Catalina Island News

California Billfish Series, West Coast Premiere Fishing Tournament Series

California Billfish Series

The California Billfish Series is the premiere big-game fishing tournament series on the West Coast. The series is made of three individual tournaments, the Zane Grey Invitational, Catalina Classic, and Avalon Billfish Classic. The events all take place on historic Catalina Island in September, during the peak of the striped marlin migration off of California. 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 and the biggest cash purses in the California tournament scene. The series is under new management this year as the founders of the web’s largest online saltwater fishing community,, purchased the events and has vowed to make the series and parties even better than before.

Tournament Breakdown:
Catalina Classic
For nearly 20 years, the Catalina Classic has stood out as the most prestigious, big-money billfish tournament in California. As such, the Catalina Classic is the premiere tournament in the California Billfish Series presented by Typhoon Polarized Optics, a three-tournament series that also includes the Avalon Billfish Classic and the Zane Grey Invitational. Scheduled for September 18-20, the Catalina Classic draws a wide range of boats hoping to land a big striped marlin and take home the lion’s share of the largest tournament prize purse in California — this event has been to known to award more than $500,000 in prizes. There are several changes for this year’s tournament: The event is now run and operated by the founders of, and the new owners have vowed to maintain the tournament’s long-held traditions, but improve upon the parties, dinners, giveaways and overall fun factor. And, the new owners have committed to hosting the event in Avalon on the historic island of Catalina — no matter what the fishing conditions dictate. The tournament committee is already meeting with longtime participants, past winners and owners to see how they can enhance the tournament experience and make sure teams catch fish and have a good time during their stay on Catalina. The island will be ablaze with activity during the tournament with casting competitions, a vendor village, cocktail parties, giveaways and a world-class award’s banquet held at the historic Casino building. You don’t want to miss this event.

Avalon Billfish Classic
The Avalon Billfish Classic is an all-release striped marlin tournament that is part of the California Billfish Series presented by Typhoon Polarized Optics. The Avalon Billfish Classic is fished simultaneously with the Catalina Classic, and runs from September 18-20. The tournament is set in the beautiful town of Avalon on historic Catalina Island. As the Avalon Billfish Classic is an all-release event, and the Catalina Classic is a big-fish tournament, many teams fish these two events together at the same time. In the Avalon Billfish Classic, a striped marlin release is awarded 100 points, and when the bite is good, those points can rack up quickly. The cash entry is only $800 for a team, but the cash purse can get big and fat thanks to the optional jackpot categories that range from $250 to $2,000 per day. The three teams that accumulate the most points will take home some nice hardware as well as cash prizes. There is also a mega-raffle for each team that participates. The team that holds the winning ticket will win a pair of gyroscopic binoculars from Fraser-Volpe, valued at around $5,000! Other activities include a casting competition, vendor village, knot-tying competitions, cocktail parties and one of the nicest award’s banquets in California in the historic Casino building. Over the years, the Avalon Billfish Classic has become one of the top marlin tournaments on the West Coast.

Zane Grey Invitational
The Zane Grey Invitational takes place September 11-13 in Avalon, California, on the beautiful island of Catalina. The Zane Grey is the first event in the California Billfish Series, presented by Typhoon Polarized Optics. The Zane Grey is a modified-release tournament, awarding points for boated fish that meet the minimum length and/or weight requirement, as well as points for releasing striped marlin. The Zane Grey offers participants the opportunity to enter several optional jackpots that inflate the prize money. These optional categories range from $250 up to $5,000 a day, so if you want to go big, this is the event to do it! The trick to taking home a fat payday in the Zane Grey is to catch a big stripey. Striped marlin over the minimum weight receive two points per pound for the minimum weight (165 pounds) plus an additional three points per pound for each whole pound over the minimum weight. A 200-pound striped marlin, for example, would score 330 points (165 pounds X 2 points) + 105 points (35 pounds X 3 points) for a total of 435 points. It makes for some exciting fishing as it typically takes just one or two big fish to move a team up into the money. Besides great fishing, the tournament features top-notch food, trophies, captain’s bags, giveaways and parties on the historic island of Catalina.

For more information, contact tournament director Ali Hussainy at, 858-560-5525 or visit our website.