September 24 – October 1, 2023 #30
Welcome to the Caribbean,
We have had a good week, with the clouds as clear protagonists and the null winds as secondary protagonists. This morning, as I watched the sun mark the beginning of the day and marveled at the strange and opulent clouds that the sun began to illuminate, I thought about which Mayan God could be “to blame” for this new fishing report, so I started to investigate and to my surprise I discovered that the Mayan culture went much further than assigning a deity to the creation of clouds and rain.
For the Mayan culture, in its almost infinite wisdom, clouds and rain are the result of the divine action of gods and goddesses who work together to distribute the vital liquid that nourishes the mountains and men.
The Mayas of today, when they see rain, associate and read the specific characteristics of this phenomenon through an ancestral knowledge inherited over thousands of years.
For example, in the community of Xocén, Yucatán, the people believe that there are 16 types of clouds, each one associated with a Cháak (God of rain).
Anthropologist Silvia Terán Contreras, head of the Research and Curatorial Department of the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya in Mérida, theorizes that the existence of multiple rain gods and goddesses with different names and characteristics reflects a very fine and precise typology of the different regional rains, their origin and characteristics, as well as their effects on crops. This empirical and ancestral knowledge is unknown to climatologists, and because it is expressed in mythological form, it has not been, nor is it considered a source of knowledge.
In the field of science, today’s specialists can read, with the help of radars and satellites, the climate at a macro scale, that is to say, in a very general way.
On the other hand, the Mayan peasants, based on the knowledge inherited from generation to generation, and on the other hand empirical, know how to read with admirable precision the clouds, and consequently the rains.
When referring to the gods associated to the rain, called Cháako-ob in plural (different manifestations of God Cháak) I comment on the characteristics of some that the Mayas of today attribute to them.
For example we have “Sak Papa-atun Cháak” is the one who brings the best rains, “Cháak Papa-atun Cháak” those that are not very beneficial, “Ee-Papa-atun Cháak” are good in their time, “Ye-ebatun Cháak” or “Yiiba-atun Cháak” is the one who brings the drizzle, “Ts-iban-an Ka-an” brings shade with the clouds without giving rain, "Sisal Ka-an Cháak" are fine to cool the earth before the rain and “Soolotka-an Cháak” which is the goddess that brings the black cloud that looks like rain, rises, disperses, but does not rain, and its direction is always southeast.
In short, this week we have been visited by Ts-iban-an Ka-an, Cháak Papa-atun Cháak and Soolotka-an Cháak, giving us a beautiful repertoire of gray days, lacking shadows and endowing the surface of the water with that typical silvery leaden reflection that we fishermen don’t like so much.
Guests demonstrating their strengths, fishing-wise, in these conditions were Don Morris, Joe Zell, Bruce Dines, James Orford, Rowan Gordon, Scott Mayer and Ron Caspers.
Monday and Tuesday started out sunny and turned gray as the day wore on, with the waters of the bay still due to the lack of wind. Spotting nervous waters in the distance was not a big problem, but as nature always seeks balance, the fish could also see the skiffs and the anglers from a greater distance as well. This made the chances of making accurate shots at the target species chosen by almost everyone this week, the permit, even more complicated. Bonefish, tarpons, snooks and snappers were excellent to warm up arms, rods and lines during the fishing days.
Wednesday dawned gray and it seemed to be a day like the previous ones, where the permit would be easily seen in the distance and would disappear when the anglers entered the shooting area, but it was not like that, Rowan managed to fool a beautiful specimen that surpassed 20lbs. In the first contact of his life with this species and after a brief fight his tippet denied him the joy and us the excuse to party that night. James, on the other hand, took advantage of his opportunity and landed a permit that set his personal record. Joe landed his first good-sized tarpon, along with his first barracuda, so we still found an excuse to celebrate during dinner.
On Thursday morning, the rains brought by Sak Papa-atun Cháak were good for everyone, except for the fishermen and guides who endured stoically until almost noon, when the sun finally made its presence felt. With this favorable change in conditions, they were able to spot even more permits, but these remained reluctant to take their flies. They found some mixed schools where permit, jacks and bonefish were moving together. The vagaries of fate meant that invariably on every good shot they made at one of these schools, a bonefish or jack would apply its speed and take the fly before the coveted permits. They also spotted several schools of bonefish tailing near the shorelines, something Don took full advantage of with his #6 medium action rod, fighting great and very entertaining battles.
Like the 1993 movie, Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, Friday was an exact copy of Thursday’s day, with one more than substantial difference, for me. I accompanied Don on a half-day fishing trip. For any fishing lover the fact of practicing it is already a great satisfaction, but for a guide who has spent more time sitting in front of the computer than fishing, as I have been lately, it is something that is really appreciated. Between laughter and anecdotes, we caught bonefish and jacks, while the clouds only let us see the surface permit at long distances, as was almost the constant of the week.
The dawn of the last day foretold that the gray days were finally over, as the sun was shining clean and majestic. It seems that both the fish and the anglers welcomed this warm look and were much more predisposed than the previous days. Rowan landed several Permit and even crowned a Grand Slam! Scott and Ron finally had their dream day, with tarpons and snook desperate to take their hooks. Don landed a big jack and it was the finishing touch to his two weeks with us.
It never ceases to amaze me how the good attitude of the anglers and their desire to have a good time always end up being above the cold numbers of daily catches, and how the Mayan, Aztec, Greek, Christian or Hindu god of your choice ends up rewarding them with their long-awaited wish.
As I already mentioned, most of the week was monopolized by high, medium and low clouds that limited the view in the bay.
Winds had a maximum speed of 10 mph and a minimum of 5 mph, almost always from an easterly direction with some slight variations to the southeast or northeast, generally at the end of the day.
We had several periods of moderate to light showers that fortunately did not come with significant electrical components.
The tides were very marked by the absence of wind.
Like last week the permit were receptive to various types of flies such as the Flexo Crab, ESB Yellow Eyes Raghead, and the champion of the week was the white, Casa Blanca Crab.
Tarpon and Snook were not forgiving of EP’s baitfish presentations, especially in black and violet or purple. If you visit us soon, please don’t forget to bring your intermediate and sinking line to go in search of the big tarpons.
The bonefish took on everything that was presented to them, shrimp and crabs of all sizes and colors available.
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