After dealing with the one certainty all business owners have to deal with each year—tax season—I found solace knowing that I had a trip planned to check out a little known tarpon fishery near the small town of Campeche on the Western Yucatan coast. What I found to my delight was perhaps the most prolific juvenile tarpon fishery in all of Mexico, if not the world.
For the past five years a number of outfitters have been promoting this destination and training local fisherman to become guides. And it now seems it is coming of age. Currently there are no “fishing lodges” in the area so I stayed in local hotels and had evening meals in the charming historic city of Campeche. Each day on the water I was poled by knowledgeable guides in Mexican pongas well suited to fly fishing. The majority of the guides have not been exposed to many foreign anglers as of yet, so there is still somewhat of a language barrier. With patience from both parties we were able to communicate adequately, and when they pointed and whispered tarpon one o’clock, I eagerly took over from there. I fished under conditions that were considered average to slightly on the tougher side. Each day I saw hundreds of tarpon, jumped between five and twelve from 6 to 20 pounds, and ultimately landed between one and five fish every day of the trip.
All and all I was very impressed with the entire experience. With innumerable opportunities to sight cast with 8-weight rods to tarpon in the 5 to 30 pound class, fish with skilled and kind-hearted guides, and enjoy the wonderfully quaint town rife with Mayan and Spanish history, I believe Campeche is bound to become a staple for avid saltwater anglers.
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