April 07 – 14, 2019
Hello Esb Lodge Anglers & Fans,
We’ve had another great week here at Esb Lodge. We hosted our close friend Jamie Massion and welcomed four new anglers to our wonderful operation. Our circle of friends with Esb is growing every week and nothing pleases Chiara and me more than to share our home with fellow anglers. Weather was across the board for the week with every imaginable condition. Our guides and staff delivered excellent service from the water to the table and provided a memorable week for everyone.
Like most weeks, our fishing is strictly determined by weather conditions. We had days of sunshine, rain, clouds, and high winds from various directions. We still had good fishing and for days with less than optimal conditions fish were still located, seen, and caught. Permit fishing was strong with good numbers of fish spotted on the northern side of the bay as well as our “house flats” located close to the launch on the southern shore. Guest John Pyne came down for the week having never landing permit and had expectations to catch one on his flies. John is an avid tier who was religiously before breakfast, after breakfast, and after fishing at the vise tying up every imaginable pattern we use for permit, tarpon, snook, and bonefish. His flies are great, he pays attention to detail and when he shows his “first” of a pattern it looks like he’s tied dozens of them nailing perfection. John was able to land his first two permit earlier in the week and succeeded landing another two towards the end of the fishing week. Kudo’s to John and congratulations to a very successful week! Chris Cedar was another angler that had been on multiple saltwater trips and had never landed a permit. He was able to knock out his 1st and 2nd permit in the same day. Our bay has great numbers of fish scattered throughout our system and when visibility plays to our favor, we are routinely seeing good numbers of fish.
The group collectively landed 10 permit for the week which brings our season total to 120 with 71 guests.
When conditions didn’t play in favor of permit we targeted our snook haunts and landed some beautiful fish located on the southern shore. Angler Jamie Massion enjoyed a spectacular day chasing snook with guide Fernando. They saw roughly 50 snook that were mostly eager to eat flies. Guests also fished a couple river systems located on the north side and pulled fish from our backcountry waters. Tarpon weren’t easily spotted, and we hooked a very large Tarpon with guest Reed Bumgarner. After a short lived-fight, the fish was broken off. Our tarpon this last spring seem to be harder to locate than in years past and I believe it’s due to a slow start of climbing water temps. Tarpon can handle cooler temps than bonefish and permit but the bait fish that inhabit the mangroves need that warmer water and will move elsewhere, resulting in tarpon following. I also think with the hard winds from the east the past couple months added an unusually high amount of Sargasso that has piled up in the mangroves that serves as habit for tarpon and baitfish. As temps continue to climb, we will see these fish return and there was light shed on our tarpon fishery a few weeks ago that holds promise to more fish. If we see slicked out conditions, we will also be targeting a cut located on the northern entrance to the bay where larger migratory tarpon stage amongst huge schools of baitfish. Our fishing records indicate that roughly a year ago we started seeing these bigger fish in consistent numbers. We can’t always count on targeting these magnificent fish but anglers starting at this time through September need to have necessary tackle and equipment to successfully chase this fish. Adding an extra intermediate sink tip for your 10 weight or having an 11-weight rod ready (which can be doubled as a cuda stick) is suggested. Larger baitfish/minnow patterns that represent mullet, herring, and shad are a go to. These patterns incorporate white and blue color phases with life like action when stripped. It’s our goal amongst the guides to work this migratory fishery more this season and we will continue learn patterns of migratory fish. I strongly believe that we have an incredible migratory fishery. These fish have zero pressure, tend to hang around our system longer, and there is always food readily available. When we locate these fish, they seldom turn down our fly offerings and are less technical via fly choice compared to other fisheries.
Bonefish were readily available when chased and good numbers were caught by all guests. Reed enjoyed a couple days throwing to large barracuda’s and succeeded in landing one nice size fish and another monster cuda on a fly guest John Pyne had tied.
We had mix of weather conditions that varied for the week. A couple days with minimal wind and good sunshine were welcomed by all and remainder of the week was cloudy with very strong winds arriving from the northeast on Friday. We had high tide in the morning that dropped until about 1:00 PM and started to return around 2:00 PM. Our falling tide seems to trickle out of the bay with easterly winds keeping the water stacked. Incoming tides have been climbing fast with the help of wind pushing water into our system.
Our go to Tan #2 squimp was working well for permit. It’s staggering how productive this fly has been for us. I am at the vise constantly trying to tie variations of shrimp patterns and still find myself handing guests squimps as a go to. Do yourself a favor and load up on these Umpqua specific ties if heading down this way. There is a new lodge policy that you are not allowed off the property without 6 Squimps! Snook were landed with natural colored baitfish as well as blk/purple, chartreuse/white toads. Bonefish were eager to hit all manner of smaller shrimp flies’ sizes #2-#8.
Chef Felipe continued leading the kitchen staff and delivering our wonderful cuisine. We are extremely proud of our wonderful dishes and the hard work the house staff does insure on sight dedication and attentiveness to guests.
I am excited for this up coming week with a couple familiar faces showing up at our airstrip. Mike Thompson came down last fall for his first visit with close friend Bill Schweri. Mike enjoyed his week and headlined his own group of friends to share a memorable fishing week with us. We are also thankful to his commitment to bring anglers to our lodge and also provide off site aid in Austin TX dealing/ staging equipment to make its way to the lodge. Every week we are seeing familiar faces and it’s encouraging and rewarding to watch them “show off” to their friends this world class fishery.
Our weather looks tough for the next couple days and hopefully by mid-week sunshine will play in our favor with eager fish looking to eat flies.
Aside from our weekly fishing report Chiara and I have some exciting news that we put together in junction with The Fly Shop. ESBL will be hosting a week at the famed El Saltamontes lodge located in Chile. We have had this destination on our bucket list for years and I am excited to have an opportunity to host anglers to this special part of Patagonia. Dates of trip are: December 28, 2019 through January 4th 2020. Cost per angler is $4,995.00. I suggest you cancel your New Year’s commitments and jump at this trip. Join Chiara and I as we say goodbye to 2019 and welcome 2020 with Chilean BBQ, Pisco Sours, Vino, and lots of eager trout rising to dries! This is a great location for incredible dry fly action that isn’t technical and can cater to a variety of skill levels. There really is something for everyone at this lodge and we encourage couples or anglers willing to enjoy miles of private water as well as being the first anglers to fish the local rivers in more than 8 months. It’s our goal to take the wonderful guests we’ve had the pleasure of hosting at our lodge and change locations to one of Chile’s best trout fishing lodges. We’ve only had this week reserved for a week and it’s starting to fill. If you have any questions or want to jump at this opportunity you need to act fast and please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org El Saltamontes is a very reputable operation with bookings that exceed demand seen with ESBL and we encourage you to book this trip!
We thank everyone for another great week and please contact our friends at The Fly Shop for additional information about our wonderful operation. We look forward to hearing from you and please find some time to enjoy your local water or wherever your next fishing destination is. Stay safe and of course look for us next week with another report!
From a very special place in the Yucatan,
Saludos desde el Caribe Mexicana