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Brothers Duel for Bragging Rights in Los Cabos:

 

By Luis Vela

Two years ago I was lucky enough to take my first trip down to Cabo San Lucas. I had always heard of what a fabulous place it was and how much fun it was to go deep sea fishing. Now, I grew up in South Texas near the gulf coast where catching 27-32 inch redfish was something to brag about when you went fishing. Nothing would make me happier than going out to the bay and catching a fish, especially if it was bigger than my older brother Tommy’s. We had an on-going competition growing up on who could catch the biggest fish.


Deep sea fishing was always something I had wanted to do but because my dad claims he gets seasick I was never given the opportunity until my trip to Cabo. A great friend of mine has fished in Cabo for years and recommended Red Rum charter services to me. After talking to the people from Red Rum we agreed on a date and things were set. When the day came, I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous. Walking down the dock seeing some of the boats that I had only seen on TV shows was exciting and gave me an anxious feeling. After being introduced to the crew and grabbing some beverages my friend and I were off. The day was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky, water was glassy and the laughter and jokes going around made it one of those perfect unforgettable moments. “Cant get any better than this” I told him. I had almost forgotten that we were there to fish. The first mate on the boat came down and started pulling on lines, grabbing hooks, and telling us to get ready because this fish were out there. I guess we underestimated what he meant.


As soon as he set our first lines in the water we had a double monster tuna hook up. The sound of the lines going out and the commotion on the boat was overwhelming. We got into a mess of tuna that day, catching one after another for an hour straight. After we decided it was time to head in the captain spotted a large group of squid. “Why not” I said, this could be my only trip to Cabo ever, and more so my only chance to deep sea fish. At the end of the day, my friend and I had caught more tuna and squid then we could even take home. The team at Red Rum had given me the best experience I had ever had fishing. So I thought.


Now I was “hooked”. I had to get back to Cabo and I had to fish with Red Rum again. It took a whole year for me to get a trip together. But, this trip was going to be even more unique, my older brother Tommy who had recently graduated was going to take some time off from the “real-world” and join me. I got a hold of Red Rum again and made sure I had a trip set up before we landed in Cabo. Tommy isn’t only my older brother but he is my best friend and I didn’t want to disappoint him about the fishing I had bragged to him about for over a year. Convincing him to ask for days off at his first real job was easy because for a year I held the bragging rights at the family table for having caught the biggest fish. So when the day came I knew the stakes were going to be high and the competition would be on. What I didn’t know was how memorable our trip was going to end up. Boy were we in for a treat!


Before our trip we had talked to some friends of ours who had taken a recent trip with Red Rum and they told us there was a lot of marlin being caught. This just added to the anxiety of our first deep sea fishing trip together and naturally to our fishing rivalry. The night before our trip Tommy and I could not stop talking about the trip and how excited we were. A good friend of ours came along with us who is in an devoted deep sea fisher and told us the weather was perfect the night before and that we should be in luck. He couldn’t have predicted it any better. We arrived to the docks bright and early and that familiar feeling of anxiety and excitement came across me again. We were told that Rum Runnin’ was going to be the boat we would be on. The three of us were off. The unforgettable cruise out of the docks past the (don’t know the name of those cliffs) reminded me of why I was so relentless on going back and fishing with Red Rum again. All three of us took a little shut-eye on the way out- by the way Cabo has a great nightlife- but as soon as we revitalized ourselves all the catching up and laughing started up again. Tommy was in awe the whole time, and being the little brother it made me a little cocky that I had “been there, done that” so I acted calm cool and collected. Inside I was the happiest brother ever. I didn’t even care if we caught fish that day. Not many brothers have the opportunity to share the experience we were about to share.


Just like clock work the first mate came down and strategically began setting up all the rods, reels, and bait, making sure everything was in check and we started to troll. Keeping my eye on Tommy the whole time I could sense the excitement in him. Then it happened, movement all over the boat, the captain directed the mate to the spotted marlin which I still find impossible to do. With his first cast they had him hooked. The three of us looked at each other and my friend and I both pointed at Tommy, since he was the rookie in the deep sea fishing category, and sat him in the fighting seat. The fight was on, fishing like Tommy had never imagined. “Reel on the way down, pull up slow, reel down and pull up” the mate coached him on. After at least 30 minutes of this routine he started getting “the look”, the “this fish is kicking my butt and I want to pass the rod to someone else” look. With a few words of encouragement and a few threats to what we would do if he gave up he pushed on. Just then, we saw him breach out of the water flapping and splashing not too far from the boat. The beautiful stripped marlin was only 20 or 30 yards away. Around the 50th minute Tommy had successfully reeled in his first stripped marlin. The mate and captain brought it up to the boat for a quick photo and Tommy gave it the goodbye kiss, and the release. An awesome 180 lb stripped marlin.


Our trip was officially a success; Tommy had caught and released the first marlin in Vela history. I can say I wasn’t upset that it wasn’t me but inside I was praying that I would get my chance. Once the excitement around the boat settled the traditional post catch beers were opened. I started to make fun of Tommy because he looked like he had just seen a ghost, and tauntingly he said “who’s got the biggest fish now?” Now I really wanted to get a bite. Before I could even make a come back to his remark, that familiar commotion started on the boat again. I looked at him, took one last sip of beer and sat in the fighting chair before the fish was even hooked! Luckily the mate again did a fantastic job and passed the rod to me. Now, I’m about half the size of Tommy so I kept thinking to myself, “this fish can throw me into the water”, then the encouragement, and threats, came on. I could feel my hands and forearms squeezing out every ounce of juice they had, but I was determined to bring the fish in. “There it is” Tommy shouted, and I looked up and saw him, not too far from the boat but far enough. “Are you kidding me” I thought. Fortunately my fight with the marlin didn’t last half as long as my brothers, but unfortunately to my sadness Tommy’s stripped marlin was bigger than mine. My whole life I have been teased on how much smaller I am than Tommy and I guess that connection will always be there!


After I brought up the fish took a snap shot with him, and released him back in my brother opened his arms and gave me a huge hug. I almost fainted because of how tired I was after the fight. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to a perfect day. Nothing will ever compare to fishing with my two best friends, and being able to share the story of Tommy and I catching our first stripped marlins on the same day in the same boat. I can not think of a better memory that can top this one. Thanks to the whole team at Red Rum, for making memories like these happen all the time.


Now I know everyone is thinking that he has the bragging rights now, but I have gotten the opportunity to go to Cabo again in November without him this time to fish with Red Rum and try to reel a marlin that will outsize his!

 

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