Fishing hours during a stay aboard La Tortuga are longer than in most Caribbean fishing destinations and are totally at the discretion of the clients. The day normally begins with breakfast at 7:00 AM and guides are ready to head out any time after 7:45 AM. Some anglers elect to return to La Tortuga for a nice lunch and a break from the sun - especially during the summer season. Many of the flats are within fifteen minutes of the boat, and it is usually possible to take a lunch break in the shade and relax a bit before fishing a long afternoon. On other days, you will want to explore more distant waters that see little fishing pressure, which means that you will need to request a packed cooler lunch the evening before. You can run as far as you like with the guides and your skiff to the most distant flats in the island system, as Avalon does not put any limitation on the amount of gas used each day. Guides will know to bring extra gas when they need it! Another bonus is that Avalon allows clients to fish late into the afternoon if they like. In the Jardines, it is common to have stronger wind in the mornings followed by calm, making for superb late-afternoon and evening fishing, especially for bonefish.
One thing to keep in mind is that this particular area - and Cuba in general - is by no mean "Disneyland" when it comes to flats fishing. While the angling pressure is extremely light compared to all other saltwater destinations, Cuba has in fact been fished by many anglers from Europe, Canada and even the U.S. for more than 15 years. Some people have the perception that this area has been totally locked off and untouched for the past 60 years and that a trip to Cuba will allow them to be the very first to ever fish these areas. That is simply not the case, given that other countries have not had the same travel restrictions in place as those implemented by the U.S.
That said, when it comes to the Jardines, this fishing area has a "footprint" that is roughly similar to that of the Florida Keys in size. And in that area, no more than a few dozen anglers can fish the entire fishery on any given week! Imagine how good the Keys would be with no traffic, no boats, no people, no development of any kind, and only a few hundred anglers annually. That is the Jardines. These fish receive very little pressure and as a result, are more likely to cooperate and eat a fly. This is what Cuba offers.
La Tortuga houseboat - a 110-foot, double-decked base of operations - is located and permanently moored in the Jardines De La Reina, a huge archipelago located 50 miles to the south of the main island of Cuba. La Tortuga functions as a floating hotel with seven guest cabins that can accommodate two anglers each. La Tortuga is a massive, steel houseboat structure that is permanently secured in a small, protected cove so that it never moves, regardless of bad weather, large seas or wind. It is extremely stable and level at all times so there is never any chance of guests getting seasick.
Avalon completely renovated and refurbished La Tortuga in 2008 at a total cost of $1.5 million. The guest cabins on the upper level all have their own individual bathrooms with sink, toilet and a legitimate shower with plenty of hot water. Each cabin has its own easily-adjustable remote-controlled air-conditioning system. On the lower level you will find the air conditioned dining room along with a foredeck and aft deck lounge area complete with chairs and tables. The outdoor lounge areas are perfect for setting up your tackle, tying flies, enjoying cold drinks with friends, and relaxing after a day of fishing. La Tortuga has plenty of rod racks and storage areas, as well as good facilities for washing and cleaning your tackle after each day of fishing. The foredeck is everyone’s favorite place to enjoy appetizers like pizza and your favorite beverage before dinner. Overall, the spacious social areas of La Tortuga are great places to kick back, relax, enjoy the perfect mojito, or smoke a great Cuban cigar while taking in the beauty and scenery of one of the most remote areas in the Caribbean.
Electricity on board La Tortuga is supplied by generators (located on a small island nearby) and is available twenty-four hours a day. There are many outlets on board that provide both 110 and 220V.
Food and Beverages
Dining on board La Tortuga combines fantastic Continental Italian cuisine, fresh seafood every day, and traditional Cuban favorites, such as rice and beans, black bean soup and fried plantains. If you are someone who enjoys fresh seafood, then you will be in heaven. Beverages available on board the Tortuga include bottled water, various soft drinks, beer, rum and imported wines. If you prefer liquor other than rum, you can bring this with you and the bartenders will be happy to provide whatever mixers you need.
The fishing boats used by Avalon are Dolphin Super Skiffs outfitted with Yamaha 60 or 70HP motors. Radios and life jackets are carried aboard every skiff. While Avalon advertises a limited number of rental fly rods and reels that are available on the Tortuga (at the cost of 25.00 CUC per day) it is recommended that anglers always bring their own equipment. Flies, leaders, tippet, all terminal tackle and all accessories should be packed as well, as very few items are available anywhere in Cuba.
For travel details and booking information please contact our Travel Partner, Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures.
Please tell them that Blackfly Outfitter sent you and don't forget about our custom fly kits.