Thousands of miles of remote fishing
Zapata is a good value option for those happy to make some sacrifices in terms of creature comforts but certainly no sacrifices to the quality of the fishing on offer. Best of all, it is accessed via a two hour drive from Havana so anglers can really concentrate on the fishing without the need to overnight after an international flight.
Unexplored mixed species fishery
Zapata in southern Cuba has been part of the Cuban Blue Sanctuary project since 2015, and as a result has become a haven for both fish and wildlife. Little explored until the recent lifting of a restriction on boat engines, this mixed species fishery includes plenty of variety while fishing different types of flats in a combination of both wading and boat fishing.
There are miles of shallow bonefish flats, many of which can be poled and fished from the boat, along with large areas of hard sand, easily waded flats to search for tailing bonefish. The bonefish average around four pounds and it’s quite common to catch 10 to 20 bonefish a day on these glorious flats. The plentiful shallow lagoons house both permit and bonefish while the scores of narrow mangrove channels and lagoons are perfect for hunting baby tarpon ranging from ten to 40lb. The pancake flats are great for permit, as are the white sand flats adjacent to the beach edge where big permit and tarpon (up to 80lb) lurk. There are some sandy and mangrove lined flats that snook call home; and a series of blue holes and coralheads where massive Cubera snapper, jack crevalle, and countless other species can be tempted to the surface with a popper.
The fishing operation is based on the mothership Georgiana which allows direct access to the flats and allows the fishing programme to move as the tides dictate. Zapata fishes eight rods to the week, between six skiffs. Anglers will fish three days in a single skiff and three days in shared skiff.
The rotation allows anglers to fish from two different types of boat, each of which has been designed specifically for the environment that it fishes. On single skiff days the flat hulled skiffs run very shallow and are idea to pursue bonefish and permit in skinny water. The larger deeper hulled Dolphins used on a shared basis are best suited to travel further afield and into deeper water in search of Zapata’s healthy population of juvenile tarpon.
Clean and comfortable mothership
Georgiana is a purpose built 100-foot vessel providing comfortable accommodation in four single and two double cabins. Each cabin has an en-suite bathroom and air conditioning. There is a sun deck where guests can soak up the amazing views of deserted white beaches, mangrove swamps and endless flats. Tasty cuisine, with plenty of fresh fish, and a selection of cocktails make for a convivial atmosphere after a day out on the water.
Protected wilderness within easy reach of Havana
Georgiana is based in the Zapata National Park on the southern side of Cuba. Designed a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2000, it is one of the best-preserved wetlands in the Caribbean islands. The area through which Georgiana travels is exclusive to the operator so there is little pressure on the fishery.