Fish­ing For ‘The King’s Deer’

Yachts International - - Making Waves - By Peter Swan­son

Fish and lob­ster in Cuba are like the king’s deer dur­ing the age of Robin Hood. In 12th cen­tury Eng­land, up to a third of the coun­try was off-lim­its to hunt­ing by any­one other than the king and his de­signees. The same could be said of fish­ing in Cas­tro’s Cuba.

Now that the U.S. govern­ment al­lows its cit­i­zens to take their own boats to Cuba if we qual­ify for one of 12 cat­e­gories of “gen­eral li­cense” for le­gal travel, the ques­tion is: Can we fish while in Cuban wa­ters? Gen­er­ally the an­swer is no. Fish­ing in Cuba is a govern­ment mo­nop­oly, which is not to say that for­eign boaters aren’t catch­ing din­ner on oc­ca­sion.

“Ba­si­cally the rules are no fish­ing, but no­body’s en­forc­ing it,” says Don Barr, who has spent 18 win­ter-spring sea­sons ex­plor­ing the Cuban coast on his sail­boat. His daugh­ter Ch­eryl Barr used th­ese trips to re­search the “Yacht Pi­lot Cruis­ing Guide to Cuba.” “We see fewer pa­trol boats ev­ery year now. They have very few boats that can get away from the docks.”

Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich, com­modore of the Hem­ing­way In­ter­na­tional Yacht Club of Cuba on the out­skirts of Ha­vana, parsed the risk thus: “Ninety-nine per­cent of the time you could catch fish and you would be okay, but there’s al­ways that small chance that you could be boarded and then you would be in trou­ble.”

“The only trou­ble I’ve had was when we came into a port with about six conch on deck,” Barr re­calls. “The of­fi­cials made us throw them back in.”

Escrich says Cuban rules do al­low for an in­di­vid­ual recre­ational per­mit, but he could not say whether one had ever been is­sued. He says there are no bag lim­its or sea­sons ref­er­enced to recre­ational fish­ing, so if any­one were to be is­sued such a li­cense, they would have to delve into a dense vol­ume of com­mer­cial rules writ­ten in Span­ish to stay le­gal. He says the com­mit­tee that de­ter­mines fish­ing and tourism pol­icy may re­vise the rules in the near fu­ture to make them friend­lier to for­eign an­glers.

For now, the eas­i­est op­tion is to fish in an es­tab­lished tour­na­ment or visit one of six Avalon fly-fish­ing lodges, in­clud­ing one in the spec­tac­u­lar Gar­dens of the Queen re­gion on the South Coast. Avalon has a grow­ing num­ber of ed­u­ca­tional tours le­gal for U.S. trav­el­ers. A third way al­lows ho­tel guests to take fish­ing ex­cur­sions from nearby mari­nas.

Ev­ery May, Cuba hosts the Ernest Hem­ing­way In­ter­na­tional Bill­fish Tour­na­ment. This year, there are new ones, in­clud­ing Game­fish Grande by the AIM Marine Group, which also owns the Ba­hamas Bill­fish Cham­pi­onship. Game­fish Grande is ac­tu­ally two tour­na­ments in one, with the first held June 20- 23 at the re­cently com­pleted 1,100- slip Ma­rina Gaviota Va­radero, about 90 nau­ti­cal miles east of Ha­vana. From Va­radero, boats will travel to Ha­vana to be hosted by the Hem­ing­way In­ter­na­tional Yacht Club for fish­ing ac­tion June 25- 28.

The Game­fish Grande will be an all-re­lease tour­na­ment with video ver­i­fi­ca­tion just like the Ba­hamas Bill­fish Cham­pi­onship. Rules for both se­ries will be avail­able on our web­site: ba­hamas­bill­fish.com

One of the most ap­peal­ing fea­tures of the re­cently launched Wider 150 is her beach club, but the ver­sa­tile space can also be ar­ranged as ei­ther a garage for the cus­tom 32-foot ten­der or a 23-foot (7-me­ter) swim­ming pool. Wider just re­leased the first im­ages and video (avail­able at yachtsin­ter­na­tional.com) of how the in­ven­tive sys­tem works. At the push of a but­ton, the tran­som opens, flood­ing the ten­der bay and al­low­ing the Wider 32 to float out of the garage on her own bot­tom. With the ten­der launched, the tran­som area con­verts to a 969-square­foot (90-square-me­ter) beach club with a cov­ered swim­ming pool sur­rounded by deck­ing. Re­triev­ing the ten­der in this same space al­lows guests to board the moth­er­ship safely in all weather con­di­tions and in pri­vacy. The unique sys­tem is de­signed to solve an age-old prob­lem of fit­ting a large ten­der into a mid-size yacht with­out af­fect­ing the ves­sel’s ex­te­rior lines.

Fish­ing ex­cur­sion boats are lined up at Ma­rina Gaviota at Va­radero. The boats serve guests at the more than 70 ho­tels in this re­sort district 90 miles east of Ha­vana. op­po­site, bot­tom: AIM Marine Group’s John Brown­lee, host and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of “Angl

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.