Playa Blanca Fly Fishing Lodge Trip Report – Vance Freed

Playa Blanca Fly Fishing Lodge Trip Report – Vance Freed: “The weather preceding our first week consisted of nearly two weeks of constant rain. This was due to the arrival and aftermath of hurricane Eta, which mowed rather directly over Casa and Playa Blanca nearly two weeks earlier. Thankfully, Eta failed to gain  strength and aside from an impressive tidal surge, caused little or no damage to the lodges.


Having watched this all play out on radar leading up to the trip, which is always agonizing, we were all pleasantly surprised to touch down at the Casa Blanca Air Strip under mostly sunny skies and manageable winds. On the island, the only evidence of the prior weather system were large, standing puddles on the road and a quarter mile band of off color water that followed the contours of the seeable shoreline.

Playa-Blanca-Mexico-Fly Fishing Group-2020

The permit fishing for the first three days was predictably slow. It is a widely held belief that the majority of permit will head out to sea during a weather event. The addition of rain dilutes the salinity of the water, making the flats a less desirable place for fish. In spite of the less than optimal water conditions, most boats were able to find and cast to a few permit each day.


The fourth day saw the welcome return of many fish to the Espiritu Santo bay. In terms of seeing permit, I’ve only had three or four days in the last nine years where we encountered as many fish. Every possible configuration, large and small schools, doubles and singles, were seen by all  boats throughout the bay.


Of course being permit, this didn’t mean they were particularly catchable. I believe the group landed five that day, but the number of follows and other close calls were too painful to count. It was a clear reminder that “eBay” can deliver opportunities for permit fishing that can border on the surreal.

The remaining two days were solid. Some boats saw more fish than others, which is typical, but it was evident there were far more permit in the bay. Five more permit landed for the group. It was a great week overall and the good weather was much appreciated.


The first day of fishing on week two was excellent. The weather was perfect and the permit were happy. The group landed three but there were many follows and a few eats that weren’t capitalized on.

Day two saw a significant turn in the weather with increasing cloud cover and the arrival of a stiff wind that only increased as the week progressed. Over the next three days we were pounded by heavy rain and sustained winds of 30 mph. Yet another category four hurricane had made landfall just few hundred miles south in Nicaragua.


We mostly sat it out in the lodge or in our rooms but two boats went out for a few hours on Thursday and managed to find a hook a few tarpon where they were able to find shelter from the wind.


In roughly thirty trips to Playa Blanca, I have missed a total of four days of fishing due to weather. Not too bad, really, considering it’s location. The week reminded me of the importance of having a book or movie(s) you can turn to if you get weathered out. Non fishing days don’t pass quickly.


We fished in the tarpon lagoon on our last day and landed two small tarpon. The weather was still awful, but the rain had started to taper off and the winds had dropped to 20mph. Two boats went into Santa Rosa, which is a nearby lagoon that offers protection from a reasonable wind, and fishing was slow.

This was a tough week to be down there but we all know  this is a possibility in destination fishing. I go back Jan 9th and I’m looking forward to it.”

-Vance Freed

WCA Guide



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