The ages of 25-35 are often overly filled with family and friend-related obligations, from weddings to reunions to bachelor parties. For the outdoors-minded, it can seem like the need to attend these events and the drive to get outside are often at odds - I only have so many weekends in the year and my wallet is only so large!
But young socialites need not worry. I'm here to tell you that weddings and bachelor parties are the perfect opportunity to cross that fish off the bucket list and actually save money and time doing so.
This Memorial Day had me heading down to Tulum to celebrate the bachelor party of a good friend of mine, and we headed down Wednesday to get a head start on the long weekend. Direct flights to Cancun from much of the US and a short van ride to Tulum make this a relatively easy travel day for how exotic the Tulum jungle / beach combo can seem.
It can be tough to find a guide in a new location, and many bachelor parties / wedding groups / families end up giving up somewhere along the journey and find themselves saying "screw it this is a pain in the ass, let's just hang on the beach." But this doesn't need to be the case at all - I hopped on the Captain website, searched Tulum, and booked a guide in about 5 minutes after checking prices and reading a few good reviews.
Coming into the trip we had few plans aside from hanging by the beach, having some good food, and enjoying a few drinks with our friends, but a few of us had the itch to do something more active and we booked a trip with Carlos and his team to head out the Thursday before the weekend.
After some windy weather pushed back our trip by a day (which Carlos easily accommodated), we got picked up in a van sent by our guides and met them a short ride up the road.
We showed up to 3 fully stocked pangas filled with water, soda, and beer, and split up into three boats of 4, each with a captain and a mate to help us out. The boats themselves included a T-top so we wouldn't get fried out there by the hot Caribbean sun.
The Yucatan coastline itself is a unique place for offshore fishing and presents a great opportunity for offshore species at an inshore price. While Tulum isn't commonly thought of as a destination fishing location for offshore fishing, the underwater topography of the area makes it first class for your classic deep sea target species (marlin, sailfish, mahi, wahoo, etc).
The continental shelf is closer to the shore off the coast of Tulum than nearly anywhere else in the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean, meaning you receive quality offshore fishing at a fraction of the journey. If you want to catch a billfish out of Galveston you'll be heading 100+ miles out into the Gulf. If you want to catch a billfish from Tulum, you'll still have the shoreline in the background of your photo when you land the big one.
The only thing Tulum lacks is a natural harbor, but Carlos and the team anchored their boats just off the beach and we headed down and waded to our designated boats and hopped in. The guys quickly hauled anchor and we threw some lines in the water almost immediately.
We headed out about a mile in formation with the other two boats before breaking off and starting to patrol up and down the coastline in a lazy zig-zag pattern. The guys knew the fish were around, and we spent the first hour waiting for the bite. While we waited we took in some views of the Mayan temples in the Tulum Archaeological Zone that we could see prominently on the nearby shoreline.
After a short delay, the bite was on. The lines started ripping and the boats were competing to bring in the biggest mahi. We caught some good bull mahi and lost a few more at the boat.
We spent the next four hours trolling around, getting bites, listening to good music, and generally having a blast out on the water while the rest of Tulum was still sleeping off their hangovers. As the common refrain goes - "Ill sleep when Im dead." We didn't come down to Tulum to sleep the trip away.
Right before we head in the line rips and we land a massive barracuda, the biggest I have ever seen. The fish put up a fun fight and ended up being over 5 feet long.
As we headed back into town we started to see other guests and tourists coming out of their hotels and houses, groggy eyed and just getting their day started while we are energized from our 4 hours on the boat. We saw that we didn't miss much in town and it was well worth the early morning wakeup for the camaraderie we had and stories we will keep from our time on the boat, and we left Tulum a few days later grateful that we didn't take the lazy way out and just sit on the beach like any other normal and lazy bachelor party group.