There are simply very few places left in the world with the same sort of unspoiled natural resources found in ESB. Robust and healthy populations of bonefish, permit, tarpon, and snook abound in its flats, creeks, and backcountry 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.
JANUARY - NOVEMBER
No matter when you choose to fish ESB Lodge, the weather, more than any other factor will influence your success in shallow water sight fishing.
Winter (January and February)
The water temperature on flats warms up quickly in the tropical sun, and the bite after the front can be off the charts. Snook warm themselves on the flats on sunny afternoons, and permit eat crabs and mantis shrimp like it’s their last supper.
Spring (March, April and May)
The warm south-east trade winds are the norm with sunny, clear-sky days, perfect for sight fishing. All of the flats fishes are fat and sassy by now. The creeks, back bays and lagoons should be clear with excellent fishing for snook and tarpon.
Spring is the most popular time for saltwater flats destinations, and making your ESB Lodge reservations well in advance is strongly suggested.
Summer (June, August and September)
Summer can be some of the best fishing of the year. The bonefish and permit are feasting on the flats with far fewer anglers on the water.
Hurricane season officially begins June first and continues through November. We will always know well in advance if a hurricane threatens, and will take appropriate actions as needed. Trip insurance is always advised, especially during the summer season.
Fall (October and November)
The sight fishing for snook on the flats can be unbelievable.
Snook spawn during the new and full moon phases in the mouths of bays and passes during June, July and August. Their post spawning phase sends them hungry and feeding on the flats of ESB. It’s not uncommon to find them in small schools on the flats, sunning themselves in very shallow water.
Multi-piece 8, 9 or 10 wt. Fly rods in 9 foot lenghts are our favorite choices. We like fast tapered saltwater rods that have been specially designed for the rigors of the salt. Good models to choose from include the new Scott Meridian, Scott Tidal, Sage Salt HD, Sage Igniter, Winston BIII Plus, and The Fly Shop SGH20, all in 4 piece sections for easy traveling.
Mininum 200 yards of 30lb gel spun backing. Reels specifically designed for saltwater fly fishing are a MUST. Models to consider include: Hatch Finnatic 7+ and 9+, Nautilus NV-G 8/9, Abel SDS 8" 9" or 10!, or Galvan Grip and Torque 8 or 10.
A flotating fly line specifically designed for saltwater is what you want. These lines are designed with a special braided monofilament core that provides the proper stiffness while maintaining shooting capabilities and resisting tangles, even in tropical heat. Scientific Angler's Mastery Redfish and Amplitude lines or Rio Direct Core Flats Pro lines are good choices.
Fluorocarbon leaders are the best choice. They are nearly invisible in the water and sink quickly, perfect for spooky fish in very clear water. Tapered saltwater leaders in 20 lb. test in 12' lenghts are what to bring. In addition bring spools of 16 lb. and 20 lb.
- Umpqua Supreme Hair Shrimp #2 (2)
- Squimp (tan) #2 (6)
- Rag head Crab (tan, olive) #2 (2 each)
- Contraband Crab (olive, tan) #4 (2 each)
- ESB Yellow Eye Crab (white and tan) #2 (2 each)
- ESB Yellow Eye Spawning Shrimp (translucent) #4 (2)
- Del's Merkin #4 (2)
- Puglisi's Spawning Shrimp (tan) #4 (2)
- Puglisi's Spawning Shrimp (translucent) #4 (2)
- Reefer Mantis (tan/orange) #4 (2)
- Puglisi's Bead Chain Spawning Shrimp (Tan) #4 (2)
ESB Lodge is a beach front lodge and accommodates a maximum of eight anglers per week.
• 6:00 a.m. Wake-up - 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.
• 7:30 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.
• 5:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. - 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.
• 7:00 p.m. - Dinner is normally served at 7:00 p.m.
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 access in the lodge for those who desire to check in with their family or friends.
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, AeroMexico, 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 the Fairfield Inn & Suites Cancun Airport. The entire group will be picked up for transfer to the FBO – Private Aviation Terminal to meet your air charter to the lodge.
SUNGLOVES / FINGER GUARDS
ADDITIONAL CLOTHING & SHOES
SIMMS BOAT CHALLENGER SHOE
HIP / CHEST PACK
PLIERS & BELT
TOOLS & GADGETS:
Items like nippers, hemostats, and hook hones are necessities in every fishing pack. The tools can be
kept on a retractor or on a lanyard. A Leatherman multi-tool is also a nice extra to have in the boat
TRASH BAGS & ZIPLOCS
FIRST AID KIT & TOILETRIES
A simple first aid kit with Band-Aids, alcohol wipes, Imodium, waterproof tape, and Dramamine for
motion sickness is always a good thing to have on hand. The lodge provides shampoo and soap but
does not have other personal items like razors, deodorant, shaving cream or toothpaste. Make sure
to bring your own.
FLASHLIGHT OR HEADLAMP
A flashlight or headlamp can be an invaluable item to have while travelling or taking a stroll on the
beach after dinner. Our favorite is the Petzl Tikka headlamp. Headlamps are great for reading at
night while your roommate is sleeping, and free up your hands to get organized in the dark.
OTHER MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
Camera and storage cards
Battery operated Alarm Clock (cell phone)
Extra Batteries and chargers
Knife or Leatherman Tool