Cuba

Cuba, new friends and the Amercians

Posted by Craig Gannon on July 18, 2016
Cuba, General Musings / Comments Off on Cuba, new friends and the Amercians

It’s been a while since I’ve made any posts, basically because I’ve been a very lazy, however the season’s fishing has begun with a vengeance and the main point so far has been another great trip to Cuba for the Tarpon. A week on the Georgiana produced a limited number of fish, but the main highlight was meeting a lot of new friends and having a great week.
For those of you that have not been on a live-aboard, I can heartily recommend it, accommodation is great and the ability for the boat to move means that you can cover far more water in a leisurely way. Ok – it may cost a little more, but that’s a small price to pay for the extra benefits.
This year the highlight was the reef fishing. This was adrenaline-pumping at times, where fast reactions were needed to cast to fish at any time and at all angles, only beaten by chasing a large pod of tarpon as they smashed into bait fish. The large channels were quiet this year, those in the know suspected that the water was a little too warm, potentially because of another El Ninio year, but hey! In the nineties every day catching tarpon with great company takes a lot of beating.
This year the Americans can get to Cuba more easily. Certainly their influence has yet cannot be seen, however Avalon have seen fit next year (in expectation of a big American influx) to bump the prices up 30%. We shall have to wait and see what happens as this may mean that the big Cuban adventure may be coming to an end, opening up Iceland potentially next year.
Nonetheless I have provisionally booked the Perola next April with the same bunch of friends who I met this year. It may happen, the jury is out yet. In the meantime, I recommend that you give it a go whilst you can – as I fear that it will only get worse.
One of my new friends George was quite handy with a camera. Here’s a shot that I think captures the experience. Until next time….

Poons Everywhere

Posted by Craig Gannon on June 06, 2013
Cuba, General Musings / Comments Off on Poons Everywhere

The 2013 Cuba trip for the mighty Tarpon came and went in the blink of an eye. I’m not going to dwell on it other than to say, over the 6 days we hooked into 30, boated 5, lost 3 over 100 lbs, biggest on the boat 80 lb.
Here’s my wee 70-pounder caught minutes after losing a fish that ran at at least 120 lbs.

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2013 Season Looms

Posted by Craig Gannon on February 21, 2013
Cuba, Czech Nymphs News, General Musings, Trout / Comments Off on 2013 Season Looms

Only a few weeks of the official start of the 2013 season and I cannot put off the feeling that something has to change.
Even though the opening day last year was a great success with fantastic weather and hungry fish, the rest of the season degenerated into weeks of washout followed by general fishy indifference.
Perhaps it was me but as the ‘season’ progressed I became less enthused and more disappointed.
Unfortunately the local rivers are suffering from lack of investment, too much poaching and too many cormorants. The whole river ecosystem has changed over the last few years due to environmental changes, the mass influx of the North American crayfish, increased illegal fishing and lack of investment.
My local rivers have not changed for years, banks have been left to collapse, build ups of gravel have remained in place, bank-side vegetation has not been maintained and yet the clubs are expecting us to still cough up our annual membership.
One club in particular has not invested a bean in the river. Aquaculture seems to be a dirty word and even recommendations from the Environment Agency have been ignored. Fish stocking policies are in disarray as club investment seems to be directing itself to stocking the local reservoir instead.
Unfortunately much of this is exacerbated by an influx of some of the European desires to poach and take whatever comes to the swim-feeder.

This season for very first time I considered not rejoining my local clubs instead toying with going further afield. Like previous years I acquiesced and rejoined hoping that it will be different this year. I sincerely hope that it is. However as one of my clubs for the first time in years has a shortfall in membership, whilst the other has been in declining numbers for the last three years, it would seem that others are also voting with their feet.
A crying shame, but unless there is a change I may be joining them.

Lets see how it goes.

Cuba – Day 3

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 09, 2011
Cuba, General Musings / Comments Off on Cuba – Day 3

The wind wasn’t as bad and today I shared my boat with Alan, the Man of Steel.

To cut a long story short, we had a enjoyable time but caught few fish. Again you could have argued that the water and weather was again unsuitable, but hey, this is the Caribbean, so you cannot expect perfect conditions.

