Cuba December 2021 Trip Report - Instalment Six

Cuba December 2021 Trip Report - Instalment Six

Thursday and Friday December 9 &10 The final days of our 2021 flats fishing

 

We had a first on Thursday morning. The local doctor had to visit our Casa and provide our PCR tests so we could return home on Saturday. Tests done with little fan fare “Cuban style” and we ended up getting the results brought to us on Saturday morning. We each paid the $30US on the online payment system and we were all set!

Once on the flats there is even lower water in the morning and in area’s during the day. This made for some interesting scenarios of getting the boat through places. Thursday and Friday were slightly windier making some casting slightly more challenging but still very pleasant compared to “normal”.

Terry had a great day fishing tarpon and I had some great bonefishing while wading again but they were definitely not as eager for the fly so made each fish that much sweeter. I enjoy the challenge and appreciate it when the fish make me work a bit harder.

Our last day together we got to fish with our long time friend Julio. The morning was quite windy and made for finding a spot for permit very challenging. We did find many snook in the mangroves but they would not come out to play. They needed more water over their backs to make them more comfortable. Julio took us to a protected leeward side and we had outstanding bonefishing just before lunch.

Terry and I were trading shot for shot and hook ups with nice sized bonefish. At the end of the day Terry managed multiple casts at beautifully tailing bones but none of them decided to play the game. It was a good day and we ended the trip with some good laughs with Julio as always.

We were the second one back to the dock at just before 4pm as we needed to break down our fishing gear for the trip home. We started the break down process when Mike pulls up to the dock with Juan Carlos.

They had fished their final day together. Mike comes to the table and puts some gear down and we ask how the day was. He says pretty good and starts to walk back to the boat and casually says he is no longer a permit virgin. Terry didn’t hear him.

I said to Mike “what was that?” He continues to the boat for the second load of gear and this time on his way back he says with a shit-eating grin on his face that he caught his first permit in the morning, then his second and then his third ALL before lunch. We are flabbergasted. He shows us the pictures. He got some beautiful fish all between 7 and 13 pounds. We were overjoyed for him, and Juan Carlos has some great new stories to add to his repertoire of permit fishing. They also went for the grand slam. They did manage to leader touch a tarpon (of the three or four they hooked) but none to hand. So close but Mike didn’t really care as the three permit were the true accomplishment.

For a week in Salinas to have hooked 8 (David 4, Mike 3, Terry 1) permit amongst three different anglers is astonishing. This is certainly not to be expected but is what happened for us. Overall, an extremely successful week with great memories. So happy that we were able to be among the very first anglers to be on the flats of Salinas again and support our guide friends.

And it was great to stay in the Casa’s to support independent business in Cuba. Things are changing there and they need some assistance but that Cuban creative attitude will help them through this challenging time.

We really had no idea what was waiting for us when we arrived back in Toronto due to the evolving rules around the new Omicron variant. Only passengers with connections were allowed off the flight to keep the number of people down in the common area for customs. At no time did any agent mention any extra testing for our group. We had all filled out the ArriveCan app and had all of our paperwork ready to go. We were simply sent on our way.

We didn’t even have to pick up our luggage as it got checked all the way through which was much easier than it used to be. It was a long trip home (we didn’t get home until 3:30am) but it was all worth it for the memories of a fantastic trip.

We are very much looking forward to our March and April return to the flats of Las Salinas.

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