Isla del Sabalo “Island of Tarpon” is truly the new frontier in world-class fly fishing for baby tarpon. Ranging in size from 5 to 30+ pounds, these tarpon reside in environs of turtle grass flats and mangrove lined lagoons, creeks and channels. This habitat is also home to snook, snapper and barracuda. The hallmark of this fishery is the gin-clear flats and the amazing network of backcountry lagoons and channels. These characteristics make this fishery an incredible rearing ground for these resident baby tarpon. Whether you are sight casting to rolling tarpon on the flats or working the mangroves with your top-water pattern, fly fishing for tarpon at Isla del Sabalo is a pure adrenaline rush.
“Hands down. Best tarpon catching I’ve ever seen or heard of. You need to lie about how good this was because nobody will believe us!” R.R., Alaska
Isla del Sabalo is located off of the northwestern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Isla del Sabalo 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-minute boat ride to arrive at some of your fishing areas. The fishery is vast and therefore longer runs with the boat are sometimes required.
Most anglers prefer to fish 8 to 9 weight rods at Isla del Sabalo. When weather conditions and/or size of fish dictate, a 9 weight rod is the order of the day. One aspect that makes this fishery a pure joy is the ability to pursue these fish with a floating line only. Often shallow water pursuits of tarpon demand lightweight (slow sinking) tarpon flies or top-water offerings. Even in the deeper mangrove-lined channels, a floating line is all that is needed.
Your fishing program will be based on tides and weather conditions. Typically you will begin your day on the water while the sun is rising and fish through the afternoon until 2:00-3:00 PM. Your guide and host will determine the program based on the optimum timing of tides and weather.
The fertile mangrove-lined waters of Mexico’s northern Yucatan Peninsula represent the most prolific juvenile tarpon fishery in the world. Easy to get to, inexpensive and well-suited to light tackle, this region is ideal for short trips or for longer adventures that combine two or more destinations.
Accommodations and Meals:
The accommodations at Isla del Sabalo are simple and comfortable. The lodge is on the beach front facing the open ocean, allowing for refreshing cool ocean breezes while you relax at the lodge. Guests stay in ocean front cottages and each spacious guest room is equipped with air-conditioning, fans and a full private bath with shower (hot and cold water). There is a housekeeping service that cleans the room and replaces, towels, bottled drinking water, cups and bar soap each day. A unique feature of the property is the beach front “palapa”. This wonderful area is perfect for relaxing after a long day of chasing Tarpon.
Meals are prepared at the dining palapa and served in an open air setting. Breakfast is served at around 5:30 AM, so you should be awake, dressed and ready for breakfast by then. Staff usually arrives by 5:00 AM to make coffee, so earlier risers can wake up before breakfast. Breakfast includes items such as fresh fruit, eggs, toast, pancakes and coffee/juice. Lunches consist of sandwiches, fruit, snacks and sodas/water. Lunch is taken with you in a cooler on the boat to be eaten while you are on the water.
Dinner meals are served at the palapa each evening. Entrees may include chicken, pork, or the catch-of -the-day, fish, shrimp or even lobster! Enjoy the tasty food and the charming atmosphere of Isla Arena while you dine!
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.
All drinking water and ice is bottled/made from purified water. All non-alcoholic beverages (soda, juice, water) are included in your lodge package. Alcoholic beverages are available, but not included (charged to the guest tab.)
Sample Itinerary :
Day 1: Arrive Merida and overnight
Day 2: Transfer to lodge around mid-day
Days 3 – 7: Full days guided fishing
Day 8: Full day of fishing. Afterwards transfer to Merida and overnight
Day 9: Depart Merida.
2018 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 Merida airport.
Not Included: Airfare, meals in Merida, alcoholic beverages, staff & guide gratuities, phone service, laundry service, fly fishing gear and tackle.
Species: Juvenile tarpon
Season: May - November
Capacity: 6 anglers
Map: Isla Arena, Mexico
Time: One hour later than Pacific Standard Time (during U.S. winter months).