June 23 – 30, 2019
Good Morning Esb Lodge Anglers & Fans,
Our final week of the first half of the season has come to a close here in the Yucatan. We have been fortunate enough to finish with a week full of great weather, incredible fishing and wonderful company. The weather has given us a break to finish things off, and we experienced some of the nicest days in the last ten weeks. Reduced winds, lower tides and little cloud cover created fantastic fishing conditions. All four target species were seen and caught, with another week of incredible permit numbers. Tarpon and snook that have been elusive lately moved from deep in the mangroves for ample sight fishing opportunities. Our kitchen and house staff finished off strong, presenting another week full of incredible meals and comfortable living conditions. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better week to end the season.
With large schools of permit and water levels evening out, the bay really showed us her full potential. Between chasing huge schools of permit, single permit in shallow water, tarpon and snook in the mangroves and large migratory tarpon in the opening of the bay, the guests this week truly experienced what the system has to offer. We started the week off with a bang, landing 11 permit in the first day. The large school congregating on the southern shore of the bay in the afternoon were still in the area and feeding from the last week. All four boats fished this area in the afternoon on Monday, with three different anglers all hooked up at one time. We continued to focus on this area in the afternoons for the next couple of days. We were extremely pleased to not only encounter permit in large schools in this specific area, but also come across schools and singles/doubles in our backcountry shallow flats systems. Permit were located and caught this week cruising and tailing in shallow sandy flats. Some of the most attractive aspects to this bay is the proximity of the species; one might find themselves looking for snook in the mangroves when the guide unexpectedly announces a permit coming at your 6 o’clock. Luciano and Roberto Alba, owners and operators of Estancia Laguna Verde in Argentina accompanied us this week with a very open mindset regarding he fishery. Luciano set out on Monday with guide Fernando and succeed landing his first and second permit on the fly. Long time friend of Laguna Verde, Andy Snedden enjoyed an incredible week of pursuing permit, landing an incredible total of six during his stay. After a week of hunting tarpon and permit in Cuba, Alfredo Carballude joined us and was quite impressed with the numbers and shots at permit in the bay. He finished his week landing five permit, with countless other encounters. Anglers Jeff Hewett, Ralph Midkiff, Jim Jackson and Dough Leyendecker of Houston, TX joined us for their second stay at the lodge. We were happy to have them back for a week of great conditions and stellar fishing. They landed multiple permit amongst the four of them, while locating countless other schools and feeding fish in shallow water. Permit fishing for the week was fantastic. The numbers of fish within the school that were located were incredible; 100 and over at some points! We were thrilled with not only locating these large schools in our “house flat” on the southern shore of the bay, but also encountering great numbers of permit in or backcountry river systems.
With the calmer conditions experienced this week, we were able to pursue tarpon in the northern entrance of the bay. The guests came prepared with rigs conducive to chase these larger fish. 4 -5 tarpon were landed in the deep water entrance to the bay. One very large fish in the 70-80 pound range was hooked and fought, but spit the hook after 15 minutes. We were pleasantly surprised to chase the rolling tarpon after many weeks off heavy winds and rough conditions. If the bay is too rough, these fish can be hard to pursue. The guests experienced 3 -4 days throughout the week of starting off chasing these fish in the morning. Juvenile tarpon were also caught and located in the backcountry waters of the bay. With the decrease of wind during the week, less water has been pushed into the bay allowing for optimal juvenile tarpon and snook fining. We ended the week with 7 tarpon caught, and multiple others jumped and located.
The group collectively landed 28 permit this week, which brings our season total to 255 permit with 154 guests.
The snook also made an appearance this week. We were able to locate multiple schools of snook, as well as singles in open water pushed out from the mangroves due to the lower water levels. This was a great encounter, as these fish have been tucked away deep in the mangroves during the recent weeks. Guests Luciano, Roberto, Alfredo and Andy were successful in landing their first snook on the fly rod. The group collectively landed 17 snook.
The weather this week was what we have been anticipating for quite awhile now. Winds subsided and the fishery really showed its true colors. We started out with moderate to heavy coming out of the Southeast. As the week progressed, less and less wind came through the bay leading to a beautiful coupe of days to end the week. Tides were rising for a couple hours in the morning, and then falling for the rest of the day. Tide swings were of about one foot or so.
The size #4 white crab continued to be our most productive pattern for permit. We seem to be seeing a pattern with the #2 Tan Squimp and #2-4 white crab being our go to permit flies for the bay. A few fish were taken on other tan/white spawning shrimp imitations. Tarpon were caught on black and purple EP style baitfish patterns. Snook were landed with similar patterns in a more natural color scheme; tan/white, white/pearl and olive/white.
Kitchen staff finished the season off strong, presenting delicious meals in incredible presentations. We are very proud of the dishes we serve, and continue to be impressed with the hard work and preparation of our kitchen staff. The house staff was on hand to accommodate any requests and ensure the guests had an enjoyable stay.
We are extremely pleased with the first half of the season we have had here at ESBL. Heavy winds for the last 10 weeks has made for some challenging conditions, but our guides pushed through it and consistently had people on fish. We are all excited for a bit of down time, as the lodge will be free of guests for the next 6 weeks. This will give us time to make repairs, improvements and some much needed rest for the guides and staff. We hope you all have a great summer and enjoy some nice days out on the water. Don’t forget to contact The Fly Shop to enquire about a visit to this wonderful saltwater fishing destination. For now tight lines, and make sure to look for our next fishing report as we start the season back up come mid August.
We thank everyone for another great week and please contact The Fly Shop for additional information on this wonderful operation. We hope those of you in the Northern Hemisphere are enjoying the summer and getting some opportunities to fish some of your local waters.
From a special corner of the Yucatan,
Saludos desde el Caribe Mexicana