With nearly $25,000 in prize money already in the bank and a quickly improving striped marlin bite off of the Southern California coastline, the 2012 California Billfish Series presented by COSTA is off to a promising start!
“Several marlin were hooked and/or caught over the weekend at the San Diego, Orange County and island banks, as well as A banks. There have also been sightings and short bites from below the border all the way to Avalon Bank,” said Tournament Director Ali Hussainy. “That is music to our ears! We’re planning on much better fishing than last year, and we’ve already got a nice chunk of change in prize money to give away.”
The California Billfish Series presented by COSTA is made up of three striped marlin tournaments — the Zane Grey Invitational, the Avalon Billfish Classic and the Catalina Classic.
The Zane Grey kicks off the 2012 series, taking place on September 9-11. The 2011 Zane Grey tournament was held in Dana Point, and the participants had such a blast that the tournament committee has decided to hold the 2012 Zane Grey in Dana Point once again.
The crew on Shark’s Parlour were the top dogs in the 2011 Zane Grey Invitational and took home a bounty of cash and prizes that was valued at more than $85,000. With that kind of money in the pot, it’s no wonder this tournament attracts the best crews on the West Coast.
The Tournament Committee says it’s already got teams gearing up for this year’s tournaments and is expecting more boats in 2012 — which means more prize money for all of the crews fishing the tournaments!
The Avalon Billfish Classic and the Catalina Classic will be fished simultaneously from September 23-25 on historic Catalina Island. The Catalina Classic is a big-fish tournament while the Avalon Billfish Classic is a catch-and-release event. Most crews fish both of the events to maximize their shot at winning. Since there were no qualifying fish caught in 2011, the tournament committee refunded all of the optional jackpots and nearly $25,000 in prize money rolled over to 2012.
“This is the first time we’ve kicked off the tournaments with a big chunk of money in the bank,” Hussainy said. “If the fishing holds up and we get 60 or more boats registered like they used to back in the day, we will be able to give out several hundred thousand dollars in prize money. That’s our goal — to have great striped marlin fishing and give the winners a big payday.”
The Catalina Classic and Avalon Billfish Classic are always a blast with an opening day party and vendor’s village at Descanso Beach. There will be a casting contest as well as knot-tying competitions and tons of great gear on display from the event’s sponsors. Each crew member gets a captain’s bag overflowing with swag, and there are some killer new shirt designs to unveil this year.
Registration is already open for all of the tournaments. To get more information, a schedule of events and everything else you need to know about the California Billfish Series, visit www.catalinaclassic.com.