Cuba remains a saltwater destination that is on the top of many angler’s lists of dream trips. A new video from Smith follows Jonathan Jones and Ross Kingsley as they take on these flats.
“Only 90 miles separate the coast of Florida from Cuba, but for decades the short distance was a near impossibility for generations of thrill seekers. Now the well conserved ecological paradise, 100-miles of pristine, fish-filled flats, is slowly opening to anglers. Avalon Outdoor Guides showed Jonathan Jones, a.k.a. Redbeard and Ross Kingsley to unspoiled waters so they could let it fly in the Cayo Cruz marine park. Since 1992, Avalon has been introducing sustainability in the conservation tourism—limiting the number of licenses with an increasing number of conservation projects providing Cuba one of the most successful programs for fly fishing. Equipped in the Guide’s Choice with ChromaPop, the boys scored one for the ages.”
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Just 90 miles off the coast of the United States, Cuba offers the flats fly fishing that anglers dream of. Fly fishing in Cuba is similar in many ways to the nearby Florida Keys. Bonefish, tarpon (and big ones at that), and permit are generally among the primary targets, but unlike the Keys, the salty critters of Cuba have seen a lot less pressure, thereby making Cuba a great place for grand slam (and even super slam) chasing. In addition to these three species, anglers also have access to snook, snapper, sharks, and barracuda, among other targets.
While anglers have accessed Cuba from all over the world for some time, access has been trickier for U.S. anglers, as the embargo and related travel restrictions have deterred anglers. In addition, the embargo’s effect on airline access from the U.S. has complicated things. Of course, with the recently announced “new course” on relations with Cuba, there are hopes fewer hiccups. But until then, U.S. anglers might still opt to seek the assistance of fly fishing travel agencies that make arrangements to overcome visa and other obstacles.
The changing relations between the United States and Cuba will certainly impact fly fishing there. While it is expected that the 1950s feel of Cuba will change with relaxed trade regulations, the angling will also change with the anticipated flood of anglers coming in. More pressure will change the fishery, but more fly fishing aficionados from the U.S. might also bring more opportunities via expatriate guides and new lodges.