We were planning a fishing trip to Cuba for some tarpon, bonefish and if possible, permit. I knew from before that I was going to Paradise, but I didn’t know how paradise looked like… In Paradise we all expect to have some of the best fly fishing we could ever imagined.
Cuba was a temptation in our bucket list for the famous fishing in the Cayos. It was also a cultural thing for my American and British friends. Cuba is just different to any other part in the world and The Habana has won its reputation for the Rum and the cigars, besides the city itself.
It was a long journey for all of us. From Atlanta, Rob and Weed made a connection through Cancun, and Mike and his sons made a connection from London to Madrid, like Peter, Andrew and Richard did. For me was a connection through Panama City that worked very well. We all arrived one or two days before schedule.
This was not a regular trip and we knew we were going for adventure. We have planned to stay in a floating boat with 10 rooms and private bathrooms, dining room, bar, air conditioned and Wi-Fi connection in the middle of nowhere. The floating boat is anchored in the Cayos of “Jardines de la Reina” that is 3 hours south from Jucaro town and port in Cuba.
So, going to Paradise has a price, and this time was a 5 hour trip by bus (nice one with air condition) and 3 hours by boat to get there. But when you get out from the boat and jump in the skiff boat to go fishing, with your rod in one hand, the fly box in the other one and your backpack with gear and equipment, the world as you know it changes. It feels like a dream for a few to be so far from all our people and family in that crystal clear water.
I took my Crocs as soon as I jumped in the skiff boat, and when we were about to leave for fishing with my guide, I said to my fellows: “good luck chaps, and tight lines”. And then, I had the paradise in front of me.
The skiff boat is flat on the bottom and has a high platform in the back so the guides can row and a platform in the front so we can fish. There is a special area in the front to keep your staff safe and not to interfere with the fishing. I was wearing my Buff protector in my neck, Costa sunglasses, Orvis gloves for saltwater fly fishing and a Columbia SPF. I had a quick-dry long pants beige color. To be protected from the sun is a very important factor if you fly fish in the Caribbean. I put on sunscreen 50, that I also used on my feet.
Little things to consider are, for example to put on sunscreen before your departure every morning so you can clean your hands. Then be sure to keep your gear organized and not to forget anything. Make sure you have your wading boots or shoes with you, and we recommend you a nice pair of socks to wear every day. Your socks will get wet and then is not going to be comfortable to wear them again. Regarding shirts, the minimum number should be 4 and for fishing pants we recommend 3 light ones. You will also need some casual clothes to be around in the boat after the fishing. You should consider that weather is in between 80F to 100F. It is very important to have a good Simms rain jacket and some waterproof pants too. There is always a minimum chance to have a rainy and windy day and you will wish you have your gear with you.
The Fishing: It could be from the platform in the boat or wading or the combination of both which is excellent. It is nice to be around on the boat over the flats, which are around 20 to 30 inches of clear water, searching for a movement in the surface or a bonefish tale. It is also lovely to be in the channels in between mangroves, where the water looks greener and transparent, searching for tarpon, or even in the south flats looking for some permit.
The week was amazing and we made an average of 15 to 20 bonefish a day, 2 to 4 tarpons a week, and the group had the luck to get 1 permit total. We have seen and fly fish some barracuda, jack and snapper too.
There were 6 complete days of amazing fly fishing, and in a next report we will write specifically about the fishing, and tell you more secrets about this unique experience of fishing Cuba.
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