CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Big Fish Challenge

Visit the event website to join the fray— sign up for one, or all six species.


CLICK HERE for official web site.

WON Big Fish Update
WON Big Fish Challenge Week 9

Final round underway! 


theleadinghalibut
THE LEADING HALIBUT in the WON Big Fish Challenge was caught way back in Week 2!


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — You all really let me down in Week 9. Zero fish of any species weighed in in the second-to-last week of the Big Fish Challenge. What was it? Back to school? Didn’t bother because your fish wouldn’t compete for the overall lead in any of the SIX species categories?


Did you forget about the weekly prize packages that go out for the top fish in each species for the week? Look at it this way, that rat yellowtail, barely-legal barracuda or white seabass, football yellowfin, 2-pound ling or 22-and-a-half inch halibut would have scored you a weekly prize if you would have weighed them in!


Anyway, the final week is now underway and it will all wrap up on Friday, Sept. 6. The leader of each species category at that point will be invited to Western Outdoor News headquarters, hopefully with a truck, to pick up his/her incredible grand prize package and tell us how much they love they event. They always do.


A quick overview of the grand prizes that will be awarded to the six winners — which at this point would include a repeat winner from last year —reveals the following scores: $500 cash from Mercury Out­boards, an Avet reel, Costa sunglasses, a Global Fish Mount of each winning fish, a Lowrance Hook2 unit, Plano tackle bag, an assortment of Rapala lures, HI-SEAS mono and fluoro, a Yo-Zuri lure package, Izorline mono, Gamakatsu hooks, a pair of Fred Hall Show passes, a subscription to 976Bite.com and Terrafin, an overnight trip, Engel hard and soft coolers, Fishworks clothing and gift certificate, an event-branded artist print from Studio Abachar, Kill Fish bamboo gaff, prize pack from Hogan’s Bait and Tackle, $500 gift certificate for Quality Performance Marine and Winn Grips overwraps and grip sleeves.


All for a maximum entry investment of 40 bucks (for all species, otherwise, $10 per species) which covers you for all 10 weeks, when you’re going fishing anyway. It’s the fishing no brainers of all no brainers.


To see how it works and check out the prize lists, visit WONBigFish.com, and be ready to join this incredibly popular event next summer!




WON Big Fish Challenge Update


New lingcod leader after week 8


newlingcodleader
THE NEW LINGCOD leader is Ron Folgner who was fishing aboard his own boat, Hot Rail, when he connected with this 18.28 pounder. Folgner is in the driver’s seat in that species category with less than two weeks to go, and he was a grand prize winner last year’s Big Fish Challenge.


 

BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — Didn’t everyone assume Week 8 would be the “the week of the lingcod?” With late-summer surface fishing making all the headlines, a couple big lingies dominated the second-to-last week of the 3rd Annual WON Big Fish Challenge.


WON Charter regular Wade Wells leapt into the top spot in the lingcod species category with a 10 pounder he caught aboard the Stardust out of Sea Landing. His spot atop the totem pole didn’t last for long, as former Grand-Prize winner Ron Folgner popped an 18.28-pound ling-o-saur aboard his own boat, Hot Rail. He was using a mackerel on a dropper loop along the Santa Barbara coast, and he weighed his fish in at Hook Line and Sinker.


Another solid fish hitting an official scale in Week 9 was the 23-pound halibut caught by a BFC participant who fished a private boat off Marina del Rey. Well short of the 42-pound leader in the halibut category that was caught back in Week 2, but he’ll score a nice weekly prize package for the biggest fish in a category for the week.


We are in the home stretch of this popular 10-week summer event, but if you are fishing the salt any time in the next weekend and want to get in and attempt a Hail Mary at the buzzer (it’s happened in previous Big Fish Challenge events), you can get in there for only a few bucks.


To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com.




WON Big Fish Challenge Update

Overall leaders rest easy after Week 7


this24
THIS 24.10-POUND YELLOW caught by Alex Plambeck was not enough to bump off the leader in that species category, but he will score a weekly prize package for that fish. Just two weeks left!


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — In a bit of a shock, no anglers participating in the 3rd Annual WON Big Fish Challenge bumped any of the overall leaders atop any of the six species categories in Week 7. Maybe everyone is trying to get on dorado while the gettin’s good? Regardless, the overall leaders certainly didn’t mind not sweating it out for a few days, but Week 8 is currently underway, and they might not be safe for long.


The biggest fish registered for Week 7 was a 24.10-pound yellow­tail ripped from a San Clemente Island kelp paddy by private boater Alex Plambeck. Not enough to unseat the 35.4-pound leader, but good enough for a nice weekly prize package. Plambeck weighed in his fish at the Dana Point Fuel Dock.


