Going to playa del Carmen and looking to book a flats trip. I would like to go out to Cozumel and do a flats day. Does anybody have any suggestions on a guide for a day? Also DIY suggestions on the playa area. Thanks all.
I did a one-day charter with Aquarius on Cozumel back in 2015. It was OK. Fairly long and rough panga ride from the marina up to the lagoon on the north end (not a "flats boat" like their website says). Never saw the "crystal clear water" once we hit the lagoons, it was all muddy water wading and almost all blind casting. Still managed to land 4 or 5 small bones but nothing special. Guide/captain and mate were friendly enough and appeared to know the area but it wasn't what I was expecting/hoping for. I didn't like the fact that my fly box was raided sometime during the day and I'd get back to my hotel missing 20-30 flies that I had purchased before the trip.
If you're going to be on-island and have a day and $500 to burn then maybe, but if it were me I'd focus on the mainland. Rod Hamilton's "Do It Yourself Bonefishing" has a chapter on the Yucatan that might be helpful in locating some spots.
Save your money. Did guided trip for bones. The panga had no life jackets, didn't run well. The fishing area we went to had dirty water, guide didn't have back up locations w/ clean water. Wind was bad, no back up in a lee area out of the wind.
I told him to help my wife, he fished with a spin rod instead, getting his dinner. He didn't speak English, I speak some Spanish, tho not much practice after retiring.
After a couple hours my wife said " Look, there's an old woman on the bank with a fishing pole." I said don;t move fast, stay still. It wasn't an old woman, but a couple young kids carrying full auto rifles. Looking around there were more hiding in the mangroves. They said " We're federales." Nope, no way.
Not with dirty tee shirts, baseball caps from different bars, rusty weapons and no leadership.
Earlier that morning I asked the guide what the low aircraft overhead was, he said in Spanish, "Oh, the drug dealers from Panama come here and drop drugs in the lagoons. Then the fast boats from Cancun come over and bring the drugs back."
Then he took us into that area. Thanks a bunch for that.
The kids were looking for stuff dropped in a lagoon by that airplane. Long conversation ensued, too fast for my limited Spanish to follow. I'm reaching for my wallet figuring " la mordida," a bribe might help get us out of there quicker.
We got out of there, motor wouldn't start, started drifting round the north end of the island past the lighthouse to Cuba. No tools in the boat, no water, no shade, I was about to go overboard with a rope to grab the last mangrove. The motor started.
I cancelled the next two days fishing.
I'm done with Mexico. No mas. Used to be a great country, used to spend vacations there. It still has fine people, but a lousy corrupt government. Been there many times, but the country has changed.
Cozumel used to be one of our favorite trips, dive, good food, great people, some ruins. No more.
I absolutely love Mexico. It has however changed, If you can, visit Akumal, in general vicinity of Playa, more diving than fishing. There are some incredibly good guides as you go further south on the Yucatán Peninsula.. Kinda like other places, get out of the big city/tourist crap as fast as possible. Wonderful people. Peace, Ed
From Playa, all the options for day trips make for a fairly long day, but there are a few good options I am aware of.
If the lodge isn't fully booked, Pesca Maya offers day trips to Ascension Bay that include transportation from your resort. It is fairly expensive, but very professional, and a productive fishery. They include loaner gear if you don't want to lug your own. Yellow Dog is the booking agent. The loaner rod I was offered was a Sage X. The reel and line were a little tired but adequate.
Another option is Isla Blanca lagoon north of Cancun. It is not as convenient from Playa as it would be from Cancun, but it is doable for a day trip. Marco Ruz - Yucatan Fly Fishing Adventures can book it for you. He runs a good operation and is well known in the Yucatan. I think they offer loaners as well. I brought my own so can't vouch for what they provide.
As others have mentioned, taking the ferry across to Cozumel and fishing the Northern lagoons can be a good option. I have done it a few times but the guide I fished with has retired. I am sure you can google it and find a few options.
In my opinion, there is a wide range of options in both cost and quality for pretty much everything in Mexico. Fly fishing operators are no exception. You do not want to hire the guy off the beach, or handing out flyers in the tourist destinations. This can lead to an experience like Whitewater describes above. It costs a little more, but if you work with professionals you will likely have a good experience and a fun day.
You can always walk the beach in front of your resort. I have never found this to be very productive in the Yucatan, but standing in 80 degree water practicing your casting is still not a bad option when we have snow on the ground at home.....
I don't recall much fishing opportunity at Playa. That was mainly for drinking beer on the beach while watching girls wearing one piece of two piece bikinis. If you will have a car, drive down to Tulum and then out toward Ascension Bay to the bridge. If the crocodiles aren't lolling around on the sand bar, then wade along the shore in the direction of Punta Allen until it's shallow enough to wade across the canal (unless you have an inflatable of some sort). Once across the canal you're on a flat that stretches for a mile or two. It contains bonefish, some permit, and barracuda. The bones are small; a big one might go 3 pounds, but they're fun on a 5 or 6 wt.