Fantastic Fishing in Cuba

Our store manager Julian Shaw recently spent two weeks in Cuba. As well as doing the usual tourist visits, he managed to find time for a spot of fishing (what a surprise!) and by the sound of it, he had a good time!

Our holiday this year was a two week break on Caya Coco, Cuba, an island which is connected to the mainland by a 17 mile long causeway which runs across Perros Bay. Living in the shallow waters of the bay, wild flamingos can often be seen from the causeway and in the warm, clear water you will also see Parrotfish, Grunts, Yellowtail Snappers and Queen Angelfish. Two short causeways link Cayo Coco to Cayo Guillermo to the west and Cayo Romano to the east. The bridges on these causeways are good places for a spot of night fishing.

A large coral reef off the northern coast attracts divers from around the world. These divers are well served - there are approximately 20 diving sites along the 20 miles coastline. Cayo Coco and its larger neighbour, Cayo Romano, are part of a group of islands called Jardines Del Rey - King's Gardens in English. Jardines Del Rey is itself part of a bigger archipelago called Sabana-Camaguey.

We were based in the Melia Hotel Complex where the rooms and bungalows are spread over two areas. The bungalows are built on stilts over a natural seawater lagoon with spectacular sea views with many of the best are accessed by boat. The classic rooms are in an area of land near the beach with gorgeous views of the gardens.

March and April are hot but not humid, so your choice of clothing is important if you want to be comfortable. The average high temperature during the dry season (November-April) drops into the mid-twenties. It cools down in the evenings when average lows will be 17-19 degrees.

The facilities on hand for non-fishers are excellent. You can relax by the swimming pools or enjoy the white, sandy beaches. When you’re not wanting to simply laze in the sun you can take advantage of the tennis courts, snorkelling, diving, horse/bike riding or boat excursions. There are opportunities for trips on various types of boats including motorboats and sailboats. Yachts, catamarans and glass-bottomed boats are available too. For the more energetic there is the chance to hire Kayaks and pedal boats and for those with good balance, there’s a chance to try windsurfing or water-skiing.

However, it was the fishing trips I was looking forward to most. Your guides will pick you up at about 8:30 in the morning and provided you order the night before, the hotel will provide you with packed lunches for your trip.

We had phenomenal sport over four separate day trips. We had lots of bonefish to double figures (no small ones) and plenty of snappers between 4lbs & 8lbs. We encountered three tarpon on bonefish tackle, all of which parted company with the fly. On two occasions barracuda took our bonefish while being played.

After the bonefish, snapper, tarpon and barracuda, I decided to try for something bigger and set up a 10’ Salmon spinning rod, Shimano Bait-runner with 65lb braid. Our guide Dunny, set up a terminal wire tackle with large hook and small fish. The end result was 45 minutes of hard fighting with a shark in the region of 150lb which was ultimately released looking rather angry!

During our trip, I used Hardy Zephrus Sintrix 440 Rods, 9’ no. 9 and 9’ no. 11 combined with Hardy Fortuna XDS 10000 and 8000 reels with appropriate tropical lines and gelspun type backing, Fluoro 20lb leaders for bones, snappers etc. and 80lb for tarpon.

Simms Saltwater Tropical gear gives excellent protection when you are on the flats for upwards of six hours at a go. Hats, sunglasses, sun-gloves, head-covers, creams etc. are all necessary protection and worth it.

Our guides were Dunny and Alex, both men on top of their game. Contact them via email ( if you’re planning a visit.

All in all fantastic fishing.

Julian Shaw