Fishing in Cuba is far different from other destinations in the Caribbean. Only in recent years has this flats fishery been developed, and you are fishing waters that have not seen sport fishing for nearly fifty years.
Cuba has given these pristine areas protection as Cuban National Marine Parks, where no commercial fishing is allowed other than for lobster. Flats fish like Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Snook, Mutton Snapper, Barracuda, and a variety of Jacks are found in incredible numbers and since the fishing pressure is so light in these areas the fish rarely encounter sport fishermen and are unusually easy to catch.
- Spinning & Fly -
This is some of the best flats fishing in the world for fly fishermen, but anglers using spinning and bait casting
Fly fishing in Cuba is far different from other destinations in the Caribbean. Cuba has given these ...
Permit, tarpon, bonefish, snook, snapper, jack crevalle, barracudas, needlefish, lemons, more...
This is some of the best flats fishing in the world for fly fishermen, but anglers using spinning and bait casting tackle are catching a wide variety of fish along the reef the channels and the blue water. It is not uncommon for anglers to catch more than twenty species of fish in just a few days time. Huge groupers, 3 kind of snappers (up to 100+lbs), horse eye jacks and jack crevalle, barracuda, sharks and other blue water fish abound. Tarpons are not allowed to be fished with spinning because of marine park regulations
If you guys are really into fishing with artificial lures, this is the place where you'd like to bring the whole of the stock because the fishes you are likely to encounter are many and very different from each other. To make things a bit easier we'll try to gather the finned army into 3 different groups and related tackle: light, medium and heavy.
Bonefish, Yellowtail Snappers, Cubera Snappers, King Mackerel, Schoolmasters, and all sorts of youngsters of the different species can be included in this category. The perfect (almost) match could be a (6 or 7 ft) rod, fast action, lure 1 / 4 to 5 / 8 oz line 6-17lb. A travel pole is suggested, I don't think you want to carry around one of those large rod cases, if you can break it into 3 pieces is great otherwise, you can do as good with a 2 piece. For this lighter outfit you might want to use an 8 to 10 lb mono, maybe tied to a 20 lb leader. The use of braided lines with such light lures is not recommended and the use of a thin mono will not affect your casting distance. The reel size should be around 2 or 3.000
We suggest a nice selection of jig heads with grubs and other soft plastic lures. If is the Bones you're after, don't bring very bright colors because they won't take it, a limited selection of natural pattern grubs will do the trick. As far as the other critters you can use a wide array of different artificials, from soft plastic, to plugs to poppers or walkers. We do pretty well with the likes of Yo-Zuri Hydro Tiger and Crystal Minnows, Rapala Suspending Jerk, Skitter Pop and Skitter Walk, Mirrolure Top Dog Jr. and Catch 2.000, Excalibur Spit'n Image and Pop'n Image and Super Spook Jr.T he sizes should range between 2.7 and 4 inches, naturals colors do good but the guy who's writing this has a particular adoration for yellowish things.
Jacks (Crevalle, Horse Eye, Yellow), Cudas, Kingfish, Snappers (Mutton, Dog, Mangrove, Cubera), Groupers, Blackfin Tunas, Albacores. This bunch of bad boys will represent 70% of your daily catch and if some of them will be so kind to pull straight not trying to tangle the line into the reef, others won't be so polite so you'd better be ready. A stout 7' rod, rated for 10-25lb line and 1 to 2.5 oz lures is your weapon. Match it with a 4.000 size reel and # 20 to # 30lb test braided, you won't regret the advantage of its non-stretch qualities and you will be able to spool more yards in your reel. A mono leader is very much recommended, a couple feet of 40 to 80 lb, your choice; a piece of wire wouldn't bother that much.
