Not far from the bustling madness of Cancun on the northern shore of the Yucatan Peninsula is the charming town of San Felipe and an unparalleled opportunity to fly fish for juvenile tarpon in the 5-25+ pound class. Recognized by the government for its biological wealth, this incredible fishery has been designated a marine preserve, thus protecting this tarpon “nursery” from commercial netting and fishing.
Most of the fishing at Tarpon Cay Lodge occurs over very shallow flats that are covered by a dark colored, broad leafed turtle grass. Roving schools of tarpon in the 5 lb – 15 lb class can number just a few or several hundred. The guides are excellent at scanning for rolling fish and would expertly pole the boat to intercept a school on the move and get us in position for a cast. At times we would anchor the boat and wait as football field sized shoals of fish would cruise to within casting range. We’d launch the fly in the general direction and retrieve with a brisk strip that kept the fly off the bottom. After that, it’s just a game of watching your fly disappear into a big, black bucket of a mouth and holding on! The resulting aerial display is breathtaking, as they tail-walk, leap, and launch themselves into the air with reckless abandon.
Accommodations at Tarpon Cay are airy and bright with rooms featuring ocean views, ceiling fans, air conditioning and private baths. Delicious, hearty meals are served in the main lodge with most anglers taking full advantage of the rooftop decks in the evening hours.
Tarpon Cay Lodge is located on the north shore of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
Tarpon Cay Lodge utilizes spacious 18 foot pangas with an extensive level casting deck. All fly fishing is conducted out of these stealthy, stable, and comfortable fishing platforms. The nearest boundary of the fishery is very close to the lodge and, therefore, only requires a 15 - 25 minute boat ride to arrive at most of your Yucatan fly fishing areas.
The wonderful part of fly fishing at Tarpon Cay Lodge is that most of the fishing is done with floating lines. The Tarpon hold or cruise in areas as shallow as one foot deep! This shallow water pursuit demands lightweight (slow sinking) Tarpon flies or top-water offerings such as floating Puglisis, sliders, or crease flies. When conditions are prime, this shallow water fly fishing makes for an exciting visual display - Tarpon waking behind your fly and a top-water "blow-up" finale ... it does not get any better than this!
Tarpon Cay Lodge is truly the standard in world-class fly fishing for "baby" tarpon. Ranging in size from 5 to 25 pounds, these fish reside in environs of open water turtle grass flats and mangrove lined lagoons, creeks, and bays. This habitat is also home to Snook and Barracuda. Most significantly, this incredible fishery has been designated a marine preserve, thus protecting this Tarpon "nursery" from commercial netting and fishing. The hallmark of the fishery at Tarpon Cay Lodge is the sheer numbers of baby tarpon that inhabit the region. On a calm day, it is not uncommon to observe pods of Tarpon rolling and slashing bait on the flats - an awe-inspiring moment to say the least ... don't forget to cast. Another highlight is during the months of June thru August, migratory Tarpon (40 to 100+ pounds) inhabit the waters near Tarpon Cay Lodge. If weather conditions allow (low wind) anglers can pursue these “Silver Kings.” Whether you are sight-casting to rolling tarpon on the flats or working the mangroves with your top-water pattern, fly fishing for tarpon is a pure adrenaline rush.
Accommodations and Meals:
The accommodations at Tarpon Cay Lodge are comfortable, bright, and enriched with traditional Mexican decor. With the ocean at its doorstep, the sea breeze and beautiful scenery refreshes the spirit after a long day of fighting Tarpon. A spacious lounge provides dining areas, comfortable seating for relaxing, and a nice workspace for fly tying or working on tackle at the day's end. As you venture upstairs, you will find spacious guest rooms equipped with air-conditioning, fans, and a full private bath with shower. Rooms are bright with a nice ocean view. There is a housekeeping service that cleans the room and replaces linens, towels, bottled drinking water, cups, and bar soap each day. A unique feature of the lodge is a nice rooftop balcony. It provides a splendid 360 degree view of the charming area surrounding the lodge - perfect for after-dinner relaxation.
The meals are another highlight of your stay at Tarpon Cay Lodge. Hearty portions with a local flavor are an absolute culinary delight for the big appetite. Breakfast is ordered the night prior from a full menu (American and Mexican dishes). Your breakfast will be promptly served in the morning to assure you an on-time start of your daily fishing adventure. Lunches consist of made-to-order sandwiches, snacks, and assorted beverages.
Upon your return from an exciting day of tarpon-mania, dinner is served. Entrees include a lot of fresh fish with some chicken, pork, shrimp, or sometimes lobster in-season. The meals at Tarpon Cay Lodge are truly unique and delicious. Additionally, the lodge can accommodate most dietary restrictions. Let the staff know and they will prepare an appetizing alternative that is often looked over with envy by your fellow dinner guests.
Day 1: Arrive Cancun and transfer to lodge.
Days 2-7: Full days of guided fishing
Day 8: Depart lodge.
Typical Daily Schedule:
Your fishing program will be based on tides and weather conditions. On some weeks, you will fish from morning through the afternoon. Many weeks, the fishing program is based on a split shirt consist of early morning fishing through the AM hours, a 3 hour break mid-day (lunch, ”siesta”, rigging, fly tying, etc.), and then an evening session of fishing lasting through sunset. Your guides will determine the program based on the optimum timing of tides and weather.
Arrival Information: To get to Tarpon Cay Lodge you will need to make flight arrangements to Cancun International Airport (CUN), Mexico. Please schedule your flight to arrive Cancun no later than 4:00 PM. This will ensure a timely pick-up and ample time to drive approximately 3.5 hours to Tarpon Cay Lodge.
Getting to the Lodge: After clearing Customs and Immigration at Cancun International Airport, a Tarpon Cay Lodge representative will greet you in front of the Berryhill Restaurant to the left, after you exit the terminal outside.
Departure Information: On departure day, after an early breakfast you will be driven approximately 3.5 hours back to Cancun for your flight home. Please do not book your flight to depart before 1:00 PM.
2017 Rate: $3,775 per person for a 7 night/6 day package
Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, guided fishing, non-alcoholic beverages, guest taxes, fishing licenses, Internet access, ground transfers to/from the Cancun airport
Not Included: Airfare, meals in Cancun, alcoholic beverages, staff & guide gratuities, phone service, laundry service, fly fishing gear and tackle
Species: Juvenile tarpon
Season: April to November
Capacity: 6 anglers
Map: San Felipe, Mexico
Time: UTC/GMT -7 hours.