The following is a guest post from Brad Smith, who recently stayed at Ocean Breeze Akumal.
Let me introduce myself. I’m Brad Smith, from Ohio, and my wife and I were staying at one of the fabulous apartments at Ocean Breeze Akumal, in the Riviera Maya Mexico. Now I’m a fishing enthusiast, but my wife, Leslie, not so much. As I’d heard that the Riviera Maya fishing was exceptional, I really wanted to try it out. My challenge was set – could I find a fishing experience that both Leslie and I would enjoy equally?
The Riviera Maya offers excellent year-round fishing. Whether it's deep-sea fishing, bottom fishing, or inshore fishing. The aquamarine waters of the Riviera Maya and plentiful fish make for a spectacular experience. Along the coastline, there are many world-class sites for deep-sea, sport, bottom, or shore fishing. The Riviera Maya is a fishing mecca, in particular for deep-sea fishing.
Some of the plentiful species found are Sailfish, White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Wahoo, Tuna, Barracuda and Mahi Mahi. This line up is what makes the Riviera Maya a highly sought-after and respected sport fishing destination. While that’s all great for me, what about Leslie?
Fortunately, ocean fishing in the Mayan Riviera has three big pluses for those who aren’t avid fishers. Firstly, the waters are generally calm. Inshore you are protected by the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world. But even outside that, most days seas are usually calm. One plus for Leslie.
Secondly, while you can fish close to shore, even if you want to go deep-sea fishing you don’t have to travel far. Ten minutes after leaving the dock you pass the barrier reef and the ocean floor drops off quickly. Another plus for Leslie. Not having to endure a long journey with waves slamming into the hull to get to a favoured fishing spot - as has happened on other fishing adventures.
The third plus for Leslie (and me!), is the weather in the Riviera Maya. Unlike some adventures where we’ve been huddled in layers of rain gear trying to stay warm waiting for a fish to bite, this is very different. The daily temperature highs year-round range from a low of 82F to a high of 91F (26 to 32 C), with an average of nearly 10 hours of sunshine a day.
After doing a little investigating we found three different options for a fishing charter. Panga style boats, large group fishing boats, and personal charters.
There are many Panga style boats (shown on the right) along the coast of the Riviera Maya. They are very common boats used by locals for fishing. While great for me, I wasn’t sure it would be the best option for Leslie. Since I was hoping she’d have a great experience and want to come back again. For example, are they crewed by a licensed captain or not? Also, there is no head (toilet) on these boats, another negative. And while the weather is usually calm if we did get some rougher weather how comfortable would it be?
The advantage of a large group fishing boat is that they have a head (toilet) and are very safe and stable. These boats are commonly used by all-inclusive resorts for the fishing tours they offer as they accommodate a large number of people. As we’d be with a lot of people we didn’t know and it was generally more expensive than the other options, I was unsure if this would be the best choice.
Lastly, we considered a personal fishing charter. Often, these are offered at the larger marina’s and are on boats captained by the owner. Typically, larger in size than the Panga boats and smaller than the large group fishing boats, they cater for up to 4-5 people at a time. Most have a small head (toilet), are equipped for a variety of fishing (e.g. downriggers etc), and are pretty comfortable. Price-wise they cost more than a Panga fishing boat trip but are much more affordable than the large group fishing boats.
After reviewing the pros and cons we decided that the best option for us would be a personal fishing charter. Our hosts at Ocean Breeze Akumal suggested a local captain who they knew was reputable and who had a well-equipped boat. And they made the necessary arrangements for us.
Our day started at 8AM when we were picked up outside our vacation apartment rental by Martin the owner of the fishing boat. We drove the short distance to Puerto Aventuras where Martin’s boat is docked and met his crew, Angel and Terecito. Martin showed us his boat, Kayfish, a 26-foot center console Sailfish (see above right). The boat accommodating 4-5 people, with a comfortable seating area in the front. As well it had a small head (toilet) below the center console. A great plus for both of us! Besides having 2 new 200 HP Yamana engines the fishing gear was all top-notch including 50 lb Shimano reels and rods, as well as spinning and jigging rods.
Brad and Leslie with an 80 lb Wahoo
After introductions to the crew, we were underway and heading out of the channel. Ten minutes later, our lines were in the water. Since it was early December, we were hoping to land Wahoo, Kingfish, or Tuna. The fishing started apace and within 15 minutes we had hooked up and landed our first fish. A beautiful Amberjack sparkling in the Caribbean sunshine. A little while later we landed 2 Barracuda and a Dorado as well. All the while we were within sight of the shoreline between Playa Del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras.
After a few hours of fishing, our trip didn’t end there. Since we had opted also for the sunset cruise followed by dinner on the boat as well. After touring the channels, and after the sun went down, we tied up to a mooring ball where dinner was prepared. Martin's team set up a table on the bow and a grill on the stern and prepared our meal. We chose to let them decide the menu, but you can customize it ahead of time. Our meal consisted of meat and a variety of grilled vegetables along with a bottle of wine. We also sampled the Amberjack we caught earlier in the day. Suffice to say that Leslie enjoyed the day at least as much as I did. Next time, however, we hope to be sampling some tuna!
Besides the morning transfer to the marina, Martin dropped us off at our vacation rental apartment, after dinner and after a few glasses of wine! As well as transportation everything was taken care of. Including our fishing licenses, equipment and bait, and plentiful beverages throughout the day, as well as snacks. As we opted for the sunset cruise dinner was also included.
There’s not much you need to bring on your Riviera Maya fishing adventures as so much is taken care of for you. Bring a hat and sunblock to protect you from the sun, and don’t forget those sunglasses too.
As you’ll see from the chart on the right there isn’t a bad time to go fishing in the Riviera Maya. Yet, if its big game fish you’re interested in then there are a few months you should consider. For example, May through August is excellent for Sailfish, Blue and White Marlin, Bonito, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, Barracuda, and Dorado. While September to December is high season for Amberjack, Grouper, Kingfish, Mackeral, Mullet, Red Snapper, Barracuda and Wahoo.
Booking was easy as Ocean Breeze Akumal made all the arrangements and everything went very smoothly. They offer packages for their guests offering 4, 6, or 8-hour fishing charters, as well as the option for a sunset dinner cruise.
So, while I was always keen and eager to experience the great sport fishing in the Riviera Maya, my wife Leslie wasn’t as enthusiastic initially. Fortunately, we picked an excellent, affordable, fishing option that more than met all our needs. We had a very knowledgeable and helpful crew and guides. And we were in a very comfortable and well-equipped boat with top of the line Shimano fishing equipment. Not to mention the beautiful sunset cruise and excellently prepared dinner. As well the location was fabulous as was the weather allowing us to enjoy the scenic coastline and magnificent sunset.
While we didn’t break Martin’s record catch for Mahi Mahi (61 lbs), Leslie is eager for us to return. And book another Riviera Maya fishing tour on our next trip. Overall, I’d say I conquered the challenge and found a fishing experience that both Leslie and I enjoyed equally!
More Information on the fishing charter mentioned in Brad’s article can be found here and here.
If you have any questions or want to book a fishing charter and accommodation package, contact us at your convenience.
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About Our Blog
Exploring The Riviera Maya is Ocean Breeze Akumal's Blog. Here we explore the diversity of Mexico's best tourism destination to highlight the best beaches, cenotes, restaurants, attractions, Mayan ruins, etc., etc. We provide information to help you explore this spectacular part of the world and give you tips and tricks that only the locals know. Helping to give you the vacation experience of a lifetime.
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