go it alone bones in Yucatan [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: go it alone bones in Yucatan

03-19-2004, 06:50 PM

New here. Followed a link to try to find reviews on a rod, liked what I saw and stayed.

Anyway, I suppose this subject may have been covered before but since I just discovered this site and registered, I'll kindly ask. Read one thread regarding this question but need more advice from those in the know.

My wife and I are headed for southern Yucatan coast mid April. This is a R&R thing for my wife, who desperately deserves it and needs it, so, my shots at fly fishing may be few but I can't very well go to such a spot and not take a fly rod....can I?

So, here it is; I'm a modest man. I'm not, unfortunately, in the bracket for a $350 a day skiff with guide and besides, I've been fly fishing on my own for almost forty years and could be considered a curmudgeon in this regard.

I'm wondering about some particulars regarding fly fishing on one's own in the region just south of Sian Kann Preserve. We found a modest little place to stay, looks simple and clean. Not a fishing lodge.

I'm fairly well versed on all the particulars about what to bring, how to, etc., but, never having been there before I am wondering this;

Does anyone know for sure whether or not a license is required in Mexico?

Is it legal to fish as a lone gringo without a guide?

Is it legal to fish within the boundries of the Sian Kann?

Can one get around in Sian Kann with a "regular" car?

Can one just tool around in or near Espiritu Santo Bay and find flats and such?

Does anyone know about the area on the coast just south of Espiritu Santo, near Tampalan and El Uvero and vicinity? Any flats? Fish species one might encounter in mid April? I guess I'm looking for my first bonefish but more...just an opportunity to get out there in a pretty place and throw a line here and there.

Thanks one and all in advance for any assistance. I appreciate it.


03-19-2004, 07:28 PM
I'm sure Grego will reply, but Punta Allen is known as a bonefish haven and I've heard more than one person come back from the reserve with tales of great bonefishing in the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve.

A conservation group named Amigos de Sian Ka'an provides boat tours of the area for a fee but I understand that admission to the reserve is free, and yes there is fishing.

But also crocodiles in the mangroves... :eyecrazy:

>> Click for search results on "Punta Allen" (http://www.flyfishingforum.com/flytalk3/search.php?&action=showresults&searchid=165986&sortby=lastpost&sortorder=descending)

03-20-2004, 09:13 AM
However, Juro, I think that Espiritu Santo Bay is the bay south of Ascension Bay. If they are going to be staying that far south they may not even see Punta Allen. It depends on how they plan on getting from Cancun, or wherever in the Yucatan they plan on arriving, to the Bay. I'm not sure that driving there is possible/practical. Very few guys have fished Espiritu Santo Bay as the only fishing lodge that I know of in the area really caters to couples and families with fishing as an option. In other words, it is not a hardcore fishing camp. Therefore, fishing should be terrific, even without a guide. This is also one of the finest places on the planet for permit. And the bones border on being easy most of the time. Add snook and tarpon and you should be able to have some quality fishing in that area.

03-20-2004, 09:55 AM
Here's a link to a site with some info on saltwater fishing licences for MX.


I don't know the Espititou Santo area but have fished Ascention Bay. Its pretty remote down there but I think there are a few more lodges now. Part of the challenge might be finding wadeable flats where you don't need a boat. The Ocean side should be wide open and a great place to explore.

03-21-2004, 01:11 PM
Thanks for the help folks!

Especially, thanks to Frank for all the time he took to forward me many messages he had on file regarding fishing in Yucatan.

I did read one that said a fishing license is definately required to fish within the Sian Kaan Preserve. Said he was checked several times up near Boca Paila (sp?).

I understand this permit can be obtained through any Mexican consulate so I'll check with the one closest to me.

