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CUBA FISHING THE GARDENS OF THE KING CAYO SANTA MARIA

As of September 1st, 2015, the incredible area of Gardens of the King called Cayo Santa Maria is under the exclusive flyfishing operation of Fly Fishing The Run. This area had been known as the Tarpon Paradise of the North Coast of Cuba and world class destination for Tarpon. Since the year 2000, Cayo Santa Maria is one of the keys, which are part of UNESCO’s Buenavista Bay Biosphere Reserve known as Gardens of the King (GOK)

From March to August, Cayo Santa Maria is characterized for migratory tarpon fly fishing. It’s called by many, the best big tarpon fly fishing destination in Cuba. You also have bonefish, cudas, jacks and other saltwater species.

All the guides are local and know the area very well. They live and breathe tarpon fishing, are some of the best in Cuba and all speak English very well.

Getting to the fishing grounds

This couldn’t be easier. Your guides will pick you up at the hotel after a nice early breakfast in readiness for your days fishing and then it’s just a short drive from your hotel to the marina where you will be assigned to your skiff for the day.

Species

Tarpon is the main focus of the trip but there are plenty of bonefish, jacks, cudas and the holy grail of flats fishing the permit. All species are in very good numbers in Cayo Santa Maria and are a really good average size.

Fishing Season: Prime months are from March until August. This is when the migratory tarpon show up in numbers. There are also the bonefish, jacks and permit around too.

Boats: We have new Dolphin Super Skiffs with Yamaha 70HP engines that allow us to access very shallow water areas and also run dry and fast whilst transferring between fly fishing spots.

Tackle

Singlehanded 9ft #9wt & 12wt saltwater outfits with matching tropical floating lines. A good selection of flies for all species you may encounter.

Wading: The hardwhite sand, turtle grass or coral flats of Cayo Santa Maria makes for easy wading but most fishing will be done from the comfort of the skiff. It’s still a good idea for protective footwear. Standard diver’s neoprene booties with a reinforced rubber sole are not appropriate. More protective flats wading boots must be worn.

Fishing the average day:

Anglers will be up early and after a quick breakfast, head out to the flats to fish the first tide. You will fish in lagoons, tidal areas, large flats where huge tarpon can be seen rolling in the distance. We generally stay out on the flats with a packed lunch, especially if the prime tidal movement coincides with the lunch break. The following day’s activities and schedule will be planned the night before, between the guides and the captain. If you have any preferences, please feel free to mention it to the guides. The current tidal movement and choice of species to target will be taken into consideration. There are also wide flat areas, 3 to 6feet deep, where they are easy to spot due to the crystalclear waters.

For bonefish, there are huge areas of flats and mangrove vegetation to be fished from the boat or by wading. The region abounds in permit too in deeper waters called floaters, some of them weighing up to 40 pounds. The average weight ranges from 25 to 30 pounds. All varieties of flats fish exist in the Gardens of the King; however, it is Tarpon that make this area famous for fly fishing. Resident Tarpon are present all year round and range in size from 1080 pounds. From the beginning in March, Gardens of the Kings begins to see the larger migratory Tarpon, and the fish continue to be present through August. These fish can be in excess of 150 pounds and are a true test of a fly anglers skills.

The accommodation

This is not your common hotel whilst on a fishing trip. The 5* Iberostar resort has lush, well kept grounds and 2 stunning beaches and very friendly staff. The hotel has 2 sides, one is the “Park” side (for family holidays) and the other is the “Spa” side which will be used for our guests.

The swim up bars at this resort are exceptionally clean, as are the beach bars and lobby bar. The food at the restaurants is surprisingly good given Cuba’s reputation when it comes to food.

ITINERARY

The below itinerary is only as a guide. (Once a week flight only from Manchester to Cayo Coco or Virgin to Havana with a long road transfer to Cayo Coco).

DAY 1 Wednesday

MANCHESTER/CAYO COCO 1035/

Transfer from the airport to Santa Maria journey of approx. 3 hrs. (214 kms)

Overnight allinclusive accommodation at the 5* Iberostar on an allinclusive basis

DAY 2 : (Thursday )

Guides will pick you up from outside the hotel and take you to the marina where your fishing will start.

Overnight allinclusive accommodation at Iberostar

DAY 3: (Friday)

Full day guided fishing. Overnight allinclusive accommodation at Iberostar

DAY 4: (Saturday)

Full day guided fishing. Overnight allinclusive accommodation at Iberostar

DAY 5: (Sunday)

Full day guided fishing. Overnight allinclusive accommodation at Iberostar

DAY 6: (Monday)

Full day guided fishing. Overnight allinclusive accommodation at Iberostar

DAY 7: (Tuesday)

Full day guided fishing. Overnight allinclusive accommodation at Iberostar

DAY 8 (Wednesday)

Early breakfast at the hotel followed by a road transfer back to the airport in Cayo Coco

CAYO COCO/MANCHESTER 1700/0640

Cost from:

Low season: £4155.00 per person

Mid season: £4913.00 per person

High season: £5603.00 per person

Sharing a room & skiff. Subject to availability/exchange rates

Seasons:

Low Season: Sept 16 17 Feb 24th

Mid Season: Feb 25th Mar. 24 th and Jul 01 to Sept 15th

High Season: Mar 25 to Jun 30th

There are no tackle shops in Cuba so take everything you think you will need.

Price includes (ex Havana) :

  •  Flights economy class
  •  Return airport transfers
  •  7 nights twin room, all inclusive accommodation in the Iberostar. All meals, desalinated water, soft drinks as well as alcoholic drink. Spa Suite double room
  •  6 full days guided fly fishing, sharing a skiff. (1 skiff/guide/2 person )
  •  Box lunch and beverages while fly fishing on skiff

Cost excludes:

  •  Travel insurance (mandatory). Make sure your policy covers repatriation and holiday cancellation cover
  •  Tackle & Flies(take all your own gear)
  •  Gratuities: This is purely discretionary see tipping section
  •  Items of a personal nature
  •  Any other extras/items not mentioned in the itinerary
  •  Any increase in fuel/surcharges prior to ticketing
  •  Cuban visa
  •  Fishing gear

Supplements (subject to change )

  •  Single supplement: approx. US$ 2.000 per angler
  •  Single room Resort Upgrade: approx. US$ 500.00 per person
  •  Grand Villa Resort Upgrade: approx. US$ 400.00 p.p (upgrade to DBL Grand Villa
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