Overview


Fly Fishing for Tarpon: Isla del Sabalo

Fly fishing in Mexico for tarpon at Isla del Sabalo - a nice 35 pound tarpon

A nice 35 pounder!

Welcome to Isla del Sabalo where fly fishing for tarpon is the only thing we do! This amazing destination is located in a very remote region of the Yucatan. The fishery in this region offers incredible opportunities for baby Tarpon and Snook. There is immense diversity in this environment – from vast gin-clear turtlegrass flats to mangrove lined channels and lagoons. Baby Tarpon range in size from 5 to 30+ pounds… an incredible sportfish on an 8/9 weight rod. The full service lodge provides comfortable accommodations, a friendly staff, and bountiful meals, all in a wonderful beach front atmosphere. Isla del Sabalo is a must-fish for anglers looking for a remote, unspoiled fishing experience. Fly fishing for tarpon can be a daunting task and there is no better place to start then here.

The trip starts with your arrival in Merida a nice colonial city in this area of the Yucatan. You will make your way through the airport and find our driver holding a sign with your name. From there it is about a 1-1/2 hour drive on smooth roads through flat terrain. Every so often you will slow down for a small village.

You will be driving to the little remote site on the western edge of the Yucatan Peninsula North of Campeche. Our small modern lodeg will be your home for the best aby tarpon fishing available. You will get meals there daily and depart for the days fishing directly from the lodge. The lodge is not fancy, just clean comfortable rooms.

Read More about the Tarpon at Isla del Sabalo

Breakfast is usually very early to make sure we get some good time in just as the light is coming up. Tarpon are more active at night and in low light than during the heat of the day. We still find fish all day long it is just prime time very early. There is plenty of water and cervesa supplied with lunch out on the boat or if you are lucky enough back at the lodge.

It takes 5-30 minutes to reach the prime tarpon water. The guides know the tides and winds very well so they will direct the days fishing taking you to where the tides and wind conditions are most favorable. If it is nice and calm you might look for some of the bigger fish out in the open flats. If it is a bit windy you will head directly into the sheltered areas in the mangrove creeks and lagoons where fly fishing for tarpon will be much easier.

A fly fishing lodge built for one purpose: Fly Fishing for Tarpon!


Lodging


Fly Fishing for Tarpon – The Lodge

fly fishing for tarpon lodge - Mexico

A view from the beach of Tarpon Island

The accommodations at Tarpon Island Lodge are comfortable, bright, and well appointed. With the ocean at its doorstep, the sea breeze and beautiful scenery refreshes the spirit after a long day of fighting Tarpon. Meals are prepared at the dining palapa and served in an open air setting. Breakfast includes items such as fresh fruit, eggs, toast, and coffee/juice. Lunches consist of sandwiches, fruit, snacks, and sodas/water.

Dinner meals are served at the palapa each evening. Entrees may include chicken, pork, or the catch-of-the-day – fish, shrimp, or even lobster! Enjoy the tasty food and the charming atmosphere of Isla Arena while you dine!

Additionally, the lodge can accommodate most dietary restrictions. Let the staff know and they will prepare an appetizing alternative that is often looked over with envy by your fellow dinner guests.
All drinking water and ice is bottled/made from purified water. All non-alcoholic beverages (soda, juice, water) are included in your lodge package. Alcoholic beverages are available, but not included (charged to the guest tab.

More about the Lodge

Fly fishing in Mexico for tarpon at Isla del Sabalo

A typical bedroom found at IDS

Each guest rooms equipped with air-conditioning, fans, 2 double beds, and a full private bathroom with shower. Rooms are bright with a nice ocean view. There is a housekeeping service that cleans the room and replaces linens, towels, bottled drinking water, cups, and bar soap each day.

In addition to world-class fishing, the hallmark of Tarpon Island Lodge is their warm hospitality and top-level service. The staff members at Tarpon Island Lodge are some of the most friendly and hardworking people you will ever meet. They are sincerely committed to making your stay comfortable and enjoyable. The lodge and food are not fancy, just simple, clean and basic. There is not a honeymoon suite within 200 miles!

Lodge Photos


Fishing


Fly Fishing for Tarpon: The Fishing

Fly fishing in Mexico for tarpon at Isla del Sabalo - a secret lagoon

A hidden lagoon near ISD

The fly fishing for tarpon in this area is quite varied. There are open water flats with larger tarpon cruising around, Mangrove lined creeks and lagoons with mid sized tarpon cruising under the branches of the overhanging mangroves, inland lakes and lagoons . This is a nursery for fish between 2 and 50 pounds. Late spring and summer brings a few larger fish into the mix as well. Snook are also in the mangrove areas and you will target these fish whenever we see them.

