I am getting almost daily e-mails from people who have travel plans to Cuba. A very common theme from them is that they would like to find a way to do a day or two of fishing while they are there. The truth is, either finding daily opportunities, or chances at Do It Yourself fishing in Cuba is slim. Part of this is due to the fact that the fishing outfitters have set packages that are usually comprised of 5 or 6 days of fishing. Then, when it comes to DIY, there are many roadblocks. The first is that much of the fishing in Cuba is in designated marine areas where you need permission to fish. Secondly, many of the coastal areas are actually difficult to access. Road blocks are often set up, with guards requiring you to show paperwork allowing you to enter.
All that said, there are a few opportunities. Because of the nature of the trips beings so short, neither myself or FlyWater can manage these bookings. But because the requests are there, we thought it made sense to tell you what is available, and what is not.
1. GARDENS OF THE KING: This resort area is about 5 hours by bus from Havana. For many people touring with their own car, however, it is a short diversion when they are visiting towns such as Trinidad or Santa Clara. Much of the outfitter's season is devoted to groups with week-long fishing packages. However, when they have skiffs available, they will arrange them for you. This is a dependable outfitter, with a professional staff.
2. ZAPATA AT PLAYA LARGA: The Zapata area is the most accessible fishing area from Havana. There is an outfitter that books this area. We do not work with them for a variety of reasons. But, when they have space, they will book daily trips for both the saltwater flats, and for the Rio Hatiguanico. The drive to the river is about 1.5 miles from Havana, and to Playa Larga about 2 hours. The access to the flats requires nearly another hour by car.
3. CAYO COCO & CAYO GUILLERMO: Many tourists vacation in the resorts on Cayo Coco. In the Gardens of the King archipelago, all the usual species of flats fish exist here. There are reports from tourists online (mostly Europeans), that they have done some DIY fishing here. However, there is also a pool of guides that works the area. We have never used them, but know people that have. Reports are that the fishing can be good, but that the equipment is poor, and the guides often undependable.