This year we have had two hosted Tarpon trips out of the Isle of Youth, Cuba. These trips are now aboard the Avalon 1 which is a very comfortable and practicable mothership. Being aboard a Liveaboard for the week is a great way of exploring and making the most of this fantastic tarpon fishery with its flats, reef, channels and mangrove bays.
Kevin Pallett reports on our two weeks aboard Avalon 1……
This area is not fished by the Isle of youth or Cayo Largo land-based operations and so the fishing pressure is relatively minimal especially when you realise that you are not that far from the Keys!
The fishing day is split into two. After breakfast an 8.00 am start with the possibility of fishing being just minutes away, you can literally be catching fish before your fully awake ! After finishing the morning session, lunch is served at 1.00 pm back onboard the Avalon 1. You can then decide to siesta, relax/change leaders or swim before going out again for the afternoon/evening session at 3.30pm.
The afternoon into evening session is a very special time and unless you are aboard a liveaboard rarely get the chance to fish this time of day. The evening is such a fantastic time to be out tarpon fishing. It allows you to go after tarpon that start feeding and marauding the reef area, busting after bait fish in the channels or catching them leaving the safety of the mangroves right up until the sun disappears over the horizon.
Sometimes you get back to the boat when it’s completely dark!!! Especially if you catch a tarpon on the last cast of the day as happened with my boat partner Andy Witkowski.
This is not only a great tarpon fishery, there are many bonefish flats full of decent size around 4lb’s with tailing fish to 8lb plus landed. There are also many permit flats that rarely get fished!
The channel fishing can also throw up many surprises, as with Alex on our first week having hooked a small tarpon to then have it taken by a huge 45lb plus Cubera snapper.
This year unusually we had a lot of sargasso weed everywhere and when our second group went out the tarpon had realised that it was a bait fish magnet. Our group all had great success in using sardine patterns tempting the tarpon which had come in from the ocean and reef to feed, and hours of non-stop action.
On return from the evening session, there’s always a long cold mojito awaiting you before fresh fish and lobsters for a relaxed dinner discussing the days fishing.
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