We feature all local guides and catch and release all Giant and “Baby” Tarpon for a sustainable fishery.
The Great Migration of Wild Tarpon
Fly fishing in Mexico is some of the finest on the planet, headlined of course by the huge migratory Tarpon that travel along the Mexican Riviera each summer. In addition to being home to one of the world’s truly great beaches (listed on a number of top ten world’s best beaches), Holbox Island boasts one of the planet’s truly great sport fisheries. Wide open beaches and shallow mangrove flats make Holbox Island the perfect place for casting a fly at large game. Especially Tarpon.
At the very point of the Mexico’s amazing Yucatan Peninsula, an incredible variety of fish travel from the open waters of the Caribbean Sea to the protected waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including the mighty Silver King.
During this migration, exceptionally large trophy Tarpon, up to 200 pounds, feed on the prolific baitfish located just offshore, making them prime targets for our fly and spin fishing enthusiasts. A short run from the lodge, two fishermen and their guide will run along the shoreline while feeding fish and birds mark your passing.
When the time is right, your guide will stop the boat and it’s time to cast! Working the schools, adjusting to the slow drift of the ocean, line maintenance and spotting your cast will be key to success.
At other times when conditions are right, you may find yourself casting to groups of literally hundreds of one of the world’s truly great game fish, and then it’s simply a matter of “get it out there and hang on!”
IGFA Record 286 lbs.
Average Weight (Open Water) 70 – 100 lbs.
Trophy Sized Tarpon are found May through September. The Silver King can put on quite a show, spending most of the fight in the air rather than the water. Tarpon are able to live in both salt and fresh water and their strength and stamina are legendary.
These fish will find the weak link in your tackle. Battles of over an hour are not unusual. The guides will put you in areas where tarpon school, easily tipped-off by the fish as they roll at the surface to fill their air bladders.
Fly Equipment & Tackle
While some guests bring their spinning gear for a raucous good time, Holbox is ideally suited to fly fishing. (We rent gear for those that do not have their own).
The reel is actually less important than the rod. Any very good salt water fly reel will do, usually rated as a Tarpon model. Fin-Nor, Pate, Penn, STH and Ross all make a quality reel with a good drag. the newer, light weight, large arbor models are a vast improvement over the heavier models of old.
Other aspiring Tarpon fly-rodders will continually jump fish, but can’t seem to set the hook. An effective Tarpon rod needs power to sink the hook past the barb in the Tarpon’s nearly armor plated mouth.
Choose a 12 or 13-weight, but make sure the rod has enough oomph! Tarpon on the flats can be stalked with a floating or intermediate sinking line.
To take Baby Tarpon on fly tackle, just scale down to an 8 or 9-weight outfit and use correspondingly smaller flies, including shrimp and crab patterns.
Average Weight (Mangroves) 5 – 40 lbs.
Small tarpon are plentiful year round. The Silver King can put on quite a show for anglers, spending most of the fight in the air rather than the water. While the giant Tarpon require endurance and a bit of luck, our winter season features casting in the mostly protected waters of the mangrove lagoons.
As your guide “poles” the boat through the shallow water, you’ll spot groups of fish and cast to them. Along with the Baby Tarpon, Jack Crevalle, Snook, Barracuda and more readily take our flies, making each day different from the last. The Mangroves are also available during the summer time and are often a nice break from casting for the big Tarpon.
While the big Tarpon can be intimidating, our ready supply of Juvenile, or “baby” tarpon allow for less experienced anglers to experience the thrill of casting to rising fish and setting the hook in the legendary Silver Kings of the flats.
Getting to Holbox Flyfishing Lodge:
1. Fly to Cancun, Mexico.
2. Private van pickup at airport or hotel before 2:00 PM for 3-hour drive through pastoral Yucatan to Chiquila.
3. Short private boat ride across to Isla Holbox.
4. Escorted short golf cart ride to the lodge (no cars on Island).
Arrive in Cancun by 12:00pm to 2:00pm for airport pick up. Otherwise we will pick you up at your Cancun hotel at 10:00am. It takes about 3 hours to reach Chiquila, a small pueblo at the end of the road, where you will board a private boat for a short trip to the island. We will stay in contact with the drivers until you are deposited on the beach in front of the lodge.
Our manager will greet you and settle you into your rooms and pour you a special drink while he outlines your stay. You will relax on the beach the first day and begin the activities the following morning. Manager Luciano will advise you on the dinner options (on your own, about a block away) and watch over your needs and schedule for the duration of your stay.
On your last day you will rise for a delightful last breakfast and a special espresso on the terrazzo. Depart mid morning from the lodge by private boat for the connecting van to Cancun.
Costa Rica & Holbox
With over 30 years experience operating sport fishing and adventure travel lodges in Alaska, Isla Holbox and Costa Rica, we take your tarpon fishing fun as seriously you do!