Great weather, great friends, great fishing…. Is there a better situation for any angler than that??
On this Stillwater Travel expedition in Cuba, we were fly fishing in Cayo Largo, Cuba. Cubans consider the Cayo Largo area and beaches some of Cuba's most scenic. We agree with them. The white sandy beaches and huge white sand flats that seem to extend forever are breathtaking.
More importantly, for fly fishing in Cuba, the flats species that inhabit those massive flats are equally plentiful and hungry. Our Stillwater Travel group landed 6 Grand Slams during the week. What's crazy is how close we were to having a dozen Grand Slams in the week. While we did land 7 Permit in the 10-15lb range, several more Permit were hooked and lost during the week, not to even count the almost eats. The water was hot, and 30-40% of the Permit that saw the fly were aggressive to go after it. That being said, Permit are still Permit. Many great casts were looked at intently by Permit yet still refused. The same Permit might often refuse the fly several times, even when changing flies. That's Permit fishing. Our good friends, the Cayo Largo guides, told us that 2023, the Stillwater Travel groups are responsible for landing more than 50% of the Permit in Cayo Largo in 2023. Great job, folks!!!!
The Bonefishing in Cayo Largo is second to none, which was true to form for our week. Anglers targeting Bonefish had many days where they couldn't believe how outstanding the fishing was. The Bonefish in Cayo Largo average 5lbs, around 25 inches.
To be considered a larger Bonefish, they must start getting over 28 inches long. Several fish in the 29-31 inch range were landed on the week. They look like small Tarpon many times when you are casting to them. On days anglers targeted Bonefish, it wasn't uncommon for the skiff to land 20-30 fish throughout the day, and that's when you are limiting the number of fish you're willing to cast to.
The Tarpon fishing was meh some days and good other days. The Summer brings rain at night, washing off the mangroves and creating red water. The Tarpon love to swim in the red water and demolish the dying bait in it. Unfortunately, June and July hadn't had much rain this year. We had one skiff experience this fishing in red water; they jumped 30 Tarpon in less than 2 hours. Every cast gets an eat or several eats. Non-stop activity for those into chaotic fly fishing. The beaches on the South side tend to be the best places for Tarpon, and the wind came too strong from the South to allow good fishing.
All in all, the group had a fantastic week. The group had 4 anglers catch their first Permit. Well done!!! They all can't wait to run it back next year and fly fish Cuba…