Fly odyssey UK director Gilly Bate has just returned from…
Martin Webster of Selectafly recently returned from Cayo Romano in Cuba having spent a great week of flats fishing on this northern shore permit and bonefish heaven. Details of the weeks fishing follow ………..
The decision to visit Cayo Cruz this week was based not on the time of year or tides etc but on the simple basis that it was a good price, we could match our week’s fishing to the Thomas Cook flights from Gatwick to Cayo Coco, we could get the guide we wanted etc. After flying to Cuba via Madrid, Toronto and even, once, Moscow the direct flight was a joy!
Hotel – the Iberostar Mojito is OK, nothing special but a perfectly acceptable base. Less charm than the Casona but better on every other point.
The drive to the boat dock was a bit tedious although watching a steam-roller create a road for you as you travel was novel.
The fishing started well with Jonathan hooking and landing a 40lb tarpon with our first cast of the trip. Tuesday was a red letter day – Jonathan caught the biggest bonefish, weighed at 10lbs, that either of us and indeed Joandry had ever seen actually landed. I had two seven pounders, one of which was weighed – to check our guesswork – and we had quite a few more somewhat smaller but still good fish, not 2-3 pounders! Many of these were caught on unweighted flies in water less than 8 inches deep. After the bonefish Yoandry found us another tarpon which I hooked and landed and we estimated at 70lbs plus. We were lucky to get the two tarpon with – literally – 2 casts.
Thursday was another fantastic day when we caught 3 permit, all on a small Sideswiper (swimming) Crab. The first and best was 20 lbs, the others 10 and 12lbs. We very nearly had a fourth but the hook up just wasn’t solid. Amazingly, although there were bonefish with the permit, for once the permit reached the fly first. Yoandry’s technique for landing the tarpon and the permit was excellent – with the latter his first touch is around the fish’s tail, no handlining the leader beforehand.
Our last two days yielded only bonefish and snapper etc. We spent most of our time chasing permit and had plenty of good shots but the luck we had enjoyed earlier was now reversed and mild interest was all we could get from them – maybe they had done their week’s eating for the week on Thursday!
Our trip followed a fairly long spell of hot, settled weather – even by Cuban standards – and we didn’t spend much time at all on the inside flats. Nearer to the ocean was where we saw the action and for that reason I feel that – big though the total fishing area is – the effective area at this time of year is much smaller. Several zones would be more or less useless so no zoning and a max of 3 boats seems to be the way forward. Given these limitations the risk of a trip at a time when many people won’t go seems to be one worth taking.
The move to the new hotel at the boat dock will be a major step forward and any additional cost compared to the Iberostar could/should be offset by substantial savings.
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