Because we need to carry everything we need for the trip, Bone fishing the Yucatan’s Arrecife Alacranes takes a good deal of organization. Everything including water and ice needs to be hauled from the mainland. A palapa is provided by the National Park as a place to hang our hammocks and there is an outhouse to take care of that basic need. The lighthouse keeper has the radio gear for emergency communication and the Mexican military has a helicopter available for medical evacuations..
Coordinates: 22.49° N 89.70° W
Area of Coverage: 3,337 km2
Width: 13.0 km
Length: 25.0 km
Maximum Depth: 36 m
Google Map View of Alacranes
Arrecife Alacranes , a Marine sanctuary established by the Mexican Government, is located 60nm north of the port of Progresso on the north Coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. The reef includes 5 small islands. Isla Perez has a lighthouse and light keeper, a small marine base with a contingent of 6 or so marines and a biological research station. The islands are a nesting place for sea turtles and the stopping place for many migrating birds on their annual trip to Mexico and further south. Isla Desterrada is a rookery for Masked and Brown footed Boobies. All the islands have large areas of shallow flats surrounding them that are perfect for wading. The combination of location and the prevailing currents in the Gulf of Mexico make the water crystal clear and perfect for sight fishing. The difficulty and expense of getting here with everything you need to camp keeps the fishing pressure very low. There is no lodge to return to after a day’s fishing. There are a few sport fishermen from the Yucatan on some summer weekends but they have no interest in fly fishing that I have seen, A few boaters enjoy a weekend camp out and there is an annual sport fishing tournament organized in the Progresso and held in Sept. This the busiest weekend but even this has no effect on fly fishermen. The sport fishermen are usually trolling in the deeper water along the reef’s edge.
We started just before sunrise on the 8th.The weather forecast called for light winds from the southeast at less than 10 knots and continuing to be light along our track to Alacranes until our predicted mid-day arrival. A perfect forecast for the trip. We chose to leave from Rio Lagartos in order to save hauling the boats to Telchac Puerto by trailer. The trip from Rio Lagartos to Alacranes is just over 100 N.M.(from Telchac Puerto 65N.M.)The boats we used are a 26’Ocean Pro with twin 60hp and a Stamas 26’ with twin 150hp.Both are equipped with GPS plotters, a depth finder and VHF marine radios.
There were 6 fishermen including myself, a photographer friend, my wife Matildé and my daughter Andrea. Matildé and Andrea had never been to Alacranes and came along to cook for the group.(a great bonus!)
With the weather cooperating as predicted we started at dawn for what we expected to be a 7-8 hr. trip depending on stops for lunch or just to take a break from the motion and the sounds of the outboards. Often we see dolphins, schools of jacks, sea turtles and occasionally sail fish feeding on the surface. The dolphins, sea turtles and jacks didn’t disappoint us. An opportunity to fly fish for Sailfish is a longtime dream.(we did encounter a small school of sailfish on the return but it was too rough to fly fish for them. We made an unsuccessful try with spinning tackle)
The trip was smooth sailing. We encountered no more than about a two foot chop and the winds picked up just as we arrived at the entrance bouy to the anchorage at Isla Pérez. On these crossings to Alacranes I have found Windguru to be quite dependable for planning a safe trip. We arrived at the campsite at just about 1P.M., Set up camp and the fishing began. The distance across Isla Perez from the campsite to a good bonefish spot is only 100 meters and very quickly the rods were assembled and within an hour the first bonefish was landed followed by several more. Exhaustion from the trip set in by 5.00 P.M. and after a dinner prepared by Madildé and Andrea it wasn’t long before everyone was settled into their hammocks under the palapa.
Camping here has some distinct advantages. NO MOSQUITOS OR GNATS(no-see-ums) There is no fresh water on the island. I have never seen a snake. Alacranes has many bonefish with a nice size and some permit. There are no tarpon here.
There is however a wide variety of sport fish available. I fish daily from the beachwith spinning gear to catch the evenings meal. In one day I caught nine delicious eating species plus a few bonefish and a permit. We had fresh caught fish available at every meal.
Our fly fishing on Alacranes is almost entirely done by wading although we had some fun with barracuda from the boat.On other trips we fished and explored more of the reef and fished light tackle as well as fly rods.This trip bonefish kept us busy.The trip gave some great fishing and the weather cooperated
with light winds We made our return trip to Telchac Puerto to shorten the trip with a little windier conditions than on our trip here. From Telchac Puerto we called for the trailers and returned to Rio Lagartos for three more days of excellent Tarpon fishing.
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For Bone fish on Alacranes
9 ft #8 or #9
WF floating line with a short belly ( Rio tropical outbound short)
Leaders between 9 and 12 ft with a tippet of .011inch - .013inch.
Reel with a capacity of flyline + 150 yards of 20 LB. backing and a smooth brake.
Hook size 6 to 2
Gotcha, Charlie in white, pink and tan, shrimp imitations in light tan, Bitters, small crab imitations.
The flies below were tied by Kim Rasmussen and have been very sucessful on Alacranes.Kim's website in Denmark is http://www.salmonfly.dk/english/index.html
Kim is a frequent visitor to Alacranes with Diego
We will be making a number of trips to Alacranes in the summer of 2018.
Contact us for details
All of the trips to Alacranes are scheduled as part of a longer 7-10 day fishing trip.It is impossible to plan for a weather window months in advance.What we do is fish for Giant and Baby Tarpon in Rio Lagartos before and after the trip to Alacranes.This gives us the flexibility to choose the best 4 or 5 days for the trip to Alacranes.
Fly Fishing Yucatan
Read the trip report below from the Sept 2012 bone fishing trip to Alacranes.
A national Marine Sanctuary located north of the Yucatan Peninsula
with Diego Nuñez and Sons
Fly fishing for Bonefish on the Yucatan's Arrecife Alacranes