Fishing Report #11
April 07 – 14, 2024

ESB Angler with Permit

Welcome to the Caribbean!

Long ago, in the ancient land of the Maya, there lived twin brothers, Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué. They were sons of the sun god Hun-Hunahpú and his wife Ixquic. After the death of their father at the hands of the Lords of Xibalbá, the twins decided to take revenge and prove their bravery.

The Lords of Xibalbá, rulers of the underworld, heard of the brave twins and challenged them to a series of deadly tests. One of these tests took place during the night, when the moon was darkened and a lunar eclipse covered the sky.

ESB Angler with Shark

The twins, knowledgeable about astronomical cycles, understood that this lunar eclipse was a trap of the Lords of Xibalba. During the eclipse, the twins confronted the lords of the underworld, who tried to sacrifice them in the darkness.

However, Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué demonstrated their ingenuity and cunning. Using their abilities and knowledge of celestial secrets, they tricked the Lords of Xibalbá and managed to escape their fatal destiny.

After many more adventures and challenges, the twins finally succeeded in defeating the Lords of Xibalbá and restoring their family’s honor. Their bravery and wisdom made them legendary heroes in Maya mythology, remembered for their cunning in the face of even the most powerful astronomical events.

The ancient Maya had an advanced understanding of solar and lunar eclipses. They considered eclipses as events of great importance and associated them with omens and symbolic meanings in their cosmology and religion. The Maya developed sophisticated astronomical observations and built accurate calendars to track the movement of celestial bodies, including eclipses. They believed that solar eclipses were the result of a celestial jaguar devouring the sun, while lunar eclipses were interpreted as the moon being devoured by a snake. In addition to their religious significance, the Maya also used eclipses for practical purposes, such as planning ceremonies and agricultural activities. Their ability to predict eclipses shows a high degree of astronomical and mathematical knowledge.

ESB Angler with Tarpon

This is how in ESB the eclipse was the harbinger of another excellent week! Just as in Mayan legend, our guests Scott Becker, Bob and Matt Griffith, Bill Schweri, Ben Ellis, Steve Stracqualursi, Mike Menghini and, leading the group, the great Mike Thompson, all dear friends of this house, took on the challenge of being the representatives of the twins, Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué, facing the tests and challenges that the lords of the underworld had in store for them this eclipse week.

It was not just another start of the week at ESB; coincidence or not, the eclipse predicted for 13:32 kept us all watching the sky, from our managers doing the usual Monday shopping in Mahahual and Chetumal, the entire staff at the lodge and our fishermen in the bay, all equipped with the regulatory glasses that Mike Menghini, foresighted and generously, gave us as a gift the night before. But Steve and Mike Thompson, in a clear display of bravery, defied the Xibalbá gods by not remaining mere spectators of this cosmic event and landed almost a ten Permits that day and Steve, with all premeditation and malice aforethought, managed to win their battle with a beautiful Permit at the exact time of the eclipse, a fact that we later discovered infuriated the lords of the underworld. Bob and Matt landed “tons” of Bonefish in a more than fun day for father and son.

ESB Angler with Permit
Tuesday’s day began by showing us the first of the trials the Xibalba gods had prepared for them, uncomfortable northeasterly winds and thick clouds covered the bay. But our brave anglers showed they were not afraid of success and so it was that Matt landed the first permit of his life and as that seemed insufficient feat, he topped it off with a Grand Slam. Mike Thompson followed suit and added another Grand Slam. Scott and Steve added two more beautiful permits to the week’s score.

In retrospect, looking at the previous day’s results, I now understand why the lords of the underworld were so angry, Wednesday morning. Strong northerly winds that rotated to the northeast during midday and ended the day easterly, with speeds reaching 28 mph on the bay and topping 30 here at the lodge, limited the fishing areas. Despite this, our intrepid anglers were undeterred and had chances to catch a few more permits, with good, risky shots that the challenged opponents failed to appreciate. Bill and Matt found a school of jacks that promised a big dose of adrenaline and they got it when a large barracuda dropped half of one of their catches before they could land it; a quick change of gear and they went after this shameless barracuda, which was evidently run by the Xibalba and calmly and nonchalantly ignored our anglers as it quietly retreated.

