Cuba – Cayo Cruz Fly Fishing Report 2015!
By WCA President Mike Dawes
Cuba – Cayo Cruz Fly Fishing Report 2015: With my expectations in check as I landed in the Cayo Largo International Airport, I had plenty of questions floating around my mind. Are there really only 6 boats that fish this 17 mile part of the South Central Cuban Archipelago? Is the natural environment really as untouched and pristine as I had heard? Are the Bonefish in Cuba as big as big as people say? Are the flats really that vast? I was fortunate to have six days ahead of me to try and answer those questions. At the time I was wearing a down jacket, so I knew we might have a slow start until things warmed up!
I was met by Mauro Ginevri , of the Avalon Cuban Fishing Centers at the airport and later that day we had a pre-fishing meeting. I would later learn that Mauro was in fact the creator of the now famous Avalon Fly that has fooled over 565 permit to hand in the region. Impressive! During the week, my expectations in terms of the logistics provided by the Mauro and the Guide Staff were exceeded. The boats, equipment, communication, pre-fishing meeting, guides, approachability, knowledge of the area were very professional. It did seem that my fishing for permit, the majority of the time, was a fishing style that surprising came with some resistance. Later I learned, most people are at Cayo Largo in pursuit of the Grand Slam and split their days between all three species accordingly.
When I finally got out on the flats the environment was mind-boggling. The flats were enormous and pristine; I did not see another boat fishing besides the 6 Avalon boats for 6 days. Starfish? I can not remember the last time I saw multiple starfish and large snapper on the flats! The natural environment and the commitment to conservation was equally as impressive and promising for many years of fishing to come.
The bonefish were plentiful and big , another testament to the environment. While the permit were still acting like permit, the water warmed up and I was able to witness the Permit/Sting Rays phenomena that I had heard about. Remembering my guide Alexi’s statement “ we are looking for sting rays not fish,” I was trying to wrap my mind around this type of permit fishing. Most importantly, I wanted to witness it with my own eyes. It was not just one or two permit poaching off of sting rays, the shots at permit on sting rays were plentiful when the weather cooperated.
It was very interesting that there are no inhabitants on the island of Cayo Largo. The workers all reside in one area of the island and come to the island to work on a rotational basis. While there are no inhabitants of the island, it is important to note that the island is a large tourist zone. The lodging takes form in all inclusive large resorts with one option of a smaller all inclusive resort at the marina. These options are not run by Avalon and are not for everyone. It is also important to note, that while some restrictions have been lifted, as in the ability to use credit cards by US citizens, it does not necessarily mean that the infrastructure in Cuba is in place. The existing criteria for authorized travel in Cuba is still in place.
The dedication to the conservation of the fishery at Cayo Largo is comforting for the future, while being cautiously optimistic that the relations between the US and Cuba will continue to improve. Feel free to Email WCA to stay in touch with any potential WorldCast Anglers Hosted Destination Travel Offerings!