BD Outdoors.com, the new website launched by the founders of Bloodydecks.com, recently purchased the California Billfish Series, and is happy to announce that their team will be running the billfish tournaments on historic Catalina Island in 2011. The series includes the Zane Grey Invitational, Catalina Classic and Avalon Billfish Classic. The events will continue to take place on historic Catalina Island without any changes to the formats, rules or other aspects of the tournaments. BD Outdoors.com plans to improve upon and grow the events, but will not deviate from the already proven formula that has been a California tradition for decades.
“Over the past three seasons there were some truly great moments,” says former tournament director Rod Halperin. “Who can forget the record days set by Scrambler and Exta Sea in the 2009 Zane Grey, or the dramatic come-from-behind victory by Chaser in that same event? We had record days for catches in the 2008 and 2009 Catalina Classic, and reinvented the Avalon Billfish Classic to draw new teams to the tournaments.”
The three events that make up the California Billfish Series take place in September, during the prime run of striped marlin off the West Coast. The Zane Grey Invitational kicks off the series, with tournament dates of September 11-13. The Catalina Classic and Avalon Billfish Classic are fished simultaneously and are scheduled for September 18-20. The Catalina Classic is a modified-release tournament with large cash prizes for the heaviest fish caught, while the Avalon Billfish Classic is an all-release event that draws the best crews on the West Coast, hoping to win this prestigious tourney.
Collectively, the tournaments represent the top marlin events in the western United States, and are known for hosting world-class parties and banquets, entertaining landside activities, a vendor’s village for sponsors and local retailers, as well as the largest cash payouts in the California tournament scene.
“These three tournaments attract the best crews on the West Coast,” says Ali Hussainy, president of BD Outdoors.com and tournament director for the series. “We know tournaments and when the opportunity came up to take over these events, we just couldn’t say no.”
Halperin took over management of the series several years ago and worked to ensure that the tournament tradition lived on in the California marlin fishing community. With a new business opportunity on the table, he felt it was time to switch his focus, but he wanted the tournaments to find new leadership who would put their best foot forward and continue to grow the tournaments.
“We looked to select members of the sport-fishing community to locate a partner that had the desire and ability to continue the tradition of these fine events,” Halperin says. “BD Outdoors fit the bill perfectly. They are well established in the California sport-fishing market, have much experience operating fishing tournaments, and are looking to grow their footprint in our market. They are also super fishy guys who bring a new, fresh energy, which will help take these events to higher places in the future.”
BD Outdoors is putting together a tournament committee of past winners, captains, anglers and owners to get a feel of what the tournaments need form the participants standpoint to take them to the next level. Rest assured, the series will offer a level playing field for the competition, many different ways to win, a guaranteed good time and hopefully an epic striped marlin bite.
“Now the time has come to pass the helm over to Ali and his team,” Halperin says. “I could not ask for a better group to take the lead. I know they will work as hard as anyone ever has to continue the tradition of these fine events. Please join me in welcoming them aboard.”
Zane Grey Invitational is the first in the three-event California Billfish Series. The Zane Grey kicks off with check in on Sunday, September 11. Fishing will take place on Monday, September 12 and Tuesday, September 13. The awards ceremony is scheduled for the evening of Tuesday, September 13.
The Catalina Classic/Avalon Billfish Classic is fished simultaneously. Check in begins on Sunday, September 18 at Descanso Beach Club. Fishing takes place on Monday, September 19 and Tuesday, September 20. The awards presentation will take place the evening of Tuesday, September 20 at the historic Casino Ballroom.
A new tournament website is currently under construction, but dates and entry forms are available now by visiting www.catalinaclassic.com.