Campeche is more or less exclusively a baby tarpon fishery. While the odd snook, barracuda or jack crevalle is a possibility, anglers should understand Campeche’s fishery is almost entirely focused on the high numbers of 5-40 pound tarpon – with an average size of ten pounds. Anglers target tarpon in the mangrove wetlands and backcountry or on turtlegrass flats for schooling fish.
Campeche is a year round fishery, however there are idiosyncrasies to consider with each season.
The late spring, summer, and early autumn provide the most stable weather, however winter months, while a little riskier with cold fronts, can offer the most comfortable air temperatures and awesome opportunity on the turtlegrass flats for schooling 20-40 pounders.
Campeche is perhaps the most consistent juvenile tarpon fishery in the world. It is an awesome destination to consider for folks interested in high numbers of tarpon averaging ten pounds on light tackle. Campeche is also a fantastic city to visit for all its historic and cultural aspects – making it a destination to consider for non-angling companions. If you are looking for a multi-species fishery or a remote “lodge,” this is not the place for you.
5 Nights / 4 Days fishing is $2050 per person (based on double occupancy).
Shorter and longer visits are available. Additional expenses include, but are not limited to, airfare to the Yucatan, dinner meals and alcoholic beverages, and guide gratuity.
(See RATES) for details.
You the client don’t pay a penny for our travel services! Our destination recommendations, organization, and pre-trip planning services are completely free of charge – and oftentimes less expensive than booking direct with a lodge or outfitter. We can assist with every question, concern, or special request related to your adventure at zero cost!
The old Spanish colonial town of Campeche is located on the western side of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico and the Sea of Campeche. With approximately 350,000 inhabitants, Campeche offers a cultural experience unlike any other in the Caribbean angling community. The area is rich in both Mayan and Spanish colonial history, and the city has been named a UNESCO world heritage site. Stunning 17th century architecture, lively markets, incredible hospitality, great seafood, little tourism, nearby Mayan Ruins, and a remarkably clean and safe city make Campeche a delightful place to explore between fishing sessions. Tarpon Town Anglers is owned and operated by Raul Castaneda. Raul is the consummate host who ensures every aspect of your time fishing and experience in Campeche exceeds your expectations.
The fishing features more that eighty miles of mangrove coast with hundreds of creeks and channels. Campeche is exclusively a juvenile tarpon fishery, and is considered on of the world’s most consistent and prolific baby tarpon destinations. There are very few tarpon exceeding 30-40 pounds… but lots of juvenile fish! The two main venues are the shore or backcountry mangrove fishing for 5-15 pounders on 7-8 weights, and turtle grass flats (8-12 feet deep) for schools of cruising fish in the 20-40 pound range. The backcountry tarpon fishing is extremely productive and lots of fun with topwater, tons of fish, and good sport on small rods. The turtle grass flats are a bit of a boat run and you need good conditions to pull it off, but this is really a special part of the fishery if it comes together. It is really cool to hop on the boat right in the heart of a busy city built on the waterfront. When you get the right conditions you will get exhausted with catching tarpon.
Raul’s guiding team consists of five native licensed captains who are very familiar with the fishery. Some guides speak better English than others, but they will all put you on fish. Their fleet consists of 21-23’ pangas equipped with new 60-90hp Yahama and Honda 4-strokes. Guides provide flies and leader material for those who don’t want to bring their own. Guides usually fish up to 9-hours per day. Depending on conditions and the time of year, anglers can also split the day. If there is more fish activity during evening hours, guides will fish 4-hours in the morning with the first light and 4-hours in the evening with the last light of the day. Guides will adapt their day to the weather conditions – as weather has a high impact on tarpon behaviour.
The Biosphere Reserve of Los Petenes is a vast system of mangrove and wetlands. This environment brings constant streams of freshwater into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the perfect brackish water for baby and juvenile tarpon, snapper, jacks and barracuda. There are many different habitats and fishing scenarios that may play out over the course of a few days with Tarpon Town. All fishing is focused on the mangrove coast that runs northeast from the city’s coastline: mangrove shore, creek mouths, open bays, and deep backcountry mangrove rivers and inlets. The goal is to find rolling, tailing or finning tarpon and find the best approach for sight fishing. Depending on the tide conditions, sometimes you’ll be 100-yards offshore and other times in the middle of a creek – dictating many different scenarios and techniques depending upon the day. If the wind is blowing from traditional trade wind direction of east or southeast, the mangrove shore is always very calm and productive. When the wind changes to west or northwest, the breeze starts rippling the water and that is when sight fishing gets difficult. This usually happens after noon, so more blind casting may be necessary as the day goes on while fishing in open bays.
