Destination Travel: Yucatan Fly Fishing Adventures – Tarpon Cay Lodge

With each passing day I continue to be amazed with the destinations that I get to visit with a fly rod! I recently had a chance to take part in the Fishwest hosted trip to the Tarpon Cay Lodge which is operated by Yucatan Fly Fishing adventures.

As a beginner Tarpon angler I didn’t have an accurate gauge of what to expect from this trip. I tried my best to prepare for the “Silver King” but no amount of practice or prep really gets you 100% prepared for game time. With that being said, here are my thoughts on my first true experience with the Silver King.

Getting to the Lodge:

Getting to the lodge proved to be quite easy once we landed in Cancun. As soon as we left the baggage claim we were met by Marco Ruz (the lodge owner/operator) and Aciel (the transportation director) of the Tarpon Cay lodge in preparation for our three hour journey from to the quiet coastal town of San Felipe. Upon arrival at the Hotel San Felipe de Jesus we were quickly greeted by the Beto, Felie, and the rest of the Tarpon Cay Lodge staff.

The Accommodations:

Boats docked in a marina

The Hotel San Felipe de Jesus serves as the backdrop of the Tarpon Cay lodge. This quaint hotel is located right on the water in San Felipe. The accommodations in the lodge are all based on double occupancy. The rooms are quite comfortable and spacious.

A plate of Yucatan cuisine

The food served at the lodge is of the highest quality. I cannot believe how delicious all the meals were. A majority of the lunches and dinners were in the traditional local style which featured a lot of fish dishes. Since it was octopus season in the region we also had a fair amount of that which was prepared in a variety of ways. The group favorites included fried whole snapper, lobster tails & barracuda ceviche.

The Fishing Day:

The day starts bright and early at 5am with a friendly knock on the door from Beto with a cup of coffee. From there anglers make their way downstairs for an early breakfast. Each meal is individually prepared from an order the night before.

Three fly fishermen on a boat

The guides roll into the lodge and are ready to go by 6:15. Most of the time you are on the way to the flats before the sun comes up and casting to rolling tarpon as the sun rises. The unique thing about the TCL is that some weeks they operate on a split day schedule depending on the tides and fishing conditions. The morning session starts around 6:30 and lasts till 11:30. From there you go back to the lodge for lunch and a siesta (free time) and then fishing resumes at 4:00 till about 7:30.

The day provides a TON of opportunities for Tarpon. The situations varied from single rolling fish to pods of 20 – 30 fish. They were found in a wide variety of water from tiny mangrove creeks to big open water flats and everything in between. The size of fish ranged anywhere from 5 to 60+ lbs depending on the situation.

Collage of photos of fly fishers

The casting is not super demanding for the most part. Even anglers who have never fished for Tarpon or saltwater for that matter will have a reasonable chance to taste success. Being a competent saltwater caster with a decent double haul with definitely increase the chances for success. I have found a hooked tarpon is by no means a landed fish. The Tarpon is one of the hardest fish to land that I have ever had a chance to tangle with. They jump like crazy! They have a tendency to spit the hook within the first one or two jumps after the hookset.

Tarpon are not the only thing found in the waters around San Felipe and the Tarpon Cay Lodge though. Personally I had a chance to see Permit, Snook, Cuda, Jacks, & Tarpon. The only one that I didn’t land was the permit.

Fly fisherman with his catch

The guides at the Tarpon Cay Lodge are some of the most genuinely nice people I have ever had a chance to share a boat with. They are all extremely unique and provide a different prospective on tarpon teachings and instructions. Carlos, Chris, and Pedro are some of the best guides I have ever fished with. Their teachings and instruction were instrumental in my success.

Fishwest is excited to announce we will be heading back to the Tarpon Cay Lodge for the week of August 5th-12th, 2017! Come Join Us for an amazing week of baby tarpon fishing on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.


Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and may be out of date.