Saltwater Fishing Along The Mexico Coastline: Insider Tips For An Epic Adventure

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Fishing in Mexico is an angler’s dream as it caters to everyone from fly fishermen to spin and offshore anglers, and it has some of those trophy species that we dream about. 

The reason why Mexico is so great is thanks to its dual coastlines. To the east, you have the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, and to the west, the Pacific Ocean. Between the two coastlines, you can pretty much find every saltwater species you might want to catch. 

But, as with any fishing trip, you have to know both, where to go and when it is best to be there if you want to have the maximum chance of fishing success. A little research and insider knowledge can go a long way, and I will share my experiences with you today. 

In this article, we’ll cover everything from the top fish to catch, where to catch them, and how to catch them.

I will also give you the pick of the best places to book your fishing vacation. You will have the confidence to book a fishing trip of a lifetime with a guaranteed catch once you’ve finished reading to the bottom of this article. 

Top Fish To Catch In Mexico

The offshore and inshore saltwater fishing in Mexico is off the charts, to say the least. There are so many prized species between the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines that if you visited both, you could tick them all off your list. 

Whilst fishing in neighboring Guatemala for sailfish is more productive, Mexico has a larger species diversity due to its dual coastlines.

For clarity’s sake, I’m going to split the top fish to catch in Mexico between its two coastlines, the Pacific and the Caribbean, as the likelihood is that you’ll only hit one on your next trip there. 

Marlin Cobo Mexico
Marlin caught at Cabo San Lucas

Best Fish To Catch On Mexico’s Caribbean Coastline 

The Mexican Caribbean side is home to some of the best saltwater flats fishing in the world, and offshore fishing isn’t too bad either. Here are the fish you can hope to catch there: 

Inshore Fish

  • Bonefish
  • Permit
  • Tarpon 
  • Triggerfish 
  • Snook

Offshore Fish

  • Blue marlin 
  • Sailfish 
  • Dorado
  • Yellowfin Tuna 
  • Wahoo 

While offshore fishing on the Caribbean side of Mexico is good, fishing on Mexico’s Pacific side is even better. The Caribbean side is about saltwater flats and is a spin or fly fisherman’s paradise. 

Best Fish To Catch On Mexico’s Pacific Coastline 

The Mexican Pacific coastline is one of the top fishing destinations on the planet, and this is due to two things: the diversity of species and the number of fish that pass through certain areas. 

For example, you’ll find thousands of striped marlin off Baja during the sardine run. Plus, Baja is one of the only places in the world where you can see roosterfish from the beach! Like the Caribbean side, the species can also be split into inshore and offshore. 

Inshore Fish

  • Roosterfish 
  • Jack Crevalle 

Offshore Fish

  • Blue Marlin 
  • Black Marlin
  • Striped Marlin
  • Sailfish 
  • Yellowfin Tuna 
  • Dorado
  • Wahoo

As you can see, the range of fish species you can catch on Mexico’s Pacific side is quite astounding and a little mouthwatering. In a week of fishing, you’re going to catch at least some of them. 

Where To Go Fishing In Mexico?

While there are so many great fish to catch in Mexico, you have to know where to go to catch them. With two coastlines, the potential number of fishing spots here is enough to make your brain hurt, so let’s focus on the best ones.

Where To Fish On The Mexico Caribbean Coastline? 

Fishing At Punta Allen 

Punta Allen is one of the top places in Mexico if you want to go inshore fishing on the flats or offshore fishing in the deep. 

You’ll find Punta Allen on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and it’s around a 2-hour drive south of Tulum, the famous resort town, and a 4-hour drive south of Cancun, where you’ll find an international airport.

The fishing in Punta Allen is so good, thanks to the Reserva de la Biósfera Sian Ka’an and the flats around it in Ascension Bay. If you look at Punta Allen on a map, you’ll see that it’s right on the edge of the entrance to a huge saltwater flats system that is full of bonefish, snook, permit, tarpon, and triggerfish. 

It’s the perfect place to go saltwater fly fishing and one of the world’s most affordable places to do it. You’ll also find offshore boats in the vicinity, which will have you catching sailfish and other pelagics in no time. 

Fishing At Scorpion Atoll 

Scorpion Atoll, or Scorpion Reef as it’s often called, sits close to 100 miles off the north coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It’s a protected marine park and about as remote as the fishing gets in Mexico, which equals great fishing. 

You can only get there by boat and no lodging is available since it’s a reef, so going on a professionally run liveaboard is your only option. 

