November 10 – 17, 2019
Greetings Esb Lodge Anglers,
We’ve enjoyed another week here at Esb Lodge and this concludes our 2019 season. It’s hard to believe the season is over and we are grateful for the year. I couldn’t think of better week to close with guests we had. We shared our week with friends that frequent our operation multiple times a year and have also been coming to our operation since 2017. It hardly feels like a job at this point and Chiara and I are so lucky to have enjoyed our time with the group.
Last week week’s fishing was beautiful with light winds and mostly clear skies. Despite wonderful weather we still hung onto our high tides and guests didn’t get to fish a low at any point of the week. It was a little frustrating to see such unbelievable weather coincide with our least favorite tide during the fall months. As a result of high tides our snook fishing was marginal at best and really didn’t live up to the legendary status we normally associate with fall fishing.
We made do with given conditions and worked hard to substitute other targeted species along the way. Our permit fishing was fair with decent schools of fish around the boca of our first river system. Permit were also located further outside along the northern shoreline at mid-week and some fish were also spotted further west in the bay between river systems four and five. Mike Scott has been coming to visit us a couple times a year since we opened for business in 2017. He had a memorable day that would be a career highlight for any saltwater enthusiast. Mike aided by guide Victor, succeeded in landing three permit, bonefish, snook, and nice barracuda. Mike was also fortunate to land another smaller permit towards the end of the week. On a side note we also appreciate all that Mike does for us and his kindness that extends to other guests, staff, and guides. He has over the years brought all sorts of homemade gifts that are of the highest quality and craftsmanship. I especially enjoy the couple pounds of smoked salmon and jerky that he totes down along with his fishing gear. David and Janet Dill are also familiar faces we enjoy seeing again and they had a wonderful week of fishing. Collectively the couple landed 6 permit and David was able to get a grand slam his first day of the week with guide Pepe. Some larger permit were located earlier in the week but they seemed unsettled and were moving too fast to commit a cast to. We had other opportunities but as we all know, permit will always have the upper hand.
The group total for permit for the week was ten with six anglers. This concludes our permit numbers for the season to 350 landed with 247 guests. These really are incredible numbers and our guests have landed around 1000 permit in our three years of operating. We honestly say and do believe that we have one of the finest permit destinations in the world.
Dave Merrit is one of the most enthusiastic snook fisherman we have ever met. His snook fly (which he refuses to acknowledge is his) is one of the top producing flies that we have seen. We hope to one day to get this fly tied on a commercial scale and have these readily available to all of our guests. Dave was able to chase a few snook that were around and had a couple come unbuttoned. We did see decent numbers of snook I thought for water conditions we had. It is almost impossible to get your fly tucked back on the mangroves where these awesome fish reside on a high tide.
Dave Merrit also got to experience something most guests will ever see. He along with guide Fernando went into our Red Lagoon system to chase snook and as they were motoring back, they witnessed two Jaguars swimming across the bay. It was a large female (presumably a female) along with a smaller cub. They were able to observe the animals, take great pictures, and enjoy this unforgettable moment all while staying at a respectable distance. This really helps define what a wild and special place we have to enjoy here and the importance of preserving and ensuring this entire ecosystem will be around for generations to come. I thought it was unusual to see the two cats and last Saturday on a drive to town I observed a large Jaguar crossing the road close to the airstrip guests arrive to from Cancun.
Our bonefishing was exceptional for the week and Brian Bennet and Brian Thielcke were able to capitalize on these fish. They were found throughout our backcountry system in strong numbers. With multiple weeks experiencing a high tide we see these fish in very skinny water feeding aggressively and its’s the purest form of fun to cast too. All our guest was able to catch double digit numbers of fish at least one day out of their week.
Tarpon fishing was minimal with high tides but we were able to find fish scattered throughout the backcountry rivers and we also saw a fair school located outside the bay along the northern shoreline.
Weather for the week was mostly pleasant with sunny skies and light winds from the north and a couple days saw a west wind. We had one day in the beginning of the week where guests experienced heavy rains for the better part of a morning before the system blew itself out. Our temps for this time of year are very pleasant and I saw at 5:00 AM this morning air temp reading in the high 60s. Our tide for the week was lower in the morning but coming in throughout the day.
Our normal Raghead crabs, Squimps, and Spawning shrimp all contributed to landed permit. Toads, EP baitfish, and Dave’s fly were the go-to for tarpon and snook. Bonefish ate any fly pattern that was presented in front of them.
Our kitchen staff and lodge staff did a wonderful job for guests providing great meals and a comfortable setting for everyone.
At the beginning of the 2019 season we had asked guests to bring down and donate dog collars that deter ticks and fleas. We use these and the medications to help treat abandoned dogs and give the collars to a local shelter who we work with closely. I did a rough tally of the number of collars donated for this great cause. I am very proud to say our operation helped facilitate almost 20,000 dollars’ worth of collars for the 2019 season. This is incredible and we will continue to work hard to have guests bring what they can when we open up for the 2020 season.
Last August we had found a very small puppy perhaps 4 weeks old that was abandoned at the airstrip guest fly in on. We named the little guy Chapo, (Chapito) and nourished him back to health. It’s been a wonderful journey watching Chapito grow into the wonderful puppy he is today. He was recently at a vet and topped the scales at 23 pounds! We had a wonderful returning guest a few weeks ago who stated he would love to rescue Chapito and take him home to Houston Texas. Kevin Vincent, I, and the Mayan Beach Rescue we work with all collaborated to get papers in order and health at a manageable level to travel and live in Texas. It was a slightly tearful goodbye for me as I packed up Chapito in a small crate and sent him off to Cancun with our guests returning stateside on Sunday. Kevin was at the FBO to receive a terrified Chapito and flew him back to Houston where he will live his days as a wonderful family companion. This was an incredible experience for us and I can’t believe what a lucky animal he is. I saw recent video of him playing fetch and running around in a seamlessly endless backyard. There are no substitutes for the love a rescued animal can display, and I can’t really think of a better way to conclude the 2019 season.
I would also like to thank all you who have made the journey or are looking forward to coming and experiencing what Esb Lodge is all about. Each and everyone of you make this possible for Chiara and I to enjoy a style and way of life few will ever understand. You all inspire, motivate, and help morph us as lodge owners and are responsible for the success we have enjoyed. It means a lot to have the chance to display such a wonderful treasure of the world as Espiritu Santo Bay for guests.
I look forward to seeing you all again soon. We would also like to thank our dear friends at The Fly Shop for working alongside with us. They have supported us from the beginning and it’s a special relationship a lodge and travel agency share. Plainly said, they are the best in the business and the number one booking agency for fly fishing travel. Don’t ever hesitate to give them a call and inquire about this special place or any other bucket item destination you may have.
We will be at the lodge getting things ready for a sold out 2020 season for the remainder of November. There’s an endless amount of work to be done and we are excited for the next season. Pretty soon we will be trading flip flops for waders and fleece as we make a our annual trip to Patagonia to host groups, fish, and visit family.
I wish everyone a fantastic rest of 2019. Please be safe, wet a line somewhere, and happy holidays.
We’ll see you next year!
All our best,
Saludos desde el Caribe Mexicana