I get questions and searches on this blog about the fishing around Mahahual and Costa Maya, Mexico. If you have a pole and a tackle box, your choices for catching fish are endless. Spear fishing is very popular in Mahahual also, but today I am concentrating on fishing with a pole and tackle.
I myself bass fished for many years in South Carolina and I like using a good rod and reel to fish. A lot of people that are going to move or retire in the future here I am sure like fishing in the USA or Canada, and would like to know about fishing here. So I will try to describe the fishing around Mahahual.
There is almost 100 klms of shoreline that can be walked and waded from the southern border of the Sian Kann Biosphere Reserve south to Xcalak. Mahahual makes an excellent “home base” to explore this area. The best way to get to know the area is to book a day or two with one of the local guides
The coast road runs both north and south from Mahahual and provide an endless variety of places where you can just pull the car over and walk the beach and a likely looking flat. The fishing along the coast road is not like the classical bonefish fishing found in Chetamul Bay, but it provides plenty of opportunity for bonefish, jacks and cuda’s.
There is very little information available on the fishing from the southern border of the Sian Kaan Biosphere Preserve south to Xcalak. It really is one of those places ripe for exploration. A coast road runs the full 100 kms with one break where the bridge is out at Rio Hauch. The people of the Costa Maya are very friendly and helpful, so don’t be afraid to chat with the locals and those that run the restaurants and hotels. You need a car here to travel up and down the coast road and most of the way it is in good shape. Since the species you will see won’t be just bonefish make sure you bring poppers, streamers, crab patterns and wire leaders. There are lots of barracuda along the shore line that are a blast to catch on either poppers or needle fish streamers.
Mahahual is a potential paradise for sport fishing enthusiasts. It offers top fly fishing opportunities (Chetumal Bay flats), excellent deep sea fishing conditions perhaps the best anywhere on the Caribbean coast of Mexico – and, less known, spectacular bottom fishing at the reef drop offs in 100-200m depths. In addition, seasonally, shore fishing can yield impressive results.
Deep Sea Fishing and Bottom Fishing
Witness to the excellent deep sea fishing conditions in the Costa Maya region are big fishing tournaments conducted every year in June-July in Mahahual. Sailfish, blue marlin, white marlin, dorado (dolphin), kingfish and barracuda are regularly caught in often impressive sizes.
Bottom fishing at the reef drop off in 100-200 m depths yields a seemingly unlimited number of black and red snapper as well as occasionally large grouper. More often than not, the limiting factor for the catch is not the abundance of fish but the ability to reel hooked fish up to the surface in quick succession! After a few catches, reeling again and again 100s of meters of line becomes to feel like heavy lifting.
Shore fishing can be done virtually from everywhere at the Costa Maya. A very good spot is at the bridge of Rio Bermecho (km 4 south of Mahahual. During the rainy season (May-December) Rio Bermecho carries a lot of water from the mangroves and large schools of small fish aggregate at its outflow to the sea, attracting numerous large predatory fish. An even better place for shore fishing (snook, permits, large snapper) is at Rio Huach, an outflow from Laguna Huach. You have to drive approx. 15 miles (30 min) along the beach road in direction of Xcalak.
Chetumal Bay has thousands of acres of mangrove lined flats which produce enormous numbers of tarpon, bonefish, permit, snook, and snapper. Though (still) less known for fly fishing than Bahia Esperito Santi Bay (south of Tulum), fisherman that have fished both waters give Chetumal Bay an even higher rating then fishing the renowned Esperito Santi Bay flats. Chetumal Bay is easily accessible from Xcalak. It is best to make arrangements with Xcalak fishing guides that are specialized in fly fishing.
So if you like fishing, don’t worry there are endless locations and places along the Caribbean in Mahahual and Costa Maya to catch fish. All you need is pole and a tackle box and your time. What is also great about fishing here, you can take home and eat what you catch, not like some other places in the world.
Thanks for reading
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina