Saltwater Fly Fishing School at Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge

La Bahia del Espiritu Santo (ESB) is the true gem of the Mexican Riviera, and perhaps the last remaining wilderness fly fishing outpost in the Mexican Yucatan. It has always been the “second sister” to its larger, more accessible sibling to the north, Ascension Bay. But that’s all about to change and for the dedicated saltwater flats fly fisherman, ESB provides the best angling opportunities in the entire Yucatan.

The primary differences between ESB and Ascension Bay are size and accessibility. ESB is approximately half the size of her more famous sister, but Ascension Bay has more than six thousand people living in the towns around her shores. There are nine official lodges plus several back country, “unofficial” guides that fish the bay, and as of 2015, one hundred and eighty boats with permits for fishing, snorkeling, bird watching, or tours of the bay. This creates a vibrant tourism-based economy centered around these communities, and a constant impact of pressure on the bay.

Espiritu Santo Bay (ESB), however, remains perfectly positioned in a remote wilderness, an area devoid of tourism and the impacts of population and people. There is a small community of about 95 lobster fishermen and their families that live in Punta Herrero, the only human settlement on the entire bay. Only seven boats have legal access to fish in the bay. This combination of remoteness, lack of human population, and limited access is what makes ESB unique, and one of the most pristine resources left in the region to target fish untouched by human influences.

There are simply very few places left in the world with the same sort of unspoiled natural resources as can be found in ESB. Robust and healthy populations of bonefish, permit, tarpon, and snook abound in its flats, creeks, and lagoons. And nobody has better access to or more intimate knowledge of the bay than the guides at Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge, who have spent years guiding there with the former Paradise Lodge.

The Fly Shop Schools Image

Reservations & Rates

The cost of the 7 Day/6 Night Saltwater School package at ESB Lodge is:
• $4,295 - per person (double occupancy - shared room & guide)
Your package includes round trip air charter transfers from Cancun to the nearby landing strip and subsequent auto transfer to the lodge (Sundays only), air-conditioned accommodations, all meals, beverages (soft drinks, juices, mixers, and bottled water) and Hosted "Happy Hour" beer and margaritas, fishing license, 6 days fully guided fishing, personal tackle, and 15% Mexico VAT.
Air charter or ground transfers other than on Sundays if needed, gratuities, alcoholic beverages other than what is outlined in inclusions, items of personal nature and any lodging or meals not provided at Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge, and the FBO Departure Tax.
The Fly Shop Schools Image

Dates for Saltwater School

Saltwater School Dates:
• To be determined for 2018
• Please call to inquire (800-669-3474)
The Fly Shop Schools Image

Lodging at Saltwater School

ESB Lodge is a brand new beach front facility and will accommodate a maximum of eight anglers per week, in four double occupancy rooms comprised of two duplexes built off the sand on pylons. Each room is approximately 250 square feet in size and features a full bathroom, separate toilet area, shower, double sinks, two beds, two dressers and lots of shelving and hooks to store gear. Each room has its own thermostat controlled air conditioner, ceiling fan, and plenty of windows
to take advantage of ocean breezes. The duplex cottages share a common deck overlooking the ocean with chairs; a perfect spot to enjoy a cold beer or ready your gear for the day.

The main lodge consists of massive traditional thatch roof palapa where the bar, lounge and gift shop are located. Attached to the palapa is a spacious air conditioned dining room and open air modern kitchen. The main lodge faces the barrier reef and Caribbean and the large front deck will certainly be a popular gathering spot as fresh fish is grilled on the barbeque and the day’s fishing stories are told.

Food at ESB Lodge is a blend of traditional Mexican food, with a Mayan flair, taking advantage of fresh fish, lobster (in season) fresh produce and regional meat dishes. Dinners are simple and delicious, often fresh off the barbeque and accompanied by locally grown vegetables, salads and plenty of fresh fruit. Dinners are served with table wine. Breakfast is served buffet style with plenty of fruit, cereals, toast, juices and starches and meats. Cook to order eggs are available. For lunch you will fill out a form in the evening for the next day’s fishing. You can order a variety of different sandwiches, salads, fruit, chips, cookies, beverages, etc.

ESB Lodge Hosts:
Dane Emerson has been involved in the fly fishing industry for better than 10 years and resides in Gunnison County, Colorado where he is a partner in the Crested Butte Angler. During summer months, you can find Dane on the water guiding about 120 days through the course of the season.

In the winter months, on behalf of Crested Butte Angler, Dane has traveled throughout Mexico and Belize and hosts several trips each season with friends and clients to saltwater fly fishing destinations in the Caribbean.

A couple of years ago Dane made a trip to Paradise Lodge to check it out and see if was a destination he was interested in taking his clients to. Dane’s week at Paradise was filled with incredible fishing, food, and graciously entertained and looked after by host/owner Alejandro de Tomaso. Coincidently Alejandro’s (Alex) daughter Chiara was also visiting that week and we have been together since. Great trip, Great Catch! Since that time Dane has been working with Alejandro de Tomaso, his daughter Chiara and The Fly Shop™ to make ESB Lodge a reality. Dane is an experienced saltwater angler and guide with an incredible work ethic and genuine concern for his guests wellbeing and happiness. First up, last to bed, always with a smile and warm handshake, you can count on him to make your trip everything you want it to be.

Chiara de Tomaso is the daughter of Alejandro de Tomaso and has a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering, with a major in Business Administration. She has worked in logistics for Multinational companies in FMCG industries in Argentina and Australia. Chiara will be in charge of the administration and finances of ESB Lodge as well as an onsite hostess. She will help with daily lodge operations and the staff and insure that the standards of hospitality well be met to the highest potential. Chiara is fun, always smiling and will bring that “ladies-touch” and welcoming Argentina hospitality and spirit to this destination fly fishing lodge in remote Mexico.

Our power comes from a generator and solar panels. Electricity is 110 volts AC, 60Hz. American-style two-pin plugs.

Water & Ice:
All drinking water and water for ice is purified. The water from the tap and shower is from a well (don’t drink). Do not drink the water from the tap and shower. Please help the lodge conserve water when possible.

Liquor & Refreshments:
The lodge has local Mexican beer, tequila, vodka, gin, and rum for cocktails. If you enjoy any specialty beverages, such as single malt scotches or hard to find bourbons, you should bring your own. Cold beers can be packed in your cooler for each day you are on the water and delicious Chile and Argentine wines are served with dinner.

There is a hosted/free “Happy Hour” serving beer and margaritas, after fishing and before dinner. The lodge has a full bar where cocktails and beers are available for purchase between $3 and $5. You are welcome to bring your own spirits – the lodge has plenty of ice and mixers.

Centerpiece of the Lodge is the lovely dining room where your meals are served. Meals are an excellent blend of Mexican and international cuisine, with emphasis on fresh meats and fish, and fresh fruits & vegetables. Before or after meals, relax in the comfortable lounge area looking east to the Caribbean. Enjoy your favorite book or magazine or just contemplate the beautiful seaside scenery, or tie some special fly patterns. Long strolls on the beach or a swim in the Caribbean are yours for the taking. If you require a special diet, please let us know well in advance so your needs can be accommodated.

Boat Refreshments:
Every morning your boat’s cooler will be well stocked with complimentary non-alcoholic beverages. Boat beers can be ordered and cost $1 per bottle. Be sure to inform someone if you would like more or less of a specific beverage.

Dress Attire at the Lodge:
The atmosphere is very laid back at esb Lodge. You’re on vacation! Please feel free to wear whatever is comfortable during the day.

Maid & Laundry Service:
The lodge has daily made service. There is no Laundry service at this time.
The Fly Shop Travel Image

Getting to Saltwater School

Cancun is serviced daily by nearly every airline with multiple flights daily to and from the U.S.A. Major airlines to consider include United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Aero Mexico, Virgin America, and Alaska Airlines.

Arrival to Cancun (Saturday):
On the day prior to your scheduled arrival date in the lodge, you should
plan on traveling to Cancun (CUN) and overnighting at one of the many fine hotels in the area.

We strongly suggest you overnight at the Courtyard Marriott Cancun for the night before you are scheduled to arrive at the lodge. The hotel is very close to the Cancun International Airport, provides free shuttles at half-hour intervals, has a great pool, bar, restaurant, and the rooms are modern and spacious. ESB Lodge and The Fly Shop™ has arranged for a special rate for our guests staying at the Courtyard Marriott Cancun.

Upon arrival into Cancun, you will clear Immigrations first, then retrieve your luggage and go through Customs. Clearing Customs in Mexico is carried out by passing through an examining area where each piece of luggage will be screened, then walking up to a lamp post “stoplight” and pushing the BIG button. If the light turns green, keep walking. If the light turns red, don't panic, this just means your luggage may be inspected by a customs official. Outside of customs there is a phone bank with free and automatic connections to several local hotels; you’ll want to call here and request a shuttle to the hotel. The Courtyard Marriot has bi-hourly complimentary shuttle service airport-hotel-airport, pick up at stall #26, right outside the terminal.

Sunday - Arrival Day at Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge:
The entire group will be picked up from the Courtyard Marriott hotel near the airport, at 7:45am on Sunday, for transfer to the FBO – Private Aviation Terminal to meet your air charter to the lodge. The terminal is referred to as Aviacion Privada. It is located approximately two blocks before terminal 3.

8.15 AM clients arrive to FBO (private terminal)
9.00 AM departure Cancun to Pulticub
10.15 AM land in Pulticub

Departure Tax:
A Departure Tax will be collected at Private Aviation Terminal of approximately 160 pesos ($9USD). They accept $US dollars or credit cards for payment. If you are flying into Cancun the same day you are catching the charter flight to the lodge you do not have the pay the departure tax, just show the official your international flight ticket.

The flight from Cancun to our designated airstrip just down the coast from the lodge departs the FBO Private Aviation Terminal at approximately 9:00 am and lasts approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. You should be on the ground no later than 10:30 a.m. You will be met by the lodge staff and transferred by air-conditioned van to the lodge, an approximate 1 hour and 15 minute drive.

Upon arrival to the lodge, your baggage will be transferred by the staff to your room. You are welcome to relax and enjoy a cold beverage in our traditional Caribbean palapa and then make your way to your air-conditioned room to unpack and get organized. A delicious lunch will be served at 1:00 p.m. followed by a general orientation explaining daily schedules, facility layout, lodge policies and such. If you are unsure about some aspect of your trip, please be sure to ask questions – the staff is there to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.

There is no guided fishing on the day you arrive, but feel free to walk and fish along the beach. You can also use the lodge’s snorkeling gear to explore the reef, or just hang out and relax and re-set your clock to Caribbean time.

Full Fishing Days:
Each evening, during cocktail hour or after dinner, the angling options will be discussed with fishermen and a plan will be devised for the next day. Most commonly, anglers are up at 6:00 a.m. Fresh coffee, juices and a delicious breakfast buffet with cooked-to-order eggs will be ready to go at 6:30 a.m. You should be out the door and on your way to the fishing grounds no later than 7:30 a.m. The drive from the lodge to where the boats are moored takes no more than 15 minutes. The guides, who have left earlier in the morning, will be waiting at the flats skiffs, ready to go for the day. The fishing days at ESB Lodge are full, no less than 8 hours total. The most distant fishing areas in Espiritu Santo Bay are no further than a 45-minute boat run under normal conditions, with some areas as close as five minutes from the dock. Lunch is taken on the fly. The guides will have you back to the lodge between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. for a shower, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Dinner is normally served at 7:00 p.m.

After Hours:
If you have the will and stamina, there is usually a crowd that retires to the bar for after-dinner drinks, cigars on the deck, and plenty of fishing stories. The fly-tying table is available to guests that want to twist up some new flies for the next day’s fishing, and there is wireless internet ac¬cess in the lodge for those who desire to check in with their family or friends.

Sunday - Departure from Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge:
There is no guided fishing on the day of departure. Be prepared to depart the lodge for the local airstrip no later than 8:30 a.m. The charter flight back to Cancun is scheduled to depart at approximately 10:30 a.m. The night prior to your morning departure, please reconfirm your flight departure time with the manager to ensure proper transfer arrangements. Please also be sure to clear your lodge account and have your bags packed and ready for transfer to the airstrip two hours before your scheduled departure.

Make sure you book your flight DEPARTURE from the Cancun International Airport (CUN) back home NO earlier than 2:00 p.m.
10.30 AM departure Pulticub to Cancun
11.30 AM land in Cancun (this can take longer, is busy time)

In order to insure SAFER and more EFFICIENT transfer flights between the Cancun airport and Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge please make sure that everyone in your party complies with the guidelines below:
1. Pack lightly
2. Favor the soft-sided luggage to hard sided or hard bottom luggage
3. It is best to have two small pieces of luggage rather than 1 big one
4. Limit your luggage weight to 50 pounds TOTAL (that includes carry-on luggage)
5. No non-collapsible rods/rods cases, especially long bazooka type cases

Some examples of what luggage NOT to bring are: (Bags that will NOT fit in charter planes):
Extra-Long hard bottom roller bags measuring 38”X16”X18”
The Fly Shop Travel Image

Itinerary for Saltwater School

The itinerary for Saltwater School will change dependent upon the location of the school. If interested in this school please give Nick or Bryan a call at 800-669-3474 for more information.

Additional Information

The Fly Shop Images
The Fly Shop Images
The Fly Shop Images
The Fly Shop Images
The Fly Shop Images
The Fly Shop Images
The Fly Shop Images
The Fly Shop Images

Making Reservations to Saltwater Fly Fishing Schools

To make a reservation, please give us a call at 800-669-3474 during business hours any day of the week, or email us at anytime. We can give you the answers you need, detailed explanations to questions you might have, or check on availability and confirm your reservation in minutes.