There are many areas around the Caribbean that have bonefish, permit and tarpon. However one of the only places that has consistent numbers of good sized fish without the flats looking like a regatta is Cuba. Cuba offers a huge variety of environments in which to catch each species and has proven to be one of the best destinations to slam. Not only is the fishing excellent but the experience of visiting a country that is caught in a time warp with its own unique character is also hard to beat.
Jardines de la Reina on the southern coast. While in Jardines de la Reina, accommodation is provided aboard a series of purpose-built liveaboard vessels. There are five boats in all; Jardines Avalon 2, 3 & 4, Jardines Avalon F1 & F2. Each boat offers a unique and comfortable experience.
Jardines de la Reina is the original fly fisherman’s playground in Cuba and continues to be visited year in and year out by numerous fishermen from across the globe. It offers all the prime species but also good numbers of tarpon. The area is bisected by large channels, or “Bocas” that provide conduits from which the tarpon can move from the safety of deeper water up onto the flats. They are perfect for polling and give you the opportunity to cast at specific rolling fish. The season runs from October until August with baby tarpon up to 30 lbs present all year – mainly in the mangroves. Larger tarpon, up to and above 100 lbs.
The average sized bonefish is a solid three to five pounds, but there are opportunities for fish in the seven to ten pound class every day. The huge variety of species available here is an added bonus with everything from mutton snapper on the flats, to wahoo and giant Cubera snapper on the drop offs. The flats environment here is a fantastic combination of wadable white sand and turtle grass flats that are accessed by skiff.
For anglers who land a permit, there is an excellent chance of completing a Grand Slam the same day. Tarpon can be found at just about any time and tide level as can bonefish, and over the years many fishermen have achieved a Grand Slam.
November 18 – 25
US$4,270 per person based on 7 nights / 6 days, shared room and shared guide
Cayo Cruz is located on the north shore of the eastern province of Camaguey, the Cayo Cruz fishery is an enormous system of flats, lagoons and pristine estuaries. The area is 366 square kilometres in size, meaning that on the average day, each skiff has over 50 square kilometres to itself. The flats are an inviting combination of hard packed white sand and a semi-firm mottled bottom that still provides good wading. The average sized bonefish is a healthy four pounds and during the course of the week it is not unheard of for guests to land a fish or two in the 10 pound range. What really sets this location apart from so many other fisheries is that guests can expect to encounter and get shots at good numbers of permit each day.
The operation underwent a massive upgrade in 2019 when accommodation moved from a rather dingey Cuban hotel with long drives to the fishing to a brand new “Lodge” within a new hotel system. Whilst it is located on a large hotel complex it is like a separate apartment system that they use so it has its own pool, bar and lounge area which is only 100 metres from the dock. Rooms are all newly renovated, ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning and WIFI.
November 18 – 25
US$3,690 per person based on 7 nights / 6 days, shared room and shared guide
Isle of Youth (Isla de la Juventud) is on the south west coast and this remote Marine Park in the Canarreos Archipelago. The combination of marl, sand, and turtle grass provide a perfect environment for fishing from a skiff, enabling you to target tarpon as they come into the channels from deeper water. Tarpon here frequently tip the scales at 100 lbs but it is true to say that fishing here can be challenging. You will be based on the live-aboard, Avalon Fleet 1, which allows you to avoid the open water crossings from the mainland. Avalon Fleet 1 is taken by an intact party and can accommodate up to 18 passengers and 8 crew members. We suggest between 8 and 12 anglers for optimum comfort. The season runs from October until the end of July with prime time falling in May.
Unlike the Florida Keys all these huge protected areas are only fished by the operations based there and, as a result, there is less pressure on the fisheries. If travelling with non-fishers, Cayo Largo and Santa Maria have suitable accommodation and those of you with diving partners, Jardines de la Reina offers fantastic diving. Virgin, Iberia and Air France all have flights to Havana that work with the fishing schedules and although visas are required, we are able to issue them for you.
November 25 – 02 December
If you would like more information please contact Peter McLeod or Alex Jardine or call us on ++44 1980 847389. Alternatively click HERE if you would like us to contact you.