Until further notice, my summary is: Lots of potential but the guides need another 4 years experience under their belts. Simply they do not know the water well enough.

I did however today catch my first Permit. 2 in fact. Here’s a picture of me with the biggest of the pair.

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Cuba – Day 2

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 09, 2011
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Once again the scourge of sleep has visited and I’ve been awake from 3 am. I suppose that the beer and Rioja didn’t help, but it wasn’t a mad night and I suppose that it’s the general lack of sleep that causes the problems.
Bad news last night though – mozzies in the room! The slightest buzz had me wide awake and from then on slapping everything that moved. However it’s a room change today – I hope that the new room is ok – the Cubans haven’t yet understood tourism so it’s a case of live and let live – but it doesn’t make it a place where you would love to come back to.

The general consensus yesterday was that the place needs another 4 years before it can really step up to the mark. The simple reason is that the guides simply don’t know the water well enough and need some more experience behind them. They are friendly enough and do all the guide things, but today will be a test as Bonefish are off the menu. Also I’m not the most experienced saltwater angler, but I could spot the fish as well as if not better that he could. However Rafael (Rafa) gets a second chance today.
5 am. Ready for a shower and day 2 beckons.

Day 2 came and went with a whimper rather than a bang. No fish on the boat, a howling wind and sight fishing and casting was near to impossible. However I am beginning to wonder if the guides have any Plan B. They certainly seem to not have the experience nor understand the waters as well as they should. I am beginning to think that Casa Romano is a bit of a damp squib.

Cuba – The First Full Day

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 09, 2011
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Strange how things work out. Tonight we are all completely shattered as a result of the full day of travel yesterday and a 5:30 call this morning. Strangely we are looking forwards to another 5:30 again tomorrow morning as we are raring to go to get after Permit and Tarpon.

Today we all caught Bones – averaging the 5lb mark – great sport but not what we came for. Today we cast to some awesome Permit so tomorrow we are all concentrating on them and the great silver beast.

Hence this is short and sweet.

By the way – as expected the lodge is far better in the calm light of day, food downright average to poor, water for showers is scarce – but so what? Also the battery died on the camera. Hopefully some good shots tomorrow.

Hasta la vista !

Cuba – Grand Beginnings

Posted by Craig Gannon on May 09, 2011
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So, after a 91/2 hour flight that was delayed by 2 hours our fine band of explorers finally landed in the Cuba. After a complete grilling by customs and searching of the hand luggage the general Bedlam of baggage claim was negotiated and, with amazingly all luggage intact the four of us were greeted by our contact for onwards delivery to the lodge.

The 3 and a half hour journey was (to say the least) an eye opener, and considering hat the roads varied from dirt track to 2-lane blacktop it was a relief that we negotiated hundreds of bicycles, horses and carts, lorries and ancient caddilacs to actually arrive at Casa Romana lodge.

It has to be said that the sights were truly an eye-opener, and sharing the lack of wealth is not possibly the best way to run a country, but at least I suppose it’s no different from many of the other places that I’ve been to. After all, who am I to judge when I live in a country that has massive opposites in terms of the wealthy and the very homeless and poverty-stricken. Still it’s somewhat strange to see the run-down farmsteads and homes as we make the long journey from airport to lodge. Will I have a different view at the end of the week? Possibly not as now we are firmly in the tourist world of what is allegedly the best saltwater fishing around.

This is a new destination, and so there’s little to compare it to. The staff (all but one) speak only Spanish, so I can see that being interesting as the week goes on, and to say that the lodge is rather primitive is a bit of an understatement. As I sit here in bed I am wondering when there will be enough water to flush the loo and clean my teeth (not at the same time), and I am not looking forwards to the 5:30 call to prepare for the days fishing (it 3 am as I write this – body clock completely goosed for the time being).

It’s possibly unfair to declare the old sugar plantation lodge either good or bad for now, as after a long journey a view can easily be prejudiced, and the fishing may make up for it, so I will post a second opinion tomorrow.

As yet no mobile signal, so all of the posts may appear all at once. We will have to see if there’s any magic available to get these on the web.

Day 2 musings tomorrow, so far it may be a difficult week based upon the accommodation only.