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Fishing in Cancún

Cancun may be the most popular vacation spot in the whole of the Caribbean, but when it comes to fishing, it might just be Mexico’s best-kept secret. Located on the northeast coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, it is right on the migratory route of some of the world’s hottest pelagic fish. And with access to a band of resorts stretching southwards down the Riviera Maya, Cancun fishing charters are poised and ready to accommodate travelers from the world over.

Known For

Cancun is growing a name for itself as one of the best places in the world to catch a Billfish Grand Slam and an Inshore Grand Slam in the same day. The city boasts outstanding spring and summer Billfish seasons, although consistent schools of Mahis, Wahoo and Tuna make up its marine smorgasbord all year round. If you thought Cancun was busy on the beaches, just wait till you first leave the marina!

Inshore, Isla Mujeres and Isla Blanca boast some of the best fishing in the world for Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, and Snook. While Isla Blanca is slightly further away, it is worth the 25 mile drive. The Isla Blanca Lagoon is a 12 mile stretch of grass, mud, and sand flats that create the perfect conditions for light tackle and fly fishing. Closer to home, the Nichupté Lagoon is a hotspot for big Permit and some of the best Cancun flats fishing.

While the inshore fishing is undeniably incredible, the most popular Cancun fishing tours tend to focus on the pelagic bite offshore. Many charters will start trolling shortly after leaving the marina, before heading to the best spots for Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, and Dorado, depending on what is in season. Bottom fishing can also be very productive and is often the fishing technique of choice in the winter.

Land-based fishermen will enjoy fishing the two bridges in the area: Punta Calinda and Punta Nizuc. These span the migratory routes of fish such as Tarpon, Snook, Jack Crevalle, Snappers, and Barracudas. Some beaches can also have good results, especially when tourist season is off-peak. Generally, look for quiet spots to the east side of the beaches - here you can target Snappers and Permit. Just watch out for crocodiles if you’re wading in the lagoon!

Rules & Regulations

All anglers fishing in Mexico must purchase a fishing license, which can be obtained online at the ‘Conapesca’ government agency or at the marina. Many Cancun fishing charters can sort out licenses for their guests and will either include this service in the trip price or charge an additional fee.

Land based fishermen: it is strictly prohibited to practise sportfishing within 250 meters of swimmers. Make sure to fish in quiet areas - it makes sense!

Types of Fishing

The best offshore sport fishing in Cancun tends to take place from 15-35 miles from shore. This means that longer trips are highly recommended for people whose sights are set on a Billfish. Most Cancun deep sea fishing charters troll with live bait such as Bonito and Blue Runners, although dead Ballyhoos, cut bait, and artificial lures with skirts and teasers are also popular.

Anglers who want to try surf fishing should load up with shrimp and squid for the best reaction from the local Snappers and Permit. Artificial lures such as spinners and jigs are also popular.

For fans of fly fishing, Cancun doesn’t disappoint. A 9 ft 10 wt rod is recommended for people targeting Permit and Juvenille Tarpon, with Bonefish responding best to an 8 or 9 wt rod and larger Tarpon needing heavier. Top fly choices include Crazy Charlies, Christmas Island Specials, Bonefish Clousers, and Toad Flies.

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Cancún Fishing Seasons

January is Cancun's peak hotel season, and with very little rain and temperatures averaging 84 degrees, you can see why. Most charters concentrate on bottom fishing. Don't miss the annual Barracuda handline tournament on Isla Mujeres.

The pelagic bite starts to gradually pick up as warmer currents arrive, but the best fishing continues to be over bottom structure or for Snook on the flats. Windy weather can disrupt offshore charters. 

The windy weather continues, but with it comes Billfish. Sailfish is biting well already and is joined by Blue and White Marlin this month. The beginning of the peak fishing season, this is a good time to try for a Billfish Grand Slam.

Everything is biting at this time of year, and with hotels being in offseason, this is one of the best times to go sport fishing. Fishing is as hot on the flats as it is offshore, as Bonefish, Permit, and Tarpon start to bite very well. 

This is the beginning of the peak season for Bonefish and Permit in the flats, while offshore Dorado (Mahi Mahi) joins the Billfish. Watch the Whale Shark migration from the middle of the month through September.

With Tarpon coming into peak season, flats anglers start to set their sights on a Super Grand Slam. Offshore, the pelagics are out in force. This is prime Cancun fishing season, although the weather is hot and cloudy. 

As the town gears up to celebrate the Mayan new year, anglers fish for Marlin, Dorado, Sailfish, Wahoo and more offshore. Inshore, Tarpon fishing is giving fishermen and women the fight of their lives.

The hottest month of the year, August temperatures average at 93 degrees during the day. There is usually a lot of rainfall. But the impressive pelagic bite is enough to lure anglers to Cancun's waters.

September is Cancun's wettest month and carries a hurricane risk. Flats fishing is at its best: high water temperatures create perfect conditions for Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, and Snook. Hot deals can be had at the hotels.

October is still wet in Cancun. A transitional month for fishing, it notices a steep decrease in the number of pelagic fish being caught, with bottom fishing taking precedence offshore. This is the last good month for Tarpon fishing.

November kicks off with a bang with All Saints Day. With that comes the beginning of the peak tourist season - the weather is dry and the hotels are more expensive. Snook is biting well inshore.

As the holiday season approaches and the days remain dry and sunny, Cancun's beaches fill up. The first Sailfish start to show up in the middle of the month, bottom fishing is very good, and Snook are great fun in the flats and lagoons.

Cancún Fishing Calendar

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Top Fishing Techniques in Cancún

  1. Deep Sea Fishing
  2. Spearfishing

Top Targeted Species in Cancún

Barracuda (Great)

Barracuda (Great)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)







Marlin (White)

Marlin (White)

Marlin (Blue)

Marlin (Blue)