Cuba Fishing Outfitters specializes in giving expert and honest advice, and in arranging fishing trips to the best destinations in Cuba.
With travel to Cuba becoming more possible every day for US citizens, Cuba Fishing Outfitters was created in order to serve those needs. Cuba has long been a mysterious place, and American travelers have many questions. CFO usually has the answer to those questions, and can organize every facet of a trip. Furthermore, with experience in fishing Cuba for nearly 20 years, we feel we can give honest and expert advice on which location is best for any angler or group. Ultimately, we can facilitate all aspects of your travel, from flights, lodgings and tours in Havana, and arranging for your dream fishing trip.
BEST CUBA FLY PATTERNS:
All right, I know that this is going to be up for debate, but cut me a little slack! I get a lot of questions about tackle for anglers heading to Cuba, and we of course talk a lot about fly patterns. These 3 flies are in my opinion, must haves for most of Cuba, when pursuing Bonefish, Permit, and Tarpon.
VERVERKA MANTIS SHRIMP:
I cannot get beyond this fly. In past Bonefish trips to other parts of the world, I had fished all the usuals, with the Gotcha as probably my top choice in flies. A few years ago I was fishing Zapata, and after some unwillingness from the fish, my guide asked to see my fly box. He found a Ververka Mantis Shrimp crowded in amongst everything else and said "Put this on, and don't take it off." I didn't. Fish after fish ate it, and it has been my go-to Bonefish fly ever since.
AVALON PERMIT FLY:
Anyone going to Cuba will be recommended to have a selection of the Avalon Permit Fly in their arsenal. This fly was designed by Mauro Ginevri, the longtime manager of the Avalon fishing operation on Cayo Largo. Mauro wanted a fly that sank quickly and would orient itself hook up when presented and when stripped. Most effective on Cuba's Southern Coast, many many Permit have fallen victim to this shrimp imitation. Crab patterns seem more effective in destinations on the north coast such as Cayo Cruz, as well as the dark-bottomed shorelines of Zapata.
FLY FISHING THE RUN TARPON TOAD:
The Tarpon Toad is a very popular pattern, and seems to work just about everywhere. I was introduced to this color combination by Cristian Pablo Rodriguez, who owns and operates Fly Fishing the Run. We were pursuing Tarpon on the flats around Gardens of the King, and his fly was very quickly the hot color combination. Having Toads in a variety of colors is, of course, a wise idea. Black and Purple, Black and Red, Tan and Olive, and straight Chartreuse can all be effective combinations. That said, I have a tough time leaving the FFTR version in my fly box.
CAYO CRUZ $3500 SPECIALS!!
Cayo Cruz is located at the eastern end of the Gardens of the King archipelago bordering the north coast of Cuba. This whole area has long been pristine and protected. Some anglers in the know come here just for the great shots at Permit, often swimming in the company of rays. Others also know that the average Bonefish from this area is large.....many fish are between 5 and 7 pounds. And still others wait for the annual tarpon migration, when big fish fill the channels and cuts between the islands, and are susceptible to the fly.
Right now, anglers have 2 choices when fishing Cayo Cruz. They can, all through the year, stay at La Casona in the small town of Brasil, and make the daily hour long voyage to and from the flats. Or, through Spring and Summer, they can board the Avalon 1 yacht which anchors near some of the best tarpon channels.
All of that will change this Fall. New resorts have been under construction at Cayo Cruz, and will be open for business as of October 1, 2017. With five star ratings, guests will not only be comfortable, they will also be two minutes from the marina where they will board their flats skiffs each morning. With these new arrangements, the outfitter is offering promotional rates for Cayo Cruz that are very attractive. Contact me soon.....these weeks should fill quickly.
October 1, 2017 - March 31 2018
$3500 per person based on double occupancy and shared skiff
$4500 per person in single skiff
7 nights/6 days fishing
Program is Saturday to Saturday, and includes transfers to and from Cayo Coco to Cayo Cruz, all room and board (4 drinks per angler each day in boat)
CUBA PRIME AVAILABILITY
I know I have said it before......finding space to fish in Cuba on short notice is difficult. That said, we have been in contact with the outfitters to get the latest on any openings or specials. Listed below is what is currently available, and there are some great opportunities! Please contact me for specific details......
The Zapata Peninsula
If you are interested in experiencing some of Cuba’s most diverse and economical fishing opportunities, Zapata National Park may be your place. The expansive flats that extend from this huge mangrove swamp provide an amazing saltwater fishery, particularly for bonefish. With most of the flats being hard sand or coral, plenty of good wading options are available. Additionally, anglers can cast from skiffs while stalking bonefish that average between 3 and 5 pounds. There are also good chances for permit here, particularly on the outer edges of these vast flat expanses. Resident tarpon can also be found in the slightly deeper water of the channels and lagoons. Guests will stay aboard the 100 foot live-aboard yacht, Georgiana.
