For live and premium content, sign up for our email newsletter and we'll send reports directly to your inbox

Sign Up Now!

A U.S. subscriber who did not include his name has filed a mixed report about a recent trip to Isla de la Juventud with Avalon ( The subscriber is not really disappointed with the fishery, although he does remark on the near absence of permit during the time he was there. What troubled him the most was travel snafus and guide misunderstandings. Rather than publish the report in its entirety, it seemed more useful in this case to summarize the problems that occurred and invite Avalon to respond point by point.

(1.) The subscriber was upset that his schedule did not allow him to spend two full days in Havana on one end of his trip. Moreover, he and his wife had a lot of trouble getting a flight out of Havana at the end of their trip. He blames Avalon for both problems. By way of rebuttal, Avalon says they had nothing to do with this subscriber’s travel plans. If he wanted to arrive two days early, he should have made that clear to the British travel agent who booked and arranged his trip. They say they learned of this subscriber’s desire to spend two days in Havana only when he arrived. By then, it was impossible for them to change the in-country travel arrangements and accommodate him. Avalon says it has gotten in touch with the British agent for this trip with an eye toward making sure similar misunderstandings do not occur in the future.

(2.) The subscriber was not happy with his guide’s ability to communicate, his readiness to fish long hours, and his readiness to try new areas rather than fishing the same flat over and over. Avalon says they have made a conscious decision to recruit guides from the commercial fishing industry because a feeling for the sea and for the movement of fish is not something that you can teach. Faced with a choice between a guide who can speak fluent English and one who can find fish, they go with the one who can find fish. That is not to suggest they don’t stress language skills. At this point, 40 of their 50 guides have received at least some instruction in basic English. They say 20 of their guides can communicate fully in English and another 10 can speak quite well. The remaining 20 are about evenly split between those who can communicate with some problems and those who have a lot of problems communicating with non-Spanish-speaking clients. In all, Avalon says, its guide training program lasts six years. It has not produced uniformly competent and articulate guides, but they are all enthusiastic and eager to please. They recommend to all groups that they change guides often during their week of fishing. That helps ensure that everyone has a balanced experience. As regards the amount of time spent on the water, Avalon says Isla de la Juventud guides fish a minimum of 10 hours a day, sometimes more. Isla de la Juventud is more focused on tarpon than permit, so it is not surprising to them that the subscriber who filed the critical report saw few permit. Cayo Largo and the newly opened Cayo Cruz are much better permit areas, they say. As regards the complaint about guides fishing the same flat over and over, they say that happens only in certain tarpon areas at certain times of year. During certain periods, tarpon tend to cross the same spot day after day, so it makes sense to focus one’s efforts there.

(3.) The subscriber was not very happy with the hotel where land-based anglers are accommodated on Isla de la Juventud. Avalon says the hotel-based trip on Isla de la Juventud is one of the cheapest fishing packages they sell. Anglers seeking luxury accommodation should look into some of their trips based in five-star Melia hotels and in five-star motherships.

Previous reading
Slow Fishing Reported in Baja California Sur, Mexico
Next reading
This Idaho Dry Fly Fishing For Trout Is New Zealand-Like