Species
Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, Saltwater Grand Slam, Snook
Destination Type
Lodge
Fishing Style
Flats, Sightfishing, Skiff, Wading
Season
Year-round
Fishing Days
6
Rate
$$
Why We Go
  • Explore the endless flats of Ascension Bay
  • Experience fresh local cuisine and a laid-back family atmosphere
  • Enjoy the lodges open bar policy and outdoor patio
  • Cast to tailing bonefish and permit from the pangas and a time while wading
  • Enjoy having a head guide and an assistant guide in the boat to help maximize your opportunities
Overview

A casual and fun-loving base from which to pursue a multitude of Mexican saltwater species. Located on the outskirts of the small fishing town of Punta Allen on the north shore of Ascension Bay, Ascension Bay Lodge is a casual, fun operation specializing in stalking bonefish, permit, tarpon, and the other abundant saltwater species of the region. Each pair of guests will fish with a head guide and an assistant guide from pangas and at times get out of the boat to stalk fish on foot. Guests enjoy comfortable accommodations, fresh Mexican cuisine and easy access to the bountiful waters of Ascension Bay.

Fishing Program

Ascension Bay lodge calls the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve home in Mexico's Ascension Bay. The town of Punta Allen, where the lodge is located, is only 90 miles south of Cancun, Mexico. Access to endless crystal-clear flats, mangrove lagoons, channels, and reefs where bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, barracuda, jacks, and sharks swim. Bonefish and permit can be targeted year-round, the tarpon season runs from April through October, and the better snook season is from November through March. The Sian Ka'an Preserve is home to more than 345 species of birds, including over one million wintering migratory song birds. As well as the incredible bird life, visitors may witness sea turtles, saltwater crododiles, dolphin, and sting rays.

Anglers access the fishing areas on traditional Mexican pangas with two guides on every boat has one senior guide and one junior guide. While the majority of the fly fishing is done from the boat, there are also some opportunities to exit the boat and wade fish for bonefish, as well as permit.

Accommodations

Ascension Bay Lodge is set back about 50 yards from the water’s edge and has an unobstructed view of the Caribbean Sea. We are located just at the town limits of Punta Allen, and it is a quiet, tranquil setting. Each of our six guestrooms include two full size beds, full bath with amenities, dresser, and a desk with chairs. The rooms have “American style” electrical connections and Wi-Fi internet access. Four of the guestrooms are located upstairs in the main lodge, one guestroom is located downstairs in the main lodge and there is one guestroom upstairs in the back house. The bar and dining room are located downstairs in the main lodge. For those interested in having their own room, single occupancy upgrades are available.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cancun, overnight (not included in package)

Day 2: Transfer to lodge

Days 3 - 8: Full days of guided fishing

Day 9: Depart lodge for Cancún

Rates & Details

2024-25 Rates: Per person based on double occupancy

  • 7 night/6 day package: $4,125
  • 6 night/5 day package: $3,550
  • 5 night/4 day package: $2,975
  • 4 night/3 day package: $2,400

Included: Accommodations and meals at the lodge, open bar, round-trip ground transportation, guided fishing, use of loaner rods/reels, WiFi

Not included: Airfare, staff & guide gratuities, fishing tackle & flies, additional activities, laundry service

Species: Bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, jacks, mangrove snapper, and barracuda

Season: Year-Round

Capacity: 12

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination?

Anglers interested in fly fishing Ascension Bay or keen on targeting permit as well as a wide range of saltwater species. Those who can stand on the bow of a flats boat for long days of fishing and when the time comes, deliver an accurate, long cast to a school of moving fish will have the best opportunities for the highest catch rates. Permit fishing is one of the most difficult pursuits in the angling world, and those who are up for the challenge and understand that the odds are always stacked against them will enjoy their time here the most.

Where is the lodge?

The lodge is located 3.5 hours south of Cancun in the Sian Ka’an Bisophere Reserve on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, in the small fishing village of Punta Allen.

How do I get there?

To get to Ascension Bay Lodge, guests fly into the Cancún International Airport and transfer 2.5 hours by road to the public dock just south of Tulum. From there it is an hour boat ride to the village of Punta Allen and Ascension Bay Lodge.

When should I go?

Peak months are March through May. The summer months can also be very good as pressure on Ascension Bay is minimal. Additionally, anglers might get shots at migratory tarpon in the summer. The fall season can be very productive from September – November.

How will I fish?