Another private boater, Mike Bardin turned in a 17.25-pound forkie at Ken’s Custom Reel in Oceanside. He caught that one on a paddy of his own off North San Diego County, and he fooled the fish with a sardine fly-lined on 30-pound P-Line.


We are in the home stretch of this popular 10-week summer event, but if you are fishing the salt any time in the next two weeks and want to get in and attempt a Hail Mary at the buzzer (it’s happened in previous Big Fish Challenge events), you can get in there for only a few bucks.


To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com.




WON Big Fish Challenge Week 6


Long-standing bonito/barracuda leader bumped off


thenewleader
THE NEW LEADER in the bonito/barracuda species category is Bennett Salvay who used a Yo-Zuri plug to troll up this offshore bonito. The previous leader of the category had stood at the top of the list since Week 1.


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — Another week, another new overall leader in a species category as Week 6 of the WON Big Fish Challenge is in the books. Anglers are already battling in Week 7, and there is still time to register and take part in the last few weeks of this popular “every man” fishing event.


There was only one new overall leader this week, but it’s a significant one since the same angler has held the top spot since Week 1. Skyler Fabozzi’s 7.94-pound barracuda was entered in the first week of the 2018 Challenge, and it was recently bumped off by the 8.2-pound bonito weighed in at CISCO’s by Bennett Salvay. He has been very active in this third installment of the Big Fish Challenge, and he caught this bonehead while trolling Yo-Zuri plug offshore from his boat, Profishent. The bonito/barracuda species category is a new slot added for this summer’s 10-week event.


Other notable submissions in Week 6 include a 26-pound halibut landed by BFC-veteran Scott Sawa who took home a grand prize in the inaugural event. He caught this flatty in Santa Monica Bay and weighed it in at 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro, and he will receive a weekly prize pack for catching the biggest fish in a species category.


A 13.6-pound yellowtail caught by angler “Gary” aka “TeamFunHunt3” didn’t have a chance to reach the top of the yellowtail totem pole, but as the big yellow for the week, he will get a prize pack as well. He also stuck a 23.4-pound halibut that was second only to Sawa’s big flattie.


Anglers can enter the WON Big Fish Challenge at any time during the event. Of course, the earlier the better as it gives you more time. To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com. Signing up is easy, inexpensive, and a no brainer if you are fishing salt­-water anyway!





WON Big Fish Challenge Week 5

New seabass and lingcod leaders at event’s halfway point


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THE NEW WHITE SEABASS leader is Corey Scott who weighed in this 48.1-pound fish in Week 5. There is also a new lingcod leader. Visit WONBigFish.com for leaderboards, prize lists, rules and registration.


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — It seems like each installment of the annual 10-week WON Big Fish Challenge has its own characteristic separating it from the others. We’ve just closed the book on the Week 5 midway point of the 2018 Challenge, and it feels like its specific attribute is a new overall leader (or multiple) almost every week.


The lingcod top spot was destined to go down after a new leader showed up at the end of Week 4 with a measly 4 pounder weighed in by BFC veteran, Scott Sawa. The new ling-o-saur high-water mark was set in Week 5 when Jim Williams crushed the Sawa fish with the 18-pound model he stuck at Catalina on a live mackerel. He weighed in his fish at 22nd Street Landing. Week 5 was tabbed as the lingcod week in terms of which angler scored an Avet reel to go along with a weekly prize package for his catch, so Williams’ catch was well tied.


The white-seabass overall leader has been bumped off in each of the last three weeks. In Week 5, Corey “Seabass Man” Scott was fishing aboard the Stardust out of Sea Landing at the Channel Islands when he knuckled down on a 48.1-pound tanker, beating the previous leader which was a respectable 45.9-pound ghost.


Another notable fish hitting one of the many official Big Fish Challenge weigh stations was a 134-pound bluefin tuna weighed in by Alex Plambeck at Dana Landing. His fish fell well short of the 182.2-pound leader in the tuna category, but he’ll receive a nice weekly prize package for his efforts.


Anglers can enter the WON Big Fish Challenge at any time during the event. Of course, the earlier the better as it gives you more time. To register, check the leaderboard, read the rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com. Signing up is easy, inexpensive, and a no brainer if you are fishing salt­-water this summer anyway!




Big Fish Challenge Week 4:


Three new overall leaders set eyes on grand prizes


newtunawk4
THE NEW LEADER IN THE TUNA category is Charles Cone with this 182.2 pounder he caught in Week 4. Grand prizes go to the top fish in six categories after the 10-week event, half of which is still in front of us. See rules, prize lists and registration info at WONBigFish.com.


