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Helpful tips for fishing in Mexico

The seafood in Mexico is both delicious and well-priced. Whether you prefer to hit the market or catch your own, here are some essential tips for fishing in Mexico.

1. Hit the market early

Most boats go out at 4 or 5 a.m. and arrive back to shore at 7 or 8 a.m. to sell their catches to the market, and head back out again to charter tourists for some fun fishing. So if fishing isn’t your thing, and you’re a bit of an early bird, then visit the market early to get first picks.

2. A little bit of Spanish helps you find the right fish

In case you don’t know what your favorite fish look like, there are some basic Spanish terms to know:

  • Fish = Pescado
  • Sea bass = Lubina
  • Tuna = Atun
  • Clams = Almejas
  • Shrimp = Camaron
  • Scallops = Vieiras

3. Shoreline and dock fishing

If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to getting your fish, then you can fish from the shoreline or dock with any rod type you like, and pick out any fish you like. So legally, and price wise, that is the simplest path. Keep in mind, you cannot use any kind of trap or net, and can’t pick out any crustaceans (no shrimp, lobster, clams, urchins)—always be sure to check local laws prior to fishing as things change.

4. Boat fishing and permit stuff

Now if you plan to fish from a boat, you have a few options to consider:

Professional

I recommend going through a private charter; meaning a professional company with a business license, insurance, fishing permit, and accountability. It’s the easiest way to get to the best fishing spots because the charters rely on customer reviews and repeat customers—as a result, they always make sure you catch SOMETHING that day and you’ll almost never go home without fish.

Not so Professional

If you’re going the more adventurous unprofessional route, and going to be on the water with a local fisherman, first be sure he has a sports fishing license. If not, then each person on board will need to apply for a fishing permit through Mexico’s National Aquaculture and Fishing Commission (CONAPESCA). Then you’ll want to verify you’re covered by insurance. An avid boat user will most likely have a Mexico policy for six months or a year. Although if this boat is not often used, or rented, then short-term daily policies are available, too.

Bring your own watercraft

First, you need to purchase Mexico watercraft insurance. Second, you need to contact Banjercito to see if they need to issue you a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) for your vessel. If you’re driving it down, make sure your boat trailer is added to your Mexican auto policy as a towed item. It must have coverage while being pulled. If you are sailing it down, you need to also email the passenger list to INM (Mexico’s immigration agency). Once you have all your legal ducks in a row, the last one is just getting the ability to fish! For sportfishing you must register at the first port of entry and obtain an individual immigration visa (FMM). Then apply with CONAPESCA for a fishing license. Licenses are issued for one day, one week, one month, or one year.

Lastly, a little bit of planning prior to your trip to Mexico goes a long way in Mexico and on the fresh-fish front. Keep in mind too that while we’ve given you a good starting point of things to consider prior to your travel, always be sure to research prior to your trip for the latest legal requirements, travel advisories, and best practices to ensure you have fun, safe and tasty Mexico fishing travels.