Anglers fish two per boat in 23-foot traditional Mexican Pangas with two guides on every boat (typically one senior guide and one junior guide). This system is incredibly effective in that it allows for two sets of “guide’s eyes” to be on the water at all times, giving anglers twice the chance to get a shot at the fish of a lifetime. Most often, the senior guide will be poling the boat while the angler and junior guide are stationed on the level casting deck of the panga. The junior guide is there at your side to ensure your line is tangle free and to jump out with you when chasing a school of fish on foot is necessary.

Is there wade fishing?

Yes, some wade fishing is available, although most of the fishing is accomplished from the boat. In Ascension Bay, the bottom is often soft but there are certain areas suitable for wading. It is important to note that good areas for wading tend to be more pressured which can make fishing difficult in these zones. Furthermore, in some circumstances, the senior guide may determine that getting out of the boat and chasing the fish on foot leaves you with the best possibility for success, so in these circumstances you will be on foot.

Where will I fish?

Guests will fish Ascension Bay and surrounding rivers and waterways.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?

Depending on conditions, the first run of the day can be anywhere from 15-minutes to an hour.

What type(s) of fish will I catch?

The primary quarry of Ascension Bay includes permit, tarpon, bonefish, snook, jack crevalle, barracuda, and mangrove snapper.

How many fish will I catch?

Fish numbers for any given day depend greatly on the target species, the weather and the way you fish for them. Guests can fish bonefish muds all day and expect to boat 10-30 bonefish in a day. In contrast an angler is very fortunate to land just one permit in a week of fishing. For focusing exclusively on permit we say expect to land between zero and three for the week. Tarpon are unpredictable and jumping them is far easier than landing them.

Will I see other anglers?

Yes. In the high season, Ascension Bay can be a popular place. It is a common occurrence to see other guide boats on the bay and sometimes it is possible that your first pick of flats may not always be available. During the summer months, the bay is much quieter.

What are the guides like?

Our guides are fun-loving, masters at their craft, and all the guides speak reasonable fishing English. Many grew up in Punta Allen and have spent the better part of their lives on the water here. They do their best to accommodate anglers and their desires. Sometimes, like at many locations, the guides can be a bit over-passionate, so it is best not to take all their comments too personally. They simply want you to be successful and catch as many fish as possible!

What are the physical demands?

Flats fishing can be somewhat demanding. Guests will need to be able to get in and out of the boats, balance on the front platform, and wade in the water. It’s very important to stay hydrated throughout your stay, as the weather is generally sunny and hot.

Are there any special skills required?

The most important skill that guests can bring with them is the ability to cast in the wind. Saltwater flats fishing is notorious for having windy days on the water. This will require a proficient double haul and cast from anywhere in the range of 20 to 80-foot casts.

Does the lodge provide equipment?

The lodge can provide rods and reels upon request. Terminal tackle, to include flies, must be brought down by the guest.

What is your favorite setup for the trip?

The go-to set up is a 9-foot, 8-, 9-, and 10-weight rods, all with weight forward floating tropical saltwater lines. During tarpon season a 11- or 12-weight rod with floating or intermediate line is needed. A 6- or 7-weight is sometimes preferred to an 8-weight for bonefish, but an 8-weight rod will cast much better in the wind.

What are the top flies?

Bonefish

-7- or 8-weight fly rod with matching weight forward floating saltwater line.

-10ft, 10-12lb monofilament leaders

-10-12lb fluorocarbon tippet

Flies: Gotchas, Mantis Shrimp, Squimps, Christmas Island Specials, Crazy Charlies, and other similar bonefish patterns all in size 4-6. Colors in order of importance are tan, crystal, white, pink, orange, and chartreuse. It’s ideal to have differing weights for different water depths. (Bonefish flies can get chewed up quickly, so you can count on going through at least 5 flies per day.)

Permit

-9- or 10-weight fly rod with matching weight forward floating saltwater line.

-10-16ft, 16lb or 20lb monofilament leaders

-16-20lb fluorocarbon tippet

Flies: Casa Blanca Raghead Crab, Original Raghead Crab, Kung Fu Crab, Avalon Fly, EP Spawning Shrimp Patterns, Squimps and other similar crab and shrimp patterns in sizes 2 and 4. Typically, light tan or white is the most successful color, but it’s good to have a few darker colored flies in the box as well. With permit flies, you want a large selection of patterns and weights to choose from, but you’ll only need a few of each type.

