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You’ll recall that we asked for recent feedback on Casa Blanca Lodge (www .casablancafishing.com) on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico a while back. We asked because Casa Blanca’s longtime manager Bobby Settles left earlier this year for Grand Slam Fly Fishing Lodge (www.grandslamflyfishinglodge.com), a plush new facility in the nearby village of Punta Allen. We wondered how the guide and daily services were holding up at Casa Blanca without him.
Not to worry, says subscriber Gene Weber of San Francisco. Weber fished Casa Blanca this past March and gives every category of service good or excellent marks. He writes:
“You asked for feedback on Casa Blanca since the departure of Bobby Settles. Well, I have been to Casa Blanca twice since he left, booking both trips through Fly Water Travel (www.flywater travel.com). My first visit was in December 2010, during the same week as Ken Hawkins, whose report you highlighted in the March issue. I agree with everything in Ken’s report, including his stated interest in seeing the Internet service at the lodge improved. On my latest trip in March, my group of four had a wonderful time. For starters, the charter flights to and from the lodge were painless and on time. There was a total of 15 guests at the lodge, as opposed to 11 in December. “I was never a guest when Settles was in charge at Casa Blanca. I understand he took some of the good guides with him to Grand Slam. Nonetheless, our guides were top-notch. All of our special fishing requests (for example, one day at the ‘tarpon lagoon’) were met. I was especially impressed the day the outboard motor on our boat failed. Our guide, Andres, spent about 10 minutes trying to repair it, made no progress, then promptly radioed the lodge. Luckily, we were stuck where we could fish. In 45 minutes, a panga arrived carrying a replacement engine. It was replaced in less than 20 minutes and the rest of our fishing day went on as planned.
“Overall the fishing was not as good as in December, probably due to the moon phase, but it was still very good to excellent compared to other flats destinations I have visited. Seven permit were landed during the week I was there. There was one Super Grand Slam and one Grand Slam. Some days, after returning to the lodge in the late afternoon, a few of us fished the flat adjacent to the lodge. There are a few resident schools of bonefish there, and I got a couple to eat on two different days. My buddy also cast to some cruising permit. It was a fun way to end the day.
“The menu was basically unchanged from December. The food was fresh, tasty, and there was sufficient variety. The bartender, Manuel, kept our glasses full, although I wish Casa Blanca would adopt a free drink policy rather than having patrons settle their bar bill at the end of the trip. Mike, the manager, was always available to discuss fishing options and handle other requests. Paola’s hourlong massage for $50 was well worth it.
“I suppose the ultimate test is whether we will return. My group has already booked for next year, and several first-timers will be joining us based on reports from our prior two trips. In my view, there is no reason to step up to the amenities offered by Grand Slam Lodge. My buddies and I want to stay at an attractive, comfortable, clean facility with nearby access to world-class fishing. On that basis, Casa Blanca is a great value.”
Postscript: Weber gives the cost of his weeklong trip as $3,900.