Best Cuba Fishing Locations & Species

December 8th, 2009

In Cuba, fishing is more than just an occasional hobby. Here you’ll find some of the best fishing conditions in the world for barracuda, snapper, grouper, tuna and many other game fish. The warm waters in Cuba provide a perfect environment for fish along the shores, in the flats, amid the reefs and even far out in the deepest waters.

A few of the most popular fishing areas in Cuba include Jardines de la Reina, Isla de la Juventud, Cayo Largo, Sur Ana Maria and Cayo Cruz. While each location differs, the fun is all the same whether you prefer lone fly fishing away from any other fishermen or deep sea fishing with a group of your best buddies or family. With amazing clear waters and remarkable sunsets, every day in Cuba is the perfect day for fishing.

Best Cuba Fishing

Cuba fishing has experienced a boom in recent years and it’s easy to see why it’s a top-rated destination for some of the best fishing in the Caribbean. The majority of the waters surrounding the island are protected through the Cuban National Marine Parks, which means that commercial fishing is prohibited. However, recreational fishing is allowed in many of the areas, and the fishing boats and tours that take visitors out onto the water are plentiful. There is also a bounty of fish that live in the warm waters or that migrate here as the populations have not been reduced due to overfishing like many other tropical areas.

The locals are often relied upon to point out the most successful fishing spots, and although Spanish is the official language of Cuba, many fishermen speak English, making them a valuable resource for tourists from many nations.

Cuba Fly Fishing

Fly fishing in Cuba is like no other fishing in the tropical waters of the Caribbean. The shallow waters off the shores of Cuba are perfect for catching a variety of fish, including snook, bonefish, tarpon, snapper, barracuda and more. If you love to fly fish, then Cuba is your destination.

Some of the best fly fishing occurs miles off the shore of Cuba in parts that are largely untraveled or not easy to visit. Many tourists rely on the knowledgeable locals to find the best spots or the most successful techniques to nab a bonefish.

Spinning in Cuba

Jardines de la Reina may be one of the most popular diving and snorkeling sites in Cuba, but it is also the only location in Cuba that allows spinning gear. From yellowtail snappers and king mackerel to blackfin tunas and even the monstrous 60-pounders, there’s plenty of fish in the waters for you to try your luck. Jardines de la Reina is home to hundreds of species of marine life, so the spinning options are endless. Grab some jig heads and grubs to entice Cubera snappers or the young of some of the really large species. Or reel in some albacores, jacks and snappers with some poppers and squids. Heavy lures are recommended in Jardines de la Reina if you want to try for the really big ones — sharks, adult Cubera snappers and goliath grouper, and you can find fishing boats that can help you reel in the biggest of creatures.

Deep Sea Fishing

In Havana, there are several charter boats available to take you and your friends out to the deepest depths for deep sea fishing in Cuba. Here you’ll find marlin, sailfish, tuna, dorado (mahi-mahi) and more to keep you busy throughout the day.

What You Can Catch in Cuba

Cuba truly is a fisherman’s paradise with hundreds of types of fish living both close to shore and miles away so that you can get a bite nearly anywhere. The flats are perfect for fishermen who want to spend the day in the warm sun on the clear waters without another boat in sight. So, what kind of fish can you expect to catch in Cuba? Here is a list of some of the most popular fish caught in Cuba.

  • Tarpon: Tarpon are powerful fish with plenty of stamina, making them a well-deserved catch if you’re lucky enough to win the battle.

  • Permit: Permit may not be as large as some of the other creatures living in Cuba’s waters, but it provides a challenge nonetheless for anyone trying to reel it in when fly fishing. Don’t be dismayed, though, as Cayo Largo and Jardines de la Reina provide perfect spots to catch permit.

  • Bonefish: A majority of tourists who want to fish while visiting Cuba look to the bonefish as it can be caught in the shallow waters surrounding the island. And with Cuba’s clear waters, the bonefish is often easily spotted alone or in schools of smaller fish.

  • Snook: If you’re up for a fight, snook provide some of the most aggressive Cuba fishing. These feisty fish have sharp teeth that can cut the line to free itself. They are wily and unpredictable, so every encounter is a guaranteed challenge — but not a guaranteed catch!

  • Crevalle Jack and Horse Eye Jack: You’ll find an abundance of jacks in the Jardines de la Reina, just another reason that area is one of the most popular Cuba fishing destinations. Here you’ll find jacks in every stage of life, from 10 pounds all the way up to 30 pounds.

  • Mutton Snappers: Mutton snappers can be found along the flats as well as in Jardines de la Reina. These determined fish are harder to catch in the flats, where they are on their guards, but many fishermen have triumphed and tricked the snapper into being caught.

There are more than 20 species of big fish found in the flats, shallows and reefs in Cuba. Barracuda, albacore, kingfish, wahoo, groupers, blackfin tuna, needlefish and plenty of others are just waiting for the battle. So gear up and get ready for some of the best Cuba fishing you’ll ever experience.

Can You Get a Grand Slam?

While baseball is a national favorite in Cuba, this type of Grand Slam is only for the fishers. Land a bonefish, permit and tarpon all in one day to nab a Grand Slam title. Add a snook to the day’s catch and you’ll be one of the few who have achieved a Super Grand Slam. While these are no easy feats, with the ideal conditions and plethora of available fishing areas, it is not impossible. Can you get a Grand Slam in one day, or better yet, one outing? Come find out and prepare yourself for unforgettable Cuba fishing.