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
  • Discover the beauty of Costa Maya’s most remote fishery
  • Experience world-class flats fishing for permit with a guide and assistant guide for each two anglers
  • Enjoy sight-fishing for tailing permit, bonefish, and other species from the deck of boat and while wading
  • Enjoy fresh, local cuisine and relaxed, beach-front accommodations
  • Choose from stays of varying length and get the chance at hooking a permit on a top-water fly
Overview

Xcalak on the Fly is a modest yet high quality operation in a remote and unspoiled region known for great permit fishing as well as chances at other prime saltwater species. It is also a great destination for travel companions that want to experience a range of activities in an area not dominated by tourism. Accommodations are eco-friendly and off-grid in the National Reef Park of Xcalak, Mexico. The lodge is located along the Yucatan Peninsula’s southernmost coast in the town of Xcalak, Mexico. It is approximately 250 miles south of Cancun and about seven miles north of the Belize/Mexico border. Anglers at Xcalak on the Fly will fish vast reef-side flats, protected lagoons, and the crystal-clear waters of Chetumal Bay. Not only is this operation a great value it is also one of the few places where permits can be targeted with floating top-water flies.

Fishing Program

At XOTF most fishing is done from the casting platforms of 23’ pangas. Typically, two anglers will go out with a guide and an assistant guide. Your lead guide will pole across shallow flats hunting for permit and often, your assistant guide will help you spot as well. Sun protection and quality sunglasses are very important while sight-fighting. Guides frequently get anglers out of the boat, to help close the distance or get a different angle on tailing fish. Wade fishing along the beaches can be successful. Anglers have also caught permit right off the lodge dock.

Accommodations

Most meals are served in the Permit Palapa. Coffee and breakfast are available around 6 AM with fresh fruit and breakfast burritos or sandwiches. Lunch takes place on the water with your guide. Typically, this is a sandwich, chips or cookies, fruit, snacks, and drinks. Back at the Permit Palapa, happy hour drinks and apps start at 5 PM with the group dinner around 6:30 PM. The lodge is happy to accommodate any dietary restrictions.

Xcalak on the Fly is located on a beautiful property with a garden, palapa, rooftop seating, and a 200 ft long dock. There are six beach–front suites available. They can each be prepared for single or double occupancy with one king or two twin beds. Each suite has a sliding door to the beach or patio, A/C, bathroom with shower, rod holders, and locking safe. The lodge is off-grid and eco-friendly. They use solar power and try their best to protect the natural environment.

Itinerary

7 night/6 day package: Sunday - Sunday

Day 1: Arrive Tulúm

Day2: Transfer to Lodge

Days 3 - 8: Full days of guided fishing

Day 9: Depart lodge for Tulúm

Rates & Details

2024 Rates: Per person based on double occupancy

  • 7 night/6 day package: $3,000 plus tax
  • 6 night/5 day package: $2,700 plus tax
  • 5 night/4 day package: $2,400 plus tax

2025 Rates: Per person based on double occupancy

  • 7 night/6 day package: $3,400 plus tax
  • 6 night/5 day package: $3,100 plus tax
  • 5 night/4 day package: $2,800 plus tax

Included: Accommodations and meals at lodge, round-trip transfers from Tulúm to lodge (Sunday's only), guided fishing, all beverages, fishing license, and park fees.

Not Included: All airfare, accommodations, and meals in Tulúm (if needed), tackle, laundry service, lodge staff & guide gratuities.

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

Season: Year-Round

Capacity: 12 anglers

Fly Water Q&A

Who is best suited to this destination? This is a great destination for serious anglers, especially permit enthusiasts, as well as folks willing to put in a little more time and effort to reach a truly remote and unspoiled fishing destination. This is not an overly fancy destination, but it is a quality one and at a good value. It is also a great place for travel companions that want to experience a range of activities in an area not dominated by tourism. Accommodations are eco-friendly and off-grid in the National Reef Park of Xcalak, Mexico. With remote beauty and wilderness comes the occasional power outage, mosquito bite, or flat tire.

Where is the lodge? The lodge is located along the Yucatan Peninsula’s southernmost coast in the town of Xcalak, Mexico. It is approximately 250 miles south of Cancun and about seven miles north of the Belize/Mexico border.

How do I get there? Guests will typically fly to Tulúm (TQO). From there, you will transfer roughly 2.5-3 hours to the lodge.

