Stillwater Travel enjoyed hosting another trip with our friends from the Bay area. We were again located in Jardines De La Reina, Cuba targeting the heart of the Tarpon Migration. A few of the group had already been on multiple Cuba Fly Fishing trips with us in the past year, while some were experiencing fly fishing in Cuba for the first time. All the anglers were highly pleased with the trip and look forward to continuing to join us every May to chase the Silver Kings.
Our weather had some fantastic days and some miserable days. Sometimes it’s harder to forget those days when it rains and pours. In fact, it rained so much one day that we could only fish for a few hours in the am. We all headed back to the liveaboard boat by noon. After the weather cleared by the late afternoon, some of us returned to the water. In contrast, others decided to enjoy more festivities on the boat. Those who did venture out could tangle with Tarpon into the Sunset.
When the weather cooperated, the group experienced some great moments with Tarpon flooding the flats. On several days, individual skiffs had 10-20 hookups for the day. The Poons tended to be in the 20-50lb range. At times, the schools of Tarpon flooding the flats were in the hundreds. They would push through about every 5-15 minutes. The schools were large and moving at a decent pace which made it too difficult to pick out larger fish to target.
A few skiffs could get into some large tarpon in the 60-90lb range for a few days. The size of these strings of fish was smaller, in the 10-12 fish strings. A few other skiffs could have some tremendous fishing to Tarpon, smashing sardine balls along the beach. Both anglers on the skiff during those times could cast and hook up on Tarpon multiple times. Throughout the week, about 150 Tarpon were hooked.
The best flies for tarpon fishing in Cuba this week tended to be baitfish patterns 3-5 inches long in bright colors and black and purple or plain brown. While no one targeted bonefish during the week, many anglers spent half a day pursuing Permit. While everyone who spent some time chasing Permit saw them and had multiple casts at Permit, the weather turned out to be “too nice” for the Permit to be easily fooled. A few anglers had the unfortunate luck of getting the Permit to eat yet not getting the Permit to hand.
While the tarpon migration season is ending in Jardines de la Reina, Cuba, our attention will turn to fly fishing in Cayo Largo, Cuba, for the Summer and into the Fall. The opportunities for enormous schools of bonefish that avg 5lbs are tremendous. Within those massive schools, there will likely be some smaller schools of 8-12+lb bones. Anyone who loves fishing for large bonefish should be sure to put this on their radar.