March 4-11 8 rods
Cayo Cruz features one of the most healthy, untouched and pristine marine environments in Cuba. Located on the northern central coast, this newer destination from Avalon is still being explored and producing impressive results. This fishery is defined by great wading opportunities and fantastic fishing for large bonefish, permit and migratory tarpon in season (April-June). Anglers will stay aboard Avalon’s live-aboard yacht, Avalon Fleet I.
March 31-April 7 8 rods (2 per skiff)
April 21-28 6 rods (2 per skiff)
Gardens of the King
The area around Cayo Santa Maria has an established track record for providing amazing tarpon opportunities. Located on the northern coast of the country, approximately a 4.5-hour drive due east of Havana, this area known as the Jardines del Rey (Gardens of the King) is a prime destination for both resident and migratory tarpon. Some opportunities for bonefish and permit are available as well. This diverse region offers flats, beaches, deep channels and mangrove estuaries. Most fishing takes place from the boat. The best time to visit Santa Maria for migratory tarpon is March through July, with peak months being April through June. Anglers stay at the large, all-inclusive resort Iberostar Ensenachos. Santa Maria is also one of Cuba’s more budget-friendly options.
April 22-30 4 rods
June 3-11 6 rods
Jardines De La Reina
The Jardines de la Reina (JDR), which translates to the “Gardens of the Queen”, is located off the southern central coast of the country. This massive archipelago is formed by some 600 cays and parallels the Cuban coastline for nearly 100 miles. It alone is bigger than the entirety of the Florida Keys. The JDR is a vast and prolific marine sanctuary and is serviced by Avalon exclusively, meaning it’s likely you will never see another fishing boat other than those from your own party. This area offers anglers true variety and fantastic biodiversity. Both migratory and baby tarpon, permit, bonefish, jacks, snapper and barracuda are all available. Anglers access the fishery aboard Avalon’s floating hotel called
La Tortuga or aboard one of several motherships located in the area.
June 24-30 12 rods (2 per skiff)
July 8-16 12 rods (2 per skiff)
Cayo Largo offers an immaculate and highly productive flats fishery coupled with great options for those interested in a wide range of resort-based activities. Absent of commercial fishing pressure, Cayo Largo (Long Cay) is a meticulously managed biosphere preserve and the area is designated “fly fishing only”. Trips to Cayo Largo avoid the confines of a mothership and give guests the ability to explore the island’s beaches, tours and dynamic ecosystems. The primary targets for anglers include large bonefish and permit. Migratory tarpon are available during the months of April through mid July. Anglers stay at The Sol Club, a large (296-room) all-inclusive resort complete with several restaurants, swimming pools, activities, eco-excursions and amenities. Suitable for families and couples, Sol Club provides a perfect home base for general vacation tourism and world-class saltwater angling.
June 16-23 6 rods
July 14-21 12 rods
Island of the Youth
Island of the Youth is the largest of all the islands surrounding the Cuban mainland. Located off the southwest coast, access to the island is via a short commuter flight from Havana. IDJ is renowned for being a prime tarpon fishery, having resident fish all the year, and large migratory fish in the months of April-July. With access to the many islands of the Canarreos Archipeligo, there are also bonefish and some permit to be found here. Guests will stay aboard the intimate yacht Perola which will anchor near the best fishing.
June 2-9 6 rods
In case you are in the New Jersey, New York market, I hope you will find time to visit the very fine fly fishing show put on every year in Somerset. This destination gets rave reviews from manufacturers, retailers, and lodges as being one of the best shows in the country. I will be doing 5 presentations during the 3 day show. Several of them are about Cuba, and the others a primer to fishing in Patagonia. I hope to see you! Here is the schedule:
Friday January 27th: 11am-12pm on Cuba at the Adventure Theater & 3pm-4pm on Patagonia at the Westfield Room
Saturday January 28th: 3pm-4pm on Cuba at the Bedminster Room
Sunday January 29th: 1pm-2pm on Cuba at the Bernardsville Room & 3pm-4pm on Patagonia at the Westfield Room
DENVER Fly Fishing Show at the Denver Mart: Hey all. I will be doing 3 presentations in Denver this weekend on everything you need to know about fishing and traveling to Cuba. Friday at 1:00, Saturday at 4:00, and Sunday at 2:00. If you are in town, please join me!
One of the famous places in Havana is Parque Centrale in old Havana. When you go there, it is likely that you will see a group of men crowded together, talking and waving their arms, and generally seeming passionate about something. And passionate they are. This is the famous "Esquina Caliente" or "hot corner" which is baseball slang for third base. The tradition for these men is to meet here to discuss everything baseball.....best teams, who will win what, best players, arguments over an umpire's call.......you name it. In a recent visit, I was accosted by one of the fans who talked my ear off.