You’ll find the same species as you’d find in Punta Allen’s Ascension Bay, including tarpon, permit, and bonefish, except these fish will be far less spooky and generally a lot bigger. This is because commercial fishing is banned around Scorpion Atoll, which gives the fish a chance to grow a lot bigger. 

Where To Fish On The Mexico Pacific Coastline? 

Stunning Cabo San Lucas
The stunning Cabo San Lucas

Fishing At Cabo San Lucas 

Cabo San Lucas sits on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula and is a mecca for offshore fishing worldwide. The waters off Cabo San Lucas are extremely rich and are home to everything from the species I listed above, as well as whales, seals, dolphins, manta rays, and lots of amazing aquatic life. 

If you’re looking for an offshore fishing trip of a lifetime, then a trip to Cabo is something you should seriously consider. Cabo is known for the number of striped marlin, sailfish, and dorado that come into its waters when the sardines show up, and it’s not uncommon to catch more than 20 striped marlins in a day. Marlin fishing here is probably the biggest attraction for visiting anglers.

You’ll find hundreds of beautiful sport fishing boats in the marina at Cabo, and they are crewed by some of the best offshore captains and mates in the world. 

Fishing At Magdalena Bay 

Just north of Cabo San Lucas is Magdelena Bay, which also has fishing similar to Cabo’s, except it’s a little closer to the action.

There aren’t as many offshore boats in Mag Bay as there are in Cabo but there is an operation that specifically goes after striped marlin, sailfish, and dorado on the fly. 

This isn’t teasing and switching, though; you’ll see these fish eating sardines on the surface and cast a fly at them. It’s some of the most exciting fly fishing on the planet. 

Fishing At La Ribera 

La Ribera is also quite close to Cabo, except it sits on the eastern side of Baja on the Sea of Cortez. La Ribera is the perfect place to go after trophy roosterfish from the beach, as it’s well protected from any swell. 

You can see roosters cruising the shoreline on the hunt for baitfish, and when you spot them, you can run and throw a fly or spinning rod to catch them from the beach. It’s not all beach fishing, though, as you can also target them from a boat.

When To Go On A Fishing Vacation In Mexico 

Between Mexico’s two coastlines, there isn’t a time of year that isn’t good for fishing, so there is always a place to cast a line. But the seasons vary depending on which coastline and species you’re after. 

If you’re heading to Punta Allen, there isn’t a closed season, and you can fish for all the species all year round. When it comes to Scorpion Atoll, liveaboards only operate during calmer times of the year, during April, May, October, and November. 

For some offshore fishing in Cabo San Lucas, you can pick anytime between July and February, but you’ll want to pick a specific month based on your preferred species. One of the best fishing charters in the area is Land End Charters, and they outline at their site which month is prolific for the specific species you are after. 

If it’s roosterfish from the beach you’re after, then you’ll want to be in La Ribera between mid-March to mid-June and September & October. This is when the winds are down, and the fish tend to come in closer to the shoreline. 

Best Methods To Catch Fish In Mexico 

Bone Fish Ascension Island
Consider trying an awesome fly fishing experience
for Bonefish in Ascension Bay

Mexico is a dream destination for fly fishermen as you can catch striped marlin, sailfish, dorado, tarpon, roosterfish, permit, bonefish, and snook all by sight fishing with a fly rod.

If you’re not a fly fisherman, don’t worry; you can still catch all the same species while sight casting with a spinning rod. 

In offshore fishing on either coastline, you’ll be trolling for big pelagics using a mixture of lures and bait and tease and switch tactics, depending on what the skipper thinks is best. 

How To Book Your Vacation Fishing Trip To Mexico

Booking a fishing trip to Mexico couldn’t be easier; you only need to contact the lodges listed below, and they will sort everything out for you. Mexican fishing charters are plentiful and very popular; make sure you choose one of the options below for a risk-free Mexico fishing trip.

These are my personal favorites, and I highly recommend all of them!

Mexican Fishing Regulations 

Everyone needs a fishing license to go fishing in Mexico, and they are very easily acquired. Just fill in your details at Fonmar Sport Fishing, where you can apply online for your permit, and you’ll have your license in no time. 

Reeling Up 

Thanks very much for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed it and are chomping at the bit to book a fishing trip to Mexico.

It’s some of the best fishing you’ll likely experience in your life, and the adventure that goes with it is awesome, too. Between the marine life, the stunning surroundings, and the great people, you’re sure to have an amazing time. 

You can read up more on my other fishing in other countries in the Caribbean, including targeting the flats slam while fishing in Cuba and fishing for pelagics in The Bahamas, amongst many others.

Jamie Melvin