Baby Tarpon/Snook

- 9- or 10-weight fly rod with matching weight forward floating or intermediate saltwater line

- 9ft leader with 50-60lb shock tippet (You can buy premade shock leaders or just bring the materials and we can build them for you. Straight 50-60lb leaders also work just fine.

Flies: Tarpon Toad, Black Death, EP Baitfish Patterns, Gummy Minnows, Tarpon Bunny, Gurglers and other Baitfish and Tarpon Crab patterns. Chartreuse, red, purple, black, white, olive, and tan are great colors for tarpon and snook. All flies should be in sizes 1-2/0. Tarpon flies tend to be pretty durable, so you’ll only need a few of each pattern.

Migratory Tarpon (spring and summer months)

- 11- or 12-weight fly rod with matching intermediate fly line.

- 80-100lb shock tippet leader.

Flies: Black Death, EP Baitfish Patterns, Tarpon Bunny, and other Baitfish patterns. Flies should be on at least a 3/0 heavy gauge hook. Weighted flies work very well.

What is a typical day like?

The typical fishing day begins at 8 AM, although that can change due to weather, tides, or fish activity. Each morning the guides will meet anglers at the lodge and assist them to their boats. Before fishing we will discuss the fishing options with the guides. While most anglers come to Ascension Bay to chase permit on the flats, there are many other species and habitats in the bay to explore and it is important that the guides and anglers are on the same page about what the expectations are for the day. Once on the water, the guides and anglers will make the run into the bay. Ascension Bay is enormous and the initial runs from the lodge can take anywhere from 15-minutes to 1-hour depending. Typically, the guides will move to several different spots throughout the day in the search for fish. Around midday, the guide will find a shady spot nearby to park the boat to enjoy lunch. The afternoon is spent chasing fish then anglers and guides will return to the lodge between 4 PM and 5 PM.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere and style of the lodge?

Ascension Bay Lodge has a laid back, fun loving, family style atmosphere.

Is there an on-site owner, manager or other point-person at the lodge?

The owner/manager is Daniel Marquez and runs the lodge with his local wife Mari. A few times a year, Daniel’s partner George will come and run the lodge.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like?

Breakfast is served between 6:30 and 7:30am in the dining room. The menu includes tradition breakfast fare as well as Mexican specialties and lighter options like fruit, yogurt, and granola. the above will be served with high quality fresh brewed coffee and an assortment of juices.

A box lunch is sent out with the cooler on the boat and can be enjoyed on the flats. The lunch includes a sandwich, chips, fruit, and something sweet. Each day of the week we prepare a different type of sandwich on either whole wheat sandwich bread, or Mexican bolio rolls. The coolers also include ice cold sodas and four beers. Extra beers for the boats can be ordered from the bar. Drinking water is in a separate water cooler and reusable metal bottles are provided.

Dinner service begins at 7pm. There will be three courses that include a salad or soup course, a main entrée, and a dessert. The chef prepares a different specialty each evening but can make substitutions based on dietary preference. House wine is served with dinner.

What is the alcohol policy?

Ascension Bay Lodge has a well-stocked bar and serves ice-cold Mexican beer. If you have a favorite specialty liquor or wine, you are invited to bring it down and enjoy it at the lodge. All drinks are included in the lodge package.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like?

Ascension Bay Lodge is set back about 50 yards from the water’s edge and has an unobstructed view of the Caribbean Sea. Located just at the town limits of Punta Allen, it is a quiet, tranquil setting. Each of the six guestrooms include two full size beds, full bath with amenities, dresser, and a desk with chairs. The rooms have “American style” electrical connections and Wi-Fi internet access. Four of the guestrooms are located upstairs in the main lodge, one guestroom is located downstairs in the main lodge and there is one guestroom upstairs in the back house. The bar and dining room are located downstairs in the main lodge. Single occupancy rates are available.

Is there internet and/or cell service?

There is Wi-Fi at the lodge, but there is no cell service.

Are there other activities?

Snorkeling or kayak tours can be arranged upon request.

Are there any other expenses?

Packages include everything except gratuities, souvenir purchases at the lodge, and terminal fishing tackle.

Do I need a visa?

Americans travelling to Mexico do not require a visa.

Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances?

Mosquitos and noseeums are the biggest annoyance we have. Sargassum can also be an issue.

We recommend that guests always consult with the U.S. Department of State and the Center for Disease Control websites for general travel information and guidelines.

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