Fishing Report #14
April 28 – May 05, 2024

ESB Angler with Permit

Welcome to the Caribbean!

The ancient Maya legends and tales, steeped in ethical and moral teachings, are the result of more than three and a half thousand years of history.

In a place marked by the shadows of the ancient and the mystical, lived a dog subjected to constant mistreatment by its owner. Kaskabal, the Mayan spirit of evil, always on the lookout for opportunities to corrupt souls, saw in this an opportunity to act. He appeared before the dog and whispered to him to flee from his master’s abuse, arguing that he was surely not truly loved.

ESB Angler with Jack

“Escape and suffer no more,” Kaskabal tempted him, “but you must give me your soul in return.” The dog, loyal despite the pain, initially refused to commit such treachery. However, Kaskabal was persistent and cunning. He proposed a deal: in exchange for the dog’s soul, he would offer him a bone for every hair on his body. “But first,” the dog insisted, “you must count each of my hairs.” Kaskabal, began to count the hairs, one by one. But the more he counted, the dog, astute and thoughtful, began to feel the weight of his decision. Just as Kaskabal was close to finishing, the dog feigned an excruciating itch caused by fleas and shook vigorously, causing the spirit to lose count.

“I can’t stand these fleas!” exclaimed the dog, jumping up and running in circles. Kaskabal, frustrated, had to start all over again. Again and again, each time he almost finished, the dog would find a new excuse to interrupt the count. Finally, after trying countless times, Kaskabal, exhausted and defeated, gave up. “Keep your soul,” he said resignedly. “I’ve learned that animals are harder to fool than humans.”

ESB Angler with Permit

This is how today’s fish continue to show us that fooling them is not easy, no matter how much we present them with a fly for each of their scales.

Those who didn’t lose patience like Kaskabal and managed to fool more species than I could target this week in Espiritu Santo Bay were Tom P., Rodney N., Peter and Peter A., Tom S. and Chris W. An excellent group of new faces and old friends of this lodge who visit us every year.

Determined to execute their best lures, but with intentions totally opposite to those of Kaskabal in the Mayan legend, our skilled anglers began their first day of fishing facing the added challenge of moderate winds and heavy clouds that occasionally dropped a few light showers around the bay. Rodney, aided by his excellent tying skills, managed to fool the first Permit of the week, and while most of the group had chances to present their flies to this overly wary species, that little bit of luck that all anglers need that day eluded them. Those who were not so suspicious were the bonefish, tarpon, snook, jacks, etc., which gave our guests an overdose of adrenaline, leaving everyone with their expectations fulfilled for this first day of fishing, especially Chris, who managed to fool the first bonefish and tarpons of his life in a very effective way.

Although Tuesday’s day started the same as Monday’s, in the afternoon the wind intensity began to diminish and the clouds began to dissipate. The permit were much more suspicious that day, letting themselves be seen, but showing little predisposition to be fooled by our anglers. The tarpon, bonefish, snook, snappers and jacks were back to fulfill their mission and gave us vibrant battles. Chris, showing an almost unquenchable thirst to expand his list of new species, added barracudas, snooks and snappers.

Wednesday started with light winds and almost clear skies, which predicted a much more conducive day for trickery. Tom Petersen and Rodney quickly capitalized on this advantage by catching beautiful permit that added to the week’s score. Once again, the bay’s wide variety of species brightened up our guests’ day, and in some cases, too much. The ease with which the jacks were fooled was somewhat annoying to Rodney. On several occasions, when he had the opportunity to fool his favorite species, the permit, he noticed how the jacks, always willing and quick, would take his bluff just inches from his target.

ESB Angler with Bonefish

Thursday’s start was particularly favorable for our skilled anglers to deploy their best fly gear, with light easterly winds and clear skies being all they needed for the fish to decisively bite their flies. Tom S., who, proving to be a great fishing partner, until then had given almost all the casting opportunities to Chris so that he could gain experience in this new universe that is saltwater fishing, jumped on the platform and with an accurate and quick cast placed his deceptive crab in front of a permit that without hesitation took it and started an electrifying battle that left Tom S. as the undisputed winner. He then added bonefish and snook to his card, but the insensitive tarpon denied him his much deserved super grand slam. For his part, Chris, absolutely engrossed in his jacks and snappers, almost added an extravagant species to his list when a crocodile popped its head just feet from the skiff just as he lifted a snapper to remove the hook from its mouth and release it. On the other hand, “the Peters”, achieved that day the dream of every father and son fisherman, they caught their first permit together, for many of us a dream come true that undoubtedly was engraved with fire and tequila in their memories and in ours.

Friday’s dawn added another mile or two of wind and some very scattered clouds that did not affect the day’s fishing. Rodney added another permit to his scoreboard, which had no chance of ignoring his exquisitely well done crab imitation. While the rest of the group gave their all in search of all the species they could catch. Tom Petersen, for example, managed to land two monstrous mangrove snappers of about ten pounds each, true giants that could easily compete head to head with a cubera snapper. Chris, on the other hand, completely determined to check all the boxes of the species that inhabit the bay, added the very little valued needlefish, of which the bay has specimens that can easily be mistaken for a barracuda due to their size.

ESB Guide with Mangrove Snapper

With the satisfaction of fulfilled duty and covered expectations, our incredible group of fishermen faced the last day of fishing, which brought a climate identical to the previous day, with no more pretensions than what the bay was willing to give them and, with magnanimous generosity, for example, Tom S. and Chris were given eight different species during the fishing day. Laughter, toasts and anecdotes were the icing on the cake during our last dinner where once again I can proudly say that we had an excellent week at ESB.

Unchanging easterly winds remained between 8 and 13 mph throughout the week.
Some clouds tried to take the limelight of the day, but they lacked the number and density to do so. Fortunately, the sporadic and light rains only affected the surroundings of the bay and not the bay itself.

The tides were well marked throughout the week, creating perfect conditions for the river system.

Although there was no one fly that clearly stood out for its effectiveness with permit this week, the most commonly used flies were the classics: Squimps, Spawning Shrimp (tan and white) white and tan Casa Blanca ragheads and Flexos.

Tarpon and snook continue to fall inexorably into disappointment if tempted with black/purple, white/chartreuse, black/red, tan/white, solid white, EP Baitfish streamers, tarpon toads worked well on similar color schemes. In this new week that we start today, we welcome Mike Scott, last season’s Bully bugger challenge champion, who is willing to double his bet looking to catch tarpon or snook with the same fly. I hope to bring you great news next week.

ESB Jumping Snook

Bonefish stayed within their diet of crabs and shrimp on #6 to #8 hooks but were also attracted to larger flies in some cases.

With great enthusiasm and growing admiration, I continue to marvel at the progress and incredible ideas that Chiara and Dane expect to welcome us in the new season of El Saltamontes. My “confidentiality contract” prevents me from telling you some of them, but believe me, there will be a lot to talk about, and this from a person born and raised in Patagonia who thought he had seen it all in those distant lands.

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

ESB Angler with Snook

ESB Group APR 28 - MAY 05, 2024

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