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Bonefish, Tarpon, and other Obsessions Turquoise water, silver demons on the fly

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Old 04-05-2002, 10:18 AM
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Cuba?

Have a chance early next winter to go to Cuba on a water quality exchange. Have looked around the internet for fishing info but not much there. Yesterday on the OLN TV station Trevor Gowdy and George Anderson were fly fishing Cuban flats with an Italian guide. What fishing, big bones, tarpon and jacks and it looked like lots of them.
Has anyone been there and fished? If so how did you book your guide? How do you get to the flats, take a taxi from Havana?
Any info wold help.
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Old 04-05-2002, 11:47 AM
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I overhead the big dogs talking at a fly show saying that they consider Cuba to be the best kept secret of the whole equatorial scene, the Kamchatka or Ponoi of the tropical SWFF world. Let me see if I can dig something up on it...
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Old 04-05-2002, 05:55 PM
flysully flysully is offline
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Cuba

I've seen several enthusiastic articles written in both Saltwater Flyfishing and Flyfishing In SaltWater magazines within the past two years on flyfishing in Cuba, the unfished, up till now, waters. From what I've read, you can't go from here to there. You have to book with Avalon, an Italian company who books the trip for you or, I believe, a charter in Canada. Nothing can be done from within the US and, of course, once you are in Cuba, you're on your own, with no US representation or assistance, should you need it. Many of the biggies in flyfishing have already fished the Cuban waters and rave about bonefish and permit, totally unspooked and ready to take the fly. I've also heard a rumor that within a couple of years, Cuba will be open to all of us to fish. Check out those magazines for the articles.
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Old 04-06-2002, 05:56 AM
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You're only supposed to be able to go directly from the US to Cuba on "approved business". Most people get around it by going to Bermuda, the BVI, Mexico first and then into Cuba.
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Old 04-08-2002, 10:02 AM
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Thanks for the info guys every bit helps. Hoping that our sponsored trip comes through, so far we have mixed results in getting the OK. Talked with Avolon and they are just about booked for a year and if I end up going on my own a year from this May the trip would cost about 5 grand for everything that includes a new 10 wt and reel.
I wonder what will happen to Cuba after Castro dies? Will capitalism put a condo on every beach? I hope I can get there before that happens. It would be interesting seeing Cuba a lot like what it was when Hemmingway left there.
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Old 05-09-2002, 10:43 AM
Alan P.Gelfuso Alan P.Gelfuso is offline
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Thumbs down cuba

almost went this week.got scared off by us treasury dept. and a story about an 85 year old bird watcher lady who went thought she had all the permits and has been fined $7500.00.the web site is avalons.net.
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Old 05-09-2002, 12:32 PM
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Yes would be very careful before going to Cuba given the current international security situation.

There is not a fish in the world worth that risk for me !

Ahhh well maybe a 30 pound steelhead would
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Old 05-17-2002, 07:06 PM
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OC, I got some info for you to talk to about Cuba. We'll talk at the next WSC Meeting
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Old 05-18-2002, 11:52 PM
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OC-
There is an excellent and detailed chapter about travelling to Cuba in Randall Kaufmann's book Bonefishing!...although he does not give up the scoop on how exactly to get to Cuba.

I also know that about a year or so ago there was a lengthy article in FlyFisherman about travelling to and fishing in Cuba. I do believe it is archived on flyshop.com...might check it out.
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Old 06-06-2002, 12:13 PM
actinsley actinsley is offline
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Cuba

As a Brit, I've been to Cuba as have many European & Canadian flyfishers. It's great.
The fishery you refer to is probably the Jardinas de la Reina, a chain of coral cays some 40 miles off the central south coast of Cuba. This chain is practically as big as the Florida Keys. An Italian co has the sole franchise, & indeed apart from some local lobster fishers are the only inhabitants. Outfitters Roxtons of the UK act as marketing agents. Their merger with Frontiers earlier in the year was called off becos of Sept 11.
Accommodation is on a houseboat & is probably only of a standard that would keep 30% of wives happy! The fishing is great. Lots of bones including big ones. Many but small tarpon, with a few to 50 lbs. A good place for grand slams with 1-2 permit caught most weeks. Yours truly had a 3 lb bone, 50 lb tarpon & the fly in the mouth of a permit one March day 4 yrs ago. Woe!
Access is a drawback. About a 7 hour bus ride from Havana to Jucaro & then 4 hours by boat. As I understand it, several Americans go via e.g. Nassau & ask for their passports not to be stamped on entry.
Other good Cuban fishing is in the Bay of Pigs (!), but this is unlikely to be developed as reportedly Castro has a villa there, & the thought of lots of Americans there does not appeal to him!
Also try Cayo Largo, an island off the south coast with an air connection to Havana. Here, as I understand it, you can be guided, fish DIY, or arrange to be dropped on out islands & picked up later. Would be good value. Accommodation & food in Cuba is of a uniformly medium low standard.
I have heard it said that the islands off the north coast are fished out commercially.
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Old 06-07-2002, 01:04 PM
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Unhappy

Thanks all for the info.

Sounds like our trip will not happen. What seemed like a great exchange for ideas in water quality issues may have come to an end. From what I'm hearing we are getting no help anymore from our goverment. I'd hoped that Jimmy Carters trip would have made the difference but it may have made things worse.
My biggest fear is when capitalism someday takes over, the Island will be over run with condos and 9 million guide/resorts trying to sell fly fishing trips. Fishing it now must be as close to what fishing must of been in the 50's.
How wonderful it would have been to meet and talk with many Cuban people in Cuba not about politics but of the their physical enviroment and how they relate to it on an everyday basis.
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:27 AM
actinsley actinsley is offline
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Cuba, somewhat off topic

Have to report the people may have been dirt poor but seemed happy. Attractive women & lots on offer if you like that sort of thing! Fellow British friend travelling alone on a similar trip the following week reported that he was offered the 'services' of a hotel receptionist for a single dollar! They are desperate for hard currency.
Another impression was of a great deal of high quality farmland. As their sugar industry seems to be taking a large bath, they'll be looking for other crops to grow.
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Old 06-08-2002, 09:46 AM
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Now thats a fly fishing vacation destination I should have known about 30 years ago while in my 20s and before the wife, kids and business career. What luck I have.
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Old 06-08-2002, 10:00 AM
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Gives that long distance calling commercial new meaning on Cuban TV
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Old 06-10-2002, 08:25 AM
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Talking

I don't know actinsley, a healthy plate of spicey rice, beans, a slab of fresh caught Cuda, some local, local beer and rum to eat and drink would have done nicely. Now you got my fly rod doing the thinking for me.
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