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A Cuban Christmas

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On new years day Derek arrived back from his Christmas holiday in Cuba and it's not only his tan that makes me jealous, he's had some great fishing out there too!  This wasn't his first time out there, almost his tenth I think, and now he know's it so well he is certainly the one to ask about this destination.  One thing that stands out to me, from what he says, is it's the perfect place to go and keep everyone happy - the fisherman and his family.  Derek stays on an island called Cayo Coco and has found this one is the best for a bit of everything, you can keep the family happy with the various hotel entertainments while you can either go off fishing by yourself around the island or book a professional guide and go out to the other islands on the trip of a lifetime.  There are many guides that you can book via the hotels, whether it be walking the flats or fishing the deeper water from a boat, all trips can be arranged.

Derek only had a few days fishing over there this time, as the weather was pretty windy, but he still managed to have a great variety of fishing experiences and even a few firsts, not bad for a guy of his age!  He had a nice morning wading and fishing the flats for Bonefish, also hooking into other species like snapper and the unusual looking Cow or Box fish...these fish are very strange looking but well worth hooking into as they fight like hell.  As the wind got up in the afternoon and the fish got harder to spot, Derek and his son-in-law Andy got back on the boat and went out to try something different.  They then spent the afternoon having a very exciting fishing session, and I'm sure, one they'll remember for some time.  They set up their heavy fly tackle ie.#12 rods and trawled with large lures for big fish species.  This is when a good guide comes into his own - Derek says how amazing it was to watch the guide spot these fish in such rough water, but he could and he could do it well.  They ended up with some huge Baracuda, Wahoo, sailfish and Dorado....what a catch in one day, and all on the fly rods too!

Needless to say Derek will be going back again for more, infact he just told me he booked last night and will be off again in May, that's the way to do it!

Dereks tips - Always go well prepared, you can't get anything out there and the guides don't hire tackle out.  The only trips that have tackle provided are the deep sea fishing trips.  Make sure you are well armed with a good assortment of flies and leaders, unhooking pliers, some sort of pack or tackle bag and plenty of sun protection, there's nowhere to shelter out on the flats.  Wire leaders are also a must if you're after Baracudas.  As far as rods and reels go Derek recommends taking an #8, #10 and #12 to cover all types of fishing out there if you're super serious.  If you're on a budget go for a #9, that will do you as a Bonefish rod and light Permit and baby tarpon rod.  You may read of many people using #6 rods for Bonefish, this is probably fine when conditions are perfect, but as we know that rarely happens and you can really struggle casting these flies out on the open flats where there's no break from the wind.  It's also slightly unfair on these fish that fight so hard to play them for such a long time as they can really burn themselves out, and there's always predators out there waiting.

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