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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.