campeche on the fly…

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Campeche is located on the west end of the Yucatan peninsula. The temperatures during the mid-summer are warm, tropical and humid, ranging in the nineties with similar ranges in humidity. I never felt it was unbearable, there was always a breeze and in the afternoon, thunderstorms always cooled it off. The rains usually last ten minutes, cooling off the city, making the nights very pleasant to stroll through the city streets, grab dinner, shop and relax.


We stayed at the Ocean View hotel located directly across from the gulf where our flats skiffs awaited us in the early am. The hotel was air-conditioned, clean and served a really great buffet-style breakfast each morning.

The prime area we fished while we were there was the Los Petenes Biosphere Reserve located to the north of the city along the coast. The reserve is approximately 120 miles of pristine mangrove coastline. It would take us anywhere from a half an hour to 1.5 hour boat ride to get to the specific areas our guides wanted to fish for tarpon in early morning. The early morning bite was best. In low light, I loved throwing a surface popper, gurgles or slider and watching the tarpon explode on it.


The Petenes Reserve is one hundred and twenty miles of pristine mangroves. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

We would start our day fly fishing early around 6am, sometimes earlier, around 5am, if our guides wanted to make a longer run deeper into the reserve. We would quit around 1pm and be back at the dock at 2pm. Freshen up at the air-conditioned hotel, grab a few beers, then get picked up at the hotel by our tour guide Felix, who was Mayan and spoke perfect english. Felix was a historian, actor, musician, singer, and radio personality; it seemed like everyone knew him. I endearly called him the Godfather of Campeche, LOL


We visited Mayan ruins, learned about the diverse history and culture of Campeche, had walking and bus tours through the city and visited museums and many churches. There is so much to see in this old seaside European colonial city, it can make your head spin. The pirate history alone is dark and fascinating. Campeche is a walled off city, with five outposts that once fended off the pirates in the late 1600 to 1700s. Its a beautiful, colorful city, a true photographer’s paradise.




Alejandro Jr. and his dad, Alejandro Hernandez were such wonderful hosts of our trip. Treated us all like family. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

After our touring we would meet up with Alejandro from Campeche Tarpon and we would all eat at a different restaurant. The food in Campeche is incredible. We ate at five star restaurants and small mom and pops, all equally delicious.


A common sight in the early am are flocks of cormorants which leave land towards the mangroves for feeding. Photo by Al Quattrocchi

Then we would get back to the hotel around 8:30 and hit the sack for early tarpon fishing the following day. It all worked and I never felt like i was missing anything, the fishing and the culture were blended into one fantastic experience of people, place, great food and fly fishing. I would go back in a heartbeat.



Ruth, aka Navajo Flyfisher with a beautiful baby tarpon. photo by Tomas Nava Benitez




Visit Campeche Tarpon and ask for Alejandro, he was a wonderful host and made us all feel like we were family. Tackle: EP peanut butter, black and purple & olive and white worked best for us. Size 2, small flies.  sliders, gurgles, black, red/white, and tan, size 1/0. I took 2, 8 wt & one 10 wt rod (for bigger migratory tarpon) I fished the new Rio flats pro lines, loved them. I up lined by one, so a 9wt line for an 8 weight rod seems to work really good for me. Leaders: straight epic of 40# to a shock tippet of 50#, 9 foot total. These fish abraid leaders easily, always check your leader, even if you just jump a fish and not land it. Always cast your setups before going to any destination, get your equipment dialed in, and bring extra lines and reel in case something happens. The last thing is have fun!

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