The Zapata Peninsula is a UNESCO recognized biosphere reserve found in the southern region of the Matanzas Province, Cuba. Cienaga De Zapata (the Zapata Swamp) is the largest wetlands found anywhere in the Caribbean, stretching over 2,685 square miles.
This pristine habitat is home to endless mangroves, flats, beaches and estuaries which are home to a diverse number of birdlife, crocodiles and saltwater flats species. This region is also widely identified by the Bay Of Pigs invasion in 1961between US and Cuban forces.
The guides are local and have mastered the fishery. They all share the hospitable nature of all Cubans. They go the extra mile each and every day.
A valid passport and Cuban visa are required.
6-8 anglers per week
Cienaga de Zapata Biosphere Reserve, Zapata Peninsula.
Jose Marti International Airport (HAV) with transfer to the Port of Playa Larga
Bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook
What does it cost?
High Season – $43,890
March 28 – July 4, 2020
Mid-Season – $40,890
March 28 – July 4, 2020
July 4 – July 25, 2020
Low Season – $32,890
Aug. 3 – Feb 22, 2020
Tidehead services are always free. Always. Our prices are the same prices as booking directly with the lodge. You never pay more.
All rates are priced on a 7 night/6 day lodging & fishing package.
All prices listed are with boat in exclusivity. Other combinations may be available. Please contact us for details.
Zapata has an incredible array of diverse habitats (and therefore species). There are nearly limitless super shallow bonefish flats, many of which can be poled and fished from the boat while there are also miles of hard sand, easily waded flats to search for tailing bonefish; there are dozens of miles of shallow lagoons where they regularly find permit (and bonefish); there are scores of narrow mangrove channels and lagoons for hunting baby tarpon from 10-40 pounds; there are pancake flats popping up out of deeper water, perfect for permit; there are miles of beaches with expansive turtle grass and white sand flats along the edges where they find bigger tarpon from 40-80 pounds, plus big permit; there are some sandy and mangrove-lined flats that snook call home; and there are a series of blue holes and coral heads where massive Cubera Snapper, jack crevalle, and countless other species lurk to attack poppers on the surface. There is literally a bit of everything here, offering opportunities for anglers to catch different species while fishing different types of flats in a combination of both wade and boat fishing.
The single angler flats skiffs are perfect for navigating and fishing bonefish and permit in the shallow backcountry while the double Skiffs are more suitable for tarpon fishing and making longer runs to the fishing grounds further to the West. This unique fishing program guarantees anglers at least half of their week will be in a single skiff with a private guide – receiving 100% of shots. Nobody in Cuba offers such a sweet deal, and at no additional cost to the angler.
I challenge you to find guides that are more hardworking than the guides in Cuba. They truly don’t know the meaning of quit!
All of the guides employed by Fly Fishing The Run are extremely knowledgeable and hard working. They put more time on the water in any given day then most guides we’ve fished with. They truly don’t “punch the clock.”
They speak decent English and are very knowledgeable of the fishery.
The Fly Fishing The Run guides run 16ft Dolphin Super Skiffs. The skiffs have a deep v hull that enables them to make runs through choppy, open water, yet they only draft 8 inches so they can be poled on the skinniest of ﬂats. Equipped with Yamaha 60/70 HP motors and 27-gallon fuel tanks, the Fly Fishing The Run skiffs are prepared to take you as far as you want to go quickly to maximize your time on the ﬂats.
Unique to this region, fishermen will rotate between single and double skiffs, fishing solo for three days and double for three days.
Bonefish in Cuba are usually pretty eager to take both traditional shrimp-imitating patterns as well as some of the newer ties, like EP’s Ascension Bay Mantis. Both work. If you tie, it’s hard to go wrong with rubber legs and tan bodies. It’s always a good idea to have a variety of eye weights from bead chain (shallow water) to lead eyes (deeper water).
Year-round for juvenile tarpon. Peak season April-June for migratory tarpon.
Generally, tarpon flies for Cuba don’t need to be extremely large. 3-4 inches is plenty. The best flies incorporate materials that create subtle movement. A selection of various colors is important. Tarpon are much more opportunistic than selective feeders. So presentation reigns supreme.
Year-round, peak season is February-June.
The waters of Cuba hold large numbers of permit from big, cruising singles to schools of smaller fish. Cuba is the perfect place to hook into your first permit or to continue adding to your personal score card. Crab patterns are the name of the game, so having a good variety is essential for success.
Populations of snook can be found in most locations around Cuba, some of them very large. They are often found in many of the same areas where you might be targeting bonefish & juvenile tarpon. But most of the guides have special areas where they know snook lurk. Red and white fly patterns are, by far, the number choice for snook.
The Georgiana Live Aboard is fully constructed and designed for outdoor purposes and is able to take you to the most remote and pristine flats within the San Lazaro section of the Cienega de Zapata National Park. She is 100 feet long, with 6 comfortable cabins, each with A/C, private bath with shower and lots of hot water. The yacht can accommodate groups of 8 anglers in exclusivity. One of our favorite aspects of the Georgiana is the fantastic amount of space onboard. Unlike many liveaboards where space is at a premium, the Georgiana has plenty of storage throughout the yacht. All rooms are located on the first level of the yacht. The dining area, bar, and fantail lounge are all upstairs on the second floor. This is where all the socializing on board takes place.
The staff aboard the Georgiana are always happy and hard working.
The chef aboard the Georgiana will serve up an array of traditional Cuban cuisine. Mornings begin with a fresh cup of Cuba coffee, eggs cooked to order, fresh fruits and freshly baked bread. Lunches can be either packed for the coolers or fishermen have the option to return to the boat for lunch to get a break from the days’ heat. At the conclusion of the day’s fishing, appetizers and freshly made mojitos await. Homemade pizzas are the staple. Dinners comprise of fresh seafood, pork and chicken with fresh vegetables, fruits and bread accompanied by wine and spirits. You are sure not to go hungry.
Flights arrive/depart into Jose Marti International Airport in Havana. (HAV)
Weeks begin and end on a Saturday. Because of the short three (3) hour land transfer from Havana to Playa Larga, anglers can arrive on Saturday.
Upon return, it’s recommended you overnight on Saturday and depart on Sunday.
A valid passport that must be valid up to six (6) months beyond the duration of the trip. A Cuban Visa is also required to enter Cuba. The Cuban visa can be purchased online prior to the trip or at the final departure gate for your trip to Cuba. Immigration and Customs forms are given out on your flight to Cuba or at a help desk near your departure gate for Cuba.