Trip Report Written By Mexico Program Director Sam Mebane
During the middle of May, I was able to host a group of anglers to the Xflats Lodge in Xcalak, Mexico. We went down for a week from May 13 – 20, 2023 and fished for six days with the primary target species being permit, tarpon, and bonefish.
The trip began for most of us on May 12th, as we arrived a day early stay at the Marriott Cancun Airport Hotel, just 5-10 minutes away from the airport exit terminal. This hotel is an excellent option to stay in prior to any trip in Mexico so you can break up your travel day and recharge before getting to the lodge. The hotel bar was buzzing with anglers from our group, as well as other groups going to different lodges the next day. Everyone was comparing flies, gear, and tactics, all anxiously awaiting our first days out there
On May 13th, we gathered our group and started the drive down to Xcalak. Getting to Xflats is always an exciting journey. The van ride down takes around 5 hours so it was the perfect time to get to know everyone in the van. Everyone was insanely eager to fish, as our conversations hardly every strayed outside of fishing topics. Eventually, we made it to the lodge in the early evening and were greeted with margaritas, smiles, and open arms from lodge owner Jesse Colton and his amazing staff. We were home for the next week.
For the next six days, our entire group was locked in on fishing and fishing hard. After variable weather the first two days, the skies cleared up and the wind was non-existent. For the next four days, we had no wind, and bright sun. The type of conditions that every angler dreams about while saltwater fishing. The amazing weather was finally matched with excellent fishing. Every boat would come back at the end of the day with some kind of fish to hand. We had multiple first permits, a grand slam, tarpon, and more bonefish than you can count. Other underrated species caught were barracuda, jacks, and snapper. Eventually, the guides decided to go out a littler further on the oceanside in search of migratory tarpon. Although none were caught, plenty of 80lb+ tarpon were seen rolling and we think that they are there to stay until late summer.
One big highlight of the trip was that it coincided with a conservation group being in Xcalak at the same time. I was able to attend a local meeting with many business owners of the area to discuss strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to the Xcalak fishery. Having input on the meeting was well worth the trip, as well as getting to hear the collective efforts of the town to help preserve the area for the future.
As the week came to a close, we all reminisced on the fantastic week of fishing, comradery, great food, cold drinks, and too many laughs to count. If you were not able to make it on the trip this year, Yellow Dog will definitely be back for more hosted trips to Xflats in the future!