GPS Coordinates: 21°34’05.98″N 88°14’03.43″W
Trip Questionnaire: Please click on the link below. This will take you an electronic questionnaire form that we ask you to complete and submit to The Fly Shop®. Please be sure to click the “Submit” button at the end of the form. The information provided will help us — and the outfitter best coordinate your trip.
THANK YOU! CLICK HERE
Tarpon Cay Lodge is an exceptional juvenile tarpon fishery located on northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Averaging five to twenty-five pounds, these silver rockets feed aggressively over turtle grass flats and throughout an incredible complex of mangrove lined lagoons, creeks, and bays within the Parque Natural San Felipe and the Rio Lagartos Preserve. 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.
General Travel Information
Flying in and out of Cancun is simple. Many U.S. airlines fly direct to Cancun from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Dallas, Miami, and other major U.S. cities. On your day of arrival at the lodge, you must arrive in Cancun no later than 3:00 pm.
Upon arrival into Cancun, you’ll clear immigration and customs before heading to the main lobby and reception area of the airport. After collecting your bags and clearing customs and immigration, please make your way outside of the airport where you will hail a taxi to the Marriott Courtyard Cancún Airport Hotel, approximately 15 minutes away. Please be prepared to pay in USD for this service. All taxis within the airport are safe, highly regulated and certified by the airport.
Once at the hotel please feel free to make use of the restaurant and bar area. A representative of Tarpon Cay Lodge will meet you in the lobby at TBD and transfer you approximately 3.5 hours to the lodge. The transfer is scheduled to depart the Marriott 1.5 hours after the last arriving angler lands in Cancún.
Courtyard Marriot Cancun Airport Hotel
011 52 998 287 2200
Blvd. Luis Donaldo Colosio KM 12.5 Lte 1 SM 305 Cancún, Q. Roo, México 77560
This transfer is included in the cost of the package on Wednesday and Saturdays only. Custom shuttle itineraries are approximately $350 USD for up to 4 anglers on other arrival or departure days of the week, or special times on normal change days.
Note – Anglers who miss their scheduled transfers to the lodge will be responsible for any incurred costs related to delays and special transfers.
Arriving in Cancun:
After collecting your bags and clearing customs and immigration, please make your way outside of the airport where you will hail a taxi to the Marriott Courtyard Cancún Airport Hotel, approximately 15 minutes away. Please be prepared to pay in USD for this service. All taxis within the airport are safe, highly regulated and certified by the airport.
Once at the hotel, please feel free to make use of the restaurant and bar area. A representative of Tarpon Cay Lodge will meet you in the lobby at your time of departure and transfer you approximately 3.5 hours to the lodge.
After breakfast, a lodge representative will transfer you back to Cancún and drop you off at the airport. Please schedule flights departing Cancún after 2pm on this day.
Entry & Exit Requirements:
You must have a valid US passport to enter Mexico. It is highly recommended that US citizens present a passport that is valid for at least six months after the last day of the trip. If your passport expires before then, please renew it prior to departing on your trip. If you hold citizenship in a country other than the United States, please check with your national consulate / passport center for citizenship documents required for travel to Mexico.
The Mexican monetary system is based on the peso. Tarpon Cay Lodge only accepts cash (US$ or pesos) as payment for all incidentals (phone calls, laundry, internet, alcoholic beverage charges, souvenirs etc.) US dollars are accepted at the lodge at the current exchange rate. Credit cards are not accepted.
Spanish is the language of Mexico. The Yucatan has a large population of Mayan people who often speak their native language amongst themselves.
The lodge use 110V AC electrical (USA standard) – 24 hours a day. Your standard US electrical plugs will work in the lodge outlets.
Internet & Cell Service:
There is a phone at the lodge and a pay phone just outside. You may purchase a phone card while you are in Cancún to make necessary calls. Please check with your cellular phone company to determine coverage in Cancún and Rio Lagartos. There is a computer at the lodge, which you may use for access to the Internet. Wi-Fi is also available in the lobby.
Bottled water is available throughout Tarpon Cay Lodge. All drinking water and ice at the table is bottled or made from purified water. Please do not drink water or brush your teeth with water from the tap.
Tarpon Cay Lodge is a small hotel that sits waterside in the small fishing village of Rio Lagartos, Mexico. Accommodations at the lodge are comfortable and enriched with traditional Mexican decor. With the ocean at your doorstep, the sea breeze and beautiful scenery refreshes the spirit after a long day of tarpon fishing. 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. Upstairs you’ll 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.
The meals are a 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 an on-time start of your fishing adventure. Lunches consist of made-to-order sandwiches, snacks, and assorted beverages. Dinner entrees include fresh fish, chicken, pork, shrimp, or sometimes lobster in-season. The meals at Tarpon Cay Lodge are truly unique and delicious.
Beverages & Alcohol:
There is beer at the lodge, as well as the ability to get cocktails and liquor. The lodge has an awesome little mini bar there next to the pool with a pretty solid selection. Beer and alcohol are not included in your package. You may purchase your preferred liquor in Cancun and bring it with you to the lodge.
Fishing licenses are included in your fishing package, and the lodge will issue your license when you arrive.
Laundry service is available upon request for guests during their stay. Please talk with the manager regarding timing and cost.
Tipping is at your discretion and should relate directly to the level of service you receive. We are often asked about customary tipping, so we offer the following suggestions.
We recommend guide gratuities of $50 – $80 per day / per boat, given to your guide at the end of each fishing day. Staff gratuities of $20 total per night, per person should be given to the lodge manager at the end of your stay. Staff members include lodge host, cook, and housekeeper. You will be given three envelopes, please split your staff gratuity into these envelopes and hand to the lodge manager near the end of your trip.
The closest medical facility is in Cancún. In emergency situations, a charter flight may be required to reach a medical facility. Guests may want to consider medical evacuation coverage. We recommend Global Rescue.
Tarpon Cay Lodge utilizes spacious 18-foot pangas, each 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, only a 15 – 25 minute boat ride. 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 slow sinking tarpon flies or top water offerings. When conditions are prime, this shallow water fishery 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!
Guides & Tides:
Tides are complex on the northern coast of the Yucatan, and strongly affected by the wind. There are tidal consistencies that the guides at Tarpon Cay Lodge have understood over a lifetime spent on these waters. On any given fishing day in San Felipe, you will typically have one good set of tides where the fish are happy and less spooky, and another set where the fish are more exposed in shallow water, making them more challenging targets. Whether the better conditions are in the morning or evening varies from day to day. Rarely are there days where both of your tides are conducive to fantastic fishing. That is why the standard schedule at Tarpon Cay Lodge is a “split shift” day, where anglers fish from sunrise to approximately 11:00 am, followed by a mid-day break for lunch and siesta, and finished off with an evening session on the water. There are times when conditions aren’t best for a “split shift” day, and in these cases, you will begin at the normal time and fish straight through until mid-afternoon. What you can be sure of at Tarpon Cay Lodge is that every day your guides will design a schedule that maximizes your time on the water during the best times for fishing.
Rental gear is not available at the lodge, so please bring your own rods, reels, and lines.
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 Tarpon Cay 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.
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 are 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.
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 set up 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