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By STEVE MERLO, Contributing columnist
There's nothing in the world like the strike of a monster blue fin tuna after it eats a live sardine and heads back into deep water. Hooked, the powerful fish speeds away, the reel's drag screaming with the angler literally hanging onto his rod for dear life lest the fish pull both he and his gear overboard. Long runs punctuated by deep head-shakes far below the boat put a huge strain on rod, fish and fisherman, with the resulting knock-down, drag-out battle possibly going either way.
Thirty minutes after hook-up, the fish begins to tire, eventually ceding a foot at a time to the unnatural force incessantly dragging it toward the strange domain above him that he knows is not his own.
To the victor go the spoils. The flash of a sharp gaff, the long, heavy hoist over the rail and the angler has his prized possession, one of the world's greatest sportfish and also one of the best eating.
One can never have too much fresh or vacuum-packed bluefin tuna to knock the socks off the most discriminating Epicurean. The delicate tuna meat, barely seared or even served as raw sashimi, has to be the best tasting of all wild salt water fish.
Sixteen Bakersfield anglers will definitely have their larders filled this week or next after all their bluefin and miscellaneous catch is processed and delivered.
Their six-day tuna trip out of San Diego on the Royal Polaris sportfishing boat netted them an astounding total of 6,340 pounds of mostly bluefin tuna averaging 40-plus-pounds each and lots of yellowtail in the 24-pound range. Also included in their catch were lesser amounts of dorado, assorted rockfish, ling cod, yellowfin tuna, calico bass and whitefish.
The local crew also made shambles of all the jackpots on the 110-foot sportfisher, nailing down first through third on the general jackpot and then winning the cash award for the largest yellowtail.
Perry Van Scooy took first place with a 69-pound blue fin, Rick Wurster second with a 66-pound tuna and Phil Klassen third with a beautiful 61-pound specimen.
Mike Dean won a jackpot with a 27-pound yellowtail.
Captain Roy Rose managed to keep his ship and passengers out of the direct line of Tropical Storm Ivo, which harried the entire Baja Coast for a week leading up to the trip. Despite some unpleasant wind and rain on the first day, the talented skipper kept fishermen in direct contact with huge schools of fish throughout the week while avoiding contact with the stormy depression.
Also onboard for the annual trip were Don Crabtree of California Drilling Fluids, myself, Wendell and Jeremy Vinson, Jimmy Thornell, Terry Hibbits, Jim Funke, Kevin Thomas, Larry Lamar, Kurt Carpenter, Randy Patt and Keith Brown.
Brown, a regular on the yearly fishing trip, used to coach Cal State Bakersfield's basketball team. He now is an assistant coach at New Mexico State University, which won the 2011 and 2012 Western Athletic Conference championships.
Friends of NRA Banquet
We have a responsibility to protect the future of our shooting sports, and the only way to successfully defeat the anti-gun crowd is with truthful speech, political clout and lots of money to fund those willing to keep fighting for all of our rights.
The Friends of the NRA are just such a group that will continue to stand up and be counted to defend our endangered constitutional rights.
The Shafter Friends of the NRA Banquet and Auction is set for Saturday night at the Shafter Veterans Hall at 309 California Ave. The group will be giving or auctioning or raffling away more than 75 guns, a Charlie Daniels signed fiddle, two gun safes, and plenty of ammunition to go with all those firesticks.
Hot and Smokin' Barbecue will cater the event with a tri-tip, chicken and pulled pork dinner. Contact Dennis Bell (661) 809-7510 for more information, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABC Central California PAC Shoot
Spectators and exhibitors are welcome to attend the ABC Shotgun Sporting Clays Tournament at the Kern County Gun Club on Sept. 20. Registration begins at 8 a.m. with first teams on the field at 9.
Sponsored by Associated Builders and Contractors, Weatherford, Inc. and TempServ, the shoot is a 20-station event for five-man teams competing for the overall team championship trophy.
A huge raffle for guns and other prizes will be on hand, as will a lunch after the event. All proceeds will support the ABC PAC. For more information, contact Russell Johnson (661) 203-1838 or email at email@example.com.