Cuba Tarpon Fishing ReportJust the other day we got a message from one of our anglers Fred Miller, who just returned home from accompanying our fly fishing ambassador Wil Flack on a hosted trip to Cayo Romano and Cayo Cruz in Cuba.
While primarily a permit and bonefish destination, Fred tells the story of how they found some great tarpon action as well! “Our first day out on the water was tough fishing for us with little action. Not to be deterred, we started our second morning out with our guide Yolandry and soon sighted our first fish approaching. While I made a decent cast to it, it didn’t bite but we also noticed that it was not spooked either.
In another attempt at the fish, I was able to roll cast ten feet from the boat to entice it. Suddenly the fish whipped around to get my Puglisi Peanut Butter fly and it was game on. I landed what the guide estimated to be a 80 lb tarpon,” Miller said. After getting into bonefish consistently over the course of their week, Miller and his fishing partner returned to the area where they hooked into his second day tarpon with Yolandry for their final day of fishing.
As noon was approaching, his crew was starting to think about taking a break and getting some lunch. “Just then, we spotted what looked like a big shark at about 300 yards away approaching doing lazy quarter turns,” said Miller, “The more we looked at it, it became clear that this wasn’t a shark at all but instead was a large sized tarpon.” Suddenly our guide screams, "Hand him a tarpon rod!" In a panic, my partner quickly hands me his rod with a black and purple bunny pattern and I was able to make several casts, each followed up with a refusal.
The fish was still in close proximity to our skiff but was starting to swim away at a modest pace. Our guide, still focused on the roaming tarpon, grabbed his push pole and gave chase for fifteen minutes trying to keep the tarpon in range when finally he yelled "Hand him his rod with the peanut butter!" “I fumble with the new rod for a second before I was ready for his command. Finally the moment came and our guide yelled, “Cast now!” “My cast landed about a foot to the right and four inches behind the head of the fish. It got the desired effect we wanted. The tarpon whipped around and chased my peanut butter fly and chomped down on it.”
Miller recounted in that moment the last time he had fought big tarpon and realized it was 17 years ago when he was a much younger man. He said he fought the tarpon for about an hour and twenty minutes and at its conclusion, Miller with a smile on his face, was completely exhausted. He was holding the biggest fish of their trip, a 90 lb plus tarpon.
Perhaps it was the luck of the rotation, but when Miller was paired up with “his hero” guide Yolandry, he landed his two biggest tarpon of the trip. Still glowing from the experience, he was in the Havana airport waiting for his flight home with his remaining 41 pesos burning a hole in his pocket. He commented to us, “Do you know what a really good bottle of rum was selling for?”
In a serendipitous moment, he used his remaining pesos to purchase his victory bottle of Cuban rum and returned home to the states already dreaming of his next fly fishing adventure. “Thank you so much for everything Yellow Dog,” he wrote. We were so excited to hear about his great fishing trip. Congrats Fred Miller on your success with landing two solid tarpon!