Jan 27th, 2016
Photos by Jon Covich
Join Blake Merwin and Gig Harbor Fly Shop in Cuba this April!
April 11: Arrive Havana, arrive Playa Larga
April 12 – 17: 6 days guided fishing
April 18: Depart Havana
Rate: $3,745.00 per person based on double occupancy
Recently, we received an e-mail from a business associate who had both bad news and good news for us. The bad news was that his knee was acting up, and that he was going to get way-laid from fishing by surgery. The good news, the group trip he had planned to Cuba was ours if we wanted it. Si!
The Zapata Peninsula
The trip to the Zapata Peninsula is a short two hour drive from Havana. Known forhaving the largest national park in the Caribbean, this mangrove swamp is home to saltwater crocodiles, and a host of birds species making at a popular destination with people dressed all in khaki and sporting binoculars around their necks. Best yet, the flats and rivers bordering this mangrove forest is perfect habitat for Bonefish, Tarpon, and all the other flats species that we fly-rodders love to hunt. Blake Merwin, of Gig Harbor Fly Shop, is hosting this trip. With an already sold-out Cuba trip next month for The Gardens of the Queen, Blake is excited about leading another group of anglers to mysterious Cuba, this time to a destination so few people have heard of.
Accommodations & Meals
Anglers will stay in the small Cuban town of Playa Larga, nestled in the uppermost corner of the famous Bay of Pigs. This is a trip we would call having much of a “Christmas Island Vibe,” meaning that the accommodations and the food are not plush, but all that is forgiven because the fishing is so good. That being said, the Hotel Playa Larga is clean and roomy, with each guest having their own quarters, complete with front porch, living room, bedroom and bath, as well as A/C and a small flat-screen TV.
Breakfast is quite good, lunch is served on the boats while fishing, and dinners at the hotel are included in the package. Our recommendation is to venture out for dinner a few times during the week and try the town’s private restaurants, where you will have the chance to interact with the local owners, and eat in a more quaint ambiance.
The fishing package here is quite varied, and comprised of interesting and unique environments. Each angler will have a boat to themselves, allowing everyone more time to put a fly in front of fish. Within the 6 days, the normal program is for anglers to fish 2 days on the inner flats of Las Salinas, 2 days on the outer flats, and 2 days on the nearby Rio Hatiguanico. Both the inner and outer saltwater flats are full of Bonefish in the 3-5 pound range. The outer areas give anglers more chance at Permit, Tarpon, Jacks and other predators, given the proximity to deeper channels and bays. The Rio Hatiguanico is very unique, and incredibly well-preserved. This river has an abundance of Tarpon that move in and out of the river from the saltwater, and are prolific in the several long tributaries that adjoin the main channel. Throughout the year, the average Tarpon caught here are 15-30 pounds, but there are always larger fish around, and even more of them as Spring approaches.