Fishing Report
April 23 – 30, 2023

esb tarpon

Welcome to the Caribbean!

We have had a very good week, different in many ways to what we are used to here at ESB, to begin with we received the pleasant visit of four guests who fished single, I will not deny that it was shocking to sit at the table and see so much free space at Sunday’s lunch.

We were visited by Bob Styz, a skilled fisherman with a calm and extremely pleasant character who, together with Kirk Olivier, are not only regular guests, they are already become great friends of the house, together with them we were visited for the first time by Laurens Nicholson and Bo Aughtry, inexhaustible sources of stories and jokes that made each of our dinners something very difficult to forget.

The week started with good weather, little wind and very few clouds which led our group of guides and anglers to take advantage of the conditions and look for their target of the week and the emblematic species of the bay, the elusive permit with many shot opportunities, but no results.

Continuing the week, Lorenzo (Laurens), with whom we celebrated his birthday on Monday night, received as a gift from the bay and filled us all with joy with his Super Grand Slam, which was not only the first of his life, but also included his first permit with a fly (of a more than respectable size) and a tarpon that exceeded one hundred pounds. A day that seemed to have been written and directed by Steven Spielberg in his classic adventure titles where his characters, in this case Lorenzo, face challenges with the utmost courage and spirit of overcoming adversity. Our protagonist’s rod literally exploded while he was fighting a duel with that silvery, scale-covered mass that we mortals simply call Tarpon.

esb guide with bonefish

In the best Indiana Jones style, he wielded his line like a whip, demonstrating an innate ability to apply just the right pressure on the tippet without the help of the rod to absorb the sudden onslaught of his opponent and proclaimed himself the winner when he saw the white belly of his surrendered rival next to the side of the boat with the pieces of his rod stuck to his rough and bony mouth.

It was a night of many celebrations, first fly permit, first super grand slam, but without a doubt the epic battle with the silver giant deserved all the honors.

The next day Bob and Bo also won their battles with other silver torpedoes that approach or exceed three digits in weight, which shows that when conditions are good and adventurous anglers accept the challenge, the bay responds and rewards their efforts by rewarding them with “big silver ingots”.

In the middle of the week the weather began to change due to the presence of a large cold front that affected the area of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, leaving us uncomfortable winds that rotated between north and northeast without control or possible prediction, as a result of this cold front that never arrived here but kept us under its zone of influence until the end of the week, extensive high clouds appeared giving the waters of the bay a uniform color, without reflections or shadows.  This phenomenon is like “kryptonite” for our guides’ super eyesight, which was limited to an unfavorable 40 feet, demanding more speed and precision in our anglers’ shots.

Despite this, our four anglers of the week showed an unbreakable temperament and a noble spirit, they did not give up and far from being disappointed or frustrated by the poor results with their target species of the week and the unfavorable conditions they kept trying, encouraging each other, for example, when arriving at Punta Herrero in the morning before getting off the van we could hear the words of encouragement “come on today, today is the day!

esb guest with snook

In the evenings between Lorenzo’s stories and the jokes of Bo’s canine past lives, the jokes about what I would write in this report would appear along with the theories of why the elusive Permit would follow his flies, but not take them or why they would simply reject them, other than to tell you that the variety of flies that got wet this week in the bay surpassed the entire catalog of Permit flies that The Fly Shop ® has.

Fortunately, the other species were not so reticent to the hairy and metallic lures and managed to count a good number of bonefish, baby tarpon, barracuda and other species that inhabit the bay.

This week, as you can see, was different from what we are used to and it made two things very clear:

– The blows of reality that we eventually get from the species that ply any kind of waters show us that we never know everything about fishing and that the temperament or attitude of a certain species is something that we will never be able to control, which on the other hand gives fishing an extra touch of flavor for those of us who like challenges.

– The second lesson of the week was the pillow that Bo carries everywhere, and it is already an essential part of his life as it could be to wear pants, it is very comfortable and more than recommended for those who have back problems.

esb guest with bonefish

As I have already mentioned, it started off very well, but became somewhat uncomfortable about halfway through the week with winds rotating from north to northeast and speeds going from 8 or 9 mph the first few days to 18 or 20 by the end of the week.

The high clouds at the end of the week surrounded us with flat light, lacking leftovers and reflections making the guides’ job of finding the dark moving shapes complicated.

The tides were again unpredictable due to the effect of the wind, depriving the guides of a tried and tested strategy to anticipate the currents and the movements of the fish in the bay.

This week the permits were more than capricious when it came to choosing a particular lure, I once asked a great friend of mine and also a fishing guide: “Why do you carry 25 boxes of flies if you always use the same ones”?

It’s true that I always use four or five different models, but there are days when you don’t know what those four or five models will be.

So, my friends, the only thing I can recommend in this sense is to bring the classic and usual ESB Yellow Eyes Raghead and Casa Blanca flies, but don’t leave aside that fly that some friend of yours gave you as a gift and that gave you good results fishing in the coasts of Oman, you never know when it may be the one that saves the day.

Tarpon of all sizes remain faithful to their baitfish diet, in natural colors, chartreuse and combinations of black with purple or green.

esb guest with tarpon

Bonefish, while waiting for the results of our experiment with woolly Buggers, shrimp, crabs and small streamers are what the guides recommend.

Being a week with an unusual number of guests, our staff far from relaxing, took even more care to create a more personalized atmosphere, paying particular attention to small details that in a “normal” week and due to time constraints is not possible.

Chef Luis and Sous Chef, Angel also gave the typical dishes of our excellent menu a more personalized character and received a standing ovation at the end of the week.

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

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 González and the entire ESB family.

esb group shot


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