LAS SALINAS - SALTWATER BONEFISH PARADISE – UNCHARTED FLY-FISHING IN CUBA
If you are looking for a chance to experience some outstanding Bonefishing, explore uncharted waters on a tight budget, whilst keeping away from the crowds at Varadero, Las Salinas should be your next saltwater fishing destination!
Las Salinas – Fly-Fishing History & Background
Las Salinas is one of the hidden gems for those wishing to fly-fish in Cuba. Tucked away on the Southern coastline of Cuba, a government protected reserve within the Zapata National Park, for decades it has been closed to all fishermen. It may seem astonishing to outsiders that a country with a leadership that seemed so at odds with Western values had the foresight to set up large areas of marine National Park but this foresight means that today it is anglers who can reap the benefits of these long-sighted conservationist policies.
In 2004 when anglers were initially allowed into Las Salinas a restriction on the use of outboard engines meant that the fishing area was severely restricted to the local harbour area, limited by how far a guide could pole a client each day. Despite these restrictions those who had the opportunity to fish Las Salinas returned with stories of simply superb Bonefishing as well as Permit and juvenile Tarpon.
Extract from Angling Report - November 2011 - Don Causey reflects on Las Salinas (Bay of Pigs) as he knew it
The Bay of Pigs was the first saltwater fishery developed in Cuba, and I remember fishing it before outboards were banned. The area, in my view, is the most prolific bonefishery in the world. For sheer numbers—not size—it has no peer anywhere in the world. I clearly remember gazing down a long shoreline late one afternoon and seeing literally hundreds of thousands of bonefish tails in the air. The sun was going down and each of those tails created a diamond-like sparkle. The entire shore, as far as you could see, appeared to be ringed by a diamond bracelet. Scattered among the diamonds were dozens of bright pink flamingos. It was one of those rare outdoor moments that can knock the breath out of the most experienced and world-weary traveler.......
Saltwater Fishing at Las Salinas / San Lazaro- Exploring the Unexplored
In conjunction with Casa Batida Fishing Club and Solid Adventures, WhereWiseMenFish are delighted to be amongst the first to explore the greater expanses of the world famous Las Salinas fishing area comprising of the pristine Zapata National Park. Discovered by anglers over a decade ago Las Salinas has been considered a hidden gem on account of its proximity to Havana (2 hrs), outstanding Bonefishing and affordable price tag. It did however have its limitations on account of a ban on the use of outboard motors that significantly restricted the areas that could be accessed.
The recent, and back-breaking, construction of an extensive channel from a new marina has for the first time opened up the entire western area of San Lazaro to anglers. This includes a considerably larger area that was ever fishable before with huge swathes of virgin hard-bottomed Bonefishing Flats; perfect for anglers to stalk Bonefish on foot. Anglers might expect to catch 5-20 Bonefish in a day with plenty of possibilities to cast at Permit as well as Tarpon. Perhaps even more exciting is the opportunity to explore the outer and almost totally unfished areas with the use of light single angler skiffs equipped with 15 hp engines. This is really the first opportunity that saltwater anglers will have had to fish the outer areas and the prospects for Bonefish, Permit, Tarpon and other species are extremely exciting.
Don Causey-Angling Report Continued
......By special arrangement, I was once taken to a ring of islands (Cayos Blancos del Sur) that, to my knowledge, has never been opened to sportfishing. (This is the ring of islands along the southern tip of the new fishing area) The weather was terrible that day and few fish were in evidence, but the passes between the islands were perfect for large tarpon. In fact, we did spot a few tarpon that day, though none were brought to the boat. It is entirely possible that a major tarpon fishery will be discovered in this area. Elsewhere, there are persistent rumors about a deepwater area in the Bay of Pigs containing larger bonefish and significant numbers of permit. Finally, there are many square miles of mangrove shoreline that may provide world-class snook fishing, my own preferred form of saltwater fishing.