When should I go? Xcalak on the Fly offers great fishing year-round. Of course, the weather is a huge factor in fly fishing success. Hurricane season in the Caribbean runs from July-October. While there is potential for big storms during these months there can also be some of the flattest, calmest,and most productive days on the water. From November-February the weather in Xcalak is as cool as it gets, averaging 77 degrees. There is typically less wind during these months and less sargasso. While winds tend to increase slightly from March-June the water and bite start to heat up. With a large fishery and protection from the Mesoamerican Reef, Xcalak boasts quality flats fishing in every season.

How will I fish? At XOTF most fishing is done from the casting platforms of 23’ pangas. Typically, two anglers will go out with a guide and an assistant guide. Your lead guide will pole across shallow flats hunting for permit and often, your assistant guide will help you spot as well. Sun protection and quality sunglasses are very important while sight-fighting. Guides frequently get anglers out of the boat, to help close the distance or get a different angle on tailing fish. Wade fishing along the beaches can be successful. Anglers have also caught permit right off the lodge dock.

Is there wade fishing? Yes! There are lots of opportunities for wade fishing in Xcalak. On guided trips, anglers frequently jump out of the boat for a closer shot at feeding fish. The beaches and flats have combinations of soft sand, rocky coral, and turtle grass bottoms. A good pair of wading booties is important.

Where will I fish? Anglers at Xcalak on the Fly will fish vast reef-side flats, protected lagoons, and the crystal-clear waters of Chetumal Bay. Location depends largely on the weather and current fishing conditions.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds? It takes about two minutes to walk from your bed to the closest fishing grounds at the end of the lodge dock. Guided trips leave from the dock and can take anywhere from 10-45 minutes, depending on location and weather.

What type(s) of fish will I catch? Permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook, barracuda, jack crevalle, trigger fish, snapper, and a variety of reef fish.

How many fish will I catch? Fish counts vary from group to group and week to week. For permit anglers, catch rates are always low, irrespective of where you target them. We typically say that if you focus on permit, that you will get between zero and three in a week. Some anglers chase these fish for days while others catch back-to-back slams or have multiple permit days. Any time an angler hooks over ten bonefish in a single day, it is a great day.

Will I see other anglers? Yes, there is a small fleet of about 20 boats and guides in Xcalak. While you will be fishing in very remote and truly wild locations there is a chance during the busy winter season that other anglers will be within eyesight at times. The lodge has a capacity of eight anglers and prioritize personalized, quality fishing experiences for all the guests.

What are the guides like? The guides are some of the best in the area, and they are truly passionate about flats fishing. All guides are local to the Yucatan and speak English. They work hard to provide anglers with the best opportunities for success.

What are the physical demands? Most of the fishing at XOTF is from casting platforms on small flats boats. Fishing days are typically eight hours long, with anglers rotating on the bow, and there is a break for lunch. Occasionally, guides will have anglers jump out to wade to get in a better position.

Are there any special skills required? Practice and preparation are important for a successful week on the flats. We recommend that all anglers get familiar with their set-up and practice casting before traveling. From a panga most shots will be 40-80 feet. When wade fishing it is possible to make shorter casts, but angler ability and accuracy are still very important. Guides can give a direction and distance to cast but the angler’s ability to spot moving or feeding fish will make their success more probable.

Does the lodge provide equipment? XOTF has a small fly-shop and products available for purchase. They can provide rods and equipment for anglers to use for an additional fee, but we recommend anglers bring multiple personal set-ups.

What is your favorite setup for the trip? For permit fishing we recommend bringing two 9 or 10-weight rods, one with an intermediate sink tip, and one with a weight-forward floating line. Pair this with a 16 to 20-pound fluorocarbon leader.

The lodge owner’s personal favorite set-up is a Sage Salt R8 9-weight rod with the Sage Enforcer reel. He likes to have one rod with the RIO Permit line and another with the RIO Flats Pro line with the 6-foot intermediate sinking tip. He adds a 9-foot 16-pound tapered fluorocarbon leader with an extra 2-foot fluorocarbon shock tippet for extra length. He likes a floating crab or a shrimp fly on the end to entice the local permit!

For bonefish we recommend a 7 to 8-weight rod with a weight-forward floating line and a 12 to 16-pound fluorocarbon leader.

The lodge owners personal favorite set up for bonefish is the Sage Salt R8 rod in a 7-weight, mixed with the Redington Grande reel. He likes to fish the RIO Flats Pro line and a RIO 9-foot 12-pound tapered fluorocarbon leader with an extra 2-foot section to add some length. He typically rigs that with a lightweight mantis shrimp.

For tarpon we recommend an 8 to 9-weight rod with a weight-forward floating line, 20-to 40-lb leader.

The owners favorite set up for chasing tarpon is a 9-weight Sage Salt HD with the Sage Enforcer reel. He usually adds a pre-built RIO Tarpon leader with a 40-pound taper and a gurgler fly.

