We had the fortune of sitting down with one of our favorite filmmakers Yngve Ask, to talk about his recent trip to Cuba. The fishing was spectacular, and Yngve talks about how the country and culture is unlike anything else he has ever experienced. Flylords: Tell us about where you guys were fishing in Cuba?
Yngve: We were in “Jardines De La Reina” also known as the “Gardens of Queens”. It’s a marine reserve, quite large. There’s no commercial fishing there, I’m pretty sure it’s the biggest marine reserve in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s on the south side of Cuba. A lot of reefs around the world are dying, but they seem to work well here. They don’t even allow net fishing. There’s all the big game fish here, all the large Jack Fish and you have, of course, sharks, really big Groupers, lots of really big Groupers and then of course, on the flats you have amazing Tarpon, Bonefish and permit fishing. It’s a pretty amazing ecosystem.
Flylords: How many Bonefish could you catch in a day, on a good day?
Yngve: We never went the full day for Bonefish. We did it a couple hours when the tide was good. Bonefish were not our first priority, but we fished for them for 3 or four hours and landed 14, 15. Tarpon wise, you may not land fish every day, but you hook into fish absolutely every day. With an experienced angler, you can easily land 8 or 9 fish a day.
Flylords: Tell us about the culture. Did you get to spend any time, on land? How were the guides?
Yngve: Our guides were super professional. We fished with Avalon and they have a live-aboard operation there. It’s safe, very, very safe. There’s no violence. It’s not like Mexico where you can get robbed and stuff like that. Cuba is definitely a poor country they still use ration cards, people get 150 grams of meat a week, It’s very little. Don’t quote me on the exact amounts but they are struggling. They’re poor people. That being said, I didn’t encounter any problems with anyone. I can’t really compare Cuba with anything. It’s like Cuba is Cuba. There’s no other place that I have been which is similar.
Flylords: Tell us about the footage you were shooting there.
Yngve: Well, I was fishing with a really good fisherman named Helmut from http://flyfish-adventures.com/. He brought three groups in, so we had two groups the first week and then one group the second week. We also had some time to dive on our down week. I was amazed cause I’ve dived many places around the world, but when you go down and you see the amount of life, the number of sharks and the big Groupers it’s truly spectacular. Most reefs aren’t like that anymore because they’re being fished or overfished, they’re killed in a way by pollution or overpopulation, it’s still very very alive there. Cuba has a very healthy ecosystem.