This is our latest onsite report for Isla Blanca Fishing  which is located in the north-eastern Yucatan peninsula near Cancun. The fishery in this region offers opportunities for tarpon, permit, snook and a host of other species. If you are interested in Isla Blanca fishing in the Yucatan peninsula – read on!

Isla Blanca Fishing

The dock at Isla Blanca

This was my 30th trip to the Yucatan in the past twenty-one years. Much has changed here during that time including a complete makeover at the international airport. One thing that hasn’t change is the ritual of going through customs. You are instructed to push little button which activates a green light or red light. You get the green light and you move straight through, or if you get the red light the customs officials check your bags. Thirty trips to the Yucatan and still haven’t caught the red light. It’s only a matter of time.

Outside Customs Marco Ruz, owner of Isla Blanca Fishing, and his business partner Jesciel Mena are waiting for me. They quickly grabbed my luggage and stow it in their new Chevy Express van and we were off to the Hotel which is located about 30 minutes from the airport and about 3 ½ miles north of downtown Cancun.

Isla Blanca Fishing

Sea Adventures Hotel : Isla Blanca

If you are going and use the package pricing, you will stay at Sea Adventure Hotel which will be just fine for most anglers. This all-inclusive hotel is located on a white-sand beach facing the Caribbean.

The Sea Adventure hotel is close to Isla Blanca so you will be virtually just minutes from the launch site.

Isla Blanca Fishing

At five-thirty the next morning Marco Ruz’s right-hand man, Rafael was patiently waiting for me in the hotel lobby. We packed my gear in their new  Chevy van and head for the dock at Isla Blanca and the unspoiled Chakmochuk lagoon system.

Ah, the smell of a gentle salty breeze reminds of the many trips to the Yucatan in the past and hopefully many more in the future.  We unload and proceed down a sandy path edged with tall wavy grasses where we find the Isla Blanca panga boats and our guide Enrique ready to go.  “Esta listo ” I said. ”Si – Vamonos”  said Enrique.

The bay is large and in most places shallow. The tide was low so we putted for a while until we had enough water to jump up in. We ran over the clear water and into a light briny wind for few minutes and shut down on a beautiful fine grass flat where we searched for permit. We saw a small green turtle, spotted eagle ray and few palometa’s, which are a smaller cousin of the permit. No permit here today. That’s fine; I have caught one-hundred and five permit on a fly to date, so I do not feel compelled to catch one each day I fish. It happens when it happens, but you always need to be ready or the chance will quickly pass you by.

Isla Blanca Lodge

Two of three pangas at Isla Blanca Fishing

My guide Enrique asked if I wanted to tangle with some juvenile tarpon and I readily accepted that invitation. Baby tarpon are always a thrill and challenge; nevertheless, the little guys can be more difficult to hook than the big guys. I have heard it said that the interior of a tarpon’s mouth is as hard as a concrete block and I agree.  With the smaller fish, you don’t have the weight of a big fish to help set the hook; as a result, more juvenile tarpon have a tendency to throw the fly.

There are coves and deep mangrove estuaries all along this part of the Yucatan are loaded with baby and juvenile tarpon! Enrique’s technique was to move the panga near the mangroves, pull the engine up and with minimum sound, pole the rest of the way. Only a man who has spent years in this backcountry could navigate the maze of channels thru these mangrove forests. Enrique’s knowledge of the area paid off as we caught a few juvenile tarpon and spooked or missed hundreds more.

Isla Blanca Fishing

Edward Johnston with a juvenile Isla Blanca tarpon

By mid-afternoon we had worked our way more than an hour from the ramp nearly to the eastern edge of Isla Holbox. Heading home we passed Cayo Raton where we stoped for a few minutes to pole a beautiful sandy ocean flat and look for permit.

The eastern edge of the lagoon near Isla Contoy is a very healthy marine environment similar to portions on the eastern side of Ascension and Espiritu Santo Bay, which are to be found farther south in the Yucatan.

The sound of the ocean and the swaying palm trees provide a nice calming effect. A small palometa blows by, but nothing else, so we continued on our journey.

Another fifteen minutes and we cut through Cayo Sucio and slow down to watch a flock of pink flamingos feeding in the shallows. Beautiful!

We arrive back at the dock with salty skin and tales to tell. Day one on the water has ended, then again,  I still have six more days to go. Life is good!

Leisure Time Travel, Inc : Edward R. Johnston


If you are considering the prospect of making or renewing your familiarity with the tarpon, Isla Blanca is a great place to visit. Plus, you will have an opportunity for permit, snook and possibly bonefish.

It possible to visit two fisheries in one week.  For instance, you could fly into Cancun, fish Isla Blanca three days, transfer to Tarpon Cay Lodge and fish another three days.  To keep transportation cost down, it would be best to have a small group (six max) or let us hook you up with a few other anglers.

Guide trips only are $395.00 for a full day and include guided fishing, lunch, beverages, fishing license, loaner tackle (if needed) and pick-up and drop off at your Cancun hotel.

 For hotel package rates click here.

If you have been there then you know already, if you haven’t been, then go now! Just remember, Edward Johnston told you so……….Book now for the rest of this year and/or reserve your spot in 2013. Please feel free to call us with any questions you may have.

Call us now at 800-771-2202 or 352-795-3474.

Edward Johnston

Leisure Time Travel – Your best and most knowledgeable choice for fishing the Caribbean

Leisure Time Travel Inc.

531 N. Citrus Ave.

Crystal River, Florida 34428

352-795-FISH (3474) 1-800-771-2202

Isla Blanca Lodge

A fine juvenile tarpon up close