Following over a year of emails and telephone calls around the world, Upstreamdryfly successfully instigated a collaboration of the oldest fishing tackle company in the world Hardy and Greys Ltd with one of the best saltwater fly fishing destinations in the world The Casa Batida Fishing Club, Cayo Largo, Cuba.
The Club is now outfitted with the latest Hardy and Greys saltwater outfits including the superb Hardy Zane rods and reels, the Greys Platinum XD saltwater range and the awesome Greys G-Tec rods that are being launched in saltwater sizes very soon.
Howard Croston and John Wolstenholme from Hardy / Greys joined Howard Taylor on an Upstreamdryfly trip to Cayo Largo in late February this year as part of a party of nine. Even with the weather being somewhat changeable and a couple of days fishing being less productive due to rain and cloud cover, we still managed to boat some specimen fish, prove the Hardy / Greys tackle in the saltwater yet again and shoot some great photographs.
I got some super shots (with the fly….but not the camera, alas) at my most prized fish the permit. This year they managed to evade me – but only just! We were poling a beautiful flat looking for permit riding the backs of stingrays. The first thing to look for are the small clouds of mud puffed into the water as the stingray noses for crabs and shrimps in the soft sea bed. Permit will often find a ray and stay with her for over an hour at a time. Just riding in her wake and picking off food items that are disturbed by her grubbing about as she feeds.
We saw only a few rays that afternoon. I was holding position on the bow poised for action and scanning the water in front of me. After an hour, my mind was starting to wander when Alexi my guide yelled Ray mud at 12 o’clock & 100 meters. Prepare. I checked my shooting line in the bottom of the boat. He said Yes, there is a permit at home prepare! As I looked, I saw the scimitar black tail of the permit stick out of the surface of the water and slice a sharp wake in the glassy surface. I started to wind up a cast and placed the large Merkin right over the ray’s back “Perfect, strip slow said Alexi in his calming Cuban accent. As I stripped the permit spotted my fly and turned to follow. My heart pounded! As it was broadside to us we could see this was a monster fish of near 30lbs. Alexi said This is a very big fish in his best Spanglish. She follows your crab, get ready. My knees were jelly…."Concentrate Howard", I thought. The slab of a permit tilted its face towards my fly and again its tail tip cut the water’s surface. What a moment! Alexi yelled “STRIKE" and I gave a very healthy strip strike expecting to feel first contact with this monster. Instead, as so often happens with the permit, I felt nothing and the fish turned and swam away. We looked at each other and shook our heads in disbelief. Alexi said “I watch him eat your crab – his mouth wide open – what happened?" We stuck the pole in the mud – stopped fishing and opened a well earned cerveza to calm the nerves! That’s just permit fishing. Every evening since, as my head has hit the pillow, I have gone through a step by step account of this in my mind. Those superb moments most certainly made the whole trip worthwhile for me and I am counting the days until I can return. That fish has my name on it…
Please enjoy the photographs I have posted here and you’ll find some more in the gallery section.
For any further information or interest in saltwater fishing or for info’ on our next trip to the salt please email of telephone.
Don’t forget to strip strike!