Out Fly Fishing outfitters was extremely excited to announce the return to Cayo Ramano for 2012. After an incredible week of filming with Fly Nation TV back in May of 2011, we have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to revisit this unique and highly exclusive destination.
Located on the north shore of the eastern province of Camaguey, the Cayo Romano/Cruz fishery is an enormous system of flats, lagoons and pristine estuaries. Located in Jardines del Rey, commercial fishing within this designated area is strictly forbidden and rigorously enforced by the Cuban Government. The designated sport fish only area is 366 square kilometers in size, meaning that on the average day, each skiff has over 50 square kilometers to itself. The fishing area is virtually untouched and represents one of the cleanest and most biologically diverse ecosystems we’ve ever fished.
Bonefish, permit, tarpon. Mutton snapper, snook, cubera snapper, jack crevelle, triggerfish, and barracuda are all consistently available from this location.
Guests fishing Cayo Romano/Cruz will stay at the Hotel Casona de Romano, which is located in the town of Brasil. The Casona is quite likely the most unusual fishing lodge we’ve ever had the good fortune of fishing from. This stately house was build in 1919 for the owner of the towns sugar cane factory and it was fully renovated 2 years ago to accommodate the needs of today’s traveling anglers. The house has 6 double rooms and 2 single rooms, two of which have balconies overlooking the courtyard and church. The beds in each room are new and very comfortable. Each room is fully equipped with a private bath with lots of hot water, along with plenty of lights for reading at night and a small fridge for cold drinks. Each room also has an excellent A/C unit, along with a TV, just in case you feel the need to watch some absolutely dreadful Cuban television. The dining room is located on the first floor and it typically produces a variety of traditional Cuban food, with dinners ranging from fish and seafood to roast pork and chicken. Breakfast is simple yet delicious, with a heavy emphasis on eggs fruit and toast. The bar area is located just inside the main entrance to the house. It is fairly well stocked with rum, vodka, scotch, red and white wines from Spain, as well as both of Cuba’s domestic beer brands. The bar is quite possibly the source for the least expensive beer in all of Cuba. 1 CUC per beer is a true bargain, even by Cuban standards!
Angling capacity at Cayo Romano/Cruz is 14 rods, only 6 spots are still available for the week of May 26 – June 2. This marine preserve receives very little pressure and angling days is carefully restricted.
The first thing that guests need to know about when considering this location, aside from the exceptional flats fishing that is found here, is that this is a new fishery still very much in its infancy. It has only been in operation for two years and has not seen many clients, particularly when compared to other locations in the Caribbean that offer this quality of fishing. Nowhere does this become more apparent than with the guides who work this location. The guides are hard working and eager to learn but they are very green and are learning on the job. There are no veteran guides here with decades of experience. The senior guides have at most 2 years of experience and this can at times be challenging to deal with, particularly for some of our more experienced anglers who have fished all over the world with us. However, if you are prepared to be patient while the guides develop, what you will find is a virtually untouched flats oasis, absolutely teaming with fish and wildlife.
The boats depart from Cayo Cruz each morning and depending on the guide rotation that day, you may be heading to any number of areas to spend the day. From Cayo Paredon Grande in the north to Cayo Guanaja in the south, there are countless islands, lagoons and bays that will keep anglers happy and into fish. Much of the fishing takes place back towards the mainland, in and around the massive island of Cayo Romano. The average boat run to the fishing areas is about 20 minutes in length and you can be into fish within 5 minutes of leaving the boat docks. It just depends on where your guide wants to take you that day and what you are interested in targeting. With 50 square kilometres per boat, the options are just about limitless. There are so many great aspects to this fishery that it can truly be a sensory overload at times.
The flats are an inviting combination of hard packed white sand and a semi firm mottled bottom that still provides good wading. And what a place this is for those who like to wade. It’s very similar to Los Roques in terms of the amount of area that’s wadable and there are places here where you can wade for 6 straight hours without heading back to the boat.
