Please Sign In

Please enter a valid username and password
  • Log in with Facebook
» Not a member? Take a moment to register
» Forgot Username or Password

Why Register?
Signing up could earn you gear (click here to learn how)! It also keeps offensive content off our site.

Cuba Libre? Will a Thaw in US-Cuba Relations Spark a Fishing Boom?

Recent Comments

Categories

Recent Posts

Archives

Syndicate

Google Reader or Homepage
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My AOL

FlyTalk
in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get our new post everyday.

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.

Deeter

Comments (8)

Top Rated
All Comments
from silsbyj wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I think one of the reasons people spend time in the outdoors is to get away from all of the political mumbo jumbo. I would go fishing in Cuba in a heart beat. To have the chance at some of the bass they have down there I can forget all the other crap.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chadlove wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

If I had the money I'd book the trip without a moment's hesitation, because it represents an opportunity to experience something that isn't contrived or artificial or Disney-fied (for lack of a better term).
Cuba is rough, it's poor, it's not a "destination", at least not yet. It is, in essence, a living time capsule, the manifestation of some 50-odd years of cultural and geo-political isolation.

For the lucky guys who can afford it, there's a small window of opportunity there - before all the big-money big-client outfits get their hooks into everything - to have a genuine fishing adventure, to take in and savor that ambiance.

I guess if I had to characterize it, I'd say modern Cuba is still the kind of place Ernest Hemingway or Zane Grey would recognize. And that alone makes the trip worth it regardless of whatever political considerations there might be.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from blacknblu wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Hey - I'm a "Loonie," I've fished in Cuba, and its just freakin AWESOME. Havana alone is one of the coolest cities you'll ever visit. With El Presidente now talking to El Commandante, and with all the really serious sh*t currently going down in the world, I can't imagine the US State Dept. being too stressed about busting rogue fly fishermen who travel to Cuba - eh?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Yes! Good post. Sportfishing really is something that can bring us together. Forget the rest, let's fish. Love it.

I'd be all over a fishing trip to Cuba.

The gov't there might be anti-American, but the people generally are not. Quite friendly, actually.

I don't think the Cubans will complain about the touristas y pescadores, but if they do, they will shut up when we start pouring on the cash.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Watch how fast I go! Bill Heavey's story got me all fired up for some Cuban bass. I won't hold their Marxist masters against them. Detente = Fish on!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fishing Jones wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Traveled there (legally) in 2000 for the 50th Anniversary of the Hemingway International Billfish tournament. Most boats fishing it were American.

At that time the U.S. govt granted travel exceptions for journalists or people going over for educational or humanitarian reasons. A lot of Americans we met there went those routes. That was under Clinton, though. Bush made it a lot harder to go.

There may be anti-American sentiment on the government level in Cuba, but among the people we met it was non-existent.

I also had the chance to venture into the backcountry to chase after baby tarpon, snook, and mangrove snapper. That was unbelievable for both the fishing and the solitude--we were the only ones fishing within 100 miles. With things opening up I suspect that will change.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

If Cuba opened it's borders for fisherman it'll just be another place I'd want to go but can't afford. However, I would love to read an article in F&S about how well Deeter or Romano did while fishing there. Pictures please.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FlyDave wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I'd go tomorrow if I could. I'm sure the Canadians will be thrilled when it opens to Americans. If you're smart, eh, I'd get down there and check it out before the Disney switch gets flipped.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from chadlove wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

If I had the money I'd book the trip without a moment's hesitation, because it represents an opportunity to experience something that isn't contrived or artificial or Disney-fied (for lack of a better term).
Cuba is rough, it's poor, it's not a "destination", at least not yet. It is, in essence, a living time capsule, the manifestation of some 50-odd years of cultural and geo-political isolation.

For the lucky guys who can afford it, there's a small window of opportunity there - before all the big-money big-client outfits get their hooks into everything - to have a genuine fishing adventure, to take in and savor that ambiance.

I guess if I had to characterize it, I'd say modern Cuba is still the kind of place Ernest Hemingway or Zane Grey would recognize. And that alone makes the trip worth it regardless of whatever political considerations there might be.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Yes! Good post. Sportfishing really is something that can bring us together. Forget the rest, let's fish. Love it.

I'd be all over a fishing trip to Cuba.

The gov't there might be anti-American, but the people generally are not. Quite friendly, actually.

I don't think the Cubans will complain about the touristas y pescadores, but if they do, they will shut up when we start pouring on the cash.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Fishing Jones wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Traveled there (legally) in 2000 for the 50th Anniversary of the Hemingway International Billfish tournament. Most boats fishing it were American.

At that time the U.S. govt granted travel exceptions for journalists or people going over for educational or humanitarian reasons. A lot of Americans we met there went those routes. That was under Clinton, though. Bush made it a lot harder to go.

There may be anti-American sentiment on the government level in Cuba, but among the people we met it was non-existent.

I also had the chance to venture into the backcountry to chase after baby tarpon, snook, and mangrove snapper. That was unbelievable for both the fishing and the solitude--we were the only ones fishing within 100 miles. With things opening up I suspect that will change.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from silsbyj wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I think one of the reasons people spend time in the outdoors is to get away from all of the political mumbo jumbo. I would go fishing in Cuba in a heart beat. To have the chance at some of the bass they have down there I can forget all the other crap.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from blacknblu wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Hey - I'm a "Loonie," I've fished in Cuba, and its just freakin AWESOME. Havana alone is one of the coolest cities you'll ever visit. With El Presidente now talking to El Commandante, and with all the really serious sh*t currently going down in the world, I can't imagine the US State Dept. being too stressed about busting rogue fly fishermen who travel to Cuba - eh?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuckles wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

Watch how fast I go! Bill Heavey's story got me all fired up for some Cuban bass. I won't hold their Marxist masters against them. Detente = Fish on!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

If Cuba opened it's borders for fisherman it'll just be another place I'd want to go but can't afford. However, I would love to read an article in F&S about how well Deeter or Romano did while fishing there. Pictures please.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from FlyDave wrote 4 years 51 weeks ago

I'd go tomorrow if I could. I'm sure the Canadians will be thrilled when it opens to Americans. If you're smart, eh, I'd get down there and check it out before the Disney switch gets flipped.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment