Espiritu Santo Bay (commonly called ESB) is one of the most remote fishing places in the world. Located deep in the Yucatan Jungle and in the Sian Kaan biosphere reserve the rules and regulations that have been put in place keep a lot of people and guides out. Basically you have to know the right people who know the right people to get in. This being said, these rules and regulations keep the pressure off the fish. We believe a lot of the fish we see may have never been caught or even been presented a fly before!
We have lots of species to target in Espiritu Santo Bay: Bonefish, Tarpon, Permit, Snook, Cubera Snapper, Barracuda, and night fishing for Snapper, Lemon Sharks and whatever else will bite!
Bonefish (Macabe): Bonefish are pretty much the bread and butter fish for most saltwater fisheries. Plentiful in numbers and often willing to eat a shrimp pattern if presented correctly, these fish are known for their blistering fast, knuckle-busting runs and then turning around and swimming right back at you. We have one of the best Bonefish flats in the world arguably just north of our camp. With hundreds of schools of bones it is possible to get up an hour before breakfast and catch a dozen bonefish before our day even starts! We have bones get so close to the banks that they beach themselves trying to chase our flies.
Tarpon (Sabalo): Tarpon are a very acrobatic fish. When hooked these fish will proceed to jump multiple times in the air putting on a fantastic show of flips and spins in the air trying to lose the hook. They have many bone plates in their mouth so a very strong and sometimes multiple strip sets are required in order to penetrate that bone. Tarpon generally like baitfish patterns that are chartreuse, black and red, or black and purple. Most Tarpon we see are resident (baby) Tarpon in the 5-40 pound range but sometimes in the Spring the migratory Tarpon will come into the bay and we will see Tarpon exceeding 100 Pounds!
Snook (Robalo): Snook are a pretty interesting fish. First off they are hermaphrodite, they are born a male and when they reach a certain size they switch to female. Second their body reacts to trauma. Meaning after they are hooked and released their lips will turn red, it quite literally looks like they are wearing lipstick. Snook honestly look like a Pikeminnow with a black stripe down their side. They will often eat baitfish patterns that are darker in color and will hangout tight in the mangroves. ESB has record size Snook often exceeding 20+pounds and sightings of fish in the 30 pound range!
Permit (Palometa): Permit. Respect. No one. If you don’t know about Permit you might just keep it that way. They are arguably the hardest fish to catch in the world. With independent eyes like a chameleon and a better sense of smell then a Bloodhound all I can tell you is good luck! That being said ESB has the highest catch rate of Permit. This is because we have a large population of Permit as well as low pressure. These facts don’t guarantee you a fish but we can guarantee you some shots at one. It is always good to have a 9 weight handy with a crab pattern on the flats because you never know when you will cross one of these gorgeous fish.
Barracuda (Barracuda): Barracuda are probably one of the most underrated fish on the flats. These fish don’t quit until they are in the boat. With speeds approaching up to 40 mph just holding on with a high quality reel and a fire extinguisher is all I can recommend. Barracuda love needlefish, this being said needlefish flies with a wire leader is necessary when targeting them. Their mouths have a hundred knives in them and will slice through any other line.
Check out our Montana destination trip here
See more about ESB here