POPPERS! Sorry for the enthusiasm but as far as your humble writer is concerned I would just bring a good bunch of 5 to 8 inches surface bricks and a handful of Jigs. Hab's Perfect Poppers and Perfect Squids, High Tide Exploders, Rapala Skitter Pop, Yo-Zuri Surface Cruiser and Hydro Tiger, Gibbs Polaris Poppers in the range we mentioned before are the best bet. Put in the box also some 1 to 3 oz buck tail jigs and you're fine. If you like traditional plugs , bring those as well, they catch fish too, even though with a lesser show. Colors. Any color is fine as long as it is…yellow! Sorry, we have a monochromatic vision sometimes: bring some Parrot and Orange too, just to feel a bit more "covered". For the jigs we had success with red/white, red/yellow, white/chartreuse, the groupers aren't very finicky though and if you find the right spot and do some deep jigging you can find yourself in a very funny situation sometimes.
Jardines de la Reina is Cubera Snapper 's Paradise (and sharks and Goliath Grouper).The Cuberas of that evil reef range between 20 and 140 lb and I can assure you that a medium outfit, most of the times, is absolutely useless. If a 60 pounder charge your popper (yes they love poppers), 20 feet from the boat, it will peel 30 ft of # 30 lb braided in a nanosecond and next thing you hear is a very much annoying "snap". So, if you really want to target those animals you might want to bring a (7 to 9ft) rod rated for # 80lb line and able to cast 6 oz lures even though your poppers will range around 3 to 4 oz. Put a heavy duty reel, 5.000 or 6.000, # 80 to # 100 braided line and a # 80 to # 130lb mono leader. Then you start tossing your surface lure and pray…. even with this outfit it is very easy to break'e off. The same stuff can be used for deep jigging, it is plenty of big monsters in the reef and you surely need some extra help if one decides to have breakfast with your jig.
Big poppers and the same jigs you were using with the medium outfit. My favourite are Yo-Zuri Surface Bull (8 inches 4 oz), Gibbs Polaris Poppers (3,4 oz) and Hab's Perfect Poppers (4 oz). Remember, you can live without the heavy outfit, eventually is the least required but when you will see the copper hump coming out of the water chasing your lure, you might regret it…..
Fly fishing in Cuba is far different from other destinations in the Caribbean. Only in recent years has this flats fishery been developed, and you are fishing waters that have not seen sport fishing for nearly fifty years. Cuba has given these pristine areas protection as Cuban National Marine Parks, where no commercial fishing is allowed other than for lobster. Flats fish like Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Snook, Mutton Snapper, Barracuda, and a variety of Jacks are found in incredible numbers and since the fishing pressure is so light in these areas the fish rarely encounter sport fishermen and are unusually easy to catch.
Think about a place where you can fish more than 100 miles of flats without seeing another fisherman, a place where the flats fishing is so good that you can catch seven species of fish in one day, a place where big bonefish run toward your fly when it hits the water too hard, rather than streaking off the flat in the other direction, a place where you have a legitimate chance for a grand slam every day of the year, a place where big permit are as plentiful as they were in the Florida Keys 30 years ago, a place where you can wade miles of white-sand flats in your bare feet for big bonefish, a place where you'll find enough big cuberas, jacks, 'cudas, and sharks on the flats to wear you out! Note that Tarpon can't be fished with spinning because of marine park restrictions.
Despite heavy commercial fishing pressure before the ban, Cubas remote archipelagos have remained unspoiled. Because they are often situated from 50 to 100 miles off the Cuban coast and are not easily visited, even by the Cuban lobster fishermen. ?With the tutelage of several famous guides and anglers, the Cubans have become excellent guides and good fly fishermen. Give them a fly rod and they'll double-haul a 100-foot cast, or show you just how to work a fly to make bonefish charge and inhale it. They spot fish as well as any of the Caribbean's best guides and direct your casts from the poling platform. These guides enjoy enthusiastic anglers and love to work long days, allowing you to fish as hard as you want. A remarkable contrast to many other destinations or lodges where you are often limited to six or eight hours on the water, including your running time. In Avalon's destinations, there is never any limitation on gas used or distances run in the day. If you want to get out early and fish to dark, you can do it! But the fishing is normally so good and so intense that you'll be ready to quit in time to be back for cocktails. Although Spanish is the guides' native tongue, they have all taken classes in English and they communicate surprisingly well with their anglers. They are also in constant training to improve their language skills.
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