Tarpon are most active early in the morning saw we are usually off by dawn to the flats the guides have chosen to visit that the day. The area that has tarpon is quite large extending through the entire Rio Lagartos preserve. A good day of tarpon fishing means you might jump 20 fish – we have recorded a boat that jumped 50 fish in a day. Many tarpon are lost on one of the first few jumps so the percentage you actually get to the boat is low. 10-20% is the number that actually get all the way to the boat.

On the open flats your guide will pole and search for rolling tarpon ( which is about all you see when the light is low or as the sun gets higher you will be able to sight the fish in the clear water even if they are not rolling. Getting a tarpon to eat a fly is sometimes the easiest thing in the world of fly fishing or the most frustrating. Long follows are possible ending up in a refusal or a take 5 feet from the boat. Sometimes the tarpon attack as soon as they see movement, sometimes they spook just because the fly moves funny ( I don’t really know what funny is to a tarpon). Long casts are helpful out here in the open as it will increase your circle of effectiveness.

Read More About the Fishing

Fly fishing in Mexico for tarpon at Isla del Sabalo- a tarpon Flat

A tarpon flat near Isla del Sabalo

In the mangrove areas accuracy can be more important, slinging it under some branches or hitting the pocket between the overhanging mangroves is a more important skill than casting 100 feet. In many area the water is clear and in others it is stained to the color of tea. Still most fish are sighted first. Often the fish will be clear of the mangrove but more often they will cruise just under the overhanging branches. A hook up in there is usually followed by a leap over the branches and off the hook, but what a blast. Once in a while we get lucky and the tarpon blasts out into the open, you just never know!

There are some smaller creeks and inland lakes that have lots of small fish in the 2-5 pound range. These are very aggressive fish and blind casting is most effective. It doesn’t matter how big or small a tarpon is – they all jump once they are hooked. It is the best fighting game fish I know of. Add to that the fact that you can sight fish and hunt for these fish in shallow water and it is hard to argue that there is any better game fish on the planet.

I hope you get to experience this unique fishery while it is still undiscovered.

Fishing Photo Gallery

Tackle & Gear

Buy your gear at Pro guide direct and help your local guide - Me!!Here is a list of the basics you will need for your trip. I have organized this list on Pro Guide Direct where you can actually purchase the brands and items that I have found to be the best of the best. Any Items that you purchase from Pro Guide Direct will help us earn a living and help you by being ensuring that you have the right gear for the trip. Many of our destinations are pretty remote with no chance to buy things on site.

Yucatan Tarpon Gear List

SpeciesRodsReelsLineLeaders
Snook9 foot 9 or 10 wt.Large Arbor Disc drag reel with 200 yards of 25 lb. backing.Floating tropical line9- ft leaders with 12-15 lb. tippet.
JuvenileTarpon9 foot 10 wt.Large Arbor Disc drag reel with 300 yards of 30-40 pound backing.#1 Floating tropical line
#2 Floating with clear sink tip
9-12 ft leaders with 25-30 lb. class tippet and 60 lb shock tippet.
Large Tarpon9 foot 11-12 wt.Large Arbor Disc drag reel with 300 yards of 40-50 pound backing.#1 Floating tropical line
#2 Floating with clear sink tip
9- ft leaders with 25-30 lb. class tippet and 80-100 lb shock tippet.
Offshore
Barracudas,
Sharks
9 foot 12 wt.Large Arbor Disc drag reel with 300 yards of 40-50 pound backing.#1 Fast Sinking line
6-9 ft leaders with 20-30 lb. steel bite tippets.

Fly List

Presentation seems to be much more important than fly selection when fly fishing for tarpon.

