Anglers from Oregon, Georgia, Washington, California, Missouri and Arizona joined us this year to fly fish in Cuba. We ventured to a new area Northeast of the Cuban mainland. The general area is called Cayo Cruz and Avalon Fishing has stationed a 75 foot “live a board” motor yacht, “AVALON 1″ near the town of Versailles.
To begin the trip anglers met in Havana, some flying direct from Vancouver, some through Cancun and most through Miami and the Grand Cayman Islands. We all stayed at the Parque Central Hotel which is a fine hotel located in the heart of “Old Havana”. Our first night in Havana we enjoyed a delicious meal at La Terrazza restaurant near the hotel. Our wake up call came way to early 2:30am. We took a bus to a small airport outside Havana about 40 minutes, around 6am a flight to Cayo Coco then another bus 5 hours or so to Versailles. At the small outpost of Versailles we were met by the guides and crew associated with the AVALON 1 live a board. The bus ride sounds a bit brutal and at the end of our stay on the boat we had an even longer one, but the opportunity to see the interior of Cuba is really pretty cool. The bus is comfortable enough that if you want to sleep you can, the view out of the bus is really pretty interesting.
The crew and guides employed by AVALON FISHING are very kind people and extremely attentive to their guests needs. Meals were superb! Fresh seafood, quality meats, local fruit and vegetables were served to us daily. Bottled water, sodas, beer, wine and post fishing cocktails of any sort were available to all. Laundry was done for us daily, a very unexpected bonus when you are sweating out your fishing clothes daily in the heat. Fishing days began with coffee around 6:30am, breakfast at 7am and anglers left for there fishing days as early as 7:30am. At the end of your fishing day 4-5pm anglers were met with a slushy mojito cocktail or other beverage of your choice.
I spent to weeks aboard the boat, two six day fishing stints. The first week Shauna did most of the fishing while while the kids and I plied the ocean for our evening meals. We had a great time snorkeling, spear fishing and “lobstering”. The kids had an “most memorable” time mainly to to “superman” Leizzan the multi talented engineer/dive master/deck hand and customer service expert who took us to nearby rocks and beaches in a small zodiac.
Our fishing was not outstanding. A variety of fish were caught daily and some days were great for some anglers and others very slow. Several permit were caught, a few tarpon and plenty of bonefish. Steady winds and clouds plagued our first week and the wind continued on through the second week. There were a few days were we saw over 20 permit but high winds and hard flats made it very challenging to stop the boat and make a decent presentation before the fish spooked. Cayo Cruz offers all the key species and a beautiful location. It has all the potential for a grand slam daily, sometimes on the same flat!
Despite fishing not being “off the charts” good, the overall experience aboard the AVALON 1 was fantastic. The camaraderie amongst guests, the high level of service provided by the staff, the beautiful setting and solitude made the trip an absolute joy!
At the end of the fishing week anglers returned to Havana for two night and had a chance to roam around the city a bit which is always fun.
We already have our dates set for next years shop trip to Cuba please inquire with me at firstname.lastname@example.org for info. We will be sticking with the live aboard program for sure. We have two weeks near the Island of Youth and one in the Queens Gardens region.