We were going east toward Lake Hanabanilla, a deep, 7,900-acre impoundment in the Sierra Escambray mountains. "This," Samuel told me, "is the best lake in Cuba for the big bass. Last year, an Italian tourist caught a 17-pounder on a worm there, and back in the '80s, an American caught a 20- or 21-pounder. An uncertified catch, though." A former civil engineer, Samuel is soft-spoken and fine-featured, with the bearing and appearance of a campus intellectual, and while he's a keen conversationalist on a broad array of topics, one subject swims constantly through his brain: bass, or as it's called in Cuba, trucha (which in a vagary of language means "trout" to most Spanish speakers). More formally, it's known as Lobina negra boquigrande. In this case, the obsession is inherited. Samuel's father, Jose Manuel Yera, was the national bass champion in 1971 and '72, and Samuel's earliest memory is an image of rods and reels and worms and glittery lures. "For me," he said on the drive, as the Cuban countryside passed by in the dark, "it was a sickness for life." I told him that Bruce and I knew something about the sickness, and Dusan nodded knowingly. We were like a rolling support group.