What are the top flies? The bonefish really like mantis shrimp patterns, Bonefish Magic, Crazy Charlies, Bonefish Bitters, and Gotchas in tan, pink, olive, and white in size 6 and 8. The permit we recommend mantis shrimp patterns, Beck’s Fleeing Crab, Ragheads, and Strong Arm Merkins, baby lobster patterns, and Flexo style crabs, but having a wide variety of permit flies in white, tan, and olive will help. They typically fish very shallow waters for permit, so very light landing flies are a must. Bead chain and small lead eyes seem to do the best. Tarpon bite a variety of baitfish patterns, sardines, and mullet; tarpon flies like Tarpon Toads, Black Death, gummy minnows, and EP Minnows, in black and red, purple and black, chartreuse, or red and white in size 2- 2/0.

What are the options if weather conditions become challenging? At times rain, wind, and unpredictable weather can make fishing Xcalak’s front-side flats very challenging. Luckily, it is a large fishery with diverse fishing locations and opportunities.

Chetumal Bay is usually a little more protected and generally calm. There are also lagoons full of juvenile tarpon and shallow bonefish flats to wade for fish.

What is a typical day like? A typical day starts with breakfast and coffee around 6 AM. Your guide will meet you at the dock. Trips start between 7:15 and 7:30 AM. Anglers typically rotate time on the bow and the bench. A short lunch break will get you refueled and ready for an afternoon of chasing tails. You might cruise to a couple locations with your guide to pole, wade, and search for feeding fish. Between 3:15 and 3:30 PM anglers will return to the lodge to celebrate, re-group, and relax before happy hour in the Permit Palapa. Drinks and appetizers will be ready around 5 PM followed by dinner at about 6:30 PM. Evenings are spent tying flies, exploring the town of Xcalak, and sharing stories and drinks with your amigos.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere, and style of the lodge? Xcalak on the Fly is a very relaxed, off-grid lodge. This is a father and son team, and they strive to make all their anglers feel like family. Permit and margaritas are repeated themes. This is casual operation that likes to have fun and catch fish. 

Is there an on-site owner, manager, or other point-person at the lodge? Yes, father and son owners Jim and Chase Looney spend much of the year living on the property, and one of them will be on site for fishing guests. The owners and management staff are friendly, attentive, and do a great job of making guests feel at home and welcome.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like? Most meals are served in the Permit Palapa. Coffee and breakfast are available around 6 AM with fresh fruit and breakfast burritos or sandwiches. Lunch takes place on the water with your guide. Typically, this is a sandwich, chips or cookies, fruit, snacks, and drinks. Back at the Permit Palapa, happy hour drinks and apps start at 5 PM with the group dinner around 6:30 PM. The lodge is happy to accommodate any dietary restrictions.

What is the alcohol policy? All alchohol is included in the rate. This includes a variety of local rums, margaritas, beer, tequila, vodka, & more.

Where do we stay and what are the accommodations like? Xcalak on the Fly is located on a beautiful property with a garden, palapa, rooftop seating, and a 200 ft long dock. There are six beach–front suites available. They can each be prepared for single or double occupancy with one king or two twin beds. Each suite has air conditioning, a sliding door to the beach or patio, bathroom with shower, air conditioning, rod holders, and locking safe. The lodge is off-grid and eco-friendly. They use solar power and try their best to protect the natural environment.

Is there internet and/or cell service? There is Wi-Fi internet in each suite and throughout the property but no cell service.

Are there other activities? There are many activities in and around Xcalak. In addition to fly fishing, guests can enjoy world-class diving, snorkeling, birdwatching, wildlife viewing, kayaking, biking, and visiting nearby cenotes and Mayan ruins, making it a great place for guests opt not to not fish. Non-angling rates available.

Are there any other expenses? Accommodations or meals in Tulúm if needed. Airfare, alcoholic beverages outside of happy hour, staff and guide gratuities, laundry service, and additional activities/excursions.

Do I need a visa? No! Just a valid passport.

Are there any health concerns, dangers, or annoyances? Sargasso is a common concern along the Caribbean coastline in the spring and summer months. There is a barrier at XOTF to keep the sargasso on the beach to a minimum. While it can be inconvenient, it also attracts permit who feed on the floating sargasso crabs. Mosquitos and black flies can be a nuisance, so we recommend anglers bring bug repellent and long sleeves/pants to help stay comfortable on the water. Lastly, the transfer is long, but it is worth it! Always recommend our anglers consult with the U.S. Department of State and the Center for Disease Control websites for general travel info and guidelines.

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