View Full Version : Campeche Tarpon Club - Angling Report (August 2005)

Keith Kaneko
09-03-2005, 12:34 PM
How does one describe the total experience in Campeche?… Majestic. The fishing?… Visual Overload! From the historically rich, walled city of Campeche to the multitude of environs to pursue the “silver king,” Campeche Tarpon Club is truly a special and unique destination.

Bill, I, and the rest of the group arrived in Merida, Mexico. From Houston, it was a short 1 ½ hour flight into Merida on Continental Airlines. Co-owners Marco and Jesciel greeted us at the Merida airport and shuttled us to Campeche – a short 1 ½ hour drive. The shuttle van is a comfortable air-conditioned van and all roads to Campeche are smooth paved highways. We arrived Campeche and checked into Plaza Campeche Hotel (www.hotelplazacampeche.com/) The hotel is very luxurious and provides top level service. To be honest, we Tarpon slimed anglers almost felt out of place in the well appointed 5-star hotel. We made the most of our accommodations and “toughed” it out… wink, wink. From now until April 2006, guests at Campeche Tarpon Club will be staying at this wonderful hotel.

At this time, the actual “lodge” for Campeche Tarpon Club is ready to break ground and construction will be completed by April of 2006. The lodge will be built with traditional Mexican architecture and located on a hill overlooking the town of Campeche and the ocean. This nice locale will provide refreshing views and yet, a quick 5 minute van ride to the boats on your fishing days.

After fishing each day, we had the chance to tour the city streets and enjoy the rich culture and history of Campeche. This amazing city was once a walled city, protecting itself from the plight of pirate invasions. To this day, Campeche has done well to preserve many of the awesome structures, artifacts, and history of its past. During our stay we had the opportunity to visit a number of museums that display a view of Campeche’s rich history.

Aside from the fishing, one of the main highlights of the trip was the dinners! Marco and Jesciel treated us to a variety of delicious local cuisine throughout the week. We would eat in the evenings when the city would come alive with the bustling activity of locals walking the town and enjoying the cooler evening weather. After dinner, we enjoyed taking a relaxing stroll through this safe, clean, and friendly town. When the new lodge is completed, the daily program will continue to include dinners out on the town. Marco and Jesciel feel that this will give their anglers a unique opportunity to experience the culture and wonderful local flavors of this beautiful city – we couldn’t agree more!!!

OK, OK,… on to the fly fishing details! Campeche Tarpon Club is an amazing destination. The absolute hallmark of this fishery is its gin-clear water and diverse environs in which to pursue its “baby” Tarpon – 10 to 35 pounds! All fishing will be conducted out of nice 18 foot pangas with a spacious casting deck (the same as those at Tarpon Cay Lodge.) This fishery affords fly anglers the opportunity to fish for Tarpon and Snook amongst the mangroves, creeks/rivers, lagoons, and the unique turtlegrass and light-colored mud bottom flats. When you add the gin-clear water to the multitude of environs in this fishery, anglers can experience VISUAL OVERLOAD!!! The excitement of stalking cruising Tarpon in 9 inches of water can really get the heart pounding! And, hooking and battling these shallow water Tarpon is an amazing acrobatic display.

Not to be overlooked is the incredible opportunities we had to fish top-water flies! Similar to our experiences at Tarpon Cay Lodge, we had excellent top-water results while fishing draining creeks and rivers during the outgoing tide. Fishing these environs is exciting, but yet a casting challenge as we fished our way up these narrow, mangrove-lined creeks. The best producers were Crease flies, Sliders, and Gurglers.

Another very special feature of this amazing fishery is the extensive maze of wind-protected lagoons. On our last day of fishing, we experienced heavy wind on the open flats. Therefore, our guides deftly navigated our way through the tiny mangrove openings where we finally came upon the amazing backcountry lagoons of Campeche. Fishing was phenomenal in this shallow water environ. Again, the clear water provides an incredible visual display. Bill had a nice Tarpon side-swipe his fly at blinding speeds THREE times before he was finally able to pin the aggressive and determined predator.

My overall summary of this incredible destination is that the fishery is very diverse, allowing anglers the opportunity to test the breadth of their angling skills. This is a more “technical” fishery (compared to Tarpon Cay Lodge) that offers an angler numerous shots at baby Tarpon. The gin-clear water often requires “accurate” 50+ foot casts. Also, we utilized long,… did I say LONG, leaders of 12+ feet to increase our stealth and success. The best producing flies were the following: Puglisi Tarpon, SeaDucers, Tarpon Punch, Cockroach, Gurglers, Sliders, and Crease flies. We used 8 and 9 weight rods lined with our favorite floating fly lines - “SA Ultra 4 Bonefish” short taper (for mangrove and “close” work) and “SA Mastery Bonefish/Tarpon” taper for the long game (flats).

Campeche Tarpon Club is the second Tarpon destination offered by co-owners Marco Ruz and Jesciel Mena. The other wonderful destination they offer is Tarpon Cay Lodge on the Yucatan Peninsula – click here for details: www.anglingonthefly.com/travel/ A nice option they offer is called “The Tarpon Route” – 3 days at Tarpon Cay Lodge and 3 days Campeche Tarpon Club. This gives anglers the opportunity to fish both destinations and experience it all.

Please enjoy the photos below and feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to book this wonderful destination. FISH ON!!!

Safe Travels,

Keith Kaneko
Angling on the Fly
(916) 539-3474
email: Keith@AnglingOnTheFly.com
web: www.AnglingOnTheFly.com

The Dawn of a Tarpon Day...

The Campeche Coast

Checking In at Plaza Campeche Hotel

Pre-Fishing Meeting at the Hotel

Beautiful Main Plaza in Campeche...

Clearwater Tarpon!!!

Tarpon Success!!!

In Search of Tarpon...

"Dances with Tarpon..."

The Guardian of Campeche (circa 15th century)

Museum Tour...

FISH ON!!! for Bill...

Put'n the hurt on BIG Tarpon (or Bill?)

BIG "Baby" Tarpon!

Out-On-The-Town in Campeche

The "Gang"...

Marco, Jesciel and guide staff - Don Velito, Velito, Martin, and Eduardo

The "Last Cast"...

Rick J
09-03-2005, 03:50 PM
Keith- great report and wonderful photos. On my to do list in 2007 as I am already booked for TCL in 2006!! Something to look forward to!

Bill Kiene semi-retired
09-03-2005, 04:54 PM
I would have to say this is one of the top salt water travel destinations in the free world taking into consideration the beautiful coastal town of Campeche as well as the unbelievable eco-system there. There is about 60 miles of wild tropical coastline north of Campeche with many small rivers, lagoons, creeks and turtle grass flats.

We did see several 'cenotes' which are places in the open salt water flats where fresh water just boils right up out of the ground.

American tourists have yet to discover this part of the western Mexican Yucatan although we did see some European travelers enjoying the area.

Campeche is a very clean historic coastal city with lots to see and it also has some real good restaurants.

Adam Grace
09-05-2005, 04:17 PM
Nice report Keith!

Nice tarpon Bill, not quite a "baby", more like a "teenager."

I am happy to hear that you guys had a great trip.