October 01 – 08, 2023 #31
Welcome to the Caribbean,
What a great week we have had! The almost non-existent winds were again a prominent actor, but perhaps it was the high temperatures that took the leading role, complicating the days of our guests.
So, this week we can hold the Mayan god K’inich Ajaw (Lord of the Solar Eye or the solar face) responsible. The most frequent symbol to name him was the quadripetal flower of the glyph k’in (Sun, day, time and feast), which alludes to the four directions of the cosmos or cardinal points as we know them today and is also the reason why the head of the solar deity was used to represent the number 4 (chan or k’an). His anthropomorphic images, as a distinctive symbol, frequently show this quadripetal flower on the face or body. They have jaguar ears, beards as a metaphor for the sun’s rays, upper teeth filed in the shape of a T or shark’s tooth, blunt nose, an 8-shaped rolled-up virgula between the eyebrows and large square eyes that show a strong strabismus. Here it is worth mentioning that the ancient Maya considered strabismus to be a quality of extreme beauty, even mothers hung resin balls from their children’s hair, which fell on their eyes, forcing them to twist them so that they were squinting. The importance of this deity was directly reflected in the rulers of the great cities of the classical period. Mainly because they called themselves Kinich, because they considered themselves protected by the great Solar God.
We could say that the high temperatures already tortured the ancient Maya, to such an extent that they made him a God that required sacrifices and rituals so as not to punish them with droughts and diseases. Letting this idea digress a little, today we would have the air conditioning God, assisted by the priests Gatorade and Sunscreen that would keep us safe from the evil demons Global warming and ozone hole.
Under the protection of this God and contemporary priests we were visited by Tim Lynch, Ron Reif, Evertt Boy, Steve Unsworth, Bruce Deprister, Vinny Foti, Chris Ryan and Charles Thorne who chose us to have his first saltwater experience.
Monday greeted our anglers with some isolated clouds that left some moderate showers in some spots around the bay around mid-morning, which served to make the heat of the day feel a little less. Bonefish, snook, snappers and jacks were the menu of the day, with almost everyone having a go at the elusive “palometas” but not managing to put any wins on the scoreboard. Charles came back really impressed after his first day of saltwater fishing, he already took the bait, and it is very unlikely that he will be able to free himself for the rest of his life.
Tuesday started out with bright sunshine that was only slightly overshadowed by some whimsical clouds at the end of the day. Ron and Evert broke the ice landing their first permit of the week with a 12lb tippet, quite a feat, but not content with that they upped the ante and conquered their Grand Slam, Tim joined the party with another Grand Slam. Yes, my friend, that’s right, three Grand Slams in one day. Charles continued to add experience by tempting a permit school for over an hour, but they refused to participate in his game.
As Wednesday’s sun continued to beat down on the bay, the complete absence of wind made it more noticeable, but the bonefish didn’t seem to mind and gladly took all the bait that came their way, closing the day with a more than significant number of catches. In the afternoon, as on the previous day, some clouds appeared, which helped us to endure the high temperatures a little more.
With the fourth day of fishing underway, the heat continued to get hotter, but our intrepid anglers were not intimidated and responded to the manifestations of K’inich Ajaw (The face of the sun) with what they do best, continue to add catches. Chris responded with a beautiful Snook, a few bones and a big jack. Tim added a new permit to his tally and the star of the day was Charles who on his fourth day of saltwater fishing caught his first permit! Of course, we honored him with the ritual welcome to the permit anglers club at dinner that night.
Friday continued to be hot, but our anglers opted for a new tactic to combat it, they used indifference and it gave excellent results, Vinny and Christ added a few permits to their cards and Chris crowned it with a Grand Slam, Evert had already lost count of his bonefish, tarpon and jacks catches by lunchtime. Tim experienced a rather atypical and funny situation, while casting to a mixed school of bonefish, jacks and permit, the devil stuck his tail (as we say in Argentina), and the first three sections of the rod accompanied the fly on its long flight, landing right in the middle of the school. A bonefish takes his fly wildly and starts his race among the rocks at the bottom of a shallow bay, but not having the thinner sections of the rod to absorb the attacks of this energetic fish, his tippet ends up saying “enough, this is too much for me”, leaving the three sections of the rod floating almost vertically in the middle of the school. A long series of pleas and prayers began so that the currents, provoked by the tide, would move the sections of the rod away from the school and bring them closer to the skiff, but the devil’s tail continued to do its thing and as if it were a pique indicator, that vertical and thin buoy formed by the three sections of the rod began to move as one more member of that mixed school of fish. With no more saints, patron saints or deities vaguely remembered by the skiff’s occupants to turn to, our guide resorted to the extreme resource, jumped into the water and went in search of the rod sections with the consequent stampede of the whole school.
On the last day of fishing this week, Chris measured his strength with a fabulous 70-pound tarpon that made him apply all his years of experience for a moment, selling his defeat at a high price. Steve, for those who have had the immense pleasure of knowing him, will know what I mean. He could not have a normal fishing situation, because among his many virtues, he has the ability to make the impossible possible, and this was a clear example of what I am talking about. With his lifelong adventure partner, they were circling the waters of the bay in search of permit, after a few chances for Vinny, Steve said “when is my turn?!?!?!”, and Vinny, being an English gentleman, but from the United States, invited him to get on the deck and take his place. Steve takes his rod, takes his fly and it is not very clear, there are several versions of what happened, he drops it in the water, makes a roll cast or makes a shot not too far away so that when he gets on the deck, he is ready to cast. He starts to bring some line to get ready for a future cast and ……. oh!!! Surprise! Something has taken his fly, he starts a fast run and as the yards of backing left his reel, the theories or suspicions about what species it was that took his bluff circulated among Belen’s crew, it’s a Jack, not a bonefish, it could be a permit. Four runs and almost fifteen minutes later a beautiful permit was caught by the hands of our guide. It would not be fair or ethical for me to tell you about all the praise and accolades he received from happy hour, dinner and the next day when I saw them off on the plane.
I will leave to your discretion and good judgment how you evaluate or rate our week at ESB, for us it was excellent, full of laughter, anecdotes and good conversations that every now and then were interrupted by some ill-mannered fish that dared to interrupt the moment.
It is a real honor for me to tell you that Pancho, our waiter, and Freddy, our housekeeping, have landed their first permit this week, from the coast and almost in front of the lodge. I will have to put my rods and flies in a safe place because I think two fishing giants have woken up.
The wind was absent all week, the maximum speed barely brushed 8 mph and the minimum if not zero, was no more than one mph.
Well-marked and predictable tides have been the norm for the last few weeks.
While we did have a few showers, they never lasted more than 45 minutes and were more than welcome relief from the high temperatures.
Nothing new under the Caribbean sun, “, so I invite you to continue relying on the immortal classics of the bay, Squimps, Spawning Shrimp (tan and white) white and tan Casa Blanca ragheads.
Tarpon and snook still fall inexorably into the disappointment if tempted with EP streamers Baitfish black/purple, white/chartreuse, black/red, tan/white, solid white, tarpon toads worked well in similar color schemes.
As for the bonefish, what can I tell you, this week absolutely everything that was put in front of them worked, so I invite you not to be shy and on your next trip to ESB get creative and let’s look for the fly that doesn’t work with this species.
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