Playa Blanca Destination Trip - Jan 2024

JAN 2024

This was my 3rd time hosting a group of HomeWaters members to Playa Blanca. This season I had 9 anglers join me on the trip.  We had a nice mix of returning and new guests, and several of those were new to flats fishing in general.

We arrived in Cancun on Friday January 26th, and after checking into the Marriott Courtyard, we all met up for dinner and drinks. I have often said that the most hectic part of traveling to Playa Blanca is getting a shuttle to the hotel from the airport. The airport lobby tends to be busy, and on a Friday afternoon there is lots of traffic in and around the airport, but we made it!

On Saturday after a great breakfast, the group met up with a representative from the lodge and was shuttled to the Cancun FBO for a private charter south along the coast to the island of Punta Pajaros.

After landing and a short boat ride across the marsh, we were met by our host Alex and loaded onto a truck for a 10-mile ride down the island to Playa Blanca. It’s a slow and bumpy ride, but there is lots of wildlife and gorgeous, panoramic views along the way.

We arrived at Playa Blanca around 12 pm for lunch and everyone started to assemble their gear for the following days of fishing. Several guests spent some time fishing the surf and exploring the beach.

We had a great week of weather. The wind blew from the north all week, and we had very reasonable temperatures in the 80’s with a pretty light breeze by saltwater standards.

Two of the anglers chose to fish as singles, one on one with a guide. The rest of us shared the bow and a guide throughout the week. There were several new guides on the staff this year along with some familiar faces. We switched guides every day and took advantage of their distinct personalities and approaches to guiding.

Each day we would head out after breakfast and fish from 8 am-4 pm. This year, because of the North wind we were able to fish a lot of areas that were just a short ride from the dock. There were several permit caught within sight of the boat dock.

With mostly sunny skies all week and light winds, we were able to fish just about every area in Espirito Santos Bay. The bonefishing was consistent all week, and anglers were able to catch as many bonefish as they desired. The bones are definitely getting a bit larger in the bay and therefore a little more shy than in years past. With that being said, short casts and aggressive bonefish were available all week for any angler looking to chase them.

During January and February, Playa Blanca is not a premier tarpon destination. We all had chances at resident tarpon, and several were landed, mostly in the 5-to-15-pound range. However, the tarpon proved tough to catch most of the week.

The snook fishing this year was fantastic! There were a lot of snooks to be found along the beaches and tucked into the mangroves. Snooks are aggressive feeders and provide a great sight fishing experience when conditions are right. Here’s AJ Garber with a nice snook caught along some shoreline timber.

The permit fishing during our week was very good. We all took advantage of great conditions and spent the better portion of most days chasing these elusive fish. We had great conditions to chase these fish throughout the week. Although we only landed 14 permits in total for the week, every angler had lots of shots and the amount of permits in the bay for the week was impressive. We encountered large schools of fish in deeper water, cruising pairs of fish and tailing fish in shallow water. When conditions are fair, I believe that Espirito Santos Bay is, without a doubt, one of the best permit fishing destinations in the world.

As is tradition at the lodge, anglers catching their first permit on a fly rod are asked (there might be a little peer pressure too) to toast the permit with a pickled scorpion and tequila shot at dinner that evening.

Here’s a shot of Ken Hinds enjoying this Yucatan delicacy. We had several anglers catch their first permit on this trip, and enjoy the ceremony at dinner.

Below are a few permit pics from our week.

We are looking forward to next year at this amazing lodge. We have not received finalized dates from the lodge, yet, but plan on being there in our usual late January slot.