Back in the USA, after another great trip to Cuba. I was at Gardens of the King on Cuba's north coast with an absolutely great group. Thanks to Tim, Howard, Brian, Jeremy, Katie and Kate for being so easy going and willing to go with the flow. It sure makes a host's job much easier.
Digs for this trip are at the Iberostar Cayo Ensenchos. This is a 5-6 hour drive from Havana, at the very western end of the Gardens of the King (Jardines del Rey) archipelago. This is an all inclusive resort, with access to several beautiful beaches, many different swimming pools, multiple restaurants, cigar bar, theater, etc. Something for everyone.....
This is a highly regarded Tarpon destination. There are Tarpon here 12 months a year, with numbers and size gaining around the end of March, and on normal years staying good all the way through the middle of October. We had some days with very tough fishing, even though we saw fish rolling. And, we had some great days with good numbers of hooked and landed. Our boat saw most fish averaging in the 40-50 pound range. The largest others reporting hooking was around 100 pounds, with 80 being the largest landed. That works for me!
Tim and I were fishing partners, and learned a lot from our guide Elyses. He has guided at GOK for 18 years, and before that was a biologist for this area for 6 years. He told us the area around GOK was heavily netted for 60 years. In fact he said, 15 years ago, you wouldn't have been able to find a Bonefish or Permit, never mind a Jack or Snapper. Now, new protections are in place. Netting is not allowed, and all fishing is by fly. They are seeing huge differences every year, and Elyses thinks that within 5 years this will be one of the best overall destinations in Cuba. Here are a few other fish we caught.
The whole gang (minus our man Howard) at dinner in the small Cuban town of Caiberien.