Rick and Shauna Williams
Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge, Yucatan Mexico
March 25th to April 1st, 2018
The trip is for 8 anglers – Only 2 spots left!
The trip is for 8 anglers – Only 2 spots left!
IMPORTANT NOTE: A U.S. Passport valid for at least six months beyond your travel dates is required for entry into the country of Mexico. Remember, passports are now required for all land and border crossings into and out of the United States. For information on obtaining or renewing a passport, please refer to the U.S. State Department’s webpage for Passport Information at www.travel.state.gov.
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 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 Idaho Angler have arranged for a special rate for our guests staying at the Courtyard Marriott Cancun.
Departure from Cancun to ESB Lodge: (Sunday) The entire group will be picked up from the Courtyard Marriott hotel near the airport, at 8:15am on Sunday, for transfer to the FBO – Private Aviation Terminal to meet your charter flight to the lodge. The terminal is referred to as Aviacion Privada. It is located approximately two blocks before Terminal 3. Clients will arrive to the FBO (private terminal) at 8:25 AM. Flight departure from Cancun to the Pulticub airstrip will be 9.10AM. You will land at approximately 10:15AM at the Pulticub strip.
The flight from Cancun to our designated airstrip just down the coast from the lodge departs the Private Aviation Terminal at approximately 9:10am and lasts approximately an hour. You should be on the ground no later than 10:30am. You will be met by the lodge staff and transferred by air-conditioned van to the lodge, an approximate 1 hour and 30 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. with fresh coffee, juices and a delicious breakfast buffet with eggs cooked-to-order ready at 6:30. You should be out the door and on your way to the fishing grounds no later than 7:30. 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 launch. 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.
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 for 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.
Departure Day: (Sunday) 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 11:00am. Please reconfirm your flight departure time with the manager the night prior to your morning departure, to ensure proper transfer arrangements and be sure to clear your lodge account and have your bags ready for transfer to the airstrip two hours before your scheduled departure. 11:00am departure from the Pulticub to Cancun 12:00pm land in Cancun.
Departure from the Cancun International Airport (CUN) back home must be no earlier than 2:00 p.m.
Gratuities: You will be given envelopes for tips for the guides and the staff. The lodge recommends $300 – $350 per person for the guides and $100 – $150 per person for the lodge staff, in cash, $USD. You can give this envelope to Dane or Chiara for distribution. If you have any questions about the tipping, just ask the managers and they will advise.
Espiritu Santo Bay Lodge 2018 Pricing
$4,195 pp, DBL Occupancy
Deposit: 50%: 2,097
$5,950 pp SGL Occupancy (private room/boat/guide)
$4,495 pp DBL Occupancy Saltwater Fly Fishing School (includes rods, reels, leaders, flies, shirt, hat and Buff)
$3,195 Non-Angling Rate, sharing a room with * Angler
* $4,950 Angler sharing a room with Non-Angler (private boat/guide)
Inclusions: 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, and 15% Mexico VAT.
Non inclusions: Personal tackle, 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.
There are many reasons to choose one season over another to fish ESB Lodge. Your considerations may include vacation schedules, winter relief from cold northern climes, business commitments, best time for your target specie, etc. 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. Typically, 90 plus percent of the fishing at ESB is sight fishing in clear shallow water. During inclement weather, your guide may suggest blind casting along mangrove shorelines, which is especially productive in the remote backcountry lagoons and cenote filled lakes. While not your classic sight fishing; it can be extremely exciting and very productive, especially on the overcast days that make sight fishing difficult. Snook often suspend in the shadows of overhanging mangroves, ambushing their unsuspecting prey. Tarpon swim in and out of the mangrove roots, flushing and attacking baitfish. Their explosive strikes are often startling, and the next move for the angler is to turn a determined fish away from their mangrove sanctuary. Flats fishing guides have tremendous eyesight, spotting fish in seemingly impossible conditions. When sight fishing becomes difficult, it’s critical to work with your guide. You may not see the fish, but he does. Follow his directions for casting and retrieving your fly during challenging conditions, and you will increase your success.
Winter (January and February): While snow and ice line the banks of your favorite river in Montana, you can fly south to the Yucatan and wet wade the flats in comfort. The occasional cold front crossing North America may still send a chill down from the north, but 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): One of the most predictable seasons at ESB, with long sunny days and a shift towards the typical southeast wind pattern. The cold fronts have all but disappeared, and if they do pass through, they are typically short lived. The warm southeast 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 lakes should be clear with excellent fishing for snook and tarpon. There could even be some migratory tarpon moving into the bays and along the Oceanside between the shore and the reef. The permit are happy in the bays and are available in schools, singles and doubles.
This is saltwater flats fishing, and there will be wind. But please remember, the wind is your friend. It’s much easier to present your fly to a fish in skinny water when the surface is lightly ruffled by the wind, than to land a fly in front of a bonefish or permit in slick glassy conditions. If this is your first time to the flats, you will significantly increase your success by taking a casting lesson from an instructor who has saltwater experience, and practicing your double haul before the trip. This is a game of accuracy, and you should be able to place your fly on a dinner plate at forty feet in the wind with three false casts.
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, with lots of daylight, consistent water temperatures, and generally mild southeast winds. The bonefish and permit are feasting on the flats with far fewer anglers on the water. Permit in this region are in their post-spawning phase during August and September, and anglers often post their highest success rates for this notoriously finicky gamefish during these months.
There can be strong winds, rain and clouds associated with localized tropical storm cells, but it usually lasts only a short time, quickly returning to light winds and sunshine. Hurricane season officially begins June first and continues through November. With modern forecasting methods, we will never be surprised by a hurricane. They begin to be tracked off the coast of Africa, monitored twenty-four hours a day as they move to the west. 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. The Fly Shop’s, Eric Ersch, a saltwater specialist who lived there a couple of years while managing Paradise Lodge with his wife Lana, chooses this as his favorite season to fish ESB based on the terrific fishing opportunities.
Fall (October and November): This season may be the most pleasant time of the year to fish, and the sight fishing for snook on the flats can be unbelievable. The air temperatures are very comfortable as the autumn sun slides toward the southern horizon. Sometime in mid to late October, the weather will start to change and begin to cool.
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. Fall is absolutely the best time of the year to sight fish for trophy snook on the flats of ESB, and the numbers and size will amaze you. This is your opportunity to hook them in open water, without giving them the advantage of shredding your line and leader in the barnacle encrusted mangrove roots they typically call home.
The lakes and the bays are a joy to fish. There have been relatively few anglers on the waters and the fish are comfortable. The weather is the real key to this season. The fish are willing and the weather is good, and the fishing is great.
ESB Lodge Key Points
Alcohol: 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.
Google Earth GPS Coordinates: 87°27’43.13″W 19°17’38.66″N
Lodge Capacity: 8 anglers maximum per week