Fishing Report #13
April 21 – 28, 2024

ESB Angler with permit

Welcome to the Caribbean!

For the Maya, as for many other Mesoamerican cultures, respect for natural resources was fundamental. They considered bodies of water to be sacred and were inhabited by deities who controlled everything related to water and fishing. For example, the god Chaac was associated with water and rain, and was invoked to ensure fertility and abundance of aquatic resources.

Fishing was not only a subsistence activity; it also had ritual and spiritual connotations. The Maya believed that they should maintain a balanced and respectful relationship with the aquatic world to ensure their well-being and prosperity. This implied practices such as offerings and rituals before and after fishing activities, seeking the favor of the gods and thanking them for the resources provided.

They observed and respected natural cycles such as those of the moon, which influenced the abundance of fish. This empirical knowledge of natural cycles allowed the Maya to plan their fishing activities more effectively and sustainably.

ESB Angler kissing a permit

In short, for the Maya, fishing was more than just a simple food gathering activity; it was part of a complex system of beliefs and practices that integrated respect, rituals and a deep knowledge of the natural environment.

Like the ancient Maya, this week at ESB, Bill h., Kirk O., Laurens “Lorenzo” N., Kevin F. and Bob S. showed their deep commitment to nature and its deities.

The first day of fishing started with light easterly winds and sparse light clouds, which quickly disappeared as the morning hours passed. It was a day when everyone began to warm up their arms and adjusted their tackle setups to go in search of their targets for the week. Although they all came across schools or solitary permits, these were not very receptive to their flies, they followed them very closely and then despised them with irreverent disdain, proving once again that fishing is not an exact science and even if we make the perfect shots, have the best flies and our way of bringing them to life through the strips is the right one, if the rivals do not accept the challenge, the adrenaline-filled catches that we like so much do not happen. Those who were more receptive to the lures of our anglers were the tarpons, snooks and bonefish, who invariably picked up the gauntlet and gave them loaded doses of adrenaline, leaving everyone more than satisfied.

ESB Angler with Permit

Tuesday’s sunrise was almost dreamlike, the sun rising from the sea, with very light winds from the east, and there were more than enough fingers on one hand to count the small clouds that the first rays of the day began to show us. Perhaps the Mayan deities chose that day to test our guests and, by means of some challenges, decide if they were worthy of receiving the most valuable gifts from the bay of the Espiritu Santo. In the best style of the challenges of Hercules in Greek mythology, Kirk measured his skills and experience against two really big barracudas that sold their defeat very dearly. Lorenzo had the titanic challenge of deceiving and maintaining a tough fight against an impressive snook that forced him to apply his best casting techniques to make him leave the mangroves. For his part, Bill faced the test of tenacity and managed to land a dozen consecutive bonefish to reach the final test, which was to measure himself against a beautiful permit and, as it could not be otherwise, their particular duel ended with a victory. The deities reserved Bob the biggest test and he finished his day signing his first Super Grand Slam, a true feat.


Having passed the previous day’s tests with flying colors, the Mayan deities rewarded our guests with another dream day, light winds and bright sunshine. Bob quickly secured a bonefish and a nice permit to go in search of another feat, but the silver torpedoes seemed to discover his intentions and began to play hide and seek with him. Kirk dueled with a beautiful permit and emerged triumphant; a little later he had another duel with a giant permit, but this time victory eluded him, perhaps it was the work of the gods to keep things in balance. The one who really did not respect any kind of balance was Kevin, who after landing some pairs of bonefish, landed some tarpon, then some snook and as it was still early he went in search of a permit that he also landed, but as getting his first Super Grand Slam did not seem enough, he sought to push the limit a little further and landed a big barracuda, creating what he defined as “Atomic Grand Slam”, a term that I do not know if it exists, but here in ESB we will start using it.

Kevin’s behavior, perhaps seen as irreverent by the gods, may have caused them to throw new tests at our guests or simply demonstrated the unpredictability of the weather, marking Friday’s day with thick clouds and moderate easterly winds. Despite the unfavorable conditions, our brave anglers met the challenge with great mettle. Bob got an early start on the search for a new grand slam, but the elusive fish played hide and seek with him. Something similar happened with Kirk, who after catching tarpon and bonefish, found that the permits ignored all his attempts. Lorenzo and Bill also faced schools that evaded all their flies. Kevin, perhaps unconsciously, understood the Mayan deities’ displeasure and offered them a “Sub Atomic Grand Slam” of bonefish, triggers, snappers, jacks and needlefish as an appeasement.

ESB Angler with Snook

The last fishing day was similar to the previous day, with moderate winds and thick clouds; it seems that Kevin’s offering did not quite satisfy the Mayan deities, but our hardy fishermen, far from getting discouraged, started their fishing day ready to accept whatever the bay was willing to offer them and that is how tarpons, bonefish, snook, barracudas, and more, made up the menu of catches that day. During dinner, we celebrated again not only the individual achievements of our anglers, but above all we celebrated having shared another incredible week at ESB.

While the beginning of the week was perfect with steady easterly winds, with speeds ranging from 9 to 12 mph and almost clear skies. The last two days of fishing the winds did not vary in direction, but their intensity was between 14 and 20 mph accompanied by thick clouds that partially limited the fish sighting.

The very predictable and marked tides at the beginning of the week were contrasted by their unpredictable behavior during the last two days of fishing.

ESB Angler with Barracuda

Our top producing permit flies didn’t surprise us this week and the usual white Casa Blanca Ragheads, Spawning Shrimp, and Squimp all produced for guests.
Tarpon and snook were landed on EP baitfish and toads. Color schemes that worked well were black/purple, white/grey, black/red, and more natural color phases that imitated sardines. The average size hook on these flies is a 2/0.

Bonefish were happy to eat any properly presented shrimp pattern.

Our Cheff Luis keeps forcing me to listen to the pilots’ complaint on Sundays that our guests leave a couple of pounds heavier, and my response is always the same “the gastronomic works of art that his hands create are worth every ounce of weight”.

Chiara and Dane are still working flat out to ensure that the ever-approaching start of the season at El Saltamontes Lodge exceeds all expectations. It is with great joy that I have heard that we will receive many familiar faces during our season in Chilean Patagonia, which will undoubtedly be full of experiences and adventures that will remain etched in our memories.

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 Guests APR 21 - 18, 2024