September 15 – 22, 2019
Good morning Esb Lodge Anglers & Fans,
Esb Lodge had the pleasure of hosting another great week of guests. We had returning friends Bob Sytz and Bill Hayes. Both of these gentlemen came last year and are settling into an annual trip to fish ESB. I also had the pleasure of fishing with close friend Don Morris a few days. Don has situated work, family, and personal to make two trips a year to visit us, once in the spring and again to enjoy our fall fishing. We were also happy to show Jeff and Sabrina Sellmeyer what it means to fish this wonderful place. They are new to our operation and have sealed themselves into the mold of our ever-growing family and those that enjoy a pristine and wonderful place. Good times were had by all with fishing, eating, drinking, and laughing.
As with any fishing destination one travels to, a large amount of success if based entirely on Mother Nature. We had mixed weather throughout the week that made for some difficult conditions. Guests also enjoyed glass like conditions under sunny skies that provided a new light and optimal conditions. Permit fishing still has been difficult with our numbers down compared to last year’s early fall fishing. We located three to four decent size schools on the southside of the bay closer to our launch. A few permit were landed the first day by guest Rob Blackbeard. Our last day fishing, along with the good visibility guests landed 5 permit all on the north side and one flat located far in the southwestern corner of the bay. I am optimistic that permit numbers will rise with light winds from last week and the forecast for this upcoming week. Guest Rob Blackbeard held the high number of permit landed for the week with four and collectively the group landed eight.
This brings our seasonal total to 301 permit landed with 191 guests thus far.
Our tarpon and snook fishing have been the highlight of our fishery for the past two weeks. We have been seeing great numbers of fish moving through along the northern shore. With a couple days of light north winds we see schools of fish close to shore hunting large schools of sardines. A couple boats on the last day each saw roughly 30 tarpon all scattered on our northern flats. This is incredible and very fun for anglers to get multiple shots to fish in a more “user friendly” environment. Majority of our tarpon fishing calls for precise casts, tight into small pockets located along a mangrove lined shoreline. It’s a special experience to see these fish out in the open rolling in large numbers. Guides and I encouraged guests to dedicate their time chasing these fish. I expect the tarpon fishing to hold strong for the next few weeks with numbers of snook increasing. We get to experience one of the best fall snook fisheries in the world. This will carry through the remaining weeks of our 2019 season.
Bonefish were readily available when light conditions were favorable, and some very large fish are sometimes found on the same northern flats we are seeing Tarpon. It can be hard for guests to turn down multiple rolling tarpon, or a large cruising snook to chase a bonefish. I am thoroughly impressed with the numbers of large bonefish we see this time of year. It is never ending education ESB provides us and why we see these different schools of bonefish in the fall versus other times of the year is unknown to us.
Weather for the week varied with heavy cloud cover and scattered rain showers in the beginning of the week. Mid-week saw more blue sky, with lighter winds that were from the northeast. Wind was normal for this time of year, rarely exceeding 10 MPH. Tides were very high for the week. We saw tides coming in all day with an outgoing tide well after guests were off the water.
Permit flies that proved successful were Squimps, white Ragheads, and Rob Blackbeard had tied small olive/brown crabs that worked well for him.
Bonefish were taken on any manner of smaller shrimp patterns such as Gotchas, Charlies, and Puffs. Hook sizes ranged from #4 – #8.
Tarpon and Snook were landed on a variety of EP baitfish as well as toads color schemes chartreuse/white and blk/purple. These flies were more productive on a slightly larger #2/0 TMC 600 series hook. I encourage those that are coming down in the following weeks to please make sure you adequately stocked with a nice variety of tarpon and snook flies. You can call The Fly Shop and they will insure you are properly equipped. You can also refer to our Travel Tackle Planner all guests are sent to review suggested patterns for tarpon and snook. These are not generic lists and we feel these selections work best for our fishery.
Our kitchen and house staff continued to provide guests with wonderful dishes and a working, comfortable environment. It is routinely noted on the quality of our dishes and it’s something we take great pride in serving authentic, delicious meals for all to enjoy.
This week we are excited to have some familiar faces return. Guest Devin Sears fished with us last spring and is excited to bring along friend Darren Bykowski. We also have a wonderful couple who Chiara and I met in Redding a few years back and I am glad to see them check out ESBL. Victor and Judy Inouye have traveled to many destinations and it was great to see them step off the plane Sunday.
Please set aside some time for yourself this week to enjoy your local water, be active in local conservation and enjoy another beautiful early fall week. Drop by or give our friends at The Fly Shop a call to inquire about this special place or any questions about future travel, local intel, or just to enjoy a friendly conversation. Be safe, and or course stay tuned for next week’s fishing report.
From a special corner in the Yucatan,
Saludos desde el Caribe Mexicana