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There are a couple of developments in Cuba this month that merit your attention. The first involves us here at The Angling Report. Seems the service provider who uploads published material to our Web site put a mistaken headline on our February report about Avalon taking over Cayo Paredon on the north coast of Cuba. The headline wrongly says Avalon has taken over the other north coast area, too, tarpon-rich Cayo Santa Maria. This is not accurate. As the body of our article states, Avalon has only taken over Cayo Paredon. We regret the error and have corrected it on our Web site. Fabrizio Barbazza of Batida Travel remains the outfitter of all fishing at Cayo Santa Maria.
Importantly, in an e-mail near press time, Barbazza says he has bought new boats and made other improvements to his Cayo Santa Maria operation. He says he is now able to access a lot of new areas and fish old areas more effectively. He says he is finding even more tarpon than we previously indicated. Anyone who fishes this area is urged to file a report.
The second development this month also revolves around Barbazza, who says he has formally opened his new operation in La Salina (Bay of Pigs). This is good news indeed as La Salina is much closer to Havana than any of the other areas currently being fished by Barbazza or by Avalon. It can be reached in several hours by car. No plane ride or long bus ride is involved. Also, this trip will be much cheaper than most of the other trips currently offered in Cuba. Of interest too is the fact that Barbazza’s new area is in a deeper part of La Salina where the bonefish are expected to be bigger than those caught in the past. Also, permit may be among the expected catch here. A preponderance of small bonefish and a near-absence of permit and tarpon has long been the reputation of La Salina. This may be about to change if the success of the first group is any indication. Here is what they caught: 121 bonefish (average size not available), eight tarpon hooked and one landed, two snook hooked but none landed, four barracuda, 12 jacks, and nine snappers. This success, mind you, was in a vast area that has never been more than lightly sportfished, and all of that only in the past weeks. A thorough understanding of the area and where the fish are concentrated will come only with time.
We hope to have a firsthand report on the new La Salina area soon. In the meantime, here are the costs and other details from one of the exclusive agents for this trip, Olivier Lauzanne of Planet Fly Fishing (www.planetflyfishing.com). The other agent is Christer Sjoberg of Solid Adventures (www.solidadventures.com). “Accommodations for this trip will be in Playa Larga Hotel, where our clients will all be assigned single rooms and served special meals,” Lauzanne writes. “The launch point for the fishing, a narrow channel that gives direct access to the heart of the fishing area, is only a 30-minute drive from the hotel. Two brand-new 13-foot skiffs for 1×1 fishing will be available along with two 16-foot skiffs for 1×2 fishing. We expect fly fishing to be possible all year long here thanks to the location of Las Salina on the southern coast of Cuba. The area is sheltered from the main east and northeast winds. The standard itinerary here, which includes seven nights’ lodging, six days’ fishing (half in a single-angler boat and half in a boat with another angler), plus all transfers, will cost $2,600 from February through May. That will rise to $2,990 during the rest of the year.”