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Zapata Peninsula


WORLD CLASS BONEFISH DESTINATION

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Zapata Peninsula


WORLD CLASS BONEFISH DESTINATION

FLY FISHING IN ZAPATA, CUBA:

The ZAPATA PENINSULA is located on the south-central coast of Cuba. Most of the peninsula is a national park, and makes up the largest protected wildlife area in the entire Caribbean. Noted as one of the best bird-watching destinations in the world, it is home to 175 bird species, 900 species of plants, and 31 reptile species including the Cuban Crocodile. The landscape of this area is very similar to Everglades National Park in Florida.

This is also an important area to modern Cuban history. Adjoining the Zapata Peninsula is the Bahia de Cochinos (the Bay of Pigs), where Cuban forces repelled a US backed invasion in April of 1961. The Cubans are very proud of this part of their history, as can be seen with all the communist propaganda billboards that line the road as you near the town of Playa Larga. This was the poorest region in Cuba before the revolution, and the first area developed by Fidel's new communist government.

The expansive flats that extend from this huge mangrove swamp are an amazing fishery, particularly for Bonefish. The flats themselves vary from soft to very firm, and anglers do have the chance to fish both from the skiff and wading. Bonefish are prolific, and range greatly in size. While most fish caught are between 3 and 5 pounds, fish pushing double digits are landed fairly regularly.  There are also Permit here, particularly in the outer edges of this vast expanse of flats. Resident Tarpon are found as well, often in the slightly deeper water of the channels and lagoons, or in the mangroves themselves.  Migratory Tarpon are sometimes seen as late Spring arrives.

This vast area of flats known as San Lazaro will be booked by Fly Fishing The Run (who also outfits Gardens of the King). Anglers typically transfer from Jose Marti airport in Havana directly to the yacht Georgiana, moored near the small town of Playa Larga. The first night aboard Georgiana is spent in port, giving everyone time to get situated in their rooms, and to arrange tackle. Early the next morning Georgiana steams to a remote moorage, and once anchored, guests begin their first full day of fishing. From Georgiana, rides to the fishing each day will be short, and can be varied to the kind of fishing anglers desire. Best of all, each guest fishes three days in a single skiff, and three days in a shared skiff which means significantly more fishing time per person than all other destinations in Cuba. Guests return directly to Jose Marti airport for flights home (unless otherwise arranged). It is recommended that departing flights be scheduled no earlier than 5:00pm on that day.

 

This Google Earth image above shows the Zapata Peninsula, which is the largest national park in the entire Caribbean. Also shown is the approximate moorage of the yacht Georgiana, and Playa Larga, the closest town of any significance.

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