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Mexico: Trip Report. Tabasco Isn’t Just a Sauce. It’s a Destination.

May 03, 23

Yellow Dog client Dale M just returned from Mexico’s Fly Fishing Tabasco. Here’s what he wrote to YD’s Shaun Lawson, followed by Dale’s take on why Tabasco could be right for you. Hi Shaun, I’m on the last leg of my trip home from Tabasco. Trip was excellent. Caught about 8 tarpon every day and lost double that amount. Also got a couple of bonus snook. Paco is a great guy to share a boat with and good conversation at dinner, too. I liked all aspects of my trip including the room, the food, the town, and the scenery. Also saw some howler monkeys and all kinds of birds. Gear advice for trip was spot on: 9 weight, Clousers, and intermediate line saw a lot of use. Thanks for searching out one of the little hidden gems in the angling world.

Here are Dale’s take-aways from his Tabasco trip and why it could be the right trip for you or Contact our Mexico Program Director Shaun Lawson to book your trip.

Tabasco is prime habitat for hoards of baby tarpon. Holding a third of Mexico’s freshwater, it is laced with rivers, swamps, and lagoons that have quick access to the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The American equivalent of Tabasco might be the Everglades.

The head guide at Fly Fishing Tabasco is a certified fishing addict. Paco Maroquin is also young, energetic, and personable. He will be your driver, guide, and concierge for the whole trip. In short, he will take great care of you off and on the water. For an instructional – and inspirational – moment, hand him your rod and watch him rip the entire fly line to the far shore backhanded. Over dinner, get him talking about permit in Ascension Bay, or roosters out of Puerto Vallarta.

You dislike resorts. Ground-zero for fly anglers in Tabasco is the coastal town of Frontera. It is accessible by a 1-hour flight starting in Mexico City and terminating in Villahermosa. From there, Paco drives you for an hour to completely non-touristed Frontera. You stay in a tidy little hotel right on the main square, which comes with all the adornments of people enjoying life – strolling couples, street vendors, basketball games, a beautiful church, and plentiful birds.

You dislike long, rough boat rides. The fishing day starts with a 20-minute boat ride up a local river through a pleasant mixture of farmland and mangroves. The destination is a black water tributary and a lagoon above that. All kinds of little creeks pour into both the lagoon and the tributary. The entire area is part of a national park and huge, majestic mangroves line all the banks. The standard operating procedure is to motor along until some tarpon are spotted – either rolling or on Paco’s side imaging depth finder; it generally doesn’t take too long. Sometimes, the water is almost boiling with them.

You appreciate a target-rich environment. With fish sighted, Paco either anchors or sets the boat on a controlled drift. And then you start casting to rolling fish, or pockets and submerged branches in the mangroves. A few times, I even saw fish finning on the surface. For a challenge, and to maximize strikes, Paco can hold the boat 80 feet from the shoreline. To build up some confidence, that distance might be reduced to 30 feet. Truth be told, I had a couple strikes on flies that were just left dangling in the water. Another truth is that the best target is often the middle of the river.

A snook is calling. Many destinations claim that snook are a possibility, but they seldom materialize. In Tabasco, I actually landed a couple. I am quite certain that if someone put in the time, and worked the shoreline structure hard and regularly, they would be rewarded.

You want a little more variety than a lodge menu. When the fishing day is done, Paco puts on his foodie/concierge hat and accompanies you to various restaurants around town, making sure you are well fed. It was mission accomplished in my case.

You like to sleep in. A couple of times Paco and I had a leisurely breakfast at 7 AM and hit the water a couple hours later. In the tarpon angler’s world, that is like sleeping till noon. Some might even say it is like a death wish, or at least bringing a banana on the boat. Nevertheless, when we got there the action was immediate.

That is not to say there is peak action all day, but peaks of action occur throughout the day. We actually found that between 2 and 4 PM was pretty consistent.

You like hot sauce? Dave, thanks for a great trip report and for booking with Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures. Contact Shaun Lawson to learn more about a trip to Tabasco. Contact Yellow Dog's Mexico Program Director Shaun Lawson to book your trip.