Fishing Report #15
May 05 – 12, 2024

ESB Angler with Permit

Welcome to the Caribbean!

This is the story of the being who initiated life as we know it, born in a world still young, surrounded by flora and fauna now extinct. The place of his birth offered all the comforts that a common man could need. However, he was created by the Mayan Gods from corn, after failed attempts to create the first man from clay and stone. The clay man fell apart under the intense heat of the sun, losing mobility until he was immobilized, with his legs anchored to the ground and his arms glued to his chest. Faced with this failure, the Gods tried again.

ESB Angler with Tarpon

The second man, made of stone, was strong and resistant. He built a shelter that protected him from animals and inclement weather. But his fate changed as he explored beyond his shelter; he stumbled and fell into a cenote. Unable to swim, his heavy body plunged him to his death.

Despite the sadness and discouragement, the Gods continued their efforts to populate the world with a being capable of surviving its dangers. They then decided to use corn, which they gathered, shelled and ground. With an elaborate ritual, they created the first corn man. He had advantages over his predecessors: he was more resistant to cold and heat, lighter and, above all, possessed superior vision and understanding. Thanks to his intelligence, he created an adequate shelter and learned to satisfy his basic needs, such as growing food and hunting.

Although this man overcame many challenges, he soon discovered loneliness. He had no one to talk to or share his life with, which caused him an unknown pain, similar to hunger or cold, but which neither fire nor food could alleviate. Realizing his sadness, the Gods decided to create the first woman in the world, who one day woke him up with a voice asking his name, a question he did not know how to answer.

The Gods instructed the corn man about the importance of respecting, caring for and venerating the woman, a being capable of giving life and protection. Thus, the corn man, who never had a name, stopped feeling alone and began to populate the world, giving rise to new generations that would face their own problems and emotions.

This week on ESB the descendants of the corn man, but who do have a name, Jamie M, David C, Vince K, Richard “Ricardo” G, Jamie M and Mike S, faced the challenges that the Hurricane god had in store for them.

ESB Guide with Permit

The first light of day began to show some thick clouds that didn’t seem to have plans to disappear quickly, the winds, between light and moderate, seemed to be playing a game of strategy and moved them from one side to the other, covering parts of the bay. Jamie was the first to put a permit on the scoreboard, while Ricardo had his chance, but his 16 pound tippet was not enough to withstand the fury of the big one. James had several chances, but the whims of the God Hurricane, in his game of strategy, moved the clouds and shaded the schools or lone fish he found on the flats in the bay. Surely Hurricane would be very amused by his game, but James did not have the same opinion.

The second day of fishing was much the same as the previous day; thick clouds rolled over the bay always at the most inopportune times and the winds, somewhat uncomfortable, reduced the areas of protection where comfortable and accurate shots could be taken. James got his revenge and landed a beautiful wading permit and almost landed another had a shark not intervened, shooing the permit away at the last second before taking his crab imitation. Ricardo also had his chances, but luck continued to elude him when it came to cashing in his wins. Mike, on the other hand, began to show signs of his great experience as an angler and landed two beautiful barracuda. David and Vincent had fun taking risky shots at the mangroves, fooling some snook.

ESB Guide with Permit

Wednesday showed us the effectiveness of the Windy App weather predictions and the moderate winds began to rotate slightly to the southeast, which complicated the day a bit more. The thick clouds gave way too much lighter clouds, but they completely covered the area, leaving us with a flat light, lacking shadows and contrasts, which made it very difficult to spot fish. Even so, some tarpon, snook and bonefish provided moments of joy.

With identical weather conditions, Thursday seemed to be another day that would test the spirits of our guests and, with some resignation, they went in search of the coveted permit. Thus, it was that Mike, demonstrating his almost infinite wisdom and fishing experience, accomplished the feat that even the corn man, with his superior vision and understanding, would not have achieved. Let me describe step by step how his fishing day went, just as he told me, well, more or less, and you will see how his wisdom, patience and experience led him to earn the title of ‘ESB Hero’.

