Cuban Fishermen Using Inflated Condoms to Haul in Expensive Catches | NBC 6 South Florida

Reestablishing connections with the island nation and its people

Cuban Fishermen Using Inflated Condoms to Haul in Expensive Catches

It's not clear exactly when the practice was adopted

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Fisherman on the island nation have found the item helps them bring in the expensive fishes they can sell. (Published Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016)

    Juan Luis Rosello sat for three hours on the Malecon as the wind blew in from the Florida Straits, pushing the waves hard against the seawall of Havana's coastal boulevard.

    As darkness settled and the wind switched direction, Rosello pulled four condoms from a satchel and began to blow them up. When the contraceptives were the size of balloons, the 47-year-old cafeteria worker tied them together by their ends, attached them to the end of a baited fishing line and set them floating on the tide until they reached the end of his 750-foot line.

    Lawmakers 'Tricked' Into Honoring Ku Klux Klansman

    [NATL] Tennessee Lawmakers 'Tricked' Into Honoring Ku Klux Klansman

    Lawmakers in Tennessee are crying foul after Republican Rep. Mike Sparks sneaked in a resolution to honor former Ku Klux Klansman Nathan Bedford Forrest with a bust under a different name. The resolution passed unanimously, 94-0, and the bust was installed at the state Capitol before lawmakers realized the mistake. 

    (Published 6 hours ago)

    After six decades under U.S. embargo and Soviet-inspired central planning, Cubans have become masters at finding ingenious solutions with extremely limited resources. Few are as creative as what Havana's fishermen call “balloon fishing,'' a technique employing a couple of cents worth of condoms to pull fish worth an average month's salary from the ocean.

    On any given night in Havana, dozens of men can be found “balloon fishing'' along the Havana seawall, using their homemade floats to carry their lines as far as 900 feet into the coastal waters, where they also serve to keep the bait high in the water and to increase the line's resistance against the pull of a bonito or red snapper.

    “No one can cast the line that far by hand,'' said Ivan Muno, 56, who was fishing alongside Rosello.

    For four more hours, he sat silently as the dark sea pounded the rocks below the seawall, algae flashing green in the waves beneath an enormous creamy moon, the sounds of the city muffled by the wind and water. By midnight, he was heading home without a catch, but planning to return soon.

    “This is the most effective way to fish,'' Rosello said. “Someone got this great idea and I can be here all night with the balloons out.''

    UC Davis Now Sells Plan B and Condoms From a Vending Machine

    [NATL] UC Davis Now Sells Plan B, Pregnancy Tests and Condoms From a Vending Machine

    Students at the University of California, Davis, can now purchase $30 Plan B emergency contraceptives, pregnancy tests, condoms and other personal care products from a vending machine. The idea came from UC Davis senior Parteek Singh, after a friend was unable to buy emergency contraceptives in time. 

    (Published 6 hours ago)

    Cuba has been renowned for its fishing at least since the days of Ernest Hemingway, and foreigners by the thousands come each year to fish in waters largely protected by Cuba's lack of development.

    Much of Cuba's coastline remains free of the large-scale building that has damaged ecosystems in the rest of the Caribbean. The island's industrial fishing fleet was devastated by the fall of the Soviet Union.

    For Cubans, taking advantage of one of their greatest resources remains a challenge. For all but the wealthiest, even the smallest private boats and the fuel for them are too expensive. Many Cubans have taken to riding out on inner tubes or blocks of industrial foam to catch larger fish, but the unsafe technique known as “cork fishing'' has become the target of frequent coast guard crackdowns with steep fines.

    “Balloon fishing'' is cheaper, less risky and increasingly popular.

    Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams

    [NATL] Millennials Found Most Susceptible to Robocalls and Scams

    A new study finds that it is not the elderly who are most susceptible to scam phone calls, but millennials, who are six times more likely to give away credit card information than any other age group. 

    (Published 6 hours ago)

    “There's no point in getting a 3,000-peso ($120) fine and your gear confiscated,'' said Leandro Casas, a self-employed construction worker fishing along the Malecon.

    It's not clear exactly when the practice was adopted, but according to local fishermen's lore, the inventor of the balloon technique in Cuba saw a video of South Africans fishing using kites and got the idea for using inflated condoms.

    It's illegal to sell fish without a license in Cuba, and the balloon fisherman all said they are simply trying to feed their families. Privately, though, many acknowledged that it would be crazy to do anything but sell a 30-pound fish that is worth a dollar a pound in a country with an average monthly state salary of about $25. While most Cubans can't afford to buy fish, Cuba's private restaurants, its growing upper middle class and the thousands of foreigners who live in the capital all are avid buyers.

    Alex Romero, the 42-year-president of the state-backed Old Havana Federation of Fishermen, said balloon fisherman are as skilled as any angler and are getting more practiced as their technique gains in popularity.

    Girl Scalped on Carnival Ride Talks Recovery One Year Later

    [NATL] Girl Scalped on Carnival Ride Talks Recovery One Year Later

    Elizabeth "Lulu" Gilreath talks about her recovery from a carnival ride gone very wrong. Gilreath was scalped when her hair was caught on the King's Crown ride in Omaha, Nebraska, but she does not dwell on the incident, saying "My scars don't define me."

    (Published Friday, April 28, 2017)

    “It's efficient and everyone uses it,'' he said. “It's the ingenuity that Cubans always show in resolving problems without spending a lot of money.''

    Get the latest from NBC 6 anywhere, anytime

    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android