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — The fourth week of the 10-week WON Big Fish Challenge is in the books, and that round featured a new leader in half of the six species categories.


Charles Cone’s kite-caught 182.2-pound bluefin blew away the previous leader and put Cone in the driver’s seat for the grand-prize package in that category with five weeks to go in the Challenge. He caught the fish on the private boat, Afishionado and registered it at Dana Point Fuel Dock.


A winner in the inaugural Big Fish Challenge two years ago, Scott Sawa took the lead last week with a 5-pound lingcod caught off his kayak on a live mackerel in Santa Monica Bay before weighing in the fish at 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro. A decent fish, but it’s safe to say a bigger one is going to be caught sooner than later.


In the competitive white seabass category, a 45.90-pound tanker eclipsed the existing leader by less than a pound and moved angler Tyler Grossi to the top spot. That was a dropper-loop fish caught in the Santa Barbara Channel.


Bennett Salvay holds the top spot in the yellowtail category with a 35.4, and he turned in a 29.6 in Week 4 which was the biggest forkie that round, so he’ll be sent a weekly prize package for that. Those prizes go to the biggest of each species, each week.


The leader in the Bonito/Barracuda species category has stood since Week 1 of the Challenge, and that’s a 7.94-pound barrie caught by Skyler Fabozzi. A respectable but beatable specimen, but if anybody might be running away with this thing early, it could be kayak angler Jorge Villegas who set the high-halibut mark with a 43-pound flattie he caught back in Week 2.


We have now reached the half-way point of the WON Big Fish Challenge with sportboat guys, kayak anglers and private boaters shooting it out in Week 5 right now. Over the first two years of the event, the overall leaders changes hands plenty of times.


Anglers can enter the WON Big Fish Challenge at any time during the event. Of course, the earlier the better as it gives you more time. To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit a catch (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com. Signing up is easy, inexpensive, and a no brainer if you are fishing salt­water this summer anyway!




WON Big Fish Challenge


Week 3 update


newyellowtailleaderwk3
THE NEW YELLOWTAIL leader in the WON Big Fish Challenge is this 35.4 pounder caught by Bennett Salvay at the Channel Islands.


SAN CLEMENTE — Week 3 of the Big Fish Challenge is in the books, and it featured a couple new overall leaders and a fish that missed the top spot by a half pound. The white seabass category has been the one to watch, with the leader changing several times per week thus far. Anglers are already out there shooting it out in Week 4.


Corey Scott became the new overall leader in the white seabass category with a 45.3-pound tanker he caught off the Santa Barbara coast off the private boat, Purist. That has been a hotly-contested species category where WON readers have seen the top spot occupied by a 19 pounder, then a 28.5 in the first couple weeks of the Challenge. That being said, and given the fact that we are in the midst of Week 4 as you read this, it looks like there is already a new white seabass leader coming up.


Now that’s just the word and it’s not official yet, but, for what it’s worth, he and all the anglers registering the top fish in each species will be getting a nice weekly prize package, and that is the case for the duration of the 10-week event.


The yellowtail category also has a new leader. Bennett Salvay stuck a 35.4-pound mossback that bumped off the 32 pounder weighed in by kayak angler Chris Blevins in Week 2. Salvay was fishing the outer Channel Islands with a live squid aboard Profishent and he weighed the fish in at CISCOS. He will also score an Avet reel with the biggest yellow caught in Week 3. In Week 4, the Avet will go to the top fish in a different category.


Also aboard Profishent in Week 3 was Daniel Salvay who weighed in a 42.4-pound halibut that fell just over a half-pound short of the 43 pounder caught by Big Fish Challenge regular Jorge Villegas in Week 3. A heartbreaking scenario, but Salvay will score that weekly prize, and it looks like he spends plenty of time on the water and can do a lot of damage with more than half of the event still ahead of him. A kayak angler, Villegas sat atop two species categories when the dust settled on the inaugural Big Fish Challenge earning him a pair of grand prize packages.


A reminder, anglers can enter the WON Big Fish Challenge at any time during the event. Of course, the earlier the better as it gives you more time. To register, check the leaderboard, read rules and the prize lists and submit fish (once you’ve entered), visit WONBigFish.com. Signing up is easy, inexpensive, and a no brainer if you are fishing saltwater this summer anyway!




WON Big Fish Challenge Week 2


backattopwk2
BACK AT THE TOP — Jorge Villegas, winner of the 2016 white seabass and halibut categories, has staked a strong claim towards repeating his halibut win with this beautiful 43 pounder.