Campeche tarpon range from to 5 to 30-pounds, averaging 10 pounds, and are typically found in three different scenarios depending upon conditions and the weather:
OFF-SHORE TURTLEGRASS FLATS:
Located 2 or 3 miles offshore, casting 50-80 feet, some blind casting needed. With lack of wind, rolling schools can be spotted from 100-yards away. You can expect long fish runs and many jumps.
Sneaking around creek mouths and the bay shore casting 20 to 50 feet underneath hanging branches will produce explosive hook ups. Very visual casting.
CREEKS & INLETS:
They’ll take you back through the channels where you’ll be casting under a beautiful mangrove canopy. Casting range 10-30 foot with lots of roll casts. As the whole bay bottom is soft and shallow, you’ll be fishing 2 to 8-foot water with no wading.
Nearly all our clients who visit Campeche stay at the Ocean View Hotel. The Ocean View is a no frills kind of place, however is very clean and comfortable and is located only a few paces from where Tarpon Town Anglers moors and launches their boats.
Ocean View Hotel has sixty air-conditioned rooms, 24-hour coffee, pool, tennis court, spa, gym, free wired/wireless internet service and serves early American breakfast for fishermen. It’s just 12-minutes walking distance from downtown on a safe oceanfront walkway (malecon). The hotel does not have its own restaurant but all anglers will desire to go downtown for a delightful seafood or regional dish dinner. The hotel offers a free shuttle to restaurants for those who don’t want to walk – and Raul is almost always available to act as escort as well.
The convenience of the Ocean View cannot be matched for anglers, however we can easily have Raul make reservations at more upscale and centrally located hotels in the downtown area only a few minutes walk from the boat launch.
Campeche (CPE), Merida (MID), Ciudad del Carmen (CME) & Cancun (CUN).
There are many ways to travel to Campeche. Most American anglers travel through Houston (IAH) with United Airlines in route to Merida (MID) or Ciudad del Carmen (CME), however we will help determine the best routing depending upon seasonality and flight availability. When all else fails, the Mexico City routing is very convenient and affordable. The following is an overview of typical flight options:
Mexico City (MEX) to Campeche (CPE)
Guests travel to Mexico City (MEX) and make a connection with Aero Mexico non-stop to Campeche (CPE). There are three flights daily from Mexico City to Campeche.
Houston (IAH) to Merida (MID)
Guests travel to Houston and make an evening connection to Merida (MID) and arrive Merida around 9:00PM. These flights are offered 3-5 times per week depending upon the season. The drive from Merida to Campeche is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. Note that the flight from Merida back to Houston departs around 7:00AM, so guests must spend the last night in Merida at a convenient airport hotel. Anglers still fish a full last day before heading the Merida, and the hotel is included in the trip package.
Houston (IAH) to Ciudad del Carmen (CME)
Guests travel to Houston and make an evening connection to Cuidad del Carmen (CME) and arrive Ciudad del Carmen around 4:00PM. These flights are also offered 3-5 times per week depending upon the season. The drive from Cuidad del Carmen to Campeche is approximately 2 hour 30 minutes. Note that the flight from Ciudad del Carmen back to Houston departs around 12:00 noon, so guests will not be required to spend the last night in Ciudad del Carmen.
Travel from your nearest gateway into Cancun (CUN). There are many flights from the US serving this airport with affordable rates. The drive to Campeche is 5 hours 30 minutes in a private shuttled van, and a surcharge applies for choosing this route.
Possible Charter Options from Cancun: Depending upon availability and seasonality, Raul can often source charter flight options from Cancun to Campeche. This is most affordable with a larger group considering the charter costs.
After flying into any airport serving the area, anglers are met by a Tarpon Town representative holding a sign (your name and Tarpon Town logo), and transferred to Campeche and assisted with check-in to the hotel.
After an early breakfast at the hotel the fishing day starts with the first light of sunrise and ends around 2:00 to 3:00PM. If the fish are biting they’ll stay longer – or you may split up the day into a morning bite and evening bite with a siesta in between. Dinner on the town in Campeche.
Guests are returned to the proper airport for international flight home.
Note About Merida Flight Schedules:
The flight from Merida back to Houston departs around 7:00AM, so guests must spend the last night in Merida at a convenient airport hotel. Anglers still fish a full last day before heading to Merida, and the hotel is included in the trip package.
Campeche is a year round fishery, however there are idiosyncrasies to consider with each season. The late Spring, Summer, and early Autumn provide the most stable weather, however winter months, while a little riskier with cold fronts, can offer most comfortable air temperatures and awesome opportunity on the turtlegrass flats for schooling 20-40 pounders.
Campeche has a tropical climate, like the other three states in the Yucatan Peninsula, and is warm most of the year. Winter temperatures range from 60 to 70F. Late spring and summer months can be very hot! Daytime temps as high as 90-100F with a lot of humidity are the norm. Rainy season starts in early summer with the possibilities of heavy showers during the evening, but are usually coupled with beautiful crystal clear mornings.
