Home

Search This Blog

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Fly Fishing in Cuba Part II

Days four and five made the trip for me.  I fished exclusively for tarpon on those days and those fish are the ones that will get me back to Cuba.  Lordy they were so wonderful!  During the entire trip everywhere we fished was stunningly beautiful; it seemed even more beautiful on days four and five.  Perhaps I was influenced by the fish, perhaps not.










The guide would pole us across the tarpon flats and call out fish.  We would cast and immediately start stripping as fast as we possibly could.  If you reached forward and missed grabbing the line for the next strip the tarpon immediately turned away.  The gloves made feeling the line more difficult so I had to look down at the line to make sure I grabbed the line for the next hard strip.  It was intense and so exciting.  The line goes tight when they take the fly and the guide keeps yelling, "Keep Stripping, Keep Stripping!"  When the fish took off we did a strip set with our line hand, pinned the line against the rod with our rod hand, and then strip set with our rod hand.  Every single fish jumped on the hook set.  It was truly incredible fishing.





Day six was the cloudiest and the most windy.  At one point my guide said, "El relampagos es peligroso."  I believe I got the Spanish correct, either way, he meant the lightening is dangerous.  It was in the distance but moving our way.  We all had to cut the last day short.  I hooked 4 barracuda before we got back.  They are a bad ass looking fish and made the 10th species I caught.  




The accommodations on the ship were adequate.  The staff was friendly and always very, very helpful.  They really helped make the trip special.  The guides bent over backwards to get us in to fish and to make sure we were all enjoying our day.  


The guides



The deck hand, the hostess, and the captain.  


A very pleasant surprise was how good the food was.  We had fresh lobster as part of our dinner every evening.  





I booked this trip through Fly Water.  The staff there was helpful through every step of the process; I will definitely book another trip with them.  Our host was Blake Merwin of Gig Harbor Fly Shop.  Blake was also great and I would go on another trip with him.  


Blake on the left talking with Scott, one of the other anglers.  


  For the gear whores out there here's a picture for you.




Overall this was a trip I thoroughly enjoyed and would do again.  


Friday, July 21, 2017

Fly Fishing in Cuba Part I

In the summer of 1959 I was still 8 years old.  I caught my first limit of trout that summer.  At that time, for a person under 16, the limit was 8 fish.  My dad let me wander out of his sight to fish.  We were fishing a river and I didn't get two fish from the same spot.  I had to move and keep casting.  It actually took some hours to get all 8 fish. For me, at that point in my life, it was the trip of a lifetime! I had such a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

I remember the first time I caught and released 40 trout in one trip on the Cle Elum River.  I fished four days and caught almost all of the fish on dry flies.  I believe I was 20 years old.  It was the trip of a lifetime.

I remember the first time I caught and released 40 trout in one day, the first time I caught and released 50 trout in one day, and the first time I caught 80 trout in one day.  Those were trips of a lifetime.  Twice, in the 70's I caught and released over 100 trout in a day.  All of these days were on the same Western Washington river.  Those days were also trips of a lifetime.  They are wonderful memories to me; I will always cherish them.

I remember catching my first carp in 2004; now that was the trip of a lifetime!  Seeing that fish turn to the fly and seeing him jump straight up when I set the hook changed my life.  I mean my fishing life of course.  Well, I guess my overall life was changed too.  I never looked back.

This spring I traveled to Cuba to fish.  It was a live aboard trip; we stayed on a ship for 7 days and headed out on skiffs each morning to fish.  As you can see I have been incredibly blessed.  I caught 8 trout in 1959 when I was just 8 years old.  Those 8 fish in the summer of 1959 are hard to top, and yes, I'm serious.  My trip to Cuba was very, very special.  It was quite an adventure for this older guy.  It was also the trip of a lifetime.  I think it was even better than my first limit of trout.  

We flew from Seattle to Los Angles, had a two and a half hour layover and then flew to Havana.  Some of us arrived a day early to see a few sights but we were all there primarily to fish.











The second day we were up at 4:00 AM and met in the hotel lobby at 4:30.  The shuttle picked us up and drove us 3 hours to the ship.  We spent three more hours traveling on the ship to the anchoring point.  Where we finally stopped was isolated and stunningly beautiful.  We put our things in our rooms, had lunch and started gearing up.












That first afternoon of fishing was slow for all of us because we weren't seeing any fish in the flats.  It was disappointing; I felt fortunate to get one bonefish.



The second day the sky was clear most of the time and we were seeing fish.  I released several bonefish and felt good about that.  I also caught a tarpon on day two and that was very exciting for me!








The third day for me was the multi-species day.  Over the course of the trip I caught 10 species.  (Including snagging the guide.)  Okay fine, I'm not counting the guide in my 10 species.  I caught 10 species of fish. (Plus snagging the guide)  It was a great day of fishing, catching, and discovery.



A Blue Runner





A Mutton Snapper

More on days four, five, and six, along with more Cuba pictures coming soon.  










Sunday, May 21, 2017

Starting the 2017 Season

Thanks Kevin, Sam, Jessica, and Jeff for asking why I have been lazy prodding me to get back to the blog.  Here you go.

Starting the 2017 season near the end of May?  Well hell yes!  I'm talking about the carp season of course.  Normally I would have started sooner but it has been cold this year so the beginning of the season has been delayed.  Oh, and one more thing, I was distracted, or completely unavailable. Unavailable........because....................... I went fishing in Cuba.  What an adventure that was for this old guy!  More on that in another post coming soon.

My first fish of the day, and of the season, was a fully scaled mirror; I sure liked that.  It was nice to hook up just minutes after starting.  I thanked the carp for taking my fly.  The first fish being a mirror boded well for the day, for the season, and I think perhaps for all of my life.  Black Betty tricked this wonderful fish.  (I only fish the red tail version anymore.)




We don't see that many mirrors on the Columbia so my friends and I covet them.  If I see more than one fish and I can tell one of them is a mirror I will cast to the mirror.  Much of the time I can't tell if the fish is a mirror or a common until after they slosh or until I get them near me.

Well heck, my second fish was a mirror too.  He was nice and chunky and had almost no scales on his sides.  In this picture I have lifted him up with my left hand and am trying to use the camera with my right hand.  For an old guy like me, that's multi-tasking and it ain't easy.  



 




This same fish had two rows of scales down his back.  He looked a linear mirror with the scale lines moved up on top.






The "hog of the day" award goes to this next fish.  Lets pretend the reason you don't see the whole fish is because he was too big to fit in the picture rather than me not setting up the camera correctly.  Either way he's a porker.



I saw and caught fish in spurts.  I had a good number of shots and had three fish to the net within the first hour.  That makes me feel way more clever than I actually am.  I kept stalking and then didn't see a single fish for an hour and a half.  After that I got two shots and didn't connect.  I kept moving and started seeing fish again about 30 minutes later.  I put several more in the net and thanked the Good Lord for a wonderful day.

#blackbetty, #carplodge, #carponthefly, #flyfishingforcarp, #mirrorcarp