Cuba Flats Fishing Cayo Largo, Cayo Romano, Zapata, Vila Clara, and JDR Tortuga for Permit, Bonefish, Barracuda, Tarpon, Snook
Cuba Flats Fishing
In many respects, Cuba is trapped in a 1950's time warp that is difficult to fully comprehend. Old cars rumble by crumbling dilapidated buildings and time has seemingly stood still in this country for nearly 50 years. The remarkable thing about this situation is that these conditions have created a hybrid of circumstances that are absolutely captivating. Cuba is dynamic, unusual, contradictory and just plain fascinating. The culture of this country is absolutely electric. The people are vibrant and friendly, the music hypnotic and non-stop. This beautiful island nation has so much to offer the destination angler.
For anglers, the country and its waters are a fantasy playground of huge bonefish and unspoiled scenery. We have six world class fisheries in Cuba that that continue to get better: the Zapata Peninsula, Cayo Largo, Jardines de la Reinas and Villa Clara. Each of these locations rate very highly because of the excellent fishing combined with the unique qualities that these very distinct locations offer to anglers.
Cayo Largo Fishing
The Cayo Largo fishing area is a classic ocean flats eco system, made up of large mangrove islands and bays, semi soft marl, healthy turtle grass flats and hard packed sand flats which are excellent for wading. There are only 6 flats boats allowed to fish the entire park, meaning that there are thousands of acres of flats per boat per day. The whole Cayo Largo area is an ideal bonefish habitat and the bones on average are bigger than just about everywhere, except for perhaps the Seychelles? Guests can expect to land several fish during the course of the week that will tip the scales between 8-10 pounds. This is also probably the best location in Cuba for specifically targeting permit. Most of the permit are found in 3-4 feet of water and are often cruising behind feeding rays. We do find tailing fish in certain locations and the guides know where to go if this is something guests want to try? Juvenile tarpon in the 20-50 pound range can be targeted in the winter and spring months and the larger fish will generally show from May through August. The Cayo Largo fishing area is broken down into six sections and each day the skiffs rotate into a new area. This means that guests are constantly fishing new water each day and have that area to themselves. There are normally between 25-30 Grand Slams at caught at Cayo Largo each year making this one of the top destinations in the world for achieving this rare angling feat.Â The flats skiffs at Cayo Largo are 18 foot Dolphin Super Skiffs powered by 90 horse powered engines. The boats have rod holders and poling platforms and a generous casting area at the front of the skiff. Fly fishing and spin casting. No gear available from this location.
JDR Tortuga Fishing
Fishing from the Tortuga is an excellent option for those who are looking to enjoy more flexibility than most traditional lodges will allow. Fishing hours are totally at the discretion of the guests, unlike the majority of lodges in operation. The bonefishing in JDR is superb and the flats are both beautiful and productive. This is a real mixed bag flats environment with everything from white sand flats to lush grass flats. Guests will have numerous daily shots at bonefish in the seven to nine pound class and bones in the 10-14 lb. range are being landed on a consistent basis over the past 3 years. This is an excellent location to sight cast to tarpon. The countless rivers and creeks that flow through the islands and flats are a magnet to tarpon and fish in the 25-50 pound class are available in this wonderful ecosystem on a year round basis. The larger fish will show beginning in mid March and will hold through the summer. The flats skiffs used in JDR from the Tortuga are Dolphin Super Skiffs powered by 80 horse power engines. Both fly fishing and spin casting. There are a limited number of fly rods and rental gear available. Fly fishing and spin casting.
Villa Clara Fishing
The Villa Clara coast is brimming with islands and tidal lagoons that hold a wide variety of fish. What really makes this area so special are the large number of big tarpon that migrate to the offshore bays during the late spring and summer months. Tarpon over 100 pounds are common here and we lost several this past June that were pushing 140. The typical sized fish is somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 90 pounds with an average number of hook ups at about 7 to 10 per day. A good day will bring as many as 20 hook ups. The big tarpon come to this part of Cuba each year to feed on the abundant shoals of sardines which are found in the main channels and bays in the late spring and summer months. Guests will be sight casting to rolling fish as well as fishing with intermediate sinking lines when the fish are 6-10 feet deep, depending on the conditions. This is primarily a tarpon location and while there are opportunities to fish for large snappers, barracudas and jacks, tarpon will always be the principal game fish to target when at Villa Clara. There is also a large mangrove estuary that holds a good number of juvenile tarpon in the 10-30 pound range. Because this fishery is on the exposed north shore of Cuba, the area is highly susceptible to winds. As a result of this, we only book here in the late spring and summer, when the winds aren't generally an issue. Happily, this coincides with the 100 pounders traveling through the area. The flats skiffs at Villa Clara are 16 foot flats skiffs powered by 40 horse powered engines.
This is one of the most unique and diverse fisheries we've ever experienced and there are three principal areas that can be fished: the flats, the river and the Bocas. As a result of the shallow water flats conditions, the skiffs we use to fish out of at Salinas have been modified and adapted to accommodate the environment. The skiffs are made of fiberglass and are about 12 feet long. They draft about 4 inches of water, which means that your guide can get you into the "super skinny" water with no trouble at all. The skiffs are very stable and can hold two people, fishing gear, plus a cooler for food and drinks. For guests heading out to the Boacs, we use a little larger boat, powered by a 9.9 engine. The boats on the river are John Boats with 25 horse powered engines. Salinas is a fly fishing only location while you can fly and spin cast on the river. No rental gear available from this location.
Cayo Romano Fishing
There are two locations within the Cayo Romano that offer very good tarpon fishing and both are about an 80 minute boat ride from the Cayo Cruz boat launch. The guides tend to save these areas for when an angler has already boated a permit and is looking for a Grand Slam. These fish will range from 30 to 90 pounds. The skiffs operating at Cayo Romano/Cruz are Mitzi brand skiffs, manufactured in the United States. Each skiff has a poling platform for the guide along with rod holders and very generous storage space, located at both the front and back of the boat. The casting platform is large and offers lots of space for those anglers who like to move around a bit while standing on the bow of the boat. Constructed from a very light fiberglass mold, these skiffs are ideal for the miles and miles of shallow water flats that anglers will find here. Drawing less than 6 inches of water, the skiffs are powered by very reliable 40 HP Yamaha two stroke engines.
Our logistical capacity to get clients to each of our angling locations is seamless and we handle all travel arrangements in Cuba. Our energy and passion for this wonderful country just keeps on growing by the day. We know how Cuba works and we enjoy sharing it with our guests.