While Thursday showed up with moderate winds and some thick clouds, the consequences of the previous day’s strong winds were still visible in the shallows of the bay, where the turbidity caused by all the suspended matter again greatly limited the fishing areas. A few shots at schools or lone permit, big bonefish, some snook, tarpon, jacks and snappers were on the catch menu for the day.

ESB Angler with Bonefish

We greeted the dawn on Friday with light north winds and some clouds. Steve measured himself against what was possibly the barracuda sent by the Xibalba the previous Wednesday to mess up Bill and Matt’s fun fishing, in a battle that was epic, jumping, running and overdosing on adrenaline. The eye of our experienced guide gave him over 25 lbs of weight, a real beast with teeth as sharp as knives. Matt landed a beautiful tarpon and, although everyone had a chance to tempt the permit with their various lures, bonefish and snooks closed the list of the day’s catches.

ESB Angler with Tarpon

Perhaps it was the result of Steve beating the huge barracuda that represented the gods of the underworld the day before, which would also be a truly poetic ending to a situation that also had Steve as a protagonist in its beginnings by landing a permit at the exact time of the eclipse, the last day of fishing started with perfect weather, light winds, sun and clean waters. Ben and Scott both scored grand slams and Mike Menghini was able to measure his strength against his coveted blacktip shark, which, in my personal and totally worthless opinion, is one of the most technical fish in the bay. Almost all of our anglers recorded bonefish catches of 5 lbs. or more that day, a true dream day, a perfect ending to a week full of drama and heroism where our anglers showed themselves to be worthy representatives of Hunahpú and Ixbalanqué in front of the gods of the underworld.

During most of the week the winds were intense and moderate, with speeds ranging between 15 and 28 mph, on the last day of fishing the winds remained light between 9 and 12 mph. The directions from which the winds came varied daily and more than once during the day in some cases. North, northerly, easterly and southeasterly marked the range of directions from which they blew.
The tides were somewhat predictable on days of light winds and totally erratic on days of strong to moderate winds, which demonstrated the great adaptability and knowledge of our guides in adapting fishing strategies.

Our usual permit flies worked well. Spawning shrimp and tan Squimp #2. The white Casa Blanca raghead tied with yellow eyes, Flexo, and tequila twister should be in your box.
It was hard to decide on a fly for snook. All types of EP style baits in black/purple, chartreuse/white, white/gray, blue/white colors worked. Chartreuse toads also worked well. Tarpon were caught on the same flies as snook and were generally less selective.

ESB Angler with Permit

Bonefish were eager to eat any type of fly, but most success was with small shrimp flies in sizes #4-#8. In fact, Mike Menghini landed a beautiful bonefish on a tarpon fly.

Eleven weeks into this new season and I think it’s a good time to highlight the excellent job our staff and guides do to give our guests the best week ever. Although the weather and the fishing are beyond our control, everything we do control is a reason to improve week after week, so I would like to thank our managers, Isabel and Pili, our staff, Pancho, Freddy, Emanuel, Luis, Angel, and our excellent guides, Fernando, Jerry, Alex, David, Niño, Charly and Leo.

See you next week with a new report and do not hesitate to contact our friends at The Fly Shop so they can tell you first-hand what life is like in Espiritu Santo Bay, the Sian Ka’an biosphere reserve (which means “Where the sky begins”, in the Mayan language).

Taak ulak k’iin and Ka xi’ik teech utsil
(See you later and good luck! in Mayan language)
Martin Ferreyra Gonzalez and the entire ESB Family

800-669-3474530-222-3555 | | ESB Lodge



ESB Angler with Cuda

ESB Guide & Angler with Permit

ESB Lodge Group APR 07 - 14, 2024