The average sized bonefish is a healthy 4 pounds and during the course of the week it is not unheard of for guests to land a fish or two in the 10 pound range. Tailing bonefish are common and guests can expect to see bonefish in singles and doubles, all the way up to schools of several hundred fish. What really sets this location apart from so many other fisheries is that guests can expect to encounter and get shots at good numbers of permit each day. There are very few places on earth where guests can fish for big bonefish each day and get shots at tailing permit. This combination may take place in other locations but not with the consistency that is virtually guaranteed at Cayo Romano. It is a rare day when you don’t encounter and get shots a permit. The permit will range in size between about 8 and 30 pounds.
There are two locations within the Cayo Romano that offer very good tarpon fishing and both are about an 80 minute boat ride from the Cayo Cruz boat launch. The guides tend to save these areas for when an angler has already boated a permit and is looking for a Grand Slam. These fish will range from 30 to 90 pounds.
The exception to this is in late April and May, when the migrating tarpon come close to the mainland to feed and spawn. During this time frame we can organize the skiffs to be brought down to the coastal town of Jiguey, which is just a 10 minute ride from the hotel. This area offers very good tarpon fishing in the bay out front of and to the right of Jiguey and guests can also expect to venture out to the first row of islands off the coast of the mainland looking for silver kings. When you hit it right and the sardine schools are in, fish over 100 pounds will be landed.
BOATS AND EQUIPMENT
The skiffs operating at Cayo Romano/Cruz are Mitzi brand skiffs, manufactured in the United States. Each skiff has a poling platform for the guide along with rod holders and very generous storage space, located at both the front and back of the boat. The casting platform is large and offers lots of space for those anglers who like to move around a bit while standing on the bow of the boat. Constructed from a very light fiberglass mold, these skiffs are ideal for the miles and miles of shallow water flats that anglers will find here. Drawing less than 6 inches of water, the skiffs are powered by very reliable 40 HP Yamaha two stroke engines.
Guests will fly into Cayo Coco where you will be met by a Slipstream Angling representative as soon as you clear customs. Upon arrival in Cayo Coco, guests will board a waiting taxi for the 90 minute drive through the countryside to the town of Brasil, located in Camaguey province. From the mainland, a causeway stretches out into the warm Caribbean Sea, heading up to the boat launch at Cayo Cruz. The road initially winds its way through some very rural farmland and it’s sometimes hard to imagine when you’re on this road that you are actually on your way to one of the finest flats fishing destinations in the world. Once you hit the causeway, after passing though the Cuban military checkpoint, it’s a beautiful drive through the small islands, with gorgeous flats and bays on either side of the road as you head up to Cayo Cruz.
Slipstream Angling is a full service travel company and can handle international airfare, Cuban Visa applications, as well as a host of other services relating to your trip. Please contact them directly at 1 866 644-7703 if you’d like assistance.
INCLUDED IN PRICE
– Being met at the airport in Cayo Coco
– Transfers to and from the Cayo Coco International Airport
– All transfers inside Cuba as per program below
– Round trip taxi service from Cayo Coco to Brasil on arrival and departure days
– 7 nights at the Hotel Casona de Romano in Brasil (dbl occupancy) full board
– Daily transfers to and from Cayo Cruz each day
– 6 days of guided fishing
– Cuban sport fishing license
– Comprehensive pre trip information package
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICE
– Round trip flight to Cayo Coco
– Fly and spin fishing gear
– 25 CUC airport departure tax
– Mandatory Cuban Medical Insurance Policy as of May 1, 2010
– Credit Cards and debit cards are not an option at this location. Cash is essential to pay for bar tabs, guide and staff gratuities.
– Electricity is both 110 and 220 volt – Get your cigars in Havana because there is nowhere to buy them in Brasil.
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS REQUIRED
1) A valid passport that does not expire for at least 6 months after your departure from Cuba
2) A Cuban Entry Visa.
There’s just not the space to fully relate what this fishery has to offer so please take a look at some of the photo albums and stories available. For more pictures from Josh’s 2011 trip to Cayo Ramano on a Fly Nation TV shoot check out these links.
Fly Nation’s FB page Photo Album:
O.F.F.’s Facebook page Photo Album:
Slipstream’s Travel Blog from the Fly Nation shoot:
Spots are limited so don’t miss your chance to join us for a week O.F.F. in Cuba!