GPS Coordinates: 19°49’48.99″N 90°32’12.33″W
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Thank you for choosing to fish Campeche Tarpon, an outstanding tarpon fishery located on Mexico’s western Yucatan peninsula. Positioned on the shore of the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico, Campeche Tarpon guides fish more than eighty miles of mangrove clad coastline, shallow grass flats, and hundreds of tidal creeks and channels in modern backcountry skiffs. The operation is based in the historic waterfront city of Campeche, making your trip to Campeche Tarpon a rich combination of spectacular tarpon fishing and incredible experiences in both Mayan and Spanish culture. The strength of this fishery is the phenomenal number of baby tarpon that inhabit the region. On a calm morning you’ll cast to pods of tarpon exploding through schools of baitfish, showering them into the tropical air. Later in the day you’ll slip quietly into secluded lagoons and cast to fish waiting in the shadows to ambush their prey. This is a rich, mangrove lined fishery, providing food and protection for tarpon that love to eat flies.
Getting to Campeche Tarpon
Aero Mexico has daily flights to Campeche from Mexico City, offering the most direct travel option. You may also fly into Merida, a two-hour drive from Campeche. Merida is serviced by several U.S. airlines, with direct flights from Houston and Miami. Upon arrival in Merida or Campeche, you’ll be met by a Campeche Tarpon representative, and driven to your Campeche hotel. These transfers are included in your package pricing.
Please make your flight reservations as soon as possible to secure seats and the best pricing. We recommend giving Alicia at Holdy Tours a call at (800) 446-1111 | email@example.com to help with your flight information and reservations. She books the majority of the travel for The Fly Shop’s travel staff, and many anglers traveling throughout the world.
Passport & Immigration Card:
It is highly recommended that US citizens present a passport that is valid for at least six months after the last day of the trip. If your passport expires before then, please renew it prior to departing on your trip. If you hold citizenship in a country other than the United States, please check with your national consulate / passport center for citizenship documents required for travel to Mexico.
During your flight from the U.S. to Mexico, your international carrier will provide you with a Mexican Immigration and Customs Declaration form. You will need your passport and a pen to complete this information card. A portion of the card will be submitted upon entry to Mexico during the immigrations process. Please be careful not to lose your copy, as it must be returned to immigration upon your departure.
Please schedule your arrival in Merida before 4:00 pm in order to have a timely transfer to Campeche, approximately two hours’ drive from the airport.
Please schedule your departure from Merida after 12:00 pm in order to give you time in the morning for the transfer to the airport.
The transfers to Campeche from Merida and return are included in the Campeche Tarpon fishing package. If you take one of the daily flights from Mexico City direct to Campeche, you will be met at the Campeche airport and driven to your hotel, included in your package. Round-trip transfers to Campeche from Cancun are available, and the angler’s responsibility.
Meeting Your Driver:
After passing through immigrations and clearing customs, proceed through the terminal. You will meet your Campeche representative as you exit the terminal. Your driver will greet you, holding a “Campeche Tarpon” sign. If you do not see your driver immediately, please wait outside the terminal. Occasionally, the lodge has several parties arriving at different terminals. If your driver is not waiting upon your arrival, he will be there shortly.
Driving to Campeche:
The drive is approximately two hours’ drive in a comfortable air-conditioned van or car from the Merida airport to Campeche. The transfer is very easy, on a fast moving, modern highway.
Campeche is a lovely town with plenty of stores and the opportunity to purchase any amenities you may need. You may also ask your driver to stop at a store upon reaching Campeche to pick up any liquor or wine you may desire. Your driver is accustomed to this request – so feel free to ask him to stop for any last-minute shopping before arriving at your hotel.
There is no guided fishing on your arrival day. Alex, the outfitter, will meet you at your hotel, sharing restaurant suggestions for your first of several incredible dinners in Campeche. He will also discuss the current fishing conditions, answer any questions, and inform you of the fishing schedule.
Should any problems occur during your travel, including significant flight delays, please contact Alejandro Hernandez or The Fly Shop® directly.
