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THE JOURNEY AND THE SPOTS ANTIGUA We left Milan in the snow and arrived in Antigua at 30 degrees!! What a dream!!!! Nick was so kind that he came and picked us up at the airport though he wasn’t asked to, and after half an hour (Antigua is a very big island, indeed) we reached our wonderful house on the southern coast of the sea, in Cades Bay to be precise. We organized the first fishing trip for the following morning. Our goal was permits and tarpons. To find the former there is a short way …they are practically just outside our house! We have got beach access from our house and after ten meters there is a very long reef, and along its 3 km you come across several permits of different sizes. We saw some small-sized and medium-sized, but also some huge ones. Unfortunately we didn’t catch any of them in all our holiday! They are really difficult to catch, they live in low bottoms and waves immediately shift away our fly as soon as it touches the water, so the fish has very little time to

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see it. Whoever goes fishing for permits usually knows very well what I mean… you must be very good at casting, the wind often prevents you from being accurate, permits bite when they want to...fishing for permits is like that. Towards mid-morning, just at the end of the tide which is good for permits, Nick takes us to a brackish water lagoon not connected with the sea, to fish tarpons with a float tube. We had never done it before and we were enthusiastic for this way of fishing. In the lagoon you see tarpons rolling almost everywhere. The lagoon is not very big in this dry season, but from September to November, in the rain season, it becomes wider and offers more and more spots. After some casts to become familiar to the float tube, we began fishing in the true sense of the word. We didn’t have to wait long for tarpons to come…in four or five hours the flies of both of us were attacked about ten times in total and we caught three. They were baby tarpons from 4 to 20 pounds, but Nick told us that you may even catch 40 lb. specimens. Anyway, we were very happy and satisfied - it doesn’t occur to you in many other places to

hook such a number of fish in a day. Days were organized more or less in the same way, that is permits in the morning and tarpons in the afternoon, and just for a change, to have a little fun after the stress with the permits, we found a canal where we caught a jack almost every time we cast, before having lunch. At the end of our holiday Luca caught a couple of 20 lb. big babies. At lunch Nick took us to a hut where we ate excellent local food, from fried fish to chicken wings…everything tasted really good!!!!! While talking to Nick we discovered that, once upon a time, in Antigua the flats and the areas where we had fished for permits were densely populated with bonefish, which had by then almost disappeared due to the natives’ practice of fishing with nets. Natives seem to have very little respect for the fish, the concept of catch & release, which is indeed linked to the development of fly-fishing, hasn’t spread there and the local government is not interested in this aspect of tourism.

H2omagazine winter 2013