FLY FISHING CUBA (part 2 of 3)
|part one can be found here|
After months of reading, dreaming, getting together the gear, a quick plane trip, 5 hours of bus and 4 hours of boat transit, me and my buds arrived at the Tortuga in the Queen’s Gardens off the South coast of Cuba.
The Tortuga is permanently moored in a cove in the middle of the archipelago. From there, Avalon uses skiffs to get around. We had 2 skiffs and Guides for the three of us. There were also 2 other anglers that week, each in a single skiff.
We arrived around 14h00 in the afternoon, so we quickly dumped our bags, rigged rods and set off for some bonefish. We knew we would be fishing on the first afternoon, so the evening before; we had spent a few minutes preparing the boat bags etc. All the reels were already spooled up with leaders attached.
On this first quick afternoon, my partner, Pierre landed several bonefish and I missed another half dozen. The last time I had been fishing in September, it was for trout and was a bit too quick on the strike and a whole lot to hard!
The first of MANY! Pierre Manseau with a typical Bonefish in that part of the World.
Of course, Pierre has been at this gig for a while. Thanks to his guidance, a few good books and the info I got beforehand from the outfitter, I was pretty well ready for this beast.
Back to the Tortuga for supper, strategy and a bit of Internet chiding of our friends back home!
There is WiFi internet access on the Tortuga so we sent daily updates back to friends. This also means that with my Blackberry, which has a UMA package on it, we could call home toll free!
On arrival back at the boat each night we were greeted with cocktails and pizza. We had time to rinse off the gear and chat before supper.
Oh, a note to potential travellers, if you don’t like fresh fish and lobster, you might get a bit tired of the suppers!
The next day, I was in the single skiff. We hit some Tarpon early (more on this next week), then into the mangroves for Bonefish.
A peculiar thing, my Guide the day before had said to strip short and slowly. The Guide today had me stripping the line short, but quite a bit faster. I guess the Guides all over the world are the same! We all have our own recipes for success!!!
Well, I finally got the hang of hooking Bonefish. Actually, before lunch I had boated and released over a dozen and landed well over 25-30 during the day!
The first of many!!!
We spent most of the morning meandering amongst the mangroves hunting for Bones.
Bonefish are wonderful! Following Deanna’s counsel, on the very first one, I had the drag set down one click, I let it take then run. I listened to the reel scream a bit and thought about her!
My rods were 8 and 9 wts and I used my switch and spey reels to get on enough backing. In my case, this was 200 yards of 20lb Dacron. Oddly, with the +100 bonefish I caught in 6 days of fishing, only one got me half way into the backing. I suppose this was because I caught most of mine in the mangroves. One of the other anglers got into the backing more often, but he was wading a whole lot more than I was.
Oh, as for the hat, buf, long shirt etc. I had on #60 spf sunscreen. I would slather up in the morning and touch up my ears and feet at lunch. I still got a raccoon tan on my face and a pretty decent tan right through my shirt. Over kill??? Probably not. I prefer to be more safe than sorry.
Hiding from the sun! 11 hours per day in an open skiff, - better safe than sorry!
I had a wonderful time on my first ever trip for Bonefish. They fight hard and they pull and run better than an Atlantic Salmon. In 6 days, I had the chance to fish over tailers, lone fish cruising, giant pods of 20-30 fish as they moved about and several groups that were mudding in deeper water.
(Photo: Alain Lavoie 2010)
I have a lot of respect for these fish. They are skittish, often choosy and very hard fighters!
Next week: Tarpon and Permit!
Christopher Chin: Proulxville Quebec
|Part 3 can be found here.|