Rental gear is not available. Please bring your own rods, reels, lines, leaders and flies.
Single-handed rods should be 9 feet in length. Rods in the 8 and 9 weight class are ideal. 10 weights are optional, but are useful in the wind or if you have the opportunity to pursue larger tarpon in deeper water. You should bring at least two rods. The extra rods will not only serve as a spare in the event of breakage, but will also allow you to setup multiple rods with different flies. Typically, one rod is rigged with a floating fly, and one with a subsurface pattern.
High quality machined aluminum reels with a smooth disc drag are preferred. You will want to make sure that your reel’s drag system will operate well in the saltwater environment. It is recommended that a high quality reel hold a minimum of 150 yards of 20 or 30 pound backing. Larger fish will often take you well into the backing.
High quality, floating tropical saltwater taper fly lines are recommended. You will be fishing a floating fly line 90% of the time. Floating lines are perfect for the shallow turtle grass flats, mangrove lined coast, shallow lagoons, and draining creek/river mouths. When conditions allow, you may have the opportunity to pursue larger tarpon beyond the flats and in deeper water (typically July – Sept). It is a good idea to bring along a full sinking intermediate line and/or a 300 grain sink tip if you have them, but they are not required.
Leaders & Tippet:
There are many options when it comes to rigging baby tarpon leaders. One option is starting with 10ft tapered saltwater leader to 20 lb. test and knot a 2 foot section of 40 lb. or 50 lb. shock tippet on the end. Another option is to use a 10 ft. piece of 40 lb. nylon monofilament, tying a loop in the butt section and your fly on the other.
In choosing leader materiel, please remember that fluorocarbon sinks faster than nylon monofilament. Fluorocarbon is a good choice for tarpon in deeper water, while nylon monofilament is best in shallow water, and especially when fishing surface flies.
- Megalopsicle – tan/orange, purple/black, chartreuse/black
- Laid Up Tarpon
- Tarpon Toad – tan, purple/black, chartreuse, red/black
- EP Everglades Special
- EP Peanut Butter – grey/white, purple/black, chartreuse/white
- Mangrove Baitfish – shiner
- Fishalicious – red/white, chartreuse/black
- Sea Habit Bucktail – sardine
- Gummy Minnow
Your boat bag will contain all your gear for the day in the boat and in transfer to and from the dock. Anglers often prefer some organizing dividers inside, and quick access pouches on the outside. It needs to be large enough to hold your rain jacket, fly boxes, sunscreen, extra leaders and tippet, camera, and back up glasses and fly lines. Fishpond, Patagonia, and Simms offer quality boat bags.
Sunglasses should fit tightly to block sunlight from the sides and have lenses large enough to cover the entire eye area for protection. Copper or amber are the best colors for flats fishing, and we strongly suggest bringing an extra pair in case of an accident.
Flats Wading Boots:
At Campeche Tarpon you will find that all fishing is accomplished from the boat, so wading boots are not needed. Many anglers choose to fish barefoot in the boat or wear only socks, which offer protection from the sun while allowing you to feel the line if you are standing on it.
The electrical outlets are AC 110 volts (same as the U.S.) and most appliances will work fine.
Your hotel has wi-fi service, and cell phone communication is available throughout Campeche.
Feel free to talk with the owner, Alejandro, if you have any questions or need advice. Guide gratuities are generally $60 – $100 per boat per day is normal.
Spanish is the language of Mexico. The Yucatan has a large population of Mayan people who often speak their native language amongst themselves.
- Breakfast is served at your hotel and included in your package.
- Lunches are provided in your boat.
- Alcoholic beverages are not included.
- Dinners are available at many of the fine restaurants in Campeche, and not included. Be sure to ask Alejandro for suggestions.
Fishing licenses are included in your fishing package, and your host will issue your license when you arrive.
Laundry service is available. The laundry bag is inside the closet in your hotel room.
