If angling is a passion you enjoy indulging on holiday, turn your attention to Cayo Guillermo in Cuba. The coral key can be found just west of the luxurious islet of Cayo Coco, and offers everything you’d expect from a laidback sunshine break.
Not only is Cayo Guillermo an idyllic location boasting a long, golden beach, it’s also arguably the best fishing hole in all of Cuba. Such is the area’s reputation in the angling world that author and keen fisherman Ernest Hemingway referred to it in his book, Island in the Stream.
Whether you want to cast a line while aboard a boat, or prefer to fish from land, read my guide to make sure you net a great catch.
Fish from the piers
There are a number of piers close to the hotels in Cayo Guillermo, and these make ideal places for casting a line. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that some piers, like the one found at the Melia Cayo Guillermo, can only be used by guests of specific hotels. Security staff often patrol the boardwalks to make sure people staying at other accommodation are not fishing off them. Although Melia is the main pier in the area, various other hotels have since put up their own boardwalks from which you might reel something in.
Book a fishing excursion by boat
Taking a boat trip out to sea is a popular way of fishing around Cayo Guillermo, and you can book full or half-day excursions. Around 8 miles from the beach is where the fish are plentiful, with shoals of marlin, red snapper and barracuda all waiting beneath the waves. You can usually take some of your catch home with you, and lunch is often provided by the tour operator, enabling you to enjoy a whole day of fishing in the sunshine.
Know what you want to catch
It’s wise to do some research before you travel, and among the topics you might want to look up is the species of fish you can catch during a holiday in Cayo Guillermo. If you plan to go fly fishing, you should be on the lookout for tarpon, permit and bonefish.
On the other hand, if you’d rather go for predatory fish of a larger size like sharks, you can try methods like bait fishing, as long as you have the necessary kit.
Speak to a guide
There are a number of local guides working in the Cayo Guillermo area who will give you advice, and you’ll often find them at the piers. Some have their own fishing boats and will take you out on the water to the spots where the fish are known to bite – for a fee, of course.
If you can, try to speak to other keen anglers you meet, as they may recommend a particular guide to you. Alternatively, do some research online before you travel and a few names are likely to crop up, so it’s worth asking around for these guides when you’re in Cayo Guillermo.
Head further afield
Real angling aficionados might want to book a Cuban twin centre break to Cayo Guillermo and another location to experience the best fishing the nation has to offer. Places like Isla de la Juventud, Varadero and Havana all offer opportunities for fishing, so dividing your time between two destinations could be a good way to get the most value from your angling holiday.