View Full Version : Cuba trip report

11-08-2006, 05:47 AM
Just returned from a week trip to Cuba. Fished for bones at Las Salinas and Tarpon at Rio Hatiguanico.
The bonefishing at Las Salinas was great. The fishing is in a goverment controlled nature reserve in the Zapata swamp and is reached by driving down a very bumpy dirt track for around 15 miles (this drive is painfull!). This track eventually leads to a spit where you pick up a guide to access the large areas of mangrove fringed shallow lagoons. The lagoons seem to go on forever joined by narrow channels. I saw numbers of flamingos and a very irritating water buffalo which seemed to follow me around (spooking the bones as it went)
The fishing is from wide plastic canoes poled by the guides. The reserve is a non-motor zone so the guides have to pole you around over quite some distance (I often felt sorry for mine as he strained to push us along and would get out and walk).
The Bones where numerous and very naive , a poorly placed cast would often spook the fish only to have them move on 10 yards and continue tailing. Most fish where in the 3 to 6lb size range. I did not see any huge schools as in the Bahamas but mainly small groups of 6 to 10 fish with occasional singles.I think on a good day you could catch 20 plus fish no problem (my best was 13 in fairly windy overcast condtitions). Fly choice seemed failrly irrelavant. Saw a few permit but did not get the opportunity to cast. Anyway overall a beautiful spot with some great fishing. The quality of the guides and boats is not great but it didnt matter that much. I would just ask the guide to park up and go off on foot (hard bottom averaging 1' depth) and explore the various bays (the fish where easy to spot) before moving on to another area via the canoe.
The fishing here is operated by the National Park and by the Cubanacan tourist agency who you can deal with directly or via a number of holiday companies. I think compared to guided operations in the Bahamas it represent very good value. Unfortunatley you cannot access the reserve without a guide (I would love to get my inflatable canoe in there and explore myself!)

Rio Hatiguanico is almost like fishing in the Amazon jungle. Its a mangrove lined estuary with lots of small channels which eventually leads into the sea. Fishing is from small guided boats with an outboard. There where tarpon rolling everywhere ranging from around 3lbs upto around 20lbs. I found a shoal under some mangroves which when I fished for them resulted in a follow or hook-up on every cast. Must have jumped around forty in the space of a few hours. I fished with a dark cockroach sort of fly but I think they would have had a go at anything. Also had a go at trolling plugs which was equally successful and managed to catch a few snapper as well. Some friends also managed to catch a few snook trolling plugs.

There are a number of cheap hotels within travelling distance of the fishing but these are very basic (would not recomended taking your other half unless they are used to 'roughing it' a little. Also be wary of leaving your wet flats shoes/ trainers outside your room as they may not be there in the morning !

11-08-2006, 08:45 AM
Excellent report on fishing these native areas. Have you fished the Jardines de La Reina?

11-13-2006, 03:55 AM
Hi Ajax
Not been to Jardenes de la Reina , found the 4k price tag a little off putting! I think for a guided trip with easy fishing Las Salinas presents excellent value, although the guides are really just transport and would not suit someone who was a total novice

11-13-2006, 08:57 AM
Good AM,
Too many places to fish and so little time. Have you been to Baracoa and fished the parks of mountains? I cannot recall the names but the streams are lined with soap stone, appear green but are crystal clear. A hike and fish permit costs five dollars. Now that's a budget excursion. The price for Jardines de la Reina results in an epic adventure with a private/secure vessel, guides, meals and excessive amounts of virgin waters with medium to large tarpon and bonefish. As with Las Salinas, the Jardines will wear on the skills novice to catch so many fish, but it is good 'schooling'.