YucatanTarpon Fly List

Fly NameColorsSizesQty for a 1
Week Trip
Toad Flychatreuse, olive, tan, purple/black1/0, 2/012
Cockroachstandard, Chatreuse1/0, 2/012
Black Deathwhite, tan1/0, 2/06
Purple Demonpurple/black1/0, 2/04
GurglersAssorted1/0, 2/06
Enrico's Tarpon StreamerPurple & Black1/0, 2/03
Enrico's Tarpon PinfishOlive/white1/0, 2/03
Tarpon BunnyAssorted colors1/0, 2/06
Clouserschatr/white 1/0, 2/06
DeceiversAsssorted1/0, 2/06
SST-PoonAssorted2/06

Packing List

Tropical Packing List

Packing ItemPacking Item
PassportCamera & media
Photocopy of Passport (packed separately)Computer
Airline ticketsCell Phone
Itinerary with contact numbersReading & writing materials
Emergency Medical insurance docs ( if purchased)Rod repair (tip top and glue)
Major credit cardSun gloves
Cash for tips (there are a couple ATMs in San Pedro but they may not be working))Face Sun protection (buff)
2 Hats with brim and neck guard (or sun hat for non anglers)Sunburn relief spray
2-4 long sleeve shirts for fishing (SPF fabric)Sunscreens SPF 30 or above
2 quick dry pant for fishing (SPF fabric)Sun block for lips and nose
2 quick dry shorts for fishing (SPF fabric)Toiletries
White socks (tops of feet get burned in the boats or wear under wading shoes)Prescription meds
UnderwearNon-prescription Meds
Casual pants or shortsEyeglasses (and spare)
Casual shirts, short sleeveFly Rods
SandalsReels
BeltFanny or other small fishing pack
Light sweater or fleeceWater bottle ( Holster optional)
SocksWaterproof boat bag
Wading shoesLines
Bathing suits,Leaders
T- ShirtsTippet
Sandals or walking shoes ( Barefoot is good)Flies
Rain jacket (an occasional cold squall will roll though or the boat spray may chill you to the bone!)Nippers
Bug repellent (for dead clam days or evenings)Pliers/forceps
Sunglasses (polarized with lanyard)

Rates



Yucatan Tarpon Package Prices

Number of nightsNumber of days fishingFishing
2 to a boat, 2 to a room
Price per person in $USD
Fishing
1 to a boat, 1 to a room
Price per person in $USD
76$3295$4250
65$2895$3750
54$2495$3250
43$1995$2750


Want to visit more than one destination?

Take a tarpon tour of the Yucatan. Visit 2 Yucatan Lodges in one trip Note: it will require an extra non-fishing day mid trip to transfer by van to the next destination. You can combine Isla Blanca, Rio Lagartos, Isla del Sabalo and Campeche tarpon trips! My favorite combination is Rio Lagartos and Isla del Sabalo, or Isla del Sabalo and Campeche.

Yucatan Tarpon Combo Package Prices

Number of nightsNumber of days fishingFishing
2 to a boat, 2 to a room
Price per person in $USD
Fishing
1 to a boat, 1 to a room
Price per person in $USD
97$3995$5050
86$3595$4550
75$3195$4050
64$2795$3550

Prices Include: round trip ground transportation from Cancun to the lodge, lodging, three meals a day, guided fishing each day ( for fishing packages), soft drinks. It also includes all taxes. Prices quoted are per person and in US dollars.

Prices do not include: Alcoholic beverages, fishing license or gratuities for your guide and resort staff

Why Book Through Flyfishingheaven.com?

Why book it through us when you could book direct?

1. Unbiased Advice:


Most people recognize the advantage of our unbiased advice, there are hundreds of destinations to choose from and our job is to know the ones that are right for your needs. We offer the real story you can't get from a lodge owner. Would the outfitter in questions tell you are booking in a less than stellar part of the year? Remember our unbiased advice is 100% free!



2. We Can Book Anywhere:


Our website highlights many of our favorite destinations but we have access to hundreds more. If there are fish there, we can book it. In fact, we will give you 5% back if you book a trip through us that is not on our website! We enjoy learning about new spots!



3. Loyalty Discounts:


How do you qualify for our frequent fisher discounts? First, you have to book a trip, any trip. Then on every trip after that, you will receive a 5% discount automatically. If you organize a group of 8 or more we will give you 10% off! All you have to do is book the first trip and you are a flyfishingheaven.com frequent fisher!



4. Price Matching:


If you find a legitimate price for less than what we are charging we will offer you 5% back to book through flyfishingheaven.com!

Our Pledge

We promise to work for you, not a lodge, outfitter or resort. We pledge to get you you to a destination that will live up to your expectations at the best possible price. You will never be charged more than booking directly (in fact most of our clients are paying less - *see below). We will make sure you are well prepared for your trip with specific knowledge about the gear, the flies, the rods, packing lists, travel documents, connecting information everything. Since we are not tied to a particular destination we promise honest pros and cons of any destination at the time of year you are traveling.

