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TRIP REPORT: CAYO LARGO LIVE-ABOARD

The flats around Cayo Largo may be the most beautiful in all of Cuba

In the past, all guests fishing the area in and around Cayo Largo stayed at resorts on the island. Just this summer, the outfitter decided to try using a live-aboard yacht as they do in other areas in Cuba. The thought was to provide better service, and to allow fishing clients easier access to some of the further away fishing zones since the boat could moor throughout the chain of islands.

I just came back from one of these first experimental weeks, and was joined by 3 other FlyWater customers, and 6 great Argentine guys. Overall, we had difficult fishing, mostly due to extremely warm water conditions. That said, we learned a lot about how this trip works.

The Canarreos Archipelago stretches from Cayo Largo in the east, to Island of the Youth in the west. Generally speaking, the fishing in the eastern zones is more targeted towards Permit and Bonefish, while the western zones have much more Tarpon habitat. This is exactly what we saw. Our most westerly moorage provided amazing amounts of mangrove lagoons, channels, and a section of reef that were ideal for Tarpon. As we moved back to the east, the islands became longer and thinner with fewer mangroves. Here, the flats were immense, and full of schools of Bonefish. This is also incredible Permit habitat, although on this trip we saw few of them.

The Aggressor yacht is very comfortable and spacious, and with one of the best crews I have experience on nearly 20 trips to Cuba. They are simply amazing, friendly, and so targeted towards making your trip the best you have ever had. I was also very happy with the way that the travel and itinerary was arranged, making this a fairly easy trip coming in and out through Havana.

The Aggressor, moored in a Channel surround by Tarpon habitat

The Aggressor, moored in a Channel surround by Tarpon habitat

Below is a short selection of photos from this trip. The first is my pic for the photo of the week…..look closely to see all the Bonefish in front of the angler, Paul!

School in front of the boat!!!!

School in front of the boat!!!!

Dead-calm flat near Cayo Largo

Dead-calm flat near Cayo Largo



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SPACE AVAILABLE.....ZAPATA 2020

For those of you wondering, travel to Cuba is still possible with the correct paperwork. SO, lets go!!! I have several remaining spots for the Zapata Peninsula aboard the yacht Georgiana, February 22-29, 2020. Price is $4699 per person. This price includes travel from Havana, 7 nights and 6 full days of fishing, and room and board (there is a limit on daily drinks). Notable is that all anglers fish 3 days in a double skiff like normal, and 3 days fishing as a single. This means a lot more fishing time per person.

I would love to have you join me! Please reach out with any interest, or any questions you may have.



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A WEEK ON A YACHT

When chatting with people about the different fishing options in Cuba, some people express that the live-aboard option might not be for them. “I think I would fee trapped on the boat,” is a comment sentiment. In truth, these trips are probably not for everybody. That said, I cannot express just how fantastic they are, how incredible the service is, and how guests feel that they are the only people anywhere in sight. Below is a quick video, showing just a glimpse of a typical week aboard the yacht Perola.

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GARDENS OF THE QUEEN AGAIN!

For the third straight year, I have hosted a group to Jardines de la Reina during the height of the Tarpon season. Again aboard the lovely yacht Perola, new members to the group saw firsthand this pristine habitat, and the many fish that call it home. All guests were, as usual, pampered and catered to by the great staff aboard the boat.

Part of this group spent a week in advance of the fishing touring Havana and the neighboring countryside with me. Some of these photos are included as well. Look out for offerings for 2020…..this is a trip I plan on continuing to offer each year.


Peggy Z wades an unbelievable flat at Gardens of the Queen

Peggy Z wades an unbelievable flat at Gardens of the Queen

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CUBA IS STILL OPEN!

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Some of you will have received this post directly from Fly Water Travel late last week. Dylan does a good job explaining what has changed in regards to legal travel to Cuba, and how travel will continue to be legal for US citizens.

“Fly Water Travel is pleased to announce that travel to Cuba is still 100% legal for traveling anglers.

There may not be another destination in the Fly Water Travel catalog that fields more questions from confused anglers than Cuba. Is Cuba open for American anglers? Are the fisheries really that good? Are flights still going to the island? The easy answer is yes, yes and yes! Although the rules around travel, in-country logistics, and inconsistent outfitting continue to place roadblocks, anglers willing to make the extra effort are most often rewarded by the many pristine fisheries and rich cultural experiences Cuba has to offer.

In the Spring of 2019, the White House let the world know that they would once again be tightening the rules around travel to Cuba. Since that time there have been many questions about whether the new rules would affect the ability for anglers to continue to travel to these amazing fisheries. In early June, the White House and OFAC did officially tighten Cuba travel restrictions. However, the new rules are primarily affecting the cruise ship industries. Individuals and groups of anglers are still able to travel legally under one of two approved categories. The first of these is the provision in the OFAC legal travel guidelines is 515.567 (b) Public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic or other competitions and exhibitions. The second is 515.574 – Support for the Cuban People.

