BILLINGS – Longtime Billings angler Larry Sherwood, 73, recently achieved his dream of catching the “big one” after bringing home an eight-foot-long, 120-pound gray striped marlin on a trip to the Mexico in Cabo San Lucas.
“I caught a big one. A big one. Right here,” Sherwood told MTN News on Sunday.
Last December, Sherwood traveled to Mexico with his friend Sam Moore and Sam’s wife, Colleen. The three originally met because Colleen works for Residential Support Services in Billings, a local group that helps house and care for adults with developmental disabilities. Sherwood has lived in a Residential Support Services group home in Billings since 2014, Colleen said.
Colleen introduced Sherwood to her husband and they quickly became friends, bonding over their love of fishing.
“That’s all he ever wanted was to catch the big one and lo and behold, he caught the big one,” Sam said.
The trio met Colleen’s sister and a larger group of friends in Cabo. It was a new group of people for Sherwood, who has organic brain disease, but the group welcomed him with open arms.
“They included everyone. All of us. They made sure, especially Larry, he had the time of his life,” Colleen said.
Without fishing, Sherwood played cards with the group, took excursions outside the hotel, and even socialized at the hotel’s pool bar.
“All those guys we went with. Now Larry, he’s got lifelong friends. They hit it off. He’s just part of the band. Another friend. There’s no disability,” said Sat.
The newfound friendship was on full display the day before the fishing trip, when Sherwood and a new pal, Barney Stegall from North Carolina, got into a fight over who was going to hook the keeper.
“Me and Larry, he was saying he was going to take the big prize. I said, ‘I’m going to take the big one.’ In the end, we both hit the jackpot,” Stegall said with a laugh.
The next day on the boat, the hunt was on. A few small fish first found the hook, but after a while it happened.
“We hang around. Next thing you know, got a fish. So we gave the perch to Larry and it was a gray marlin. And here’s Larry, here’s your big one. And he was screaming and screaming and hooting,” Sam said.
After a fight that lasted an hour and 20 minutes, Sherwood pulled the huge fish into the boat. The other seven men on the boat were all U.S. Army veterans, and the sight of Sherwood accomplishing his objective filled them with emotion.
“I think all seven of us had tears in our eyes because Larry achieved his dream,” Sam said.
“It brought tears to their eyes and they said, ‘I don’t want to fish anymore, that’s why we’re here,'” Colleen said.
Unfortunately, Sherwood’s fish swallowed the hook and died, so he couldn’t keep it. But the Moores have found a taxidermist who will create a model from footage so Sherwood can hang the award on his wall.
Sherwood’s next stop on his fishing adventures could be Alaska. While recounting his trip to Mexico, Sherwood dreamed of catching a salmon – hopefully another big one.
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