Flats Fishing

Saltwater Flats Fishing at Boca Paila

Endless Pristine Flats

For the fly, spin or baitfisher, Boca Paila is one of the very best saltwater flats fisheries in the Atlantic or the Caribbean. A combination of brackish and freshwater estuaries intermingles with a complex shallow-water reef system creating Boca Paila’s quintessential food-rich flats resource.  The area is best known for superb bonefishing and an unparalleled permit population, but there are bonus fish to make it extra fun: tarpon, snook, barracuda, jack crevalle and cubera snapper.

Land of the Grand Slam

Numerous and eager to take a fly or jig, Boca Paila bonefish average just under 3 pounds, although fish in the 4- to 6-pound class are taken occasionally.

We hear frequent accounts of 10-15 bonefish days and about people catching two or even three permit in a week in the lagoons. This is unprecedented considering most flats anglers have never landed a single permit.

Boca Paila continues to be one of the best fisheries in the Caribbean with an average of forty grand slams each season (bonefish, permit and tarpon in one day) and over a dozen super grand slams (grand slam plus snook). Bonefish averaging 2-3 pounds are the most abundant game fish, but this part of the Yucatan may have the most reliable permit fishery anywhere. Some fishermen come to the lodge to fish for permit (8-20 pounds) to the exclusion of all else. Juvenile tarpon in the 5- to 15-pound range are available year-round, and larger migratory tarpon in the 40- to 60-pound class are frequently seen in the summer and fall. The constant flow of fresh water into the lagoon that attracts tarpon also brings in snook. As another bonus, the often overlooked “incidental” species –   barracuda, jack crevalle, and snapper – lurk in the background.

The Boca Paila guides have the longest average guide tenure (18 years) of any lodge in the flats fishing world. They are uniformly capable, and most are patient and can be excellent teachers. As the majority of the lagoon’s flats are too soft to allow wading, the preferred method of accessing the flats is via a 16-ft Dolphin flats skiff poled by your guide.

If you are able to crack the “permit puzzle” and land one of these finicky fish, your guide will set out for deeper channels to look for tarpon lurking under the mangrove overhangs. Of course finding a tarpon and catching it are two entirely different things, but our guides will work hard to help you complete your “slam” as this achievement is among the highest honors not only for the angler, but also for the guide.