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Member Spotlight: Stetson Brothers Catch 13lb Blue

David Stetson

Member since 2014

On May 30th 2016, I reunited with my younger, non-fisherman brother Doug, at the Cooke’s Seafood parking lot in Hyannis.

This was Day One of my annual trip from Oregon to visit my ninety year old mother, my brother, and to surf fish - not necessarily in that order.

Our destination would be Mashpee Town Beach, the scene of multi-fish days the year prior during late May. We arrived at the parking lot around 4:00 p.m., two hours before high tide. The weather was classic Cape Cod; overcast, misty, in the low 60’s with a stiff onshore wind.


Over the past year, I had researched surf rods, reels and line, and finally settled on a 10.5 foot Airwave Elite rod with a Shimano Ultegra 5500 reel, spooled with 40 lb. Power Pro braid.

Doug was using his 25 year old 10 foot surf rod of some variety, and his 25 year old Penn reel with 20 lb. mono. I rigged Doug up with a 1.75 ounce orange and white Little Bouncer.

I started out with a 2.5 ounce white Super Striker Popper.

I had a brief chat with two other fishermen on the beach. Nobody had caught anything that day or over the previous week (heard that story before.)

My enthusiasm wavered some, but I had my new set-up and no one was going to out-cast me.

Surfcasting Mashpee Town Beach (South Cape)

Doug began leisurely flinging his Little Bouncer with no real urgency, as a non-fisherman might do. I, on the other hand, was on a mission, and missions require single minded purpose - my casting frequency and fervor reflected that.

I loved my rod, reel, and how the braid flew off my reel. I was in my element. Doug was not. After about 10 minutes of casting, Doug, somewhat hesitantly, Doug yelled two words he had never said before:

“Fish On!”

I looked over at Doug and he was reeling frantically with his rod pointing straight out to sea, parallel to the beach. There was no bend in his rod.

Needless to say, I doubted his assertion that he in fact had a fish at all; a clump of seaweed seemed more plausible.

After a short trot in his direction, I got a clearer picture of what was happening. The 20 lb. mono was flying off his spool. No seaweed could do that! It was a fish after all, and a big one at that.

Doug’s reeling was not bringing this fish any closer. I had taught Doug how to cast but never taught him the subtleties of operating the drag, after all he was never really supposed to catch a fish 😉

The fish had been on about two to three minutes at this point. I made a "Big Brother" decision and emphatically took the rod from him, adjusted the drag, and gave it back to him. I told him to “lift the rod and use the power of the bent rod.”

Nothing is obvious when you have never played a big fish before.


Ten minutes into the fight, we still did not know what it was. The fish finally showed itself as it broke surface about 50 feet from shore with a shake of it’s head and a flash of it’s silvery blue side.

It was a Bluefish and it was big.

As Doug worked the fish closer to shore, we both saw the tip of that forked tail slice through the choppy water. I coached Doug in order to time the final pull with the incoming waves. I grabbed the Blue by it’s tail and the battle was over.

It weighed in at 13 lbs, 35 inches, and was the biggest Bluefish I had ever seen in my life!

I thought it extra amazing that my little “non-fisherman” brother caught it.

Doug only fished a little while longer then bid me good-bye as I continued to crank off cast after cast.

While I was there, no other fish were caught, and in fact, I did not see another fish of any kind caught that day or the next, or the next. And yes, many pictures were taken!

A New Family Fishing Record

That night, at Doug’s local haunt, The Land Ho in Orleans, he relived every moment of that momentous day, and milked it for all it was worth (can’t blame him a bit.)

Doug and I both became painfully aware that there was one person who was absent from our celebration; our father who had died three years earlier at the age of 85.

Our Dad was THE master fisherman in every way.

My father did, however, have an obnoxious habit of one-upmanship, especially with regard to fish stories. It would start out something like “Ahh, that’s nothing, back in ’45 I caught a .....”

Ironically, this was one story he could not “one up” because my father had never caught a Bluefish even close to that size. I’d like to think that if he was still with us, he would be (for once) speechless, and sporting a big prideful grin from ear to ear with no “one-ups”. I keep that picture in my mind.

All I know is that I never had so much fun watching someone else catch a fish and I’ve never laughed so hard with my brother. The memories of that day still bring a smile to my face.

Doug if you are reading this, no one can take away the fact that you were the Rock Star of the Fishing World at Mashpee Town Beach on May 30th, 2016.

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Nice bluefish! Even cooler that your brother who isn’t a fisherman was the one to catch it.

  2. My condolences for the loss of your mother. I hope you still plan to visit the Cape next year. Let me know.

  3. Hi David, I missed running into you this year. Maybe next year. Nice story and congratulation to your brother!

    1. thank you emil I think that is your name) fishing is more than just fishing.
      it was fun running into you at night in the fog of west dennis beach.

  4. Excellent story David. So pumped to see you having success, and being able to share it with your brother…what a bonus!

    1. thank you ryan for your embellishments …added pictures and strategic word boldings. doug read it and loved the story. what a wonderful time with my brother..the laughing was priceless I can’t remember how many times he said in his disbelief “are you kidding me?” I don’t think this will change his non-fisherman status though. he just loves cape cod so much and currently lives in Eastham. we both grew up in Pittsfield and spent time every summer as children vacationing on the cape,renting cottages mostly in the Orleans area. I forever thank my mom, who just passed away at the age of 91 this year in October, for her love of the cape which translated into my love of the cape as well. I do not believe any of this would have happened without the information and guidance I’ve received from MFCC. Fishing is much more than fishing,always was and always wil be.


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