The type of trip you take and your final destination will determine which category you travel under. Fly Water Travel is working closely with both major outfitters in the country as well as a specialist in the US to make sure our clients are traveling under the proper licenses.

Once your trip is selected we will providing each angler with step-by-step instructions to complete the process and will be here to support you along the way. Please let us know if you have questions or are interested in traveling to this amazing country in the near the future. We have many exciting  opportunities to visit and fish this remarkable island!”

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A BIG THANK YOU!

A BIG THANK YOU!
On my most recent trip to Cuba, we delivered our biggest and best yet donation to our Cuban primary school. Thanks to the efforts of REDAPT and Bill Colello, we delivered two pristine Macbook Pro laptops, complete with new Office for Mac software. These will help the administrators and teachers at the school greatly. And, thanks to donations from Jeff Perin and The Fly Fishers Place, Kim Alf and Michael Derringer, we also purchased and delivered a new printer with extra toner cartridges. I am elated with the support people have shown, and equally thrilled to be able to help these wonderful students and school staff.

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Principal and teachers, with some of our small group, enjoying this great moment of delivering laptops and printer.

Principal and teachers, with some of our small group, enjoying this great moment of delivering laptops and printer.

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NEW CAYO LARGO OPENING

We just had a cancellation for 2 spots at Cayo Largo. In the interest of getting these spots filled, the outfitter is offering a major discount and a room upgrade at the all inclusive resort. Dates are August 17-25th. Please message or call me if you are interested, and I will fill you in with all the details.


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NEED HELP w/ SCHOOL DONATIONS

NEED HELP with School Donations: You have probably seen posts in the past about our visits in Cuba to a primary school where we bring supplies. Last time I asked them what they really needed, they said "a printer." I have done the research on finding something compact that I could carry, and somewhat efficient on toner which is the issue of course. My price for the printer, and one extra toner cartridge is $164.98. Many of you expressed interest before in contributing. If you would like to, reach out to me and I will give you details on how to make that happen. Thanks!


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LAST MINUTE OPENING FOR CAYO LARGO HOSTED TRIP!

Beautiful Permit from the flats near Cayo Largo

Beautiful Permit from the flats near Cayo Largo

I just had two customers have to cancel for my hosted trip to Cayo Largo. This trip should be great, aboard a beautiful live-aboard boat where we will target Permit, Bonefish and Tarpon. Cost is ridiculously good at $3500 per person, double occupancy. Read below for details on this trip, and reach out ASAP if you are interested.

To all of you who read these posts, my most recent entry was about some openings for a newly-offered live-aboard boat trip near Cayo Largo. Since then, I have spoken more with the outfitter and have secured a week that I will host, complete with Fly Water Travel customers.

As I mentioned in my previous post, this could be an amazing trip. I have fished at each end of the Canarreos Archipelago, at both Cayo Largo and Island of the Youth. Both have excellent and unique fishing, with Permit and Bonefish abounding at Cayo Largo, and Tarpon fishing being excellent at Island of the Youth. We will moore directly in-between the two, having the best of both worlds at our doorstep.

The yacht we will stay aboard is the JA1. This is primarily used as a dive boat. I stayed on it recently in Zapata. It is large, very new, and very comfortable. There are 8 cabins aboard with two beds per room. There will be some sharing! All rooms have a/c and unlimited freshwater.

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I can take 10 guests. The price is ridiculous……..$3500 per person which is about the lowest price you will ever find for fishing in Cuba. Please get back to me soon. I need to take initial deposits quickly in order to secure the week.

DATES: June 29-July 6, 2019

PRICE: $3500 per person based on double occupancy. Includes transportation from Havana, room and board (limited to a number of drinks per day), 6 full days of fishing. Not included are international flights, any time in Havana, Cuban Tourist Card, Eco Fee, and Staff Gratuities.

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MUSIC IN CUBA

Music in Cuba is everywhere, and most all of it is excellent. The short clips in this very short video were all taken on my most recent trip, and all but one on the streets and in the bars of Old Havana. Love Cuba!!!

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TRIP REPORT - Cuba Combo

Recently back from a trip to a Cuba with an absolutely great group of guys. Grandad Fritz takes his son and sons in laws on an annual fishing trip every year, and for 2019 it was Cuba. We had a great time first in Havana, and then fishing the Zapata Peninsula near Playa Larga.

The boys getting a little attention from the local ladies


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AVALON PERMIT FLY: When you do and don't need it

The Avalon Permit Fly is revered for landing many Cuban Permit. As such, it is highlighted in every tackle check list for anglers venturing to Cuba. And the truth is, it is a GREAT fly. That said, it is not the only fly for Permit you need while fishing in Cuba, and in fact, is entirely the wrong fly for several destinations. In this short video, I explain the origins of the Avalon Permit Fly and why those origins also determine where it is best fished. I also give some tips on tying variations to this fly as well as some alternatives patterns that you might consider having.

The Avalon Permit Fly is renowned for the number of Permit it is responsible for fooling in Cuba. That said, it is not the only Permit fly and angler needs, and in some cases, is exactly the wrong fly!


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