Fishing is the predominant activity while a guest of Tarpon Town Anglers, however the beautiful city of Campeche is a fantastic town to explore. If you are a history buff, Campeche and the surrounding areas make for a really interesting and educational holiday when not fishing.
Three blocks from the Ocean View hotel you can shop and take back home part of their traditional artwork pieces of jipi hats, silk and cotton hammocks, wood and bull horn different arts and jewels, local candies and liquors, Mayan shirts and dresses, and much more.
Seven blocks from the Ocean View hotel there used to be a wall that surrounded the city. This is a delightful place to walk around and visit the old style architecture with a Baroque influence. Don’t forget to take pictures of each different style of doors. Every building has a different design. A contrast of colors and lights helps you picture how old Campechanos lived. The cathedral and main square plaza and arc buildings are the most representative sites.
CASA 6 MUSEUM:
Across the main plaza an original old lifestyle construction furnished with original designs has been open like a living museum of a rich family lifestyle.
FORTS AND WALL:
While touring the city don’t forget to visit the fort and wall that was built to defend the city from pirates. Fortifications built on top of two hills of the city and others on the valley are now Mayan museums and art galleries. The remains of the original old wall still stands south of the historical downtown with a length of more than 100-yds and 20-ft tall. The Land Gate and Sea Gate are the main entrance to the city and are facing each other on 59th street.
MAYAN CITY OF EDZNA:
An amazing Mayan city well preserved and restored is a huge part of the Campeche history and culture. It is a short and safe 40-minute ride southbound through the state on well paved roads. There are travel agencies offering transportation services or you can ask their head guide to set up a visit to the site.
There are various seafood restaurants in town that you cannot miss. Most of them are in downtown area and are a convenient stroll, while others are a bit further and require a taxi. Morgan Cocktails, La Pigua, Chac Pel, Marganzo, Sole, Chez Fernando, Dioniso’s and Langostinos are our suggestions where you can enjoy fresh seafood like fried snapper or pompano, cobia fillet, shrimp salad or dish, octopus, squid, sea snail, stingray, etc.
LAND GATE LIGHT AND SOUND SHOW:
Some weekdays and all weekends there is a light and sound show with a 30-minute piracy presentation at night where the history and stories are told under the magic influence of the 40-foot tall Land Gate.
An easy way to get a glimpse of the city is to take a one-hour tour on the motor strollers (representing the old railway) and tour the city passing by fortifications, traditional neighborhoods, churches and some other interesting sites.
That is the word in Spanish that describes the oceanfront drive. It was built a few years ago and brought a new look to the city. Lighted tracks for jogging or biking and a separate track for a relaxing walk of more than 4-kilometers.
MAYAN CITY OF CALAKMUL:
This city was discovered in the early 50s and has been declared as the largest Mayan site in the world. It is in the middle of the Mayan jungle and its main building is taller than any other Mayan structure; including Chichen Itza. Its dimensions are not well appreciated until you are on top of it – where you can see the border of Guatemala and Howler monkeys jumping from the tops of trees. It is the largest biosphere reserve in Latin America after the Amazon and has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is a long five-hour ride. There are hotels and eco villages to stay, but you can take a camping service from operators in the region and spend a night in the jungle. Please note that you may need an extra day or two to visit the area.
Accommodations at the Ocean View Hotel Campeche; Full days of guided fishing; Flies & Terminal Tackle; Ground transportation to/from hotel; Ground transfers to/from Merida Airport and Campeche; Breakfast and Lunch; Non-alcoholic beverages; Mexican VAT tax
What’s Not Included
Commercial air to Campeche, Ciudad del Carmen, Cancun or Merida, Mexico; Dinner Meals and all alcoholic beverages; Guide and hotel staff gratuities; Organized eco-tours or other activities in Campeche; Fishing Equipment; Laundry Service; Departure Taxes; Ground transfers from Cancun (if applicable)
Terms and Conditions:
Tailwaters Travel must adhere to the cancellation policies of the guides, outfitters and lodges which it represents. Tarpon Town’s policy follows:
A refundable 50% deposit is required to secure all reservations. Final balance is due 60 days prior to departure. Within sixty days from departure deposit becomes non-refundable. Cancellation with 60 days from scheduled departure will result in full loss of applicable land and commercial air costs- no refund will be made unless replacement clients are found. Trips maybe rescheduled for no penalty if rebooked during the same season. Refunds or credits cannot be issued for fishing time lost due to inclement weather. Refunds of deposits/payments made on credit cards will be charged a 3.5% service charge to fully compensate Tailwaters Travel for all bank charges incurred. Receipt of deposit and/or final payment is acknowledgement that registrant has read and accepts the cancellation, refund and responsibility clauses.