Fly Fishing Northern Mexico's "Tarpon Island"
Isla del Sabalo “Tarpon Island” is located off of the northwestern part of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The mangrove-lined coast and inland lagoons and channels provide the perfect habitat for a healthy population of baby tarpon. There are good numbers of fish and the tarpon found here range in size from anywhere between 3 to 40 pounds and sometimes larger. You will be fishing for rolling tarpon on the turtle grass flats or in the ocean side lagoons and channels. The fishing is focused on the early part of the day when the fish are actively rolling on the surface. A great location for action and shots at tarpon with good numbers of fish – the perfect place for an introduction to tarpon fishing or to hone your skills!
The lodge at Isla del Sabalo was built in traditional Mexican décor. With the lodge on the beachfront and facing the ocean, it’s perfectly situated for anglers to relax with a cold drink in hand and take advantage of the ocean breeze. Guests stay in beachside cottages, each with air conditioning and a private shower with bath. The palapa on the beach in front of the lodge offers the perfect space for anglers to relax after a day of chasing tarpon and enjoy the view.
Food and Beverages
Each day during your stay breakfast will be served at 5:30 AM. Coffee and juice will be served along with fresh fruit, eggs, and toast. Lunch is eaten on the water and will consist of made-to-order sandwiches, snacks, and beverages. After a day of fishing, anglers will return to the lodge where dinner is served each evening in the palapa. Dinner cuisine is comprised of chicken, pork, fresh fish, shrimp, and occasionally lobster. Dietary restrictions and requests can be accommodated and all drinking water and ice are made from purified water.
Typical Length of Stay
Packages of any length can be arranged. The included transfers occur on Saturdays and Wednesdays and any arrivals or departures on alternate days will require an extra transfer surcharge of $350 for each off day transfer. The packages with included transfers at Isla del Sabalo are seven (7) nights / six (6) fishing days, three (3) night / two (2) day and four (4) night / three (3) day packages.
Non-Angling Activities and Options
This is a fishing-focused destination and non-angling activities are very limited. However, if guests rent a car, there are a handful of Mayan ruins open for exploration. Additionally, there are great opportunities for bird watching and Merida is a great city to spend some time in – very safe with a beautiful colonial historic downtown district!
Internet / Communications
Wi-Fi is available while at the lodge. Cell phones do not work while at Isla del Sabalo.
How To Get There
All guests should book flights to and from Merida International Airport (MID). Upon arrival in Merida a lodge representative will meet you and transfer you the 2.5 hours to the lodge.
Arrival and Departure Details / Times
The drive from Merida to Isla del Sabalo is approximate 2. 5 hours. We recommend arriving into Merida no later than 3:30 PM in order to transfer all the way to the lodge on arrival. To catch departure flights from the lodge on the day of departure it is very important to book them to depart NO LATER than 1:00 PM.
All U.S. citizens are required to have a valid passport that does not expire within six (6) months of trip dates. Please be sure that your passport has at least two blank, unstamped pages remaining in the back, and that it is not torn, delaminated, or damaged in any way. No visas or inoculation are required for U.S. citizens. A Mexican departure tax is payable at the airport when leaving Mexico. Some airlines include this as a prepaid part of your ticket.
Minors Travelling To Mexico Without Both Parents
If you are planning on traveling with minors, remember that all children under 18 years of age entering Mexico accompanied by only one parent or legal guardian must have a notarized letter of consent from the other parent stating the child/children have his/her permission to enter the country. Single parents need a notarized documentation of divorce decree or death certificate of spouse. Minors unaccompanied by either parent require a notarized letter of consent signed by both parents. Please visit the US Embassy in Mexico Website for more information.
Yellow Dog works directly with and recommends Kanna Travel. They can assist with airline tickets, hotels, transfers and all travel logistics for every destination that we offer. Contact them at 855-739-3139 or [email protected] for more details on airfare ticketing, travel services, and trip insurance.
The Caribbean waters off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula are one of the world’s famous saltwater fisheries. Located at the northern part of the fishery, Isla del Sabalo offers anglers great access to an incredible and protected tarpon fishery. Good numbers of baby tarpon in the 3 – 15-pound range with access to teenagers in the 15 – 40-pound range. Boat runs from as short as 10 minutes up to an hour are common as well as longer trips to more distant parts of the huge fishery. For anglers looking to pursue juvenile tarpon on the fly, the lagoons and creeks of the mangrove-lined coast make Isla del Sabalo arguably one of the most prolific juvenile tarpon fisheries in the Yucatan if not the entire Caribbean! Unlike some fisheries where fishing an intermediate or sinking line is necessary, at Isla del Sabalo anglers will only use floating lines 8 – 9 wt rods, where sparsely tied flies and surface patterns are the name of the game.
The fishing program is based on the conditions when you arrive. The program may consist of fishing the morning hours, a break mid-day (lunch/”siesta”!) and then an evening session of fly fishing for tarpon. Your guide and host will determine the program based on the optimum timing of tides and weather.
Boats and Equipment
Anglers will fish out of 18-foot pangas set up for fly fishing. The boats provide a stable casting platform and rod storage. These pangas are easy to pole in shallow water and have for decades served the region’s fishermen and guides. The guides all have a cooler with ice, lunch and non-alcoholic beverages. The guides do carry radios for communication with each other and with the lodge.
Remember that Yellow Dog’s services are completely free! When you book a trip with Yellow Dog, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge or outfitter. All prices listed below are per person and quoted in US dollars.
2019 Double Occupancy Rates
3 night / 2 day = $2,435
4 night / 3 day = $2,825
7 night / 6 day = $3,965
** The included transfers occur on Saturdays and Wednesdays and any arrivals or departures on alternate days will require an extra transfer surcharge of $350 for each off day transfer
- All accommodations at Isla del Sabalo as specified
- Ground transfers to and from the Merida airport
- All guided fishing as specified
- All meals and non-alcoholic beverages
- Fishing licenses
- Mexican goods and service tax
What’s Not Included:
- International flight to and from Merida
- Meals in Merida
- Fly fishing gear and tackle
- Laundry service
- Gratuities for fishing guides and hotel staff
- Alcoholic beverages