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Pesca Maya Lodge – Ascension Bay, Mexico

Located on a sandy white beach 90 miles south of Cancun, Pesca Maya Lodge is a favorite for serious saltwater fly anglers looking to experience the splendor of Ascension Bay. Bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and barracuda cruise an endless array of crystal clear flats, mangrove lagoons, channels, and reefs. Anglers fly fish two per panga under the watchful eye of both a senior and junior fly fishing guide, maximizing their chances from the boat and while wading.

Located within the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve, Pesca Maya Lodge offers year round fly fishing opportunities for bonefish, permit and jacks. The migratory tarpon season typically runs from April through October, while better chances for snook exist from November through March. Ascension Bay and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve is home to more than 345 species of birds, including over one million wintering migratory song birds. While the vast majority of the fly fishing is accomplished from the boat there are also some limited opportunities to wade fish for bonefish and permit.

Pesca Maya Lodge is a casual and comfortable operation located on a picturesque beach overlooking the sea. The lodge can accommodate up to 22 guests in simple double occupancy rooms. All rooms have A/C and private bathrooms and most have ocean views. There is also a furnished ocean-front terrace and large central palapa for relaxing and enjoying an included margarita or pre-dinner appetizers. The lodge features its own fly shop, 15 boats with some of the best guides in the area.

Expert Q&A with Dylan Rose

For more information please contact Dylan at 800-552-2729 or email HERE.

Top reasons to go:
1. Pesca Maya is a casual Mexican retreat for anglers looking for great value on Ascension Bay.
2. Rather than employed by the Punta Allen co-op, the guide staff at Pesca Maya are employees of the lodge and are some of the most experienced guides in the region.
3. The remote location of the lodge is ideal and sits on a beautiful stretch of beach overlooking the ocean.
4. Clients are fished with two guides per boat. This gives guests the advantage of another set of eyes on the water and the ability to chase fish with the junior guide from your feet.
5. Pesca Maya operates year round, offers short stays, includes alcohol and can provide all the equipment you need, making a classic for those that want a simple affordable getaway.

Where is the lodge?
Pesca Maya Lodge is located some 3.5 hours south of Cancun in the Sian Ka’an Bisophere Reserve on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, near the town of Punta Allen.

How do I get there?
Guests fly in to Cancun and are transported south to the lodge about 3.5 hours by vehicle and boat.

When should I go?
Pesca Maya offers trips year-round although March through May is considered prime time. Serious permit anglers often like to to visit in the low season months (June – November) as most of the region’s lodges are closed for hurricane season. The fall season is another good time to go as pressure in the bay really slows down during the summer months and the fish are well rested.

Where do they fish?
The entirety of Ascension Bay. Pesca Maya does not limit its guides with respect to fuel usage, so literally the whole bay is available to you.

How far away are the fishing grounds? 
A short run is 10 minutes and long runs to the other side of the bay can be well over an hour.

What are the accommodations and meals like?
Rooms at Pesca Maya are simple, clean, air conditioned and feature private bathrooms.  They use two main lodges.  The Sea Clusion house and the Robinson house.  Sea Clusion is an older facility and the Robinson House is newer of the two and generally in better shape. Meals are simple continental and Mexican fare.

How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere of the lodge?
Pesca Maya is a relatively quiet, comfortable (not luxurious), rural Mexican lodge.  It is best suited to groups of anglers that wish to lounge on a patio with a cold beverage and discuss the fishing day. It is not a highly “hosted” environment and it’s best for parties that enjoy some autonomy, complimentary drinks and the relaxed nature of the staff.

Is there an onsite manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
There is usually an onsite manager at the lodge that can help you with basic information and organization, but not always.  Anglers should plan on being more self sufficient with regard to their tackle, fishing strategy and general questions that come up during their stay.

How do they fish?
Guides utilize fly fishing purpose built 23 foot pangas style boats. Part of the benefit of booking with Pesca Maya is that they use two guides per boat, giving you an extra set of eyes on the water and a helper on the boat. Often you and a junior guide will chase spotted fish by foot, while the senior guide directs from the poling platform.

What fish will I catch?
There is a myriad of species to target including bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, barracuda, various jack species and snapper. On any given day you may run into one of these species or all of them!

How many fish will I catch?
Any time you catch double digit numbers of bonefish it is a good day. Note that while the bonefish can be plentiful, they tend to be small in Ascension Bay.  In season, encounters with tarpon can be a daily occurrence but landing them is often tough. With permit if you catch even one in a week that is an accomplishment to be proud of! Many anglers spend years trying to connect with their first permit. Various catches of jacks, barracuda and snapper are also regularly encountered. Ascension Bay tends to offer a wide variety of opportunities and how many of those are converted into true catches varies greatly from angler to angler and from week to week.

