A Special Fishing Journey

by Capt. Tom Bailas

Back in September of 2018  I booked a fishing trip for our honeymoon to Cabo San Lucas, the billfish Capital of the World. During the planning process, we decided to include filming an episode of The Journey TV show from the Outdoor Channel.  Dave Watson, the producer and good friend of ours, chose a deserving man as our special guest.  Kerry Slaven aka (PAPA BEAR) has devoted his life to providing children with life threatening or terminal illnesses a special trip of a lifetime.

Papa Bear created a nonprofit organization called “Brave Young Hearts” after losing his granddaughter Bethany at the age of 4 ½ years old from cancer. Brave Young Hearts believes that just one chance of “a normal day ” may be the only time or the last time for some of these kids to enjoy something fun outdoors. Some of the trips they provide to children with illnesses include camping, horseback riding, fishing and hunting adventures. Whatever a child’s dream is, that is what Brave Young Hearts wants to provide to them. This fishing trip was also donated by an amazing friend of ours Captain Alex Rogers with Protocol Sport fishing. “Papa Bear” was accompanied by his wife Diane for the two day fishing adventure. Our goal was to help him catch and release a Big blue Marlin.

The first day of fishing was full of excitement. We hooked and fought two different blue marlin, only to lose them jumping high out of the water and pulling the hooks. Shortly after noontime another rod goes off and this time we are hooked up solid on a Big Blue Marlin. Papa Bear is on the rod and the weather is really bad; it is pouring down rain on all of us. After about a thirty minute battle, we are at the leader. It’s a fair catch and release and he has successfully landed his first billfish! WOW….The excitement from Papa Bear and all of us was overwhelming with high fives and tears of joy. We were thrilled to be part of this special experience for such a deserving man !!!

The second day was just as fun as Papa Bear caught his first mahi mahi (dolphin) and we had a local restaurant cook it up for the celebration dinner that night for everyone to enjoy. The memories from this trip will last a lifetime for all of us. A big thanks to The Journey TV show. They provide people who live their lives doing unselfish acts and giving their time to helping others, a hunting or fishing experience of a lifetime. For more info on everyone involved with this experience you can reach them at:



or [email protected]

Remember to always follow state and federal regulations when you are fishing. Be courteous of other boaters and keep only what you can eat.

Happy New Year!