with Sailfish, who are becoming more aggressive as the days are getting warmer.

Fishing for both Tuna and Mahi Mahi is superb in July, as long as a Sailfish doesn’t snag your lure first. Sails are so numerous, that it’s quite difficult to target Blue Marlin without reeling in a Sailfish.

This is your last chance to catch a trophy Blue Marlin, as they’re slowly moving out of these waters. It’s quite hot on the water in August, but neither Mahi Mahi or Tuna mind the heat.

Sailfish is the only Billfish that loves to stay in the waters around Zihuatanejo all year, so you can still catch them in decent numbers, as well as Mahi Mahi and Roosterfish inshore.

Slightly colder weather doesn’t mean the fishing is bad, it’s just closer to shore. Anglers are catching big Roosterfish everyday, as well as Black Snook, Mahi Mahi, and Grouper.

The November bite brings a healthy amount of Wahoo, Tuna, and Mahi Mahi into the game, while Sailfish remain  anglers’ most prized catch. Roosters are equally popular.

Black and Striped Marlin are coming back, and Sailfish never left, which makes December one of the best months to spend some time in Zihuatanejo fishing for big game. Wahoo and Tuna are biting, too.

Zihuatanejo Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Zihuatanejo

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Marlin (Blue)

Marlin (Blue)





Tuna (Yellowfin)

Tuna (Yellowfin)



Marlin (Black)

Marlin (Black)