I’ll start by laying blame for this right where it should go. It’s all my own. I made some assumptions that were wrong and for that I ended up a little bit off on what I had with me. Now, I wasn’t WAY off, just a tad. Here’s what I got wrong and why on my recent trip down to Cuba with Yellow Dog and Avalon.
For bonefish, I tied a few #6’s and a lot of #4’s and #2’s. That was the wrong order of things. I should have tied mostly #6’s, maybe some #8’s and a few #4’s. The Peterson’s spawning shrimp was a favorite for the guides as well as the most basic and plain gotcha’s in my box.
For tarpon I tied many 1/0’s and not too many 3/0’s. I also crimped my barbs and at least one guide really didn’t like that move.
For permit I should have tied some of the Avalon flies in a #6 instead of the #2’s and #4’s that I had tied them in.
For barracudas I just should have had MORE of them. I had three super hair flies and while they were very effective they were very ineffective once they were all gone, which happened faster than I would have liked.
I brought 2 8’s, a 10 and an 11.
I vastly underestimated the size of the tarpon. I thought I’d see a couple big tarpon and mostly be throwing at the little guys. Well, the fish were much, much bigger than I had planned on. The Orvis Helios 10 wt. fell back to permit rod and the 11 came to the fore. The 11 was the Redington Predator. It’s a decent stick. Workman like. It’s a damn hard stick to blind cast for a few hours though and that was on the program a bit. That said, the 11 wt. did the job. I cast to and landed my 80 pound tarpon on that Redington. Clearly, the Redington did the job.
I should have brought one 8 wt., a 9 for permit and then focused on the 11 and maybe a 12 for my main focus rods.
Yeah… um… bad call on my part. I had a last-minute snafu on getting the right backing and ended up having 20 pound on my tarpon rod… the big one. Now, I managed to land the big girl, but I was left a little shaken and didn’t really trust the big stick much after that. I had no idea the power of those fish and I could hear the tension on the backing. I’ll just go ahead and say I’ve never experienced a fish like that before.
So, to recap… 30 pound backing, smaller bonefish and permit flies, larger tarpon flies, more cuda flies, up the 11/12 weight for BIG tarpon and bring a 9 for permit.
Tomorrow… what I did right.
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