Gilly Bate, southern chalk stream guide and Fly Odyssey UK Director…
Mathew McHugh reports from our annual week aboard Perola out of the Isle de Juevntud in Cuba……..
Our annual hosted week to the Isle de Juventud was earlier than usual this year after a couple of slow weeks in June/July over previous years we decided on a late April week aboard the fabulous Perola. A week aboard this yacht should be on every fly fishermans radar. It is a great vessel with an intimate character and a crew that go beyond the call of duty to ensure that everything on the boat runs smoothly and the cuisine is some of the best you will find in Cuba. It really is a great base to spend a week fly fishing the Cuban flats.
With only 3 skiffs fishing effectively the 100 odd kilometres of water between Cayo Campos and Cayo Rosario we had the pick of the best tarpon locations on this unpressurred stretch of coastline. You find all the usual Caribbean species through this area with tarpon being the primary focus. There are plenty of bonefish and during our week we also had a reasonable number of permit shots but the vast majority of time is spent searching the mangrove bays, shallow sandflats, deep channels and reef edges for rolling tarpon.
The majority of our week saw slow tarpon fishing in the mornings so by day four we decided this time would be best spent hooking into the many bonefish found tailing on the shallow turtle grass flats. Once the sun was up several hours looking for permit before returning to the boat for a leisurely lunch. The afternoon session tended to be when the tarpon would be most encountered. We had several memorable channel sessions around Cayo Rosario which severed as a great way to wake up after a lunchtime siesta. The numbers of fish on the flats were down somewhat on previous trips although Kevin Pallett was lucky enough to find three tarpon in knee deep water and managed to get the biggest one to eat. Playing a tarpon on a shallow flat will be a memory he will hold for many years. While the numbers of tarpon seen were down on my previous visits to this area one of the real positives of fishing this area is that when you find a fish and you present the fly well they will eat the fly. Most of the group landed between 5-10 fish for the week and jumped many others. There were plenty of large mutton snapper around both in the channels and on the flats who provided some great battles on the lighter rods.
There are changes for 2017 as Avalon 1 moves to the Isle De Juventud. With the larger boat comes extra skiffs and it will be interesting to see if this area can handle the increased pressure this will bring.
FOR 2017 BOOKINGS ABOARD AVALON I TO ISLE DE JUVENTUD PLEASE GET IN TOUCH AT: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1621743711.