Cuba has been a destination of intrigue for me since I was young. The closure to American travel has kept the Caribbean’s largest and most pristine flats systems located on this island nation virtually unfished. In the past, US citizens had to enter the country “illegally” through Mexico or Canada. Many of the travel restrictions are now removed and there are several flights a day from the US to Cuba making it very quick and easy to enter the country.
Avalon, an Argentine fly fishing company, has been working with the Cuban government for two decades to set aside marine sanctuaries throughout the undeveloped and biologically diverse waters of Cuba. This has led to fisheries protection unmatched in virtually any country in the world. As part of Avalon’s work in designating marine parks, the company is given exclusive rights to fish in these sanctuaries. Avalon puts strict limits on the number of anglers that fish each region. Unlike most other tropical destinations where the same flats get pounded everyday, Avalon gives each flats boat roughly 50sq/km to fish on a rotating basis so you are always fishing new water!
I recently had Scott Osborne, the US representative for Avalon, out fishing for striper here on the Chesapeake Bay. I am coordinating with Scott to arrange two group trip that I will be hosting to the Cayo Cruz region of Cuba during the winter of 2019. Cayo Cruz is located along the north-central coast of Cuba. A look at Google Earth and you will see that the Cayo Cruz marine sanctuary provides extensive habitat for flats species like bonefish, permit and tarpon. Cayo Cruz may be the last virgin flats fishery left in the Caribbean since this location has only just begun hosting fly anglers. This means most fish there have never seen a fly!
Cayo Cruz is a great winter destination since the many cays provide shelter from northeast wind ushered in by cold fronts. The bonefish in Cayo Cruz are big, plentiful and uneducated. What makes Cayo Cruz a real jewel is the permit fishing. It is common to see 10-30lb permit riding the backs of stingrays. Some are calling Cayo Cruz the best location on the planet for quality permit fly fishing. While winter is early for the spring tarpon migration, the region supports a resident population of 20-30# tarpon which makes the flats “grand slam” a possibility. In addition to the “Big 3”, there are numerous other flats species to target at Cayo Cruz like cuda and triggers. For those who like to wade fish, the vast hard sand flats of Cayo Cruz stretch for miles.
Unlike many “fishing lodges”, accommodations in Cayo Cruz are at the brand new Oceans Arena Blanca all-inclusive resort which is scheduled to have its grand opening next month. As the only hotel on Cayo Cruz, non-fishing companions have uncrowded access to the island’s pristine Caribbean waters. In addition to the pool and fitness center, this luxury hotel offers activities and tours for non-anglers. With the flats skiffs a couple minutes away, you get the best of both fishing and 5-star accommodations.
Since Cayo Cruz is a new fly fishing destination, Avalon is offering a special price of $2,999 for 7nights/6days guided fishing (non-fishing rates available) until the end of February. These are the cheapest rates you will find to any fly fishing destination in Cuba. Flights from Richmond, VA are roughly $500. If you are interested in joining me on this trip to a virgin piece of fly fishing paradise, please take a look at this brochure and contact me as soon as possible. Cayo Cruz will not remain undiscovered for long!
Both January & February trips are now full. Plans are in the works for November of 2019. Contact me early to get on the list!