Cuba December 2021 Trip Report - Instalment Four

Cuba December 2021 Trip Report - Instalment Four

Tuesday Dec 4th River Tarpon Day on the Rio Hatiguanico

On Tuesday, we decided to visit the river in search of tarpon. The forecast showed some cloud cover so we figured this was a good option for the day. Plus, on the Sunday Felipe had guided an English Actor on the Rio who had a haymaker day. This meant Felipe - like all lifelong guides - was excited, in anticipation of a special day.

The drive to the river always gives you a chance to see Cuban daily life moving along its busy pace with bikes, carts, pedestrians all heading to work or school. Arriving at the river the weather was perfect. After setting up our 9 and 10 wt rods with floating and intermediate lines we started the river journey to the fishing area (Mike and Steve in their own boats and Terry and I with Felipe).

The boat ride itself is worth the day to me. Zipping between the mangrove banks seeing turtles, catfish, kingfishers, osprey, many other bird species, and if you’re lucky baby crocs, as you travel along. It is truly like a jungle.

We were motoring along on plane enjoying the scenery when all of a sudden, the motor pitch changed, we quickly came off plane, and something sounded broken. The boat never went on plane again for the day! Luckily we were only a few hundred meters from the first place Felipe wanted to fish.

The small feeder river was literally erupting with 100’s of tarpon rolling and splashing as the other two boats had already headed up it. In the first 5 minutes Terry and I both hook up a few and land a couple of these fantastic juvenile tarpon. A great start to a day that could have went sideways due to motor problems.

We saw a good number of large fish in the 50-to-100-pound range. Steve hooked up a couple, but they destroyed equipment and all escaped leaving us with clear memories of large flashes of silver rocketing out of the water and shaking and rattling their big heads.

It is astonishing to me that after a two-year hiatus of anglers the fish simply ignored our flies most of the time. Fishing is fishing no matter how little pressure there has been. It was great to see the sheer numbers of tarpon we saw and land the 7 or 8 in the boat for the day.

On the way home Terry and I hopped in the “working” boats and left Felipe to limp his way home or be rescued after we were on our way home. Several hours later we receive a photo of the cause of the motor to break down. Someone at some point in the past had run over a fly line and it was well tangled in the housing of the propeller and finally did enough damage to create a problem. Always an adventure for sure.

 Link to Instalment Five

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