Oregon Tuna Classic’s 13th Season Kicks Off In Ilwaco July 28-29


The thirteenth season of the Oregon Tuna Classic is about to kick off with the first event at the end of the month when teams roll into Ilwaco for the Deep Canyon Challenge on July 28th and 29th. Registrations are well ahead of last year and motels are getting scarce. Tuna have been caught but they’re not quite here in big numbers but it’s early. A south wind and swell this week along with a waning full moon should help change the offshore landscape dramatically spurring on fellow tuna holics. They’ll be glued to Facebook and local chat forums anxiously waiting for reports of blooding decks and plugged fish boxes and then tuna season will officially be rolling.


We are wrapping up the final details of this seasons tournaments and are proud to announce Garmin has signed a deal to extend their title sponsorship through the 2018 season. North River boats got their feet wet with us last year and has now stepped up to be the Corporate sponsor level. Columbia Distributing has helped us secure Coors Light as the official beer sponsor contributing product and cash. Weddy, Megan and I will be making a very quick trip back to ICAST this week to visit with other potential sponsors for the next season.

Last year Cabelas joined the fun as a sponsor and recently gave the OTC a $3,700 grant to help cover the annual canning costs for Garibaldi. They have also contributed the last two seasons with some nice products we will be using in the bucket raffles.


Offshore fishing in the northwest can be challenging but mother nature was flat out mad at us last year during the Ilwaco event, when teams were faced with 20 foot combined seas, forcing us to cancel the offshore fishing portion of the event and as the saying goes “when your dealt lemons make lemonade” – so we did and may have also added a little Crater Lake Vodka. Thanks to Mark Youngblood Sport fishing and the Ilwaco Tuna Club the salmon side pot was enhanced to over $2,000 prize money then we added a golf scramble and everyone had a great day. We normally have 500-650 people in the tent on Saturday night and was facing the potential of a very small crowd but 350 faithful humbled me and showed their character making the event a huge success. The golf scramble and salmon side pot are now a regular part of the program.

A new addition to this year’s tournaments is the ladies’ division. I have secured a few 6-pack charters for them to use and by the response I’ve had it looks like I might be looking for boats and skippers for them.

Last year’s donation of $80,000 along with 8,450 cans of tuna to the food banks was a record for us and we’d love to top that. The food bank can buy 5 pounds of food with every donated dollar making this contribution worth 400,000 pounds of food to the hungry. The people you’re helping are not the people you see on the side of the road with a sign. Most people in need are too proud to ask for help. These are the folks that just lost their job, had a life emergency or some other life changing event and just need a little temporary help. They’re hard working people who live next door to all of us and could use a hand to get back on their feet.

If you’re team is not registered don’t wait too long the cutoff is July 23rd. for the first event. Go to www.oregontunaclassic.org . If you’re new to tuna fishing this is a great place to meet others and learn. We have all skill levels in these tournaments and come Saturday night inside the tent all that is set aside and the energy level amps up to an electric buzz. Who knows, your team might be the one standing on the podium with a pocket full of cash, bragging rights and an official invite to fish in the Offshore World Championships next April in Costa Rica.

For those of you who were in Garibaldi for the OTC you had the privilege of hearing Generald Wilson sing the national anthem. He’s coming back and will be at both events. This guy is a retired navy petty officer and he will raise the hair on your neck when he sings. Check him out –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqFeDk3Wc2Q

I hope to see you on the starting line Saturday morning when the flare goes up but, if not, join us in the tent later for all the festivities. I promise you’ll be glad you joined in on all the comrade and fun leaving with a full belly and a sense of pride you were part of something good.

None of this would be possible without a lot of great sponsors so be sure to say thank you to them when you get a chance.

Tight lines

Del Stephens
Oregon Tuna Classic

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