At the end of May local Port Hardy resident Rob Driemel took part in the fishing trip of a lifetime. Invited by a friend, he attended the 65th Annual Ernest Hemingway Invitational Billfish Tournament in Havana, Cuba.
The event, which included fishing for four days, May 26, 27 and May 29 and 30, was a point-based, catch and release only tournament with prizes for first billfish capture, largest dorado, largest tuna and most bill fish caught. Stringent rules regarding the catch and release of billfish were documented by registered camera/photos at the end of each fishing day. Rob Driemel, along with his fishing partner Jim Wild, were on the vessel Costa Azul and registered as ‘Team Canada’. There were a total of 25 boats registered, including 11 from the USA, the first time in 35 years that American boats have taken part in the tournament. Final results placed Team Canada in a five-way tie for 5th place, but
Driemel and Wild came out way ahead… with trophies awarded to Driemel for the first bill fish caught and to Wild for the largest tuna. Driemel praised his whole 10-day visit: the Cuban people were friendly, the food was excellent (restaurants were in ‘locals only know about these places’ locations), the architecture, although crumbling and failing in some places, was still amazing and all the many classic cars (1957 Chevrolet, 1953 Ford, 1958 Dodge and many, many more) that you hear about really are all over Havana.
At the closing tournament ceremonies Driemel was honoured to be chosen by his boat captain and the judges to receive an invitation to attend the 66th Annual Ernest Hemingway Invitational Billfish Tournament scheduled for June next year. Driemel can hardly wait to repeat this amazing experience.