Campeche Tarpon Fishing - TRIP REPORT
2023 Hosted Week - May 2023
by Brad Staples
This May, I hosted two other anglers for a tarpon fishing trip in Campeche on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Our Hosted week was exceptional. Raul, the owner of Tarpon Town Anglers, has hosted guests in Campeche for 19 years; guests usually stayed at a hotel on the outskirts of town. We were honored to be Raul’s first guests at his new lodge—Tarpon Town Colonial Lodge in downtown Campeche.
My first trip to Campeche was in 2012. I have since hosted numerous fishing trips here in the spring and early summer months. I've stayed in Campeche several times during our winter just to enjoy the warm weather, the city's historical culture, and the fine restaurants. This trip was Charlie Swett's fifth time joining me for a hosted trip here.
To get here, I fly on United Airlines from Portland, Oregon, to Houston, Texas, then take a two-hour flight to Merida, Mexico. Raul provides the ground transfers from Merida to Campeche, a little over a 90-minute drive.
Campeche is a walled historic city of about 300,000 people on the Gulf of Mexico. In 1999, the town earned the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site for the preservation and quality of its Spanish-style architecture. The city's fortified walls, built in the 17th century to protect against pirate attacks, were only sometimes successful.
For our Hosted Weeks, I like to arrive in Campeche a day or two before we start fishing. Early arrival gives our group time a little sightseeing time. We often drive one hour to Edzna to tour the impressive Mayan Ruins. Some of the city museums are also interesting. Phil and I toured the Mayan Ruins this time while Charlie (who has been to the Ruins twice) reclined at the air-conditioned Lodge.
The Mayan Ruins in Edzna
Tarpon are my favorite saltwater species. We all hooked and landed baby tarpon, averaging between 5 and 15 pounds, a normal range for the Los Penetes Reserve. We did get a couple of 20 to 40-pound tarpon. We cast flies along the mangrove-lined coast, in small rivers, creeks, lagoons, and the open ocean.
Most of the time, you are hunting. When you spot tarpon swimming, you need to make an accurate cast. Sometimes all you see is a boil on the surface, like a trout rising for a dry fly. Other times you are blind casting. When hooked, tarpon jump out of the water a few times, adding to the excitement.
The beautiful Lodge accommodates six guests, two per room, each with a private bathroom—the concrete home dates to the 1800s. Raul's parents acquired the house from other family members in the 1970s. Raul lived here until age 18, then left for college in 1991. Some of the original furniture and memorabilia are on display in honor of his parent’s legacy.
The Lodge has a private, comfortable courtyard with tables and chairs and a swimming pool to cool off after a sun-filled fishing day. Raul is a great host and strives to make his guests feel at home. The fridge contains complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, and beer. Red wine, vodka, tequila, and snacks are also available.
The package includes breakfast and lunch. Fernando, the breakfast cook, comes to the Lodge early each morning to prepare a hearty meal before meeting with the guides at the marina. For dinner, we walked to restaurants downtown. The food is delicious and diverse—seafood options, pasta dishes, beef, chicken, pork, traditional empanadas, salads, and more. (Raul can also drive the group by car if your restaurant of choice is on the outskirts of town.)
My time spent in Campeche has always been exceptional. Now with the new Lodge, this fishing adventure is even more special. Guy Schoenborn has also fished at Campeche. We can answer any questions you may have about a baby tarpon fishing trip here. Request an information packet. I can also send you a link to my Dropbox folder, which has many photos from my past trips.
2024 Hosted Weeks:
2024 and 2025 Hosted Weeks
with Host Brad Staples
6-nights and 5-days guided fishing $3,500.00 p.p.
May 12-18, 2024 - Sold-Out
May 19-25, 2024 - Sold-Out
May 26 - June 1, 2024 - Sold-Out
June 2-8, 2024 - One spot
2025 Hosted Weeks:
May 11-17, 2025
May 18-24, 2025
I look forward to fishing with you,
Tarpon Town Colonial Lodge
Charlie Swett with Campeche TarponCharlie's Thoughts: On my most recent and 5th trip to Tarpon Town Anglers, my companions and I had the honor of inaugurating Tarpon Town’s new lodge in the old, walled city of Campeche. Raul Castaneda, Tarpon Town’s operator, has renovated his old family residence in the heart of this historic city. With spacious accommodations for four and soon-to-be six, we were very comfortable and felt like we were vacationing in a friend's home. The living room and dining room are decorated in a classical style, with many artifacts from the Castaneda family. Next was a modern kitchen fully stocked with wine, cerveza, and liquor and which exited to a lovely courtyard where you could pick fresh limes for your tequila. Included in the remodel is a delightful pool in yet another courtyard. Raul is the consummate host seeing every detail and joining us around the pool for an after-fishing cocktail. Only a few blocks from Campeche’s finest restaurants, Raul’s new lodge is a welcome addition to Tarpon Town’s fishing adventures. Oh, yeah, we caught fish, too! I can’t wait for my 6th visit to Campeche and Tarpon Town Anglers.
Phil DollarPhil's Thoughts: “Not knowing what to expect when Brad said we might stay at Raul's new "lodge" if it was ready to inhabit when we got to Campeche, I was pleasantly surprised to walk into our host's renovated childhood home. It was a lovely stay, like being cocooned in the middle of the city with a swimming pool, picking fresh limes from his father's trees to go with afternoon tequila, and being fueled for the day each morning at breakfast. It was all so comfortable, way more than any other fishing destination I've been to, and the renovations were solid and tasteful. Not a lodge, not a hotel, but a home! While the fishing was challenging at times, the guides worked hard to put us on fish, especially on the last day, so that we could leave with a smile. And the folks I met—Raul and his wife, Willfred, Gaby—are a delight to get to know when not in the mangroves. Me amo Campeche y Yucatan!”
(I love Campeche and Yucatán!)
Bedroom at the New Lodge
Our Hosted Group with Raul, our Host
Join Brad's 2024 and 2025 Hosted Weeks
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