October 22 – 29, 2023 #34
Welcome to the Caribbean:
Perhaps we have not had our best week, if we only refer to the weather aspect. The Mayan God Hurricane was present in the pacific coasts of Mexico, showing its incredible power under the name of “Otis”, severely punishing the city of Acapulco. Although the distance that separates us from this city is very large, all the instability that it created in the central region of Mexico was added to the formation of some tropical depressions to the south and east of the peninsula and gave us as a result little peaceful winds from the north and northeast, which brought thick clouds loaded with the first rains of the season.
Now, weather aside, we had an excellent week, with Mike Hostetler, Steve Morgan, Ron Hagen, Reed Webster, Andy Kurkulis, Kit and Rob Rohn, wonderful people who proved that adverse weather does not affect their spirit and desire to have a good time.
Monday started out a bit cloudy with northerly winds that would limit access to the spots that offered some shelter. It was not a day with many catches, but they did manage to find and spot schools of some of the species that populate the bay. Bonefish and snappers were the most receptive to take their flies, while permit and tarpon were reluctant, apparently, they have a weather forecasting system that is infinitely better than ours.
Our guests faced Tuesday’s day in the highest of spirits and were rewarded. A sunny morning was all it took for the fish to be much more active and receptive to taking flies that came their way. The heroes of the day were Ron and Rob. Ron, who, applying all the experience acquired throughout his ninety springs, managed to fool a beautiful permit with an accurate cast, breaking the ice and adding his first mark of the week. Rob, on the other hand, received the best birthday present the bay could give him, a wonderful permit. The light and moderate rains that started on the way back to the lodge, in perfect sync with our schedule, did not affect our double celebration that night, we celebrated not only the permit that Ron skillfully captured, but also Rob’s birthday.
Wednesday seemed to be a duplicate of Monday, uncomfortable winds rotating from north to northeast, thick clouds painting the bay and its waters a leaden gray, limiting the vision of our expert guides. It was not a very productive day in terms of the number of catches, but it brought enough joy to our guests that they returned home with a big smile on their faces.
Thursday was much more productive, although the fishing day started a little later due to the rains that greeted us at dawn. The weather radar showed that after the clouds from the northeast the sun would be present and so it was, leaving the rest of the day with the presence of only a few clouds, but with the omnipresent northeast winds. Once again, the presence of the sun was all the fish needed to be more active. Andy measured his strength against an excellent permit, which didn’t make life easy for him, but finally gave in to his fishing skills. Steve and Mike focused on a large group of tarpon that put all their wisdom to the test. The generous flats ghosts were the species that gave everyone the most joy that day.
Friday started with light showers that lasted intermittently throughout the morning, followed by clouds that let the sun’s rays through for the last few hours of the fishing day. Mike and Steve encountered a large school of permit that they chased for several hours trying to stimulate their attack with different flies and techniques, but the incredible conviction of these fish to not take any was striking. Once again, the empathetic bonefish were present to thank our guests for their visit and gave the whole group a lot of fun battles.
With the start of the last day of fishing, the weather conditions showed a slight improvement, and this was well taken advantage of by our anglers. Reed managed to hook up two big and beautiful permit that pushed his reel’s backing load to the limit, but the whims of fate denied him the victory due to the resistance of his hook and then an almost minuscule piece of coral. A little later a big barracuda was enough for him to feel some solace. Steve and Mike again measured themselves against the silver torpedoes in the bay and Rob chased a school of permit that was totally indifferent to his shenanigans.
North and northeast winds were predominant all week with minimum speeds of 10 mph and maximum speeds of 22 mph, this not only caused a strong swell on the reef and at the entrance of the bay, but also stopped the natural movement of the tides, raising the normal water level of the bay by more than two feet on some days.
The rains were light and moderate, without any electrical component, but they did lower the temperatures noticeably.
While there was no one fly that clearly stood out for its effectiveness with permit this week, the most used flies were the classics: 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.
The bonefish stayed within their diet of crabs and shrimp on #6 to #8 hooks but were also attracted to larger flies in some cases.
My dear friends, this was my last fishing report for this season. In a few more days I will change the warm waters and white sands of the Caribbean for the notoriously cold waters and much darker sands of Patagonia. While it is always nice and exciting to go back home, I can’t deny that ESB has become my second home and leaving it in the next few days generates mixed feelings.
We choose to call home, at least in my case, the places where we feel comfortable, where we are always well received and the people around us are sincerely happy to see us, so today it is hard for me to say goodbye to Isabel, Freddy, Pancho, Luis, Angel, Emanuel, Alex, Fernando, Pepe, Victor, David, Lucia, Canela, Negro and of course to Chiara and Dane who again have trusted me to take care and keep together this big family that we call Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge.
See you next season 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.