In Parque Central, Havana, local baseball fanatics gather to discuss and argue over everything baseball. This fan is explaining things to me in great detail....
Great one minute of your life to spend on watching a video! Golden Dorado are the coolest. Let me know if I can help you get to Bolivia!
Due to a recent cancellation, the live-aboard yacht Georgiana now has a week of availability during the prime of Cuba's fishing season. Georgiana will moor in the shallow waters adjoining Cuba's Zapata Peninsula. Anglers joining the trip will be picked up and transported via van from Havana, and then access the yacht via flats skiff. Total transport time from Havana to Georgiana is about 4 hours. Included in the package is all transportation to and from Havana, 7 nights food and lodging, and 6 full days of fishing. Half of the days anglers fish one per skiff, and the remaining half with 2 anglers sharing.
Zapata is known for having immense flats, with Bonefish very plentiful. These fish average in size from 2-5 pounds, but larger fish are available, all the way up to double digits. There are also Permit here, as well as resident Tarpon up to about 30 pounds. Larger Tarpon are sometimes caught, especially during this time of year when Tarpon are on their migration. There are also large numbers of Cuda, Jacks, and Snapper around Zapata. This is a very pristine and intact natural environment.
Dates of Trip: May 14-21, 2017
Price: $5650 per person
Maximum Number of Guests: 8
GARDENS OF THE KING Update:
Gardens of the King is one of the newer fishing destinations in Cuba. I fished here with the outfitter briefly last Fall and had a very good experience. Known for having a population of both resident Tarpon, and a good number of larger migratory Tarpon in season, I decided to host a trip for June of 2017.
Great for myself, and anyone wanting more first hand information on this fishery, Dylan Rose from FlyWater just joined a group at Gardens of the King. Many of the same anglers were with Dylan and I last year aboard the Avalon Fleet 1 at Cayo Cruz. We had a really fun trip, although the Tarpon fishing was disappointing due to warmer than normal water conditions. These guys wanted big Tarpon, and so re-booked to GOK which has a reputation for its Tarpon fishing.
Dylan is going to send out a more formal report, and when he does I will post a link to it. In the meantime though, I know that I have people interested in joining along with me to GOK in 2017. The information Dylan has passed along to me is recent and accurate. My understanding is that this group of anglers jumped around 70 Tarpon for the week. Fish ranged in size from 30-130 pounds. I like the sound of that! Unlike my experience in the Fall, Tarpon were apparently not on the flats, but instead in the channels and deeper lagoons.
I am also very happy that the group found their accommodations at the Iberostar Ensencachos quite good. The previous resort used for this fishing package was rough around the edges to say the least, and although the change had been made to Ensenachos this was my first report from anglers. They found the rooms and food very good, although I think they were surprised at how large and sprawling the resort itself was. My understanding is that the cigar bar became their haunt in the evenings after fishing.
Please let myself or Dylan Rose at FLywater know if you have any questions about Gardens of the King. I have just a couple of spots left for June 24th through July 2nd, 2017.
Sorry.....this should have been the text for the post below....
If you have been to Cuba, you might be familiar with the unusual currency situation. Cuba, has two official currencies....one is the CUC (Convertible Peso and meant mostly for tourists) and the CUP (Cuban National Peso or Moneda Nacional, and used by ordinary Cubans). The CUC (pronounced "Kook") is worth approximately $1 US, and 25 times as much as a Cuban Peso.
When you go to a nice restaurant in Havana, pay for a hotel, or ride in a regular taxi, the CUC is the payment of choice. A normal taxi ride in Havana is almost always 7-10 CUC, and a meal in a nice restaurant is 10-15 CUC. But, if you learn a little more, a taxi ride can be about $.40 and a pizza on the street the same. For food, be on the lookout for Cubans standing in line at small food stalls or for restaurants where they charge in Moneda Nacional.
As for taxis, learn how to use the "Collectivos" which are shared taxis that drive on set routes around Havana. Here are some rules you need to know:
- Learn the routes: Generally, these old American cars which serve as collectivos make routes on the major avenues in Havana
- Watch the Locals: Cubans will stand on the side of these roads, and when cars approach stick their arm out. The taxis will stop, and you lean in and tell them where you want to go. They either say "si" and you get in, or "no" and keep on going.
- Don't slam the door!: This is your intuition with these old heavy doors, but the truth is these old cars are held together by baling wire and whatever else is available. The driver will appreciate you being thoughtful of his car.
- Greet the other passengers: Cubans are very polite, and most always utter a soft "buenas tardes" or whatever is appropriate when entering the cab.
- Have your money ready: It is impolite to make everyone else wait when the cab is at your stop. Collectivos are 10 CUP per person, so have your money out and ready. You just got a cab in Havana for $.40!
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