Location & Environment
The fishable area includes large expanses of flats interspersed with lagoons and channels; perfect habitat for Bonefish and Permit. In addition the outer ocean fronted ring of islands and mangrove forests raise the potential for opportunities of not just large Bonefish but also Permit, Snook and Tarpon. Specifically the channels linking the inner and outer sections may prove to be real feeding hot spots.
Boats & Guides
Whilst fishing the new zones surrounding the marina anglers will have an individual guide and skiff as standard. There are 4 brand new single skiff flat boats with 15hp outboard engines; all are equipped with holders for fly and spinning rods, a cooler for drinks and lunch, life jackets, first aid kit, and radios. These boats whilst smaller than standard skiffs are ideal for the skinny water conditions allowing much greater access without the risk of grounding as well as getting to the unexplored fishing areas.
Free Saltwater Fishing Tackle
Each skiff will be fully equipped with the latest Loop saltwater fishing rods, reels and lines for both Bonefish & Tarpon. This means you will not only have the option to travel light but you will also be able to try out the latest Loop fishing gear, all of which is available to borrow free of charge.
Accommodation at Las Salinas-Playa Larga
Las Salinas is far removed from the more populated tourist hotspots and as a consequence there is not the same standard of accommodation as might be found at alternative locations in Cuba. Anglers stay at the 3 star Playa Larga hotel; it is simple and under-stated, refurbished in 2009 with guests staying in bungalows, all equipped with air-conditioning, satellite TV and en suite bathrooms. The hotel itself is located alongside a beach at the end of the Bay of Pigs. There is also a swimming pool and beach bar with some good diving for those who choose to stay on. Breakfast and dinner are taken at the hotel with lunches being provided on the skiff. This hotel is not the location to show off to non-fishing partners however for those with an eye on the budget and simply looking to enjoy the fishing more than adequate for most.
Extend your stay in Havana
We always recommend that given an opportunity guests extend their stay by a day or more to see the sights in and around Havana either before or after their fishing holiday. If you have any special requirements please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate them.
Getting to Las Salinas
Las Salinas is in relatively close proximity to Havana national airport. You will be met on arrival where you can either make use of our transfer service to overnight in Havana or it is possible to go directly to your hotel at Playa Larga prior to your fishing the following day.
Typical 7 Night/6 Day Itinerary
Best Time To Go
The fishing for Bonefish & Permit should be good all year round although weather conditions and the opportunities for migratory Tarpon are best from March to July.
Availability and Pricing for the 2014 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:
Background reading for your trip:
"Tarpon on Fly"(Paperback) by Donald Larmouth, Rob FordyceOur Comments:
"As a collector of tarpon books I know that this is the best tarpon book ever written." -- M Larkin
As Flip Pallot says in the books' introduction, "...there is nothing that you need to know about tarpon and pursuing them with flies that is not contained in this book...". The information that Larmouth and Fordyce share within this book is simple, concise and as complete as it gets. Add to that Larmouth's wonderful narratives that precede each chapter, and you feel like you are on the casting platform of the guide's skiff! I found the book both entertaining and instructional and the photography is superb. A must read for anyone who is serious about fishing for tarpon on fly!-- Steve Krystyniak
US customers: Buy at Amazon.com
UK customers: Buy at Amazon UK
"Bonefishing!"(Hardcover) by Randall KaufmannOur Comments:
"Good grief, how good does a book on bonefishing have to be? Those who reviewed this book, either did not read it or do not recognise quality when they see it. No book in the realm of fishing equals this one for accuracy of information, interesting anecdotes, breadth of coverage, and spectacular photography. I have fished one half dozen times for bones in Florida, Mexico and Belize and can eagerly confirm everything included in Kaufmann's book. I am no expert, but I can tell you it's the best book on the subject written. It does contain fly patterns, but I did not expect tying instructions for the flies and the leaders. Those subjects are well covered in much more mundane books and video tapes. "-- Review by P Carlson
US customers: Buy at Amazon.com
UK customers: Buy at Amazon UK
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If you would prefer to speak to us directly regarding a trip to Cuba, please contact us at the following:
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Or alternatively email us via our Booking Enquiries Form to request more information.
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