Cuban Grand Slam

PermitMarie and I had an excellent time at Cayo Largo, a small island resort south of the main Cuban land mass. After more than a decade of trying, I finally managed to achieve a tropical saltwater Grand Slam of at least one bonefish, one permit and one tarpon in the same day – in fact, I missed out on a Super Slam having lost a 15 lb snook at the end of the day.


Marie missed out on a Grand Slam as she couldn’t manage to land a Permit (although she did hook one) but she did hook half a dozen tarpon in the 20 to 40 lb range and eventually managed to land one of them after a long battle. She caught lots of bones too, including several in the 6 to 7 lb size. Bonefish by the way were typically 4 lb in size, smallest we caught was 3 lb or so, much larger than in Mexico or Belize.


I also landed anrother nice tarpon (25+ lb) and landed lots of bonefish during the week, plus a big Jack Crevalle (almost 15 lb) and a huge Cubera Snapper of around 40 lb. It was a pity the 80+ tarpon I hooked managed to snap my terminal tackle in a massive leap out of the water! So all in all a fantastic week’s fishing.

Cubera SnapperJack Crevalle

Thanks to Mat of Fly Odyssey who organised our trip. The Sol Melia hotel we stayed in on Cayo Largo was very nice and extremely comfortable, with lots of beach activities (most of the guests were not fishing people), all inclusive package with unlimited food and drink. But the highlight was the very professionally-run and friendly fishing operation, managed by the charismatic Mauro Ginevri, inventor of the absolutely lethal Avalon permit fly. Our fishing guide was excellent, the daily fishing rota was well-organised, leaving large areas of the available fishing untouched for a day or two to recover, so the fish were not at all pressurised. Each fisher-person received a free box of flies (6 bonefish, 2 permit, 2 snook/tarpon) which was a nice touch.

If someone really wants a Grand Slam, they should certainly give Cayo Largo a try – they keep a few baby tarpon spots untouched and reserved for people desperately needing to catch a tarpon at day end, so the main challenge is catching that elusive permit first!

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