Calling all fishermen out there, mark your calendars. March is the start of the sport fishing season in the Mexican Caribbean.

The fastest predators in the sea, reaching speeds of over 68 miles an hour, sailfish and marlin move through area waters in the spring and summer in pursuit of huge shoals of migrating sardines, anchovies and mackerel. Tuna, dorado (mahi-mahi), bonito and wahoo, pompano, snapper and barracuda are also abundant and your captain and crew will take you right to where the fish are running.

Setting sail from Cancun

Sport fishing charter boats set sail from Cancun and head towards the east, beyond Isla Mujeres and the island nature reserve of Contoy. Some venture as far as the Yucatan Channel, an ocean trench between Mexico and Cuba that reaches depths of nearly 9,200 feet, where marlin, sailfish, manta rays, dolphins and even migrating whales can sometimes be seen. Others head for the Arrowsmith Bank east of Punta Cancun, an underwater plateau rich in marine life.

Puerto Morelos and the Cozumel Channel

Moving south, there are more good fishing grounds offshore from Puerto Morelos and along the Riviera Maya coast. Marked by a line of indigo-colored water, another ocean trench called the Cozumel Channel runs between the mainland and the island of Cozumel and is used by migrating billfish.


Just off the north coast of Quintana Roo in the Gulf of Mexico, the island of Holbox is another good place for fishing enthusiasts and local fishermen are happy to sit on the beach at the end of the day and share stories of their lifelong quest for the biggest fish.

Costa Maya

Further south along the Costa Maya in southern Quintana Roo, the fishing villages of Mahahual and Xcalak also attract sport fishermen.

Flat fishing

Hidden in the mangroves, the shallow lagoons that stretch along the Quintana Roo coast offer a different challenge – they are rich in bonefish such as tarpon, permit and snook and attract fly fishermen from all over the world. There are fishing lodges in the Boca Paila area and Punta Allen in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. Holbox and the Isla Blanca wetlands around Laguna Chacmochchuc to the north of Cancun are also good spots.

Catch and release fishing

Local marinas adhere to the catch and release policy to help conserve fish stocks and we urge you to join their campaign. The thrill of being out on the waves should be enough and we hope that you will release any billfish that you catch.

Planning your fishing trip

If you enjoy sport fishing and are looking for your own unforgettable encounter with the big fish of the sea, contact Thomas More Travel for fishing trips and boat charters.