We will be renting a small car and driving. The place we're booked is not a fishing lodge but located very close to the Paradise Lodge, apparently. I guess this is roughly 10 to 30 kilometers south of the Sian Kaan Preserve. Somewhere in that area, right on the coast. Web site says 4 1/2 hours by car south of Cancun. So, yes, we will miss the area on the north side of Sian Kaan. We MAY have to try and upgrade our choice of car, however, as it sounds like getting around in or near Sian Kaan could be somewhat tricky. I did find out that the three major rental companies no longer rent VW beetles, despite what one of their websites states. I wasn't exactly looking forward to a Beetle, having owned one some 30 years ago, but I figured it would be a good way to blend in and I know they were going little beasts. I used to take mine off road all the time and never had any problems.

I'm really looking forward to it. It will surely be a hit n' miss proposition but I'm sure I can find some fish, if the weather cooperates. Thanks again!


nevada caster
03-23-2004, 09:48 PM
I went to Paradise Lodge in April 3 or 4 years ago. Unfortunately, we got blown out---20 to 30 knot wind every day. We did fish in the numerous lagoons for tarpon, but I believe that Paradise Lodge has a lease on these. The few times we tried to bonefish, we drove about 2 hours south (at 5 mph due to the road conditions) then went by boat for 20 to 30 minutes. We were on the eastern side of the big bay (Espiritu Santos?), with numerous islands, and flats. Saw lots of bones, a few tarpon and rare permits. According to the owner of P.L.. we spent some time in Belizean waters.
There is a small town on the eastern shore accessible by car , and at least one local that will take you out in a ponga. We saw him with a customer the one day we fished the bay. We saw a very largenumber of bones but, unfortunately, we caught few fish because of the wind. We did get one cast at some large tarpon, but lined them because of the wind.

In the summertime, Paradise lodge fishes in the surf right in front of their lodge for bones. However is the wind is out of the east, the water will be murky, and the fish will be in deeper water.

03-24-2004, 06:45 AM
Thanks Nevada caster,

Ahhh...northern Nevada. Makin me homesick now.
If you drove south out of Paradise Lodge, you must've been headed to the next big bay, not Espiritu Santu. Is it called Mahajul? Something like that. Close to Belize.

You're not the first person who has mentioned wind in April. Whew boy. I'm praying we didn't choose the absolute wrong time for going there. Not just the fishing; don't want to spoil my wife's visit either.

That doesn't bode well that the Lodge seemed to need to drive you 2 hours south of their place just to do some bonefishing! And then 30 minutes in a boat. I was kinda hoping there would be some fishable water very close by, but perhaps not.

Thanks again,


nevada caster
03-26-2004, 09:23 PM
We were in the
bay that straddles the border with Belize, and the capital or main town of the state"Quinton Roo?" was on the west side. Sorry that I don't have a map. I have read that they have now establish a guide service out of that town.

My understanding is that some of the roads have now been improved. They were terrible then.

Re wind...the best time not to get wind is July and August and the further you get away from that, the more likely that you will have bad weather. I have a well-traveled friend that will not go to the Carrabean until May, and preferably late May. I was in Ambergris Is, Belize lin early May last year and had a lot of wind. However, the weather was ideal earlier in April around Easter. I'm going back to Ambergris this May but mid-month

04-21-2004, 04:25 PM
Am going that way next month to do some diving and am hoping to locate some fishing. The dive shop and the hotel naturally offer guided fishing, to which I am inclined to say "whatever".

Experience has not been good with that sort of thing.

But in any case, I am taking tackle with me, and am hopeful any of you who have personal experience with the area will be willing to share it.


Pat Bahan
05-08-2004, 08:55 PM
I'm headed for Cancun on May 30th. I've ordered a copy of Reynal's "Fly Fishing Mexico-The Yucatan Peninsula", (which Chuck is dragging his feet getting to me). I'm hoping it will shed some light on the situation. I took our high school graduates down there last year but didn't learn much that trip. Since I er.. aah.. HAD to take them out on a deep sea charter I consoled myself with large quantities of dolphin for supper. :hehe: :hehe: We have a charter scheduled again and I purchased 12 wt 4pc temple fork so I wouldn't have to try to drag my 2pc rods through customs etc. :hehe: Anyway, I digress... I know there are bones up and down the coast. I know there are bones in the lagoon at Cancun but you cannot fish them without a guide. I know the lagoon at Xel'ha is lousy with bones because I've dived there and seen them. (In case you don't know about Xel'ha it's a marine park/sanctuary, don't even think about it.) If I weren't stuck in Cancun with the children I'd stay at Isla Mujares or one of the towns down the coast where it would be easier to branch out on my own. Lets hope Reynal's book helps.

