Mexico’s roughly 6,200 miles of fishable coastline, hundreds of islands, and scores of sportfishing vacation destinations offer a virtually unlimited range of charter fishing boats and fishing guides of every type for the tourist angler. When Fishing In Mexico, you might fly to a five-star tropical resort and fish far offshore only for “trophies” aboard a 70-foot luxury yacht if you wish, or you may risk life and limb during a week of four-wheel-drive madness and finally launch your kayak, inflatable or “tin boat” at a beach so remote and wild that a starving coyote and her pups become welcome “pets” in your camp.
Fantastic variations of all types await any angler able to explore Mexico’s huge galaxy of sport fishing waters, including the lifetime opportunity of catching literally hundreds of species of fish that will hit a fly, other artificial lure, or bait.
Mexico Fishing Locations & Seasons
Even tourists who don’t know a rod from a reel are well aware whenever they come within 20 miles of the ocean that the country’s crystal blue waters are teeming with sport fish. I will outline but a few of the thousands of popular destinations for anglers when Fishing In Mexico.
Los Cabos, Baja
In Mexico’s largest and most popular sports fishing destination, the pristine waters of Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and La Paz hold a panoply of world records. More importantly, the collision of the Sea of Cortés and the Pacific Ocean churn up a cornucopia of sport fish. Some estimates claim as many as 50,000 marlin and sailfish, the most prized species, are pulled out of these waters each year; even the most conservative estimate, around 15,000, puts you in an excellent position to bolster your fishing reputation.
The months of June to December are the best bets for catching blue and black marlin, while sailfish are most plentiful between April and October. The rest of the year, striped marlin and various other species are worthy stand-ins for the stars, while wahoo, dorado and yellowtail, snapper, corvina and roosterfish abound year round.
Even with newer beach resort areas capturing the spotlight in recent decades, sports fishermen join Mexican travelers to keep Mazatlán at the top of the country’s coastal destinations. It remains one of Mexico’s top fishing spots, earning the title of “Billfish Capital of the World.” Like Los Cabos, Mazatlán is a year-round fishing destination.
If you’re after marlin, come between December and April; for sailfish, it’s May to November. Tuna, dorado and grouper are also abundant, and Mazatlán has no equal for bass fishing. Plenty of packaged excursions will take you from Mazatlán to some of the best Mexico bass lakes in nearby Comedero and El Salto lakes, which are stocked.
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
A glance at a fish chart for Puerto Vallarta shows why the area is renowned for its deep-sea fishing: no matter what time of year you come, all of the area’s 14 most sought-after species will be waiting, though numbers vary from month to month. Perched on the Bay of Banderas, Mexico’s largest natural bay, Vallarta is also home to great numbers of whales, rays, sea turtles and dolphins.
Deep sea fishing Puerto Vallarta for monster tuna, another important species, peaks from May to September. Red snapper, bonito, dorado and roosterfish are also in plentiful supply year round.
Just south of Vallarta, the Costalegre — known mostly for its ultra-luxurious hideaways — is also home to the prime fishing villages of Barra de Navidad and Isla Navidad. This is the place for cushy fishing excursions with indulgent touches.
Renowned for its deep-sea fishing, the Costalegre is becoming known as the sailfish capital of the world. Marlin and sailfish are most plentiful in the Bay of Banderas from August to December.
Halfway between Manzanillo and Acapulco, the ancient fishing village of Zihuatanejo remains one of Mexico’s best fishing spots today. Some fishing devotees maintain it is the best. Though it first lured experienced anglers decades before its alter-ego, Ixtapa, was dreamed up, Zihuatanejo appeared on the global radar only in recent years.
Follow in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway and Zane Grey in pursuit of enormous sailfish, the primary game, from March through February. Black and blue marlin grow to as much as 500 pounds here; peak time is December through May. Large schools of yellowfin tuna and dorado (a.k.a. mahi-mahi) await 5 to 10 miles offshore year round, while roosterfish, grouper, mackerel, wahoo, bonito and barracuda prepare for battle closer to shore.
England’s Prince of Wales launched Acapulco’s life as a vacation destination with his fishing excursion to the Bay of Acapulco in 1920. Fishing is good year round, and the docks across from the main square hosts numerous Fishing guides and fishing charter boats that will take you out into the same waters where John Wayne — who had his own place overlooking the bay — was fond of pulling big game out of the water.
Striped marlin, pompano, bonito, red snapper and tuna make up the main catches. Marlin and sailfish are present year round; sailfish are most plentiful from October through March and sailfish from April through June. April and May are peak times for tuna and white marlin, while the ever-reliable dorado/mahi-mahi are at their height from October through March.
Cancún, Cozumel and the Riviera Maya
Approximately 500 fish species, including more than a dozen game fish, live in the waters around Mexico’s most popular resort area, practically guaranteeing a successful fishing trip. You can charter deep-sea fishing boats at almost any time, almost anywhere; lagoon fishing is also good.
Deep-sea trips are less expensive if you depart from Cozumel and Isla Mujeres; veteran anglers also head to the Puerto Juárez ferry dock north of downtown Cancún to try to negotiate an even better deal with local fishermen. Like the Pacific fishing meccas, this is a year-round sport. You can catch sailfish from March to June; look for blue marlin from June through August, white marlin and bluefin tuna April to June. Other frequent species are grouper, wahoo, amberjack, dolphin fish, bonito, barracuda and kingfish.
Planning Your Fishing Trip to Mexico
With such a huge area for fishing and such a large number of species of fish to go after fishing in Mexico can truly be an anglers dream fishing trip. The best way to really enjoy your time is to hire a fishing guide or fishing charter service to get you out and ready to go after whatever prey you have chosen.
Many of the bigger fishing destinations will offer packages giving you several days on the water going after multiple types of fish in Mexico. And of course, the rest of the family can have a great time as well. With everything from 5 star resorts to small local huts any type of vacation can be planned with the whole family in mind.
Mexico’s deep sea fishing is known and revered the world over by experienced fishermen who come here regularly to take part. But deep sea fishing is just one type of sports fishing you can enjoy. For people who don’t want to go out on a boat; surf fishing and fly fishing are viable alternatives here too—cast your line from the beach and see what you can catch. This is an especially popular pastime early in the mornings.
For the most fun, hire a Mexico fishing guide or book a Mexico fishing charter boat and head out to to deep waters to find your trophy fish! The great thing about doing this in Mexico is that there are lots of professionals locally set up to deliver these kind of sports fishing experiences—whether you’re an old pro, or someone brand new to it all —there’s someone who can help you enjoy the thrills and excitement of an offshore fishing trip. Visit our charter page today to find the right professional for your next adventure.