Saltwater Fly Fishing – Tarpon, Bonefish & Permit In Cuba
Cayo Largo - World Class Flats Sight-Fishing with Excellent opportunities for a Grand Slam
The fly-fishing for Tarpon in Cuba has long been revered as being some of the best anywhere in the world. Sighted fishing for Tarpon combined with superb fishing for Bonefish & Permit within the protected National Parks means that the quality of the flats fly-fishing is outstanding. Unlike some of the other more remote fishing destinations in Cuba guests at Cayo Largo stay at the 4 star resort, Sol Club Cay Largo. Endless white-sand beaches, pools and the life at the hotel / resort make it an ideal place to combine the outstanding saltwater fly-fishing with a holiday suitable for non-fishers.
The Saltwater Fly-Fishing at Cayo Largo
There are few areas in the world that can boast such excellent varied flats fishing as that on offer in Cuba and the area around Cayo Largo is no exception. It was the first fly-fishing destination to open in Cuba and remains the best and most varied land based fishing operation in Cuba. Fly-fishing is possible both from skiffs and by wading. An extensive shallow underwater shelf along the Northern coastline of Cayo Largo provides a huge expansive of fishable flats ideal for all saltwater flats species. To the South a natural coral barrier reef protects white sandy beaches and shelters firm bottomed flats that are ideal for both wading as well as fishing from a skiff.
The ghosts of the flats, Bonefish are the most numerous and popular of all the flats species and offer fantastic sport on a fly rod. Although Bonefish may be considered the ‘starter’ species for saltwater fly-fishermen they are at the same time one of the most refined. The bigger the fish the wiser and more wary it will be. The elusive 10lb fish will require skill and aptitude on behalf of the angler if he is to be fooled into taking your fly. When hooked in shallow water they will run with a force and vigour that will challenge your confidence in your fishing gear! Average weights of Bones at Cayo Largo varies from 3-6lbs but larger ones are always possible.
Tarpon are unquestionably one of the most exciting and challenging of all the game fish that you might catch on a fly rod and Cuba has some of the best sighted flats Tarpon fishing available. Phenomenally strong and acrobatic, Tarpon will launch themselves vertically out of the water as soon as they are hooked in an initial bid to shake the hook. Survive the first 5 seconds and you can expect much more of the same combined with powerful runs in the 20 minutes to 2 hours it can take to tame these fish. There are good numbers of 15-30lb juvenile Tarpon at Cayo Largo which can be caught all year round in the tidal creeks and on the flats which will provide superb sport on a 10 wt rod. Migratory Tarpon will be present over the months from April-August and can weigh anything up to and beyond 120lbs.
These are one of the most fickle yet rewarding of all saltwater game fish. Typically identified by their protruding coal black forked tails, Permit are found regularly in the waters around Cayo Largo. Smaller Permit tend to travel in schools of a dozen or so fish but larger Permit in the 15-45lb range tend to be either solitary or feed in pairs. Regardless of their size to catch one is a great achievement and Cayo Largo has a reputation for delivering anglers the fabled saltwater Grand Slam; a Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit in one day.
Barracuda, Jack Crevalle & Other Species
Whilst the species above are considered the primary saltwater game fish, the flats, creeks, channels and reefs have any number of sporting fish that will complement any angler's fishing day. Keeping one's nerve and not striking too early as a Barracuda launches from 10-20ft at a surface popper is quite a test. Equally to encounter the brute strength of Jack Crevalle during a feeding spree or sight-fishing for them on the flats is excellent sport. Taking a spinning rod on a boat is highly recommended and can help conjure up all number of species during periods when you would like a break from fly-fishing and can include Snapper, Grouper, Cubera and shark's.
Whilst it is possible to fish all year round at Cayo Largo the season is restricted from November to August, thus avoiding the cyclone period during September and October. Temperatures range from 23 C in January to 28 C in August, which is the hottest month.
Location & Environment
Cayo Largo (Long Key) is the second biggest island in Cuba’s Canarreos Archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. Along its southern coast there is an almost continuous stretch of white sandy beaches protected by a coral barrier reef. The northern coastline has an extended underwater shelf and with an average depth of around 5 feet, conditions that are ideal for Permit, Tarpon & Bonefish to thrive. On the island of Cayo Largo itself there is a superabundance of natural wildlife and the surrounding fauna and flora is picturesque and unspoilt. The area that is fished is an exclusive marine park free from any commercial fishermen, netting or additional fishing pressure. The result is a huge 140 square kilometers zone of protected and exclusive flats fishing.
Accommodation at Hotel Sol Club Cayo Largo
Sol Club Cayo Largo is an all-inclusive resort which has a wide range of facilities typical of any major resort including swimming pools, three restaurants, numerous bars for cocktails, floodlit tennis courts, a gym with a sauna, jacuzzi and steam bath and a host of other physical and cultural activities. All the rooms have air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. Single rooms are available on request. (Please note that it is not possible to book fishing at the hotel but will require to be booked in advance as part of a package).
Activities for Non-Fishers
Unlike many of the other fishing locations in Cuba, the facilities on hand for non-fishers are excellent. Guests can relax by one of the resort swimming pools or on one of the white sand beaches or occupy themselves with anyone of the extensive list of activities and excursions, some of which are mentioned above.
Accommodation at Hotel Villa Marinera -Cayo Largo
Hotel Villa Marinera is a relatively low key 3 star Cuban hotel in comparison to the much larger resort style hotels common in Cuba and specifically Hotel Sol Club. It sits alongside the dock with the skiffs so there is no need for any vehicle transfers each day. There are 10 air conditioned wooden chalets and dining is primarily seafood from the simple open air restaurant and bar. Being at the far end of Cayo Largo to Hotel Sol Club and the more touristy activities it is about as close as you will get to a fishing lodge in Cuba. There is a swimming pool to cool off at the end of the day and the hotel offers anglers a good and dedicated service whilst retaining a genuine Cuban feel. Single rooms are standard and the overall cost is lower than staying at Hotel Sol Club.
For anglers travelling with non-fishing partners Hotel Sol Club would be considered the better option however for anglers who will spend the bulk of the day on the flats fishing and who expect conditions more typical to that from a regular fishing lodge then it is recommended they consider Villa Marinera as the first option.
Typical Cayo Largo Fishing Itinerary
Best Time To Go
The best fishing is from January to August with the high season running from February to May and with the prime migratory Tarpon fishing being at its best from mid May-end of June. Good Bonefishing can be had all year round.
Cayol Largo - Hotel Sol Club -Availability and Pricing for the 2017/18 Season
Cayo Largo-Hotel Villa Marinera -Availability and Pricing for the 2017/18 Season
If you would like to know more about the fishing in Cuba, please contact us and we will provide you with more details. For availabilities, prices, pre trip information, booking form etc. please contact:
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