As I already told you on a day that invited more to play cards than to go fishing, Mike and his guide David decided to go to the vicinity of Punta Herrero lighthouse, specifically to a big bend that provides limited protection from the east or southeast wind. David started scanning the thin waters and found some bonefish, which Mike gave no chance of victory and added them to his score. Then they spotted a large group of triggerfish and as Mike prepared to put up a fight, David’s trained eye found some permit trying to camouflage themselves among the triggerfish. Quickly switching rods and two casts later, Mike was fighting hand to hand with one of them, again his experience and impassive calm gave him the victory. It was mid-morning by the time Mike and David made the decision to go after the Grand Slam. With this new objective in mind, they devised a strategy together and headed for the Red Lagoon, where they hoped to find protection from the wind, some hungry tarpon and perhaps some snook to extend the feat to a Super Grand Slam. Not long after their arrival at the lagoon, they spotted some tarpon moving in and out of a large mangrove that, with its roots like Roman columns, traced the paths where these restless fish moved. In spite of Mike’s accurate casts, the wary tarpon did not decide to test the sharpness of his hooks. He changed his strategy, chose one of the paths between the mangrove roots where the tarpon were entering and leaving, placed his fly there, and waited. Twenty minutes and a few line corrections to reposition the fly later, these mischievous silver torpedoes were still nowhere to be seen. Somewhat tired but not at all dejected, Mike and David decided it was a good time for lunch. Everything was laughter and anecdotes in the shade of the mangrove swamp while they enjoyed their lunch until David and his sixth sense spotted a lone tarpon heading towards them. Mike quickly grabbed his rod with his beloved gurgler that had given him so much joy, but something inside him told him that this time it was not the fly he needed to fool his rival and he asked David to hand him the rod where he had the black and purple Woolly Bugger he had tied especially for this trip and to specifically tempt that tarpon that was swimming nonchalantly towards them. A soft, slow cast was all it took to present his Woolly Bugger to his long-awaited potential rival, and without a second’s hesitation, the latter went after it. Mike’s heart stopped the instant the delicate violet fibers of the marabou, along with the black chenille and its sharp hook, disappeared into the depths of his dark mouth, still not breathing, he tightened his line once, twice and after times until he felt the line firmly transmit the weight of his rival to him. Three runs and some acrobatic jumps later, between his hands he held the victory that not only had made him achieve a new Grand Slam, but also had elevated him to the category of HERO, at least for me.

ESB Angler with Tarpon

That night, with the humility that only comes from experience and knowledge acquired through many days with his feet in the water of a river or a Caribbean beach, Mike shared with all of us some of his pearls of wisdom, which we thanked him for with a toast. It is no coincidence that Mike was proclaimed winner of the Woolly Bugger Challenge 2024 by catching a tarpon; I don’t know if you remember that he was also the winner of the previous edition by landing eight bonefish with that same fly. We have set as a new goal to land a permit with a woolly bugger, I sincerely have no doubt that he will do it and he will no longer be a hero, he will be a legend!

Friday and Saturday were two exact copies of the previous days in terms of weather, with winds rotating between east and southeast and speeds ranging between 16 and 22 mph, annoying and untimely clouds that greatly affected the sighting of fish and the making of effective shots. The tarpon, snook and bonefish were in charge of delivering a few doses of adrenaline to our anglers, but the permit, the target species of the whole group, seemed to be playing hide and seek and on the occasions when they were spotted, it was the Hurricane God who was in charge of making the shots to tempt them ineffective.

Mike Scott with Permit

This week, the winds that started with speeds of 13 mph increased until ending the week with gusts of 23 or 24 mph, being the undisputed protagonists. The thick clouds were a determining factor, in some cases, for the effective sighting of the different species that populate the bay. The tides were absolutely unpredictable, with extremely fast ebbs and surges due to the effect of the wind, especially during the first days of the week.

The palometas were tempted with the classic crabs and shrimps, such as Flexo Crab, ESB Spawning Shrimp, Casa Blanca, ESB Yellow Eyes Rag Head Crab, etc.
For tarpon and snook, medium-sized, EP-style baits were chosen, as usual, in all the wide range of colors that these types of patterns usually present, but take my advice and tie on some Woolly Buggers; you never know when they will give you BIG joy.
Bonefish in shrimp and crab patterns in sizes no larger than #6 and #8.

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).

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

Tarpon Woolly Bugger

Mike Scott Tarpon Wooly Bugger Fly

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