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Brisk winds returned on Days Five and Six, but, unlike earlier in the week, the temperatures stayed hot... and so did the fishing. As the days wore on, the smiles grew bigger and, over cocktails, the fish tales longer. Always a good sign!

On day Five,  I fished with Doug Jeffries. We had a great day chasing 8-30 lb. tarpon. As the stiff winds streamed over the tops of the bushes, we tucked up little bays and creeks almost always finding some "juvees" weaving in and out of the tangled mangrove maze.

Tarpon jumped often didn't translate to tarpon boated as we found increasingly creative ways to string fish up in the trees. I always love fishing with Doug as he can almost always make the cast and when he doesn't, he has the ability to laugh at himself. This day presented a great opportunity to do both.

Doug toasts the Avalon 1
Photo: Doug Jeffries

Mr. Jeffries with a nice tarpon

On our last day of the trip, Scott Sawtelle and I fished with Manolo. The day was to be even more windy, but we did manage to find some good fish. Scott jumped a few big fish in 6-7 feet of turquoise blue water, then caught four solid 15 lb. fish in a shallow bay on the windward side of Cayo Rossario. 

Here a gang of tarpon was hiding under dense sargasso grass that had been compacted into a "rug" by the stout winds. When tempted, the fish would charge out of this sargasso mat to take a fly. Once hooked they would go batshit; jumping constantly in an effort to show how healthy and strong they were. Lots of fun and we jumped a lot more than we boated. 

Manolo's tarpon tat'
An old chart... note IDJ is labeled as Isla de Pinos.
The name was changed in the 50's!
Anna Riggs taking a lunchtime snooze.
After lunch, the afternoon became unpleasantly hot and the fishing slowed down. Manolo moved the skiff to the lee of the cays so we didn't have to beat ourselves up later in the day when we would return to the boat yard. Scott and I worked hard, but without the cooling winds we had this morning, the air was stifling and the fishing slow. After our great week, we weren't too disappointed with the slow afternoon when we reeled up to make our way back to the main Island of Youth. Here we met our mothership and tomorrow, our flight back to Havana.

The early days of the revolution evidenced on the walls of an abandoned naval base

That evening there was time to reflect on this spectacular trip. The fishing was superb, especially for tarpon, the food truly amazing, the staff gracious, accommodating and a lot of fun and the guides as good, if not better, than last year. 

Our last mojito in the Islas de la Juventud!... 
a memorable one!

I will make one more post of this year's trip soon. I plan to post lots of photos taken by trip members so if you still have some to send, please do so.
FYI, Next year we have three trips planned in the spring of 2020. Please call us at 800-211-8530 or e-mail me at  for more info.