Insect Repellent & Sunscreen:
Lightweight pants and long sleeved shirts are your best protection from both insects and the sun. Add a Buff style neck gaiter and sun gloves and you pretty well protected. Insect repellent is always a good idea to have in your boat bag, should the wind calm down and allow the bugs to move out of the mangroves.
This coastal region of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula is a rich nursery, providing food and protection for immense numbers of juvenile tarpon. Adult tarpon spawn in the open ocean, and the larvae migrate into protected coastal areas, feeding prolifically in the rich estuarine environment. Most of the tarpon in the Campeche area range between five and thirty pounds, perfect for your eight and nine weight rods. The guides will have you on the water at first light, looking for tarpon feeding on schools of baitfish, or moving in small pods and rolling their silver backs through the water’s surface. The excitement builds when your guide raises the motor and begins poling the skiff towards the fish, getting you into position for the cast. You’re up on the deck, line stripped off your reel, and the tarpon are blasting through the baitfish. Silently, the skiff glides within range and you drop your streamer on the edge of the feeding frenzy. A couple quick pulls on your line and it comes tight. You react by pulling hard on the line to set the hook, swinging your rod down and to the side as three feet of twisting silver rockets out of the slick water and into the air. You’ve anticipated this moment for months, traveled a thousand miles, and it all compressed down to the magic of jumping tarpon in the predawn light. Campeche Tarpon boats are the best in the region, especially suited for fly fishing and navigating shallow waters. The comfort that they provide guarantees that at the end of the fishing day, you will be ready to start again the next morning. The guides are individually selected and native to the region. They are not only respectable people, but also experienced fly fishermen, which gives them the precise vision needed to position the boats for perfect casting. They will recommend the best fly depending on the time of day and the climate conditions. They expertly read the tides, which is of the utmost importance in shallow water fishing.
Your fishing day starts early, putting you on the fish at first light. After a cup of coffee and breakfast, you’ll make a quick drive to the marina. The guides will be motoring out to the fishing grounds in the predawn light, hunting tarpon over turtle grass flats. You’ll see them rolling on the water’s surface, chasing baitfish, and gulping shrimp. As the sun gets higher, the fish will move in towards the mangroves, ambushing prey from the shade. Your guide will pole the skiff through a maze of tidal creeks and into mangrove lined lagoons in search of tarpon hiding in the shadows. Your lunch on the boat includes sandwiches, cookies, fruit, and cold water, sodas, and beer if requested. You’ll return to the marina midafternoon, and to the hotel for a refreshing shower or a swim in the pool. Evening is the perfect time for a stroll along the historic waterfront, knowing that pirates had walked the same paths as they occupied the city, wreaking havoc as only pirates have done.
Seasons & Weather:
The Yucatan has a tropical wet and dry climate. The wettest months are from June through October, and the driest months are November through May. There is little temperature difference throughout the year, with May and June the warmest months and recording mid-eighties, and January the coolest with highs in the mid-seventies.
Weather is always a factor in seeing and getting shots at cruising tarpon. That being said, the best tarpon fishing is typically April through October, as tarpon are most active during the warmer months. As long as the weather cooperates, the winter and early spring months can provide great fishing. Campeche is a great mid-winter getaway, and if the weather doesn’t cooperate on a day or two during your week, there are plenty of other non-fishing activities to enjoy.
The City of Campeche:
Campeche is a city rich in culture, and much of the historic architecture is either intact or has been rebuilt in recent years. It’s a beautiful city of approximately 250,000 people, although you wouldn’t guess that it has that many residents. It has been declared a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Heritage site because it is so unique and well-preserved. It was a walled city over four hundred years ago, for protection from pirates and invasion. Much of that wall still stands, as well as the fortifications on the hillsides, and beachfront cannons aimed out to sea. There are many museums and art centers, and a central plaza bustling with activity. Several spectacular Mayan ruins are within a couple of hour’s drive from Campeche. The downtown area is easy to navigate and walking is safe, interesting, and fun. City tours and sightseeing excursions are easily arranged.