With Big Bonefish, Permit, and Tarpon on the brain, our group was excited to fly fish Cuba. The trip started off with our stay in Havana on Friday. After arriving at the airport in the am, we headed to our overnight accommodations via classic American older cars from the 50’s. Those cars always bring back fond memories for so many of our clients.
After dropping off our bags and grabbing a few mojitos, we all met for lunch at a beautiful Cuban rooftop restaurant.
Fishing stories were shared, and laughs were enjoyed by all. In the afternoon, some chose to tour around Havana while others relaxed at the pool. We all met up again for a great rooftop dinner at one of our favorite restaurants but decided not to stay out too late so we could be well-rested for the anticipated week ahead.
Saturday morning, we had a late breakfast and left to meet our bus transportation to Cayo Largo in the early afternoon. We were fortunate enough to tour the only fly shop in Cuba before our final stop at the port. More stories were shared, mojitos consumed, and laughter was had by all. By 5 p.m., we were on the liveaboard boat and headed for Cayo Largo. It was time to gear up and prepare our gear for the coming week.
Sunday morning couldn’t arrive soon enough for the group. The weather was nearly perfect. In fact, it may have been a bit too calm. A bit of wind is always a good thing when fly fishing in Cuba on the flats.
It keeps the temperature down underneath the excessive barometer. With little to no wind, it was darn hot, to say the least.
The good news with warm temperatures is that fishing heats up, too. Sunday was no exception to that rule. The schools of bonefish that many anglers saw on Sunday were in the thousands.
It’s incredible to see a massive school of fish in the 4-10+lb range suspended in the water column in 3-5ft of water. Our clients were getting worn out by these extremely strong, healthy ghosts of the flats. Not to say that is a bad thing, but fighting a bunch of hard-pulling fish in warm weather can take it out of you if you aren’t used to it. Plenty of Tarpon were landed, as several shots at Permit were had, too.
Tuesday was the same, maybe to a lesser degree, as a cold front was approaching by the afternoon. By Wednesday, the cold front was upon us with cloudy skies and bouts of intense rain.
It’s crazy how hard it can rain in the Caribbean when it pours. Thankfully, the rain and clouds began to clear by the later afternoon, and we looked forward to improved fishing come Thursday.
Thursday did not disappoint.
Fishing improved dramatically from just the day before. By the afternoon, fishing was back almost to Sunday’s standards. The group got the only grand slam of the Trip on Thursday.
Until one fishes for a Permit, it’s hard to fully understand the phrase “Permit are just being Permit.” Quality casts can be made to them, and right as the fly is about to enter the water, they immediately are distracted and looking in another direction. It’s part of the game when Permit fishing. It’s likely why it seems so gratifying for anglers when one does land a quality adult Permit.
Friday’s fishing did not disappoint. Tailing Bones in the shallows were a handful for many clients. They can rip off a hundred yar ds of line and backing quickly and get one tied up in the small growing mangroves. It presents a good challenge to see how well one can battle big Bones with obstacles. Snook also presented a challenge to present the fly to them while they were hiding just under the mangroves.
As with many of our Cuba excursions, most anglers wished they were staying another week and were sad to have to go back home. That’s always a positive sign when no one really wants to leave. Fortunately, there is always next time, and with this group of anglers, everyone has plans to fish it again next year. In fact, some are even planning on two weeks in a row…