With Tuna Season Ahead, Exciting Changes To OTC Format


Editor’s note: Live bait fishing for albacore will be a feature article in the upcoming July issue of Northwest Sportsman magazine.

It’s been a quiet winter for Northwest tuna fanatics, but that’s all about to change in the next few

July 4th is the traditional kickoff for when tuna show up off the Oregon and Washington coast but don’t tell that to the “Tuna-holics” hanging out on the Salty Dogs chat forum on Ifish.net because I can assure you if the water warms up a tad bit a few folks will be sneaking offshore to try and land the first albacore of the season. Some publicize their intent while others just quietly sneak out of the harbor and hope to get into the longfins then radio in their “hooked up.”

Ah, the words we love to hear.

Jim Pex, Port Coordinator for Charleston/Coos Bay, and I were in Eugene in April to proudly accept the Outstanding Oregon Tourism Volunteer Awards at the annual Oregon Governors Conference on Tourism. Say what..That’s right a tourism award. We have been so focused on putting on tournaments that benefit the hungry that we didn’t realize one of the side benefits of bringing 60-80 teams into these coastal communities was the economic impact we were having. We knew we were drawing teams from far away as Montana, Nevada, California, Washington and even Samoa one year.

Community leaders in these coastal towns have been taking notice and have told us the economic impact of bringing our teams, support staff, volunteers and spectators is pumping $250,000-$300,000 into their communities at each event and when you multiply that times four, well, you do the math.

Plans are being finalized for the 2011 Oregon Tuna Classic season and just when you think it can’t get any better we’ve added some exciting new changes. Have you ever watched a FLW or Bass Masters weigh-in? They do it in front of a large crowd which is exactly what is going to happen this year with the OTC weigh-in. The teams will tag and offload their tuna into totes of ice, the fish will then be weighed on the stage in the big tent while everyone is having dinner, and at the season finale in Garibaldi we will have some special entertainment to ratchet things up even more.

Last year the OTC events were designated as qualifying events by the IGFA for the IGFA Offshore World Championships and they will continue to be classified by the IGFA again this year.

Additionally, this season local radio stations in each coastal community will be a conducting a contest for locals to go to the OTC website http://www.oregontunaclassic.org and cast their ballot for the new name of the tournament held in their community in 2012. The Oregon Tuna Classic will be the parent organization but each event will have its own name and identity going forward.

Local artists from those areas will compete to design the poster for the 2012 event in their community. Participants have ask us for more ways to win so we have something fun and exciting for those teams that like to pre-fish on Fridays. “Big Fish Fridays”…a side pot with a 100% payout.

The Emmy-nominated new show “The Joy of Fishing,” which came out on Fox Sports last fall, will be back to film another show at one of the events.

As you can see we’ve been busy planning this winter and it won’t be long now before the 2011 season will be off and rolling. Last year we jumped from 1,400 participants in 2009 to slightly over 2,000 participants in 2011. We plan to carry that momentum into this season for another great year.

If you’re a sponsor we thank you for your support, if you’re a participant we look forward to seeing you at the events, if you are a volunteer we are so appreciative of your help and if your someone who hasn’t witnessed the contagious energy of 650 people inside the big tent then you’re missing out and we welcome you to join us.

Tight Lines
Del Stephens
OTC Chairman

2011 Tuna Tourneys
Oregon Tuna Classic

Newport/Depoe Bay: July 23
Ilwaco: Aug. 6
Charleston: Aug. 20
Garibaldi: Sept. 3

Washington Tuna Classic

Westport: Aug. 27


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