Fishing Report
August 20 – 27 2023 #25

ESB Jumping Tarpon

ESB Angler with Tarpon

Welcome to the Caribbean!

In the book Popol Vuh of the Mayan culture, the equivalent of the Christian Genesis, where it is narrated how everything was created, it tells how Tepeu and Gucumatz decided the creation of the earth, trees, animals, birds and human beings. It also tells how they decided to endow the sky with a heart and give it the powers of a god they called Hurricane, with the mission of punishing humanity by means of strong storms if they did not behave properly. So if we take as true the Mayan affirmations, the God Hurricane is punishing with certain severity the inhabitants of the Caribbean with tropical storms and hurricanes that are created and move through the Pacific Ocean as well as the Atlantic Ocean. If we choose to continue believing in the Mayan claims we are not behaving so badly because none of these tropical storms or hurricanes have affected us directly and have always kept us at the edge of their areas of influence, perhaps as a reminder that they are watching over us and showing us their power if we stray from the path we are traveling.

ESB Angler with Snook

All this demonstration of power has left us with a week of extremely changeable weather where weather forecasts would not hold for more than a few hours before changing, in some cases to totally opposite predictions to the previous ones.

Despite all this daily weather uncertainty, our guests Jim and Brock Anderson, Kimberley Hostetler, Bruce Ruben, Kent Hoffman, Bob Johnson, Ryan Fields and Jon Milchman, excellent people and very good anglers enjoyed generally good weather with light winds from variable directions throughout the week, mostly cloudy days and a few showers, but which allowed almost all of the fishing days to be enjoyed.

Monday started with light clouds and light winds from the southeast that rotated during the day and stayed north in the afternoon. Our anglers took advantage of every opportunity they had in the bay and as a result of their expertise ended the day with Ryan, Brock and Bruce scoring a few permit on their scorecards and Bruce adding tarpon and bonefish to set up a Grand Slam on the first day!

The second day of fishing started with some thicker clouds that increased their presence as the day went on, and the light winds began to show themselves as the constant of the week, as well as their directional changes. Without a definite target species for the week, our group of anglers enjoyed the variety of the bay, counting tarpon, bonefish, snook, snapper, barracuda, etc. among their catches, leaving everyone with the feeling of having enjoyed a good day of fishing.

Wednesday woke us up with moderate showers that, although intermittent in the middle of the morning, were accompanied by a strong electrical component, which forced our guides to seek the safety of the harbor because of the forecast of new storms during the afternoon. They had enough time to expand the catalog of species caught by adding specimens of tarpon, snook and bonefish as well as some new varieties of snappers to their logbooks. Some of our guests could not resist that itch that all anglers have in their hands and that can only be removed by wielding our rods and lines in front of a body of water and decided to take advantage of the window of time we had before the arrival of the new storm front, as the satellite images showed, and toured the beaches near the lodge where they added trigger fish to the list.

The fourth fishing day started with the remnants of the previous day’s storm, but luckily it got better after midday. Undoubtedly the star of the day was Kimberley, who managed to score her first Grand Slam! As you know, we have little trouble finding reasons to celebrate and Kimberley’s feat was the perfect reason to do so with a few shots of tequila.

ESB Angler with Permit

The weather on Friday continued with the same dynamics of the previous days, with light winds that changed direction during the day and low clouds that in some cases let in a few shy rays of sunshine. With this panorama, our guides, old wolves of the sea, decided to execute the same plan, it was the perfect day to tempt the big tarpon of the channel. Brock was one of those who managed to fight a duel with these silver giants, despite the fact that they seemed to be immune to the sharpness of their hooks, and on more than half a dozen occasions they managed to free themselves, but Brock, without ceasing in his efforts, finally managed to win the victory. Kimberley, in her uncontainable desire to catch as many species as possible, added a ray to her list of species and logically gave us reason to celebrate again during dinner.

Without realizing it, we reached the morning of the last fishing day of the week and some of our anglers decided to tempt again the big silver torpedoes that inhabit the deep waters of the channel and this time it was Kimberley who was the winner.  I cannot fail to mention and highlight the spirit of the group that despite the dark weather forecasts with which we went to bed or woke up every day always kept a positive attitude, as we say “seeing the glass half full” and that same attitude is what led them to take advantage of each of the opportunities they had throughout the week.

As you can see, we had a very good week, with the weather keeping us in a constant suspense in the style of Ken Follett, Dan Brown or Dean Koontz novels and, as in the books created by these authors, the protagonists, in this case our guests, come out victorious thanks to their attitude, skills and resilience.

ESB Angler with Snook

Perhaps the word that best defines this week’s weather is “unpredictable”. The last tails of a tropical disturbance that ended up disappearing when passing over Puerto Rico at the beginning of the week created the perfect conditions for the birth, almost in front of the lodge, of the low pressure area that at first was called 96LA and today we all know as Tropical Storm Idalia and that according to the predictions this afternoon will rise to Hurricane category and will seek the coasts of Florida in the next few days. All this created a great instability in the weather of the area that kept only one constant variable, light winds that throughout the week and even during the day came to blow from the four cardinal points.

We had occasional showers, especially in the afternoon or evening, which were light, moderate and heavy, but always for short periods of time.

The tides while very marked were largely affected by changes in wind direction.

All of our classic permit flies produced: Squimps, Spawning Shrimp (tan and white) white and tan Casa Blanca ragheads. If you are coming in the following weeks, you must arm yourself with a solid assortment of the listed flies above. While guests enjoyed good success this last week with permit it was partially due to being properly outfitted with the exact patterns we demand.

Tarpon flies that worked were EP Baitfish black/purple, white/chartreuse, black/red, tan/white, solid white, tarpon toads worked well in similar color schemes. It is important to have different colors for these fish and a lot of the specific water conditions will result in our color choice.

Snook were landed on all the same flies as our tarpon but required more natural colors that represent the abundant sardines, we see this time of year. Tan/white, everglades, yellow, grey/white all produced for us.

Pick a fly out of your box and it works for bonefish. They attacked tarpon flies tied on 60 lb.  They ate spawning shrimp on 2 lb tippet. Our “normal” assortment worked well in sizes #2 – #6.  All manner of Gotchas, Beck’s Sili Legs, Christmas islands, Bitters, and Clousers were a safe bet.

This week has proven, once again, that the sum of our guests’ desire to enjoy and have a good time coupled with the excellent attitude of our guides and staff to make that possible is our trump card, so recognizing and thanking the entire ESB family for their good work is a real understatement.

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 Lodge family

ESB Angler with Bonefish

ESB Angler with Tarpon

ESB Guest Group Shot

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