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Posted on May 26, 2011 in Get Reel
by John Brownlee

As you've no doubt surmised from all the hoopla we've been posting about the trip, the SWS staff just had a great fishing trip out of Casa Vieja Lodge in Guatemala. It's always fun fishing out of Casa Vieja — their staff treats you like kings and queens, and their fleet of custom sportfishing boats is driven by some of the very best captains in the world.

I got to ride with my old friend Capt. Ron Hamlin again, which is always a treat. Hamlin, as you know, has caught and released more billfish than anyone in his years at sea, but he also helped pioneer the use of circle hooks and the practice of fish tagging, so he has made a major contribution to conservation as well.

But the best part of fishing with Hamlin is listening to his stories, and he has a million of them, many of which concern people I have known for years. Each time we fish, I hear a new one and I never get tired of hearing some of the older ones again. Hamlin has a distinct style of storytelling, which is decidedly NOT politically correct, and it's a lot of fun hearing his tales.

During our trip, many of our staff caught their first Pacific sailfish. Publisher Dave Morel caught his first sail on a fly rod, and for those of you who haven't fished with Dave before, there is no fishermen anywhere who gets more excited when hooked up to a quality fish.

Watching Morel cast to, hook and ultimately release that fish, while running all over the cockpit at 100 miles an hour, is just one more great memory to file away, and someday, I'll be telling my grandkids that story. I hope they find my stories as interesting as I find Hamlin's.