AN UPDATE ON CUBAN/AMERICAN REGULATIONS:
The bottom line is, it’s still legal and you can still get there. The important thing is to book your travel with someone who knows what they’re doing; an agent who is familiar with policy and the rules. The short of it is, that it is still a legal location, and the new regulations haven’t changed much.
Our trips, specifically the way we are running them, is completely in line with all regulations. We’ve really done our homework and have been running trips down there longer than most. The Cubans still want us to come. That’s hasn’t changed.
— Kristen Tripp, Cuba Program Director – Yellowdog Fly Fishing
For 50 years, U.s. policy toward Cuba has been an anachronistic relic of the cold war, propped up by a few narrow economic and political interests, and it is finally crumbling. Americans are on the verge of discovering what the Canadians and Italians have long known: Cuba is a fascinating country with some of the finest flats fishing in the world.
As with all aspects of the cuban economy, it is strictly controlled by the government, which operates in partnership with an italian company, avalon (www. cubanfishingcenters.com). The fishing is primarily in Cuba’s large and pristine marine reserves, which allow only a limited number of fishermen, and are restricted to catch-and-release, and in some cases, fly fishing only.
Avalon runs 12 separate operations; three are shore-based and the rest use mother ships. Guides mostly use dolphin flats skiffs with 70-horsepower yamaha motors. This is not a third-world operation. Avalon’s success rate is formidable, with an average of over 100 grand slams a year. Much of that success is due to the avalon permit fly, which has accounted for 586 permit in the last six seasons.
The fishing is concentrated in five areas, all of which provide shots at bonefish, permit, and tarpon. For those anglers looking to focus on a specific species, the best spots and peak seasons for resident tarpon are around Jardines de la Reina from February through July. If you are looking for big migratory tarpon, your best bet is Isla de Juventud from early March to late June. Permit fishing is best in Cayo Largo between May and late august and at Cayo Cruz between March and early June. Big bonefish are in Jardines de la Reina, Cayo Largo, and Cayo Cruz, particularly between November and February.
At the time we traveled to Cuba, there were still restrictions in place. However, that is changing so fast that any information provided will be out of date by the time you read this. Your best bet is to contact one of the outfitters with ties to avalon. Jim Klug at yellow dog (www.yellowdogflyfishing.com; 888-777-5060) helped us and was very knowledgeable. other agencies are rapidly getting up to speed on the details. detailed information on gear, et cetera, is available on avalon’s website, or from the outfitter.
Read the whole story HERE.