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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if any of y'all were fishing the Masters out in California this September? I had a blast last year and just got registered again for this year. I ran into a ton of Texans who were there for the Zane Grey Tournament, which starts the day this one was over, but none in the Master's tournament. It's a great event that puts all the Rod and Reel clubs in California against each other.

If you do, look me up on FINHUNTER or hanging at the Tuna Club. I'll be the one in the cowboy hat, wearing a Texas Aggies jacket...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Great trip & very successful tournament!

I flew into LAX Thursday night and we got all the groceries on the way to the boat. By 02:00 Friday morning, we were all ready to cast of and get underway. Lines were off and we backed out of the slip and guess who hopped onboard? None other than our old friend Mr. Murphy...

Steering locked up!

So, motor steered back into the slip and retied. Opened the hatches and checked they hydraulic system and sure enough, the 30psi system was reading 0psi and was low on fluid. We didn't see any fluid in the bilge, so we were hopefull that it was a slow leak that had finally gone bad enough to loose pressure. We ran up to the 24-hr Walgreen's and brought back an electric air pump. Once we added a quart & 1/2 of fluid, we pressured the system back to 30 psi and she held fine. We got off about 2 hrs later than we wanted so we began the tournament a little late.

Lines in were 06:30, but we didn't put them in until 07:25. 07:45 we had our first strike and hooked up with a nice 170# striped marlin. I was the angler up, so I let him strip the line while we cleared the deck. Once everything was ready, I hooked up and began to battle on the 20# dacron on the Penn Senator 20.

The fish was fighting pretty lazy and wasn't acting like he knew he was hooked. Around 13 min into the fight, we get him close and realize he's tail wrapped, so we keep working him, trying to get to the double line for the release. We were very close to grabbing it (about 2 feet away) when he realized "Hey, what's this boat doing right here. I don't think I like this" and took off like a greyhound that just got slapped in the rear.

He made 7 hops with the line still around his tail and it finally came loose, allowing this guy to realize he had a hook in his mouth! This is when he turned into the ocean's version of the bull Yellowjacket and just launched out of the water, shaking all over the place. He made 3 huge jumps and finally the hook came out. This was our only strike on Friday, but we had fish all around us.

We headed over to Catalina and moored up at Moonstone for the night. We cooked up some great ribeyes and had a few coctails & were all snoring by 11pm. Woohoo, what a wild crew! (of course, we were all working on a long day at sea with no sleep).

We woke up at 04:00 rejuvinated and ready to hit `em again. It was clear & cool as we headed out of the mooring and started our cruise to the 14 mile banks. We were in position and the water was only 69.5 - 70.1. The fish had all been holding to 71 deg water the day before so we knew it wouldn't be as hot a bite.

We had lines in at the start time of 06:30 and everything was set well. No one was having much success around us so we headed back towards Catalina and began working the slide. It was the right call, the water temp was a nice 71.2. The skies were clear and blue, the water looked great. Bait was everywhere and there were hundreds of porpoises jumping all around us, along with and the occational jumping mako shark.

(end part one, will post part two after lunch...)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
(...continued, part 2)

So we troll aggressivly and have all eyes on the water, looking for fins. Around 9 o'clock boats start reporting hookups every few minutes. We see a bill in the spread and he takes the center line, a cedar plug. We drop the live bait line in and started to clear the deck and get ready to fight the fish as he peels off about 100 yards of 20# dacron from the reel. Well, he spits the cedar plug and picks up the live bait in the matter of about 2 seconds.

Everyone works flawlessly, the lines are all in, the Capt is quartering towards the fish, keeping a nice bow in the line so the tension is right. The angler is pumping away and the fish starts tearing off about 200 yards of line in the matter of seconds. As we are setting this fish up for textbook tournament catch & release, another boat comes straight at us, trolling into our wake at a 90-degree angle. We point, we holler, we try and raise them on the radio, all to no avail. He runs straight over our line and the fish get's cut clean off. The other vessel just kept on cruising and never made the slightest deviation.

As you can imagine, it was a good thing that we had secured the firearms in an area not readily accessable from the fighting deck nor from the bridge and simply let them know they were "Number one" to us. Well, that's what happens when you fish on the weekends...

It would be our last hookup for the tournament.

The water stayed in great shape and we had folks hooking up all around us, but with the area so crowded, it felt like a game of musical chairs and we never seemed to have a seat when the music would stop.

The tournament ended Saturday night and the two day total for 50 entered boats was over 100 hookups and 69-70 released marlin, only one DOA.

Photo's to follow when I get them.
 
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