Where do we stay?
Pesca Maya is well appointed with comfortable lodging, air conditioning and beautiful views. There are several buildings on the property and the fishing pangas are only a five minute walk from the main lodge.

Is there wade fishing?
Wade fishing in Ascension Bay is limited. Some flats offer good wade fishing opportunities but tend be popular and consequently these fish can be very picky. As noted above, the guides are fond of having you jump out of the boat once a fish has been spotted.

Is there internet and cell service?
There is wi-fi at the lodge (although not exactly speedy) and some U.S. cell carriers will get a signal.

Does the lodge provide equipment?
Yes, the lodge does offer quality rental equipment. Both fly fishing and conventional equipment are available for rent. Day trips include one rod rental in the fee.

What is your favorite rod(s) for the trip?
A high quality fast action 9wt that is 9 feet long is the most versatile rod for a trip to Ascension Bay. It’s suitable for bonefish, baby tarpon, snook and most permit. Although it’s common for anglers to bring 4 or even 5 rods for a day in the bay.

Are there other activities?
There are limited other activities besides fishing. There are some eco-tours available for exploring the bay and it is possible to combine with trips to explore Mayan ruins.

What are the physical demands?
This trip is suitable for anyone, however, physically active people with good balance will excel when fishing from the panga.

What are the guides like?
The guides are, for the most part, very skilled and very experienced. Many have been working for Pesca Maya for ten years or more.  While some may take charge and help you with fly selection and tying knots, others may show less initiative. Some tend to get a bit over-excited when a fish of exceptional quality (permit or large tarpon) swims into view.  Our advice to to try to remain calm in these times and do your best to realize they are as excited as you are to get you the fish of the trip.  When opportunities are missed or simply don’t go your way,  their disappointment can at times come across as critical, but shrug it off and start looking for the next fish.

Do the guides speak English?
Spanish is their first language. The degree to which they speak English varies, but most guides will have basic knowledge of “fishing English”. For example, most can provide statements like, “fish coming. 10 o’clock, 60 feet.” You will greatly help your guide if you can speak a bit of Spanish.

Are their special skills required?
Anglers that can reach distances of 60 feet or more in less than three false casts will greatly benefit. Some proficiency with the double-haul is a huge advantage in the saltwater particularly when dealing with the wind.

Are there any dangers or annoyances?
There can be a few mosquitoes after rain events, but typically the wind is blowing enough out on the beach to keep them at bay. A light mosquito repellent will work wonders. Also, there can be a few sandfleas around camp like elsewhere in the Caribbean. In the summer months biting horse flies can be a nuisance if fishing near the mangrove edges. It’s important to be somewhat wary of sharks and barracuda if you are wading.

Are there heath concerns?
The CDC is currently recommending that pregnant women do not visit Mexico.

What is your favorite memory of this trip?
On my last trip to Pesca Maya I had already landed two permit for the trip and I was attempting to complete a hat trick. On day three at the first stop of the day we spotted a nice permit cruising on the flat. We quickly got into position and my rod was not even out of the holder yet when I jumped up on the deck, and began streaming line off my reel . I hastily launched a cast as far as I could in the permit’s general direction. As the guide yelled “Two of them now!” I intently watched the permit turn and follow my fly. Just then a different fish seemingly appeared from nowhere! It rushed at the shrimp pattern and jumped on it. It was off to the races! I began hollering and jumping around on the deck in excitement yelling “Hat trick!! Oh yeah!!”. I could tell that both of the guides were not nearly as excited and I was, which is strange when it comes to Ascension guides and the mighty permit. I asked them what was up and my guide Nestor said, “Dylan, I don’t know how to break this to you man… But the Jack Crevalle came up from behind and stole it from the permit at the last second…” I was pretty embarrassed for not recognizing the jack and also a bit disappointed that my third permit was actually a jack. Luckily that lasted only a short time as I was tied in to a beautiful jack that I would eventually go on to break off as their sharp teeth can easily saw through a permit leader. It was an extremely emotional processing of pure joy and thrilling excitement followed by bitter disappointment and resulting in gradual appreciation of a fantastic grab by a hungry jack. All part of the experience on a great day in Ascension Bay!

 


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The front porch at Pesca Maya’s Sea Clusion house.

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Pesca Maya is a venerable and favorite destination for anglers wanting to access the famed Ascension Bay.

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Pesca is a casual, affordable and year-round destination offering guests the chance to chase bonefish, tarpon and permit.

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Pesca Maya offers two guides per boat, giving anglers another set of trained eyes on the water and the ability to chase spotted fish by foot.

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Rooms at Pesca Maya are casual and comfortable with good working A/C and private bathrooms.