North Island
05-09-2004, 05:37 PM
I was in that area early April. N1gdo sent me a ton of info on the south coast. I did get a chance to check out Punta Solimon. Very fishy. No guides. no licence, no worries.

Except for one tour guide that gave me a hard time as I waded out, everything was good. He was easily dispatched once he was made aware of the facts. There's alway one in every crowd.

Thanks to Frank I caught some fish on my trip.


Pat Bahan
05-09-2004, 09:21 PM
North Island,
Glad you had some success. Now I am confused about the license thing. I thought that was national.?.
Im curious what the tour guide had to say. Was he trying to pull a con?:tsk_tsk:

05-10-2004, 08:17 AM
In Mexico, a fishing license is indeed needed for all inland waters. On all coastal waters, no license is needed for (shorebound/on-foot) anglers with the exception being when fishing in special wildlife sanctuaries and/or preserves and/or when fishing from a boat... ie) Sian Ka'an Biosphere. I've fished the area around Boca Paila on a DIY basis a number of times and have never been challenged to produce a license...I suppose my number will come up eventually.



North Island
05-10-2004, 02:57 PM
The tour guide ,working for a co. doing snorkling tours, shouted to me that there was no fishing in the bay. My response was "Not according to the info from the Mexican consolate in Canada." At which point he muttered something and walked away.

I think he was worried I was going to kill a bunch of fish. Which could impact his buisiness. No con just a misunderstanding.


Pat Bahan
05-10-2004, 09:08 PM
I'll probably spring the $22. for a week license just to play it safe.
The bad news is that I called Wilderness Adventures to find out what had happened to the Reynal book. Apparently production has been delayed until July. :(

06-23-2004, 12:26 PM
Hello all,

I'm headed down on July 6th and basically doing the same thing. I'm a guide at Callaway Gardens and can't afford to spring for a guide while I'm down. So I'll be doing the DIY thing.

We'll be staying in the Akumal area for a couple of weeks. I've heard a lot about Punta Allen, but I think I'm going to try the flats close to the Boca Paila bridge and any other flats I see along the way. I've heard good reports about the bridge area.

Who is Frank (referred to in an earlier post) and can he send the aforementioned "info"? I'd greatly appreciate any other help.

07-13-2004, 06:38 PM
Hi all, I took a weekend away from a two week package in Cancun and drove to Boca Paila (4 years ago). There's a military/anti-narcotraficante post that'll look your car over and flirt with your wife or girlfriend. Later you come to the Boca Paila fishing lodge on the left where a friendly guide of theirs told me to drive as far as the bridge which one crosses to travel further to Punta Allen, park there and walk back along the road until I came to where the lagoon meets the road and just climb on in. One wades to the left, following the edge of the mangroves for about 15 minutes and then crosses a deeper channel and onto a large expanse of flats. NOBODY can see or hear you; which was a bit worrying as the evening before I went fishing I was standing on the bridge looking up into the outgoing flow and saw a large crocodile/alligator swimming across the outflow ! :whoa: As I was climbing in the next day I met an American guide (Rodman Hunter) based in Cancun who told me "there's too much fish in the water for a croc to be interested in yuh" ! By the way... as, or before, you step in, do check the water for bonefish as I made my first cast from the other side of the road because there was a small pod of bones three feet from the edge !
Hope this "snapshot" is of use to you all. Also could someone tell me if they've replaced all the missing planks on the bridge, as it was just too scary to cross to get to Punta Allen.

07-14-2004, 06:47 AM
Yep. They fixed the bridge last year. It created quite a problem for the lodges south of the bridge and for the small village of Punta Allen. My understanding is that they completely rebuilt it, which it surely needed, but I believe that is the only land access to Punta Allen and the construction took awhile.