Ernest Hemingway had a friend in Key West, Florida named Joe Russell, owner of Sloppy Joe's Bar, and owner of the yacht Anita. In 1933 the two men went fishing for marlin off Cuba's north coast, and Hemingway's fascination for sport fishing came to life.
In 1937 Hemingway bought his own boat, the Pilar, then made Gregorio Fuentes from Cojimar his captain, fishing the Gulf Stream for the next twenty years, saying, "The great reason for living in Cuba is the Big Blue River".
It was from the Cuban people that Hemingway drew much of his inspiration for writing, including The Old Man and the Sea, whose protaganist, Anselmo Hernandez, was a friend of his from Cojimar, the seaside village seven miles east of Havana. It was in the harbor of Cojimar that Hemingway would anchor his boat, where in 1956 the movie for his book was filmed, and where he would later be seen walking the quiet streets, talking with local fishermen, or eating and drinking with friends at La Terazza Restaurant. And it was where the Hemingway mystique initally grew, and where now some of the nostalgia remains.
The Ernest Hemingway International Marlin Tournament is held each year in late May or early June, with world-class fishermen now catching and releasing the biggest trophy billfish that abound in the Gulf Stream waters. There are many other fishing events in and around Cuban waters as well, including lake and river fishing for tarpon, bonefish, mutton, snapper, sea trout salmon, and stripers. Your Cuba Travel contacts should have many of the anwers for you. While in Havana you may wish to contact Havantur (through your hotel) for more information.
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