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Remember those two new fishing areas on the north coast of Cuba, Cayo Santa Maria and Cayo Paredon? We told you about in the August 2012 issue. The former is a worldclass tarpon area and the latter is a
permit area with goodly numbers of bonefish and some tarpon. We told you they were both going to be developed by Fabrizio Barbazza, the entrepreneur who developed the Cayo Largo fishery, which is known for outstripping all others in Cuba in Grand Slams. Although that information was correct at the time, it now seems that Avalon, the dominant player in Cuban fishing and the company that currently hosts fishermen on Cayo Largo as well as on and around Isla de la Juventud and the Queens Garden Archipelago, is going to take over Cayo Paredon.
The politics behind the move are impossible to fathom. Suffice it to say that Avalon is a longtime operator with excellent government connections. They have operated in Cuba longer than anyone else, and the scale of their operation there is far larger and more successful than anyone elses. Avalon, in fact, has grown of late into a very large recreational fishing company with a fleet of motherships and skiffs that is almost certainly second to none anywhere in the world.
Cayo Paredon is a significant addition to Avalons total fishing area, as it encompasses some 366 square kilometers. It has been fished lightly by another company in recent years, but the pressure has been slight. Avalon, in its news release about taking over this area, is correct in describing the area as virtually untouched . . . and one of the cleanest and most biologically diverse ecosystems weve ever fished. For sure, the area is going to be a major permit destination. Much of the area has a very firm bottom, creating the opportunity for wading fanatics to fish for permit successfully on foot. We hope the first subscribers into this area in search of permit will file reports. Send them to [email protected].
The downside to this area, at present anyway, is the lack of experienced guides. Avalon admits to this problem on its Web site, requesting patience of clients while the guides are trained and skiffs are upgraded.
On a transitional basis, Avalon plans to bring in experienced guides from Cayo Largo, who will be in charge of training and instructing those already on site. Interestingly, Avalon plans to accommodate fishermen here at Hotel Casona de Romano in the town of Brasil. Avalon calls it the most unusual fishing lodge they have ever had the good fortune to fish from. The Avalon Web site describes it as a stately house built in 1919 for the owner of the towns sugar cane factory. It has been fully renovated recently and upgraded to contemporary tourist standards. The house has six double rooms and two single rooms, two of which have balconies overlooking the courtyard and church, Avalon says. The beds in each room are new and very comfortable. Each room is fully equipped with a private bath with lots of hot water, along with plenty of lights for reading at night and a small fridge for cold drinks. Each room also has an excellent A/C unit, along with a TV, just in case you feel the need to watch some absolutely dreadful Cuban television. The dining room is located on the first floor. It serves a variety of traditional Cuban food, with dinners ranging from fish and seafood to roast pork and chicken. The bar area is located just inside the main entrance to the house. It is fairly well stocked with rum, vodka, scotch, red and white wines from Spain, as well as both of Cubas domestic beer brands. The bar is quite possibly the source for the least expensive beer in all of Cuba. 1 CUC per beer is a true bargain, even by Cuban standards!
Avalon says its fishing programs at Cayo Paredon will start at 1,990 euros. More details are available at www.cubanfishingcenters.com.
As for Fabrizio Barbazza and the two European agents who are handling all his bookings, Olivier Lauzanne of Planet Fly Fis