April 22, 2009
Cuba Libre? Will a Thaw in US-Cuba Relations Spark a Fishing Boom?
By Kirk Deeter
Last week, President Obama eased restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting Cuba, and indicated a possible willingness to talk with Cuban leader Raul Castro. Many people think this is a harbinger of a thaw in the more-than-chilly relations between the two countries, which have lasted 50 years.
Word on the fly fishing street is that certain travel operators are already amping up marketing plans to direct American anglers to the vast and bountiful tarpon, bonefish, and permit flats (and bass lakes) in Cuba, which are a cheap short-hop flight from Miami. Many Canadians I've spoken with say great things about the fishing in Cuba (Canadians and citizens of most other countries can freely travel to that country)... as do a number of Americans I know who have slipped over to Cuba to check out the fishing (check out this F&S story by Bill Heavey on bass fishing in Cuba)... but they wonder aloud if the Cubans are ready to handle an influx of gringo touristas and pescadores.
Would you go to Cuba for a fishing trip if a Castro is still in power?
Part of me is itching to go. It wouldn't be the first time I fished in a country ruled by a dictator, or where the government leans anti-American. In fact, sport fishing, I've learned, is one endeavor that inevitably brings people and cultures closer together, regardless of politics.
I'm interested in your thoughts, and especially in feedback from any of you Loonies who have fished Cuba.