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Subscriber W. Cort Frohlich has checked in with a report about a lodge that we haven’t heard much about in some time—namely, Paradise Lodge, south of Cancún, Mexico. Destroyed by a hurricane years ago and subsequently rebuilt, Paradise Lodge was originally famous for the tarpon and snook fishing it provided in nearby lakes fed by underground rivers. Today, it still offers fishing in those lakes—and much else—as described by Frohlich in his report.

“My wife, Tammy, and I fished at Paradise Lodge in the Mexican Yucatan this past May 14, booking our trip through the Fly Shop in Redding, California (800-669-3474; www.theflyshop .com). I’m pleased to report that this lodge, completely destroyed by Hurricane Dean in 2007, has been nicely rebuilt. The lodge and the guest rooms are comfortable and air conditioned. Each room has a coffee maker and private bath and shower with good water pressure, plus a small refrigerator kept stocked with water, soft drinks, and beer. The rooms are spacious and overlook the Caribbean and the Mesoamerican Reef, which runs along the entire coastline. “Variety is what sets Paradise Lodge apart nowadays. You can fish here for bonefish, tarpon, snook, and permit and be relatively assured of having legitimate shots at all four species throughout the week. In addition to the variety of fish, you will also be fishing a variety of locations. The inland lakes of Paradise, connected to the Caribbean by cenotes, are world famous for their juvenile tarpon and trophy snook. In addition, the lodge keeps well-powered Hells Bay boats at Espiritu Santo Bay (a two-hour drive north) and at Chetumal Bay (an hour-and-a-half drive south).

“We began our fishing adventure with Nacho, who has been guiding at Paradise for more than ten years, by heading north to Espiritu Santo. Although the drive there is somewhat arduous, it is well worth the effort, as the bay is a true wilderness and part of the Sian Kaan biosphere. Shortly after launching, Nacho had Tammy into her first-ever bonefish. Tammy promptly rewarded Nacho with her next cast by hooking him in his butt! He took it well. Throughout the day, we cast to and caught numerous bonefish in the two- to five-pound range. There were schools of tailers, as well as individual fish and doubles to pursue. We were pleasantly surprised by the size of the bonefish available. I caught one bonefish that morning that we estimated at five-plus pounds. I had to get out of the boat and chase it over a hard-bottomed flat.

“On returning to the lodge, we were treated to some of the coldest, iciest, best margaritas anywhere. All liquor, beer, and the fine Chilean wine served at dinner is included in the package price. The food was tasty, well presented, and featured fresh seafood on several occasions. Lodge managers Eric and Lana Ersch are great at keeping everything running extremely smoothly. inland lakes, also with Nacho. We spotted and cast to 31 tarpon ranging from five to 40 pounds, and we put a number in the air. We saw one tarpon that easily weighed 60 pounds. We also saw and cast to a half dozen snook. All of them were big fish.

“The following day it was back to Espiritu Santo, this time with Jesus Martinez, who at 24 years of age is one of the finest guides we have ever fished with anywhere. He has the eyes of an eagle and really works hard to put you on fish. This may have been our best day overall, as we caught bonefish and tarpon and saw at least six nice permit, one of which followed my fly all the way to the boat but would not take it.
“At one point, after Tammy had caught a nice bonefish, I recalled watching a school of five tarpon move into casting range on the left while a 20-plus-pound permit approached from the right. Jesus asked me which I wanted to try for. I told him that I had been waiting for that question all my life. What a happy dilemma! We opted to try for the permit, the fish that followed my fly to the boat but ultimately did not eat.

“The next day, we fished south in Chetumal Bay, where I landed my best bonefish of the trip. It weighed about six-and-a-half pounds. This fish took me well into the backing. There were numerous schools of 20 to 50 bonefish to cast to in Chetumal.

“In addition to the great fishing, we had some interesting wildlife experiences, including seeing and photographing a boa constrictor and observing a rare tiger heron. One day, on the beach in Espiritu Bay, there in the sand were clear jaguar tracks up and down the beach. I placed my hand next to one of the tracks, and the paw print was nearly the size of my hand. Espiritu Santo is truly a wilderness area. We did not see another boat—nor another human being—on any of the occasions we were there. In Chetumal, you will see a few boats, but the fish are hardly pressured. As for the inland lakes, the folks at

Paradise have those to themselves. “The week at Paradise Lodge runs from Saturday to Saturday and currently costs $1,995 per person, double occupancy for the room and boat. Transportation from Cancún (a four-and-ahalf- hour drive), all meals, plus liquor, is included in the package price. This is undoubtedly one of the best saltwater angling values in the world. A comfortable lodge, massages on request, good food, unlimited cold margaritas, fine wine, outstanding guides, and fishing variety that exists in few places in the world. What’s not to like?”

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