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U.S. veterans take in fun and fish on Castaic Lake

Wounded Warrior Project’s bass fishing tournament aimed to give veterans relaxing time

Posted: July 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 28, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Sebastian Morataya, 6, holds up the bass he caught during the Wounded Warrior Project bass fishing tournament held at Castaic Lake on Saturday. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

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Some military veterans got a reel treat at Castaic Lake last weekend when trained anglers took them out for a day of fishing, fun and friendly competition in recognition of their service.

The day was put on Saturday with the goal of providing a relaxing day for participating veterans and their families, according to John Barron, president and owner of Top Stick Tour, which coordinated the hours-long fishing expedition.

“This is to give the guy a day on the water where they don’t have to think about anythingelse,” Barron said of the veteran participants. “They can just go fish, go have some fun.”

Barron said this is the second year the event has been held and that about 30 veterans participated this time around.

“We’ve almost doubled from last year,” he said.

Army veteran Sonny Santos traveled all the way from Bakersfield to participate Saturday.

“This is the first time in my life I’ve actually caught anything,” he said with a laugh.

“This was just great,” he added as his catch was weighed. “I want to do it all over again.”

Navy veteran David Davis said he appreciates the fact people were looking to give something back to veterans.

“It was a lot of fun, he added.

A collection of groups, including the Top Stick Tour, Fregoso Outdoor Foundation, Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and Friends of Castaic Lake all contributed to help put on Saturday’s fishing trip.

“What we found out from last year was there’s such a huge response, and actually really a great need,” said Ed Cox, the Fregoso Foundation’s director of fishing and big game. “A lot of the vets don’t get opportunities to go fishing.”

Of course, having fun is also a big goal, Cox said.

“This right here is a perfect opportunity for us to get the vets together with professional bass fisherman, go out on the lake, be taught some skills, actually catch some fish and have a good time,” he said.
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