Hi Everyone. It has been a while since my last post, largely due to the fact that I have been in Cuba for the past few weeks. More than a year in the making, I led a group of 6 anglers to the beautiful Jardines de la Reina. We stayed aboard the yacht Halcon, one of the smaller boats in the Avalon fleet.
All told, we had a fantastic trip. The weather was for the most part cooperative, with wind kicking up only a few days making some of the Tarpon fishing challenging. Tarpon were the main reason we had chosen this time of year for JDR. Late April through June are the prime months to find large numbers of migratory fish in this long archipelago located off the southern coast of the Cuban mainland.
We found Tarpon every day, mostly at well-known haunts to our guides, along the beaches of the southeast end of the island chain, and at the very tip known as Punta del Este. Virtually all of this fishing was by sight, usually casting to small groups of fish lazily cruising down the beach. We did see fish over 100 pounds, but I think the biggest landed was between 70- 80, while the majority of the fish were in the 40 pound range.
We also had great Permit fishing.......not catching necessarily! Our guest Paul did land the Permit of a lifetime, weighing in at around 30 pounds. I had a one hour session on our first day where my guide Bemba put me in front of 10 fish. On another morning fishing with Warren, we spotted 15 permit before lunch, with one looking to be pushing 40 pounds. With a little luck, and a little more skill!, we could have ended up with an epic Permit week.
Lastly, hats off to our guides, the crew aboard Halcon, and Avalon for their great organization and service. It is hard to express how helpful all staff is in Cuba, and how amazing they are at giving you great food in a country with few resources (and in this case 50 miles off shore!). Our hostess was Aysa. Leave it to say, all of us wanted to pack her in our suitcases and bring her home with us. She is an angel......
All in all, a superb trip. Thanks again to the staff of Halcon, and all the people at Avalon who make things come together. Thanks also to FlyWater for their meticulous attention to detail and customer service. And lastly, thanks to all the guests who came on this adventure. It was a pleasure to get to know you all of you.