October 09 – 16, 2022
We’ve wrapped up another fantastic week here on the playa as we move into the heart of the fall season. ESB had the honor of seeing our returning friends and enjoyed some newcomers that were touted along to experience this wonderful place. Lorenzo blessed us with his umpteenth trip to this part of the jungle. He has locked himself in and is buried in the cultural bedrock of our ESB identity. When I close my eyes and scan through faces of guests (it’s a lot) we’ve had over the years he’s one that comes to mind. Demeanor of a “cool cat” with a witty swagger and a solid appetite for great literature, we enjoy him immensely and the guides have an absolute blast fishing with him. Viki Dietchler was back for her annual week, and she dumped her significant other for a change and invited her brother to join her for his first flats fishing trip. I love it, Viki is a wonderful woman who personally takes the time to seek out all our employees – guides and staff and check in with them. Breaking down the barrier of guest to guide is her style and the great vibe she gives is infectious. Rocky Lipsman and Leo Harf were back for another week and added a very pleasant presence with some classic jokes. Peek Garlington, an incredibly accomplished outdoorsman on all counts came in Wednesday and brought newcomer John Staton. John is on a mission and is getting back into saltwater fly fishing and will be adding us to his yearly itinerary of fishing trips. We had a fun time, great conversation, and poked a fish or two throughout the week.
I was nervous beginning of last week. Hurricane Julia made landfall as mentioned before in the last report, but I knew the side effects were going to make their way to our neighborhood. Nicaragua is a long way off from here, but the dirty side of storms send a shrapnel of bad weather and usually trigger additional small, isolated storms with heavy rain. We were in the outer band to where the shrapnel landed but it still hit us. Pounding rain, heavy clouds, and a weird east wind was added for good measure. This obviously is not our favorite recipe of weather we try to serve our guests, but we make do with what we have. I expected everyone to return Monday early from fishing with only a small area in the bay deemed safe to fish. I wouldn’t permit the guides to cross the bay, nor did they want to. We found fish in small, protected pockets and were still able to make it a good day. Guide Victor ran with Rocky and Leo about 5 minutes to a spot where they bumped into a school of tarpon. We usually don’t see a lot of tarpon there as it’s close to the fishing village and there’s a lot of boat traffic and movement around. They enjoyed the welcomed surprise appearance and jumped 9 total and landed a few the first morning. Rocky’s first cast of the week was tight to a tarpon. Not a bad start! They were able to locate some smaller snook not far off from Red Lagoon. I superstitiously am nervous about how the remainder of the week would be after a start like that.
Things became a little more difficult as the week progressed. All the freshwater due to the rain finally leached into the system. I could scream. We were dying for a nice low tide after having a high for almost two weeks straight. Well, with the low tide the freshwater floods into the bays and crushes the river systems in some spots. It’s always something… My suggestion for the group was to chase whatever the guides thought would work, tarpon, bonefish, pufferfish, needlefish, stingrays – anything! We were able to work through some spots down by river 4 and 5 for tarpon and bonefish. Rio Locos held a push of schooled bonefish confused about the salinity content. Snook were around Locos and back on the systems closer to the southeast side. I am happy to say the snook are becoming more apparent with a drop in the tide and they tolerate varying water conditions. It’s been a slow start for our fall snook fishing, and it’s been hard to consistently find them. Hopefully after last week we can continue the trend and more will start to come in. Bonefishing was decent in spots, but we had to work a little harder in some areas to find them. Bonefish hate freshwater and will vacate the flats and hold in deeper water until conditions return to normal. Everyone that wanted chase them were able to find some and they ate our shrimp patterns willingly.
Permit fishing was tough and at times brutal. I’ve become a little exasperated with them and we’re struggling to maintain a good permit session. Tuesday there was an empty boat and I figured rather than mope around the lodge in the rain I’d mope in the rain while on the boat. I am notorious for preaching about enjoying the different species our bay has, taking in the diversity, and catching what’s made available to you by our hard-working guides. I ignored all of that and subjected myself and my close friend Nando to chasing permit all day. I saw one that popped up at 20 feet and vanished. That’s it and that’s all we saw for permiting 8 hours. It’s a dizzying and humbling day standing on the bow staring into the abyss wondering what the heck am I thinking and how can the pull of catching one particular fish suck me into such throes of torture. We took breaks and Fernando and I caught up together which made it more than worthwhile for me to spend a day on the water. I hadn’t fished with him since February, so we enjoyed each other’s company and joked and talked about all manner of things. I had him take the boat over to a dolphin pod we saw in Tabasquenos and we watched them tear through schools of small sardines. There was a baby no more than 4 feet long that was launching itself out of the water in a playful manner and was very cute to watch. The permit are in the middle of the bay and that’s where they’ll stay for the time being. If we can kick the freshwater, return to normal tide swings, and get a consistent wind direction, then we’ll see good fishing. Perhaps we see a change this coming week? Who knows, and I am confident things will change sooner than later. Michael Leaman enjoyed his week immensely chasing all manner of fish and soaking up his first saltwater trip. There’s a fun innocence to witness with new anglers and it was a blast listening to him tell us about each day at dinner. He was out with Pepe and succeeded in landing his first tarpon. They were chasing a small school of what they thought were bonefish due to the bad light which in turn ended up being small permit. He pulled one from the school and landed his first permit which turned in full circle as a grand slam. Great job and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
This was our only permit landed for the week with 7 guests and our season totals are 440 permit with 222 guests.
Permit were landed on a small shrimp pattern. Tarpon and snook ate the usual toads and EP baitfish in variety of colors. Bonefish happily ate most shrimp patterns size #2 – #8
Weather for the week was mostly cloudy with east winds and scattered rain. Tide was lower in the morning but rising midday. We also had a weird tidal flip starting Thursday with a high in the morning and dropping in the afternoon. This is all driven by wind.
Chef Luis and sous chef Angel worked hard in our two kitchens and keep us well fed with their delicious cuisine. Emmanuel and the house staff kept everything up and running and made sure guests were comfortable with a well-maintained lodge.
We’ve got a great week lined up for us here as we welcome back a returning crew that hails from Houston and Austin Texas. I’ve polished off my first of three bags of Prasek’s jerky close friend Kevin Vincent brought me. It was a blast last night at dinner as we all caught up with one another and were well lubricated with “Ranch water”. This group is no joke when it comes to a cocktail, and I believe we’ll be having some fun and perhaps catching a fish or two this week.
Do yourself a favor and touch base with our friends over at The Fly Shop if you have any questions about this special place. Please get outside and enjoy the fall season whenever you can. Be safe and check in with us next week for another report!
Saludos desde el Caribe Mexicano,
Dane & Chiara