Havana – The Fishing Trip

17 Dec


nfc capSomething I had never done before but always wanted to : going fishing off Havana. So when Yannick suggested we do it, I was immediately hooked.

He arranged the trip and we managed to get another few friends to join us.

But the weather on the planned day was atrocious, strong winds, rain and high seas so we moved the date and hoped for the best.

Due to the change of date two of the Canadian friends, Keith and Tim couldn’t join us. Losing Keith was especially painful as I guess he would have loved the trip and we could have used his “law enforcing” skills the morning we arrived at the Marina.

It was a lovely sunny Monday so getting up early to be at the Marina by 0800 hrs wasn’t a bad start.

Jorgito picked us up and we made fun again at his starting the car techniques. Always good for a laugh.

Paperwork had to be done at the Marina, Immigration needed our passports, even though we would hardly sail out more than a few hundred yards to where the bank starts.

We were approached by two very drunk Canadians who wanted to join the fishing but had no reservation and even less manners. Normally we would have taken them as the boat held 8 and we were just 4. But they were not just drunk, they were obnoxious, lacked minimum courtesy and when we refused to take them on they became abusive and aggressive. Keith would have had a field day but fortunately we ignored them.

Leaving them behind to curse their luck we received a short briefing by Jose the skipper and were introduced to Javier, his assistant.

I’d thought we would be out on the high seas but as Jose explained the fishing was done within sight of the city as that is where the bank was located.

No Marlin, Barracuda or Swordfish as it was not the season, but we might get lucky and get some Wahoo or Tuna he said.

The day before one had been caught.

So after the formalities we left the Marina and circled for about 90 minutes enjoying the calm. Then it became routine, we got bored and asked Jose to take us to El Morro, which he did while trawling our 6 fishing rods .

I happened to be sitting in the fishing chair smoking my cigar when the first one bit.

All excited I started to pull but was instructed by Javier to take it easy and how to best do it.

I thought I must be pulling in a concrete block weighing a ton as the effort was really backbreaking. It was up & down with the rod and then watching the line to avoid it bunching up while pulling in on the upward movement.

After 10 minutes we could see it was a tuna and we hauled it in.

Great experience and I could go back to my cigars and a well deserved cold Cristal.

Next was Caroline with another tuna and then Yannick was fortunate to catch the largest specimen of the day. We lost 2 more fish to a shark that was quicker than us but also pulled in another tuna. Great day.

All the while we cruised slowly taking in the glorious sights and turned around at El Morro fortress to head back to the Marina.

After 2 more beers and having finished my cigar I went below deck and caught some badly needed shuteye.

We called Jorgito from the boat to bring a cooler box for the fish and surprised him with a bait mackerel when he arrived – proudly the told us that he knew we wouldn’t catch anything … and then he was happy for us as he had never seen a live tuna, just the canned stuff.

Not only did we tip the excellent and helpful crew generously but we left them 2 of the tunas.

The other 2 we took home, cleaned them ( the larger one came to almost 10 lbs clean ) and asked the chef at El Rejoneo to prepare them for us and our group of Cuban friends for dinner.

Simply grilled with some drops of olive oil and a lemon sauce – they were delicious as you will see in a coming post.

Special thanks to Yannick, not just for organizing this great day but also for designing a special band that we put on 10 custom rolled Salomones to smoke and pass around.

Great day, great fishing, great fun, great friends and great cigars – what more can you ask for !


One Response to “Havana – The Fishing Trip”

  1. Keith 30/12/2014 at 11:23 #

    Looks like a fun time, Nino. Yes, I definitely wish I was there, and not just with dealing with those harassing countrymen of mine. I really wish the weather panned out for us to do this during the Encuentros Partagas week, but it just wasn’t to be. Glad to see that Yannick, Amir, and Caroline all had a great time. Looks like the clouds were definitely still hanging around from that weather system too.

    Thanks for sharing, amigo. Another time, perhaps.