What I got right about gear for Cuba

While I got a few things wrong, I did make some good decisions and had some of the right stuff with me.


  • Having some of the super hair chartreuse flies for cudas was a really good call.
  • I had enough Gotchas in different sizes that I could have fished for bones for another three weeks.
  • The tarpon bunnies were good patterns and if I had them in a 3/0 I would likely have been feeding tarpon with them.


  • The leaders I tied were effective and worked for bonefish and for tarpon.  The 80 pound shock tippet was perfect on even the big fish and the bimini twists I tied didn’t fail.  I didn’t have a single leader fail or a single knot fail.


  • The reels I primarily used were the Ross F1 for the 8 wt, the Orvis Mirage for the 10 wt and the Redington Delta for the 11. I had along a Ross CLA and a Ross Momentum, but they had on specific lines that didn’t get selected by the guides.


  • The textured saltwater line for the 8 was a great line.
  • The Orvis line was different… it sounded like a textured line and it cast very well.
  • I cast a Rio clear sink tip for the 11 and the guides liked it, preferring it to the full floating line each time.


  • Both of the 8 weights were lovely rods. The Sage One is light and responsive and did all I asked of it. The prototype was just as lovely and I’d be glad to have either one as my go-to 8.
  • The 10, the Orvis Helios was a great rod. I’ve had that one before and I really like it.  It might have been a little heavy for Permit, but it would have worked well for that and it was a good rod to have rigged for barracuda.
  • The 11 Redington… it was heavy, but when it came time to do the business it got it done. That feels like a pretty important thing to judge by.

Something right got me that fish.

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  1. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the equipment! Like you, I always have many more flies than I need but I think that is important as one day I will simply not get on the plane to come back home! Thanks for the chronicles on your trip!

  2. Looking forward to some more of your photos. Thanks for all the info. I liked your follow up posts of what you think you did right as well as wrong. Every place has it’s unique situations and even the “experts” can’t give you the perfect advice on rods, leaders & flies when traveling to a new place. As you are well aware, conditions can change drastically from day to day out on the flats and the best advice is simply be prepared for ANYTHING…IMHO the only thing that is a constant is that I always take a 9 wt. with me on my salt water travels

  3. Nassim Joaquín

    I have fished Cuba twice. I found the Cuban guides extremely picky when it comes to flies. Tarpon & bonefish. I don’t forget the look on my guides face after looking at over a 150 bonefish flies and saying “Mmmm! No good! ” no good? What do you mean? There are over a 150 flies there! “don’t you have a white crazy Charlie with white & brown rubber legs?” no I don’t. I got tons of crazy Charlie flies but not “exactly” like that. So what the hell. I asked my guide wichine do you hate the most? He picked one kind out of the box. Well that’s the one I will fish. And I caught a lot of fish with it. Fish is so naive there that you can get away with anything. Specially if you presentation is good. And mine was.

    As for tarpon the guide only liked black flies. I did played along with him and we did good. But I also belive that the fish in Cuba will bite anything. The fishing is very good. My only rejections were on permit…but I get used to that everywhere else.

  4. Saltwater textured line? Secret line? Textured how? Did you wade w/ it? Did it actually float?

  5. Ha… it did actually float. It wasn’t sharkskin, but was textured. Smoother, but still textured.

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