We do earn a small commission when we book a trip as all lodges and outfitters offer this as they depend on agencies like ours for much of their business. This fee is paid by the lodge not you, and they do not keep different prices for direct bookings vs agency bookings, it is bad business.


Payment and Cancelation Polices

A 10% deposit is required if you are booking more than 6 months in advance, 50% deposit is required when less than 6 months until departure date with the balance due 60 days prior to departure. If you are forced to cancel with more than 60 days notice, you may keep full credit towards another trip or receive a refund less a 10% service charge. Deposits on cancellations with less than 60 days notice are not refundable unless your spot can be filled. MC, Visa, and checks are accepted. We recommend travel and or medical emergency insurance for all our trips.



Seasons



Yucatan Tarpon Fishing Calendar

MonthTarpon
JanuaryGood
FebruaryFair
MarchFair
AprilGood
MayExcellent
JuneExcellent
JulyExcellent
AugustExcellent
SeptemberExcellent
OctoberExcellent
NovemberExcellent
DecemberGood

Gallery


Please take a look at the  photo and video galleries related to fly fishing for tarpon here at Isla del Sabalo.

Fishing Photo Gallery

Lodge Photo Gallery

Scenic Photo Gallery

Video Gallery


Activities


Fly Fishing for Tarpon – Activites

Fly fishing in Mexico for tarpon at Isla del Sabalo here come some tarpon

Here come some tarpon!

If you don’t like fly fishing for tarpon then destination is not going to be for you. You could make some Mayan ruin tour happen, you could do some birding or other eco tours but the truth is there is nothing organized for these activities.

This is not a beachy location!

So please be forewarned and speak to me if you are considering bringing a non-fishing friend along on this trip.


Travel


Fly Fishing for Tarpon: Travel Tips/h2>

Rio Lagartos Tarpon, a fly fishing lodge on the northern Yucatan that specializes in fly fishing for tarpon.

How To Get to Isla del Sabalo Lodge
From your location, you will need to fly to Merida International Airport (MID). Depending on flight arrival schedules, some travelers may have to fly in a day early and overnight in Merida. This destination is very remote and, therefore, has strict arrival and departure requirements.

From Merida, you will be driven 1.5 hours west in the lodge shuttle – a comfortable, air-conditioned extended van. The ride is very comfortable, as all roads traveled are paved and well maintained. During the drive, you will venture through the beautiful Yucatan countryside and some very unique traditional Mexican towns.

Required Travel Documents
• A current U.S. passport is required for all United States citizens entering Mexico. It is highly recommended that U.S. citizens present a passport that is valid for at least six months after the last day of the trip. If your passport expires before then, please renew it prior to departing on your trip.
• If you hold citizenship in a country other than the United States, please check with your national consulate / passport center for citizenship documents required for travel to Mexico.

Packing List

Tropical Packing List

Packing ItemPacking Item
PassportCamera & media
Photocopy of Passport (packed separately)Computer
Airline ticketsCell Phone
Itinerary with contact numbersReading & writing materials
Emergency Medical insurance docs ( if purchased)Rod repair (tip top and glue)
Major credit cardSun gloves
Cash for tips (there are a couple ATMs in San Pedro but they may not be working))Face Sun protection (buff)
2 Hats with brim and neck guard (or sun hat for non anglers)Sunburn relief spray
2-4 long sleeve shirts for fishing (SPF fabric)Sunscreens SPF 30 or above
2 quick dry pant for fishing (SPF fabric)Sun block for lips and nose
2 quick dry shorts for fishing (SPF fabric)Toiletries
White socks (tops of feet get burned in the boats or wear under wading shoes)Prescription meds
UnderwearNon-prescription Meds
Casual pants or shortsEyeglasses (and spare)
Casual shirts, short sleeveFly Rods
SandalsReels
BeltFanny or other small fishing pack
Light sweater or fleeceWater bottle ( Holster optional)
SocksWaterproof boat bag
Wading shoesLines
Bathing suits,Leaders
T- ShirtsTippet
Sandals or walking shoes ( Barefoot is good)Flies
Rain jacket (an occasional cold squall will roll though or the boat spray may chill you to the bone!)Nippers
Bug repellent (for dead clam days or evenings)Pliers/forceps
Sunglasses (polarized with lanyard)