Monday, 14 May 2012

Lure Fishing for Tarpon in Cayo Coco, Cuba

As you may have read in previous posts, Dan has been to the Melia hotel in Cayo Coco, Cuba a couple of times and on his recommendation Gemma, my girlfriend and I booked a 10 night stay there.
I was given the names of a couple of trustworthy guides to contact out there. As soon as I got to the hotel I was on the phone to book one of them ASAP.
The weather in Cuba had been brilliant leading up to my holiday but I thought I pack some English rain and wind in my suitcase to feel at home! With all the poor weather and the 'Cuban Time' philosophy on life I managed to book just one day fishing, the day before we were due to fly home.
The Guide Alex, had told me with the weather Cayo Coco had been experiencing the fishing wasn't great but I told him I wanted to give it a try and go for some tarpon and grouper amongst anything else that we could find.
I setup with 50lb braid on my Shimano 8000D Baitrunner with a Greys Missionary 6 Spin 10ft travel rod, which is rated up to 100gm casting weight. I also had with me a new Fox Sport Fishing Tarpon Trek Spincast rod which I was hoping to try out for the first time. I also spooled up with 50lb braid and was using an Okuma Solterra multiplier for this setup. One invaluable piece of kit I had with me was a Buff UV facemask/scarf which kept the sun off my face and saltwater spray out of my mouth, you can see other anglers in the background of the picture below with similar masks! A must have!!

I took some of the Halco Roosta Poppers with me to try out in the 135mm size in the H53 White Redhead and H50 Pilchard colours along with a selection of other Rapala's.

As the wind was up and the deep water was too rough we opted for some inshore trolling near some reefs to start with in pursuit of some lively groupers! Within an hour or so we had a barracuda at the boat and shortly after a stonking take from a grouper. After a fierce 25 minute battle where the grouper was determined to get back to a hole in the rocks it unfortunately sheered the braid on the rock! I won't forget the sound the reel made on the first run for a while!!!!!!

1 of 6 Barracuda caught on lures in Cuba.
After a couple more barracuda trolling we opted to fish the channels between the sand flats. The tarpon were very spread out and pretty spooky. One fish we sight casted to had a half look at a popper but wasn't having any of it! We tried for the rest of the day with casting poppers in various locations which the guide picked out and I thought my luck was in when a big tarpon (guide estimated 80-100lb) propelled its self from the water like a missile after my popper, but the excitement was short lived as the hooks didn't set. With a few more barracuda and an hour long 'lumpy' motor back to the quay in choppy water we had to leave the elusive tarpon.......until next time!!
See below the beating the Halco Roosta Poppers took, these lures work amazingly whilst trolled or cast. They made a big surface disturbance and 'spit' water up causing a fantastic display which induces takes! I will NEVER leave these poppers at home when lure fishing on holiday!

Barracuda Chewed Halco Roosta Popper Pilchard.
The 'Munched' Halco Roosta Popper Rehhead.


  1. Wow!! I really like all Cuba images; yeah it looks like you had a great and awesome trip! In this place only few people find out the fishes, but you are a lucky one and got fish there.

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  2. I am going in July,I will take a few lures but was there anywhere you could get bait,we are staying at the Melia Jardins del Rey

    1. It is very hard to source bait over there, I heard of people taking some prawns etc from the buffet, sweet talk some of the chefs working there and they might be able to help you.