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Fishing in Cozumel

Cozumel fishing is, quite simply, spectacular. Pick any month of the year and we can list a dozen awesome fish you can catch. This is because a lot of them live here all year round and many more are about for a good six months. And who can blame them? The waters around this Caribbean island are home to the largest reef in the Americas, whose colorful corals provide the dream vacation spot for many travelling fish, not to mention the anglers keen on catching them.

Known For

If you are planning on fishing while in Cozumel then congratulations, you have figured out what the island was made for. From the shallow flats to the deep reefs and beyond, Cozumel is surrounded on all sides by the dream conditions for many of the world’s favorite fishing styles. 
One of the hardest parts of Cozumel fishing is simply deciding where to do it, with amazing fish found at any depth of water. But don’t worry, that’s why we’re here! Let us break down your options for you and you can decide what sounds best (it’s going to be a tough choice).

What can I do on a half day?

Cozumel’s flats are so close to town you could practically walk to them. A half day trip will give you plenty of time to head to the more remote points and get away from the crowds. Cozumel’s northern lagoons are the dream habitat for shallow-water fish and you will encounter Permit, Snook, Tarpon, Bonefish, Mangrove Snappers, Jacks - the list just keeps going!
Fancy setting your hook into something a little bigger? One of the many things that makes Cozumel special is that you can climb aboard for some big game billfishing action and have your lines in the water within half an hour. This makes targeting apex pelagic species viable even on a half day. Alternatively, you can hit the reef and be back by lunchtime with enough fish to feed half the hotel, let alone the family.

What if I stay out longer?

Most guides will recommend going out for a full day trip. This isn’t just their way of making an extra buck, though. The reason a lot of Cozumel flats fishing charters run for seven or eight hours is that this is the ideal place to catch all the top inshore game species in one day. With a bit of skill and a lot of luck (the line between the two blurs so easily) you could be in with a chance with catching Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, and Snook - All on the same trip!
If you can’t decide between the deep seas and the reefs, our recommendation would be to go for a full day trip. Get out to the pelagic waters while you are still fresh and ready, then once your arms are aching from fighting billfish you can switch to the reef to catch yourself some dinner. If you are serious about catching a monster, you can stay in the deep waters all day and will be rewarded with Wahoo, Mahi Mahi, Marlin, Sailfish, King Mackerel, and Tuna. Boy, do we love this place!

How much will it cost?

If you are fishing inshore, you can expect to pay around $250-300 for a half day trip. Most inshore boats are pretty basic, but that’s really all you need. The cost of offshore charters very much depends on the size of the boat, starting just under $500 for something in the 30’ range.
A good reason to stay out longer on an inshore trip is that it doesn’t cost much more. Your average three-man skiff will cost around $400-450 for an eight hour trip. For offshore charters, full days start at around $650 and can go well into four digits on larger boats. You do get your money’s worth on the bigger vessels, with professional crews, 5-star service, and food and drinks as standard.

Rules & Regulations

You will need a valid Mexican Sport Fishing License for everyone on the boat, including children. The vast majority of Cozumel charters include these in the price, although the cheaper inshore charters may not. Even if they are not included, you should be able to purchase them from your guide. Day licenses cost around $15, and weekly ones are just over twice that.

Types of Fishing

Most Cozumel fishing charters will use the same techniques when out fishing. There are tried and tested ways of doing things in these waters and with so many great fish to catch, why complicate everything?

Deep Sea Fishing

If you heading out in search of big game pelagics like Marlin and Sailfish, chances are you will be trolling. This is the most common style of deep sea fishing Cozumel offers and the local guides are awesome at getting those big billfish chasing after your boat. You won’t generally be provided with bait on most charters, but it is easy to fish for on the trip. Alternatively, trolling on artificial lures works very well and is the go-to tactic for many local guides. You can expect big, heavy-action rods and large reels to match. People don’t mess about here.

Reef Fishing

With so many great reef species around, bottom fishing around Cozumel is not exactly rocket science. The big, year-round population of Barracuda can sometimes make hooking a fish the easy part, though, and chances are you will have more than one fish snatched of sliced by these ferocious fish. Again, you can expect pretty bulky tackle and the choice of catching bait (really not difficult) or using lures.

Inshore Fishing

Inshore fishing - particularly flats fishing, is a whole different world to the reefs and pelagic waters. The boats you will be on will be much smaller, and the tackle will be as light as possible. What Cozumel’s flats are really about is fly fishing. Snook, Permit, Bonefish, and Tarpon all scream fly gear, and many boats will stock their own. You will of course be welcome to bring yours, as many fly anglers do. If you are really into this style of fishing, Cozumel is the perfect place to try for the fly fishing Grand Slam.
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Cozumel Fishing Seasons

If you are thinking of Fishing in Cozumel in January, lucky you! Escape the cold and the new-year blues and hit the water for some fast trolling action. Wahoo and Kingfish are waiting in force.

February is a slow month in Cozumel, by which we mean there is "only" one Billfish around in big numbers. Mardis Gras also usually falls in February, and Carnaval is something you can't miss!

Fishing in Cozumel in March is great in all depths. Bonefish, Snook, and Permit crowd the flats, with a fair few Tarpon too. Offshore you have Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and White Marlin.

This is when the season really gets going offshore. The White Marlin are hitting their peak, the Sailfish are biting hard, and Blue Marlin start to show up in big numbers towards the end of the month.

The Rodeo de Lanchas Mexicanas bring anglers from across the country and beyond in May, with big prizes and even bigger fish! Do you have what it takes to be crowned king of the rodeo?

If you are around in June it would be rude to ignore the festival of San Pedro and San Pablo. Two of Mexico's most important saints are honored every year with floats, rides, music, and dancing. 

Offshore you have Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna, and Mahi Mahi. inshore you have Snook, Permit, Tarpon, and Bonefish. If you can stand the heat you will be well rewarded this time of year.

The billfish start to drop off and the reefs start to pick up. It's almost as if the two groups don't get on somehow... The upside is you have a chance of catching pretty much everything in August!

Snapper, Grouper, Amberjack, and Barracuda swarm the deep-water reefs from September on, and the shallows are always packed with great game fish like Bonefish and Permit.

The reefs really hit their stride in October, making for great food fishing. Offshore, large King and Sierra Mackerel start showing up, as well as the first of the Wahoo

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is one of Mexico's most important celebrations, and certainly its most iconic. Things are far from dead on the water, with massive Wahoo smoking reels offshore.

Fishing in Cozumel in December is just about the best way of spending the holiday season. Target huge Wahoo, Kingfish, Snapper, and Grouper, or hit the shallows for some serious Bonefishing.

Cozumel Fishing Calendar

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Top Types of Fishing in Cozumel

  1. Flats Fishing

Top Fishing Techniques in Cozumel

  1. Bottom Fishing
  2. Deep Sea Fishing
  3. Fly Fishing

Top Targeted Species in Cozumel

Barracuda (Great)

Barracuda (Great)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Marlin (Blue)

Marlin (Blue)





Marlin (White)

Marlin (White)



Snapper (Red)

Snapper (Red)