BY PAUL LEBOWITZ

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — A familiar face has vaulted to the top of the halibut leaderboard as the race for the top spot in six species categories enters its third week.

Before we get to that, there’s still plenty of contest left. The WON Big Fish Challenge runs through September 6. It’s only $10 per species to enter, or $40 for all six categories. The prize packs are worth more than $5,000. There’s one for each species category. They have to be seen to be believed. Sign up! You’re going fishing anyway.


Back to that familiar face and a recap of the week 2 action that spanned July 6 to July 12. Kayak angler Jorge Villegas, winner of the halibut and white seabass categories in 2016, weighed a hefty 43-pound halibut at 22 nd Street Landing. It was caught in Santa Monica Bay using a live mackerel. Villegas is back in a familiar place, leading the category.


The largest yellowtail of week 2 was another nice fish, a 32-pound yellowtail caught by kayak angler Chris Blevins at La Jolla using a live mackerel, taking a huge lead.


Ed Uchio topped the bonito / barracuda division for week 2 with a 7.6-pound skinny caught at the Horseshoe while trolling a live sardine. Skyler Fabozzi still leads the overall the contest with a 7.94-pound barracuda.


It didn’t take much of a lingcod to win the week. Ulisses Figueroa weighed in a 4 pounder caught on a dropper looped live sardine. It is the category leader in the clubhouse, but could be surpassed any time.


Bennett Salvay caught the heaviest white seabass of week 2, a 19.2 pounder landed at the outer islands using live squid on a sliding sinker rig. It leads the overall contest.


No tuna were weighed in for week 2, meaning week one’s 23 pounder is still in the lead.


For more information including prize lists, leaderboards, rules and registration, visit WONBigFish.com.




WON Big Fish Challenge Week 1


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THE WON BIG FISH CHALLENGE is underway with nine weeks to go. Skyler Fabozzi is a participant, and he weighed in this 11.4-pound white seabass at Hook, Line and Sinker in Santa Barbara to take the early lead in that species category. Sportboat, kayak and private boat anglers can sign up for the Challenge at any time during the 10-week event, but getting in early increases your odds. Visit WONBigFish.com for more information and to sign up.


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — The 3rd annual WON Big Fish Challenge is off and running, and opening week had official entries in the tuna, yellowtail, halibut and in the new bonito/barracuda category, but they were all weights that will likely be beaten over the next two months of the Challenge.


Still, anglers only need to submit the largest fish of each of the six species in each week to score a nice weekly prize, and it usually doesn’t take a monster to do exactly that!


Currently, the weekly prize boxes include a tournament t-shirt from Fishworks, Hi-SEAS fluorocarbon leader wheels, Gamakatsu hooks, Big Hammer swimbaits and the very popular Winn Grips rod wraps.


It being the first week, the leaderboard was populated with multiple catches, including a pair from Skyler Fabozzi, who now leads in the white seabass category (11.4 pounds) as well as in the bonito/barracuda (7.94 pound ’cuda). A very beatable 6.5-pound yellowtail caught by Kaden Caliendo aboard Aqua Pazza took the weekly prize for that species, but you can bet on a new yellowtail leader as early as Week 2.


When the dust settles after Week 10, the angler that caught the biggest fish in each species category will receive an incredible grand prize package. Competitors can fish from sportboats, kayaks, private boats, pretty much anything. You can enter the Big Fish Challenge at any time, but you have the best shot at winning by getting in early. Entry is simple and inexpensive: $10 per species or $40 gets you “all in” for every category, then you just fish when you want.


You’re fishing anyway, so, signing up and taking a shot at great prizes is a no brainer!


For more information including prize lists, leaderboards, rules and registration, visit WONBigFish.com.


WON Big Fish Challenge is back for Round 3
Floating weigh stations a key

addition to the 2018 BFC, grand

prizes already bigger than last year

and still growing



TO ENTER, CLICK HERE


BY MIKE STEVENS

WON Staff Writer


SAN CLEMENTE — Three years ago, Western Outdoor News staff put their heads together, determined to create a saltwater fishing competition that puts anglers of all kinds on a level playing field, maximizes participation, has a variety of ways to win, and features incredible grand-prize packages. Oh, and this all had to be with a miniscule registration fee and a simple format.

A short time later, the WON Big Fish Challenge was born, and the third installment of the event that immediately became a favorite among WON readers and supporting sponsors is set to run for 10 weeks starting June 29 and running through Sept. 6.


The idea for an “every man’s” fishing tournament put everyone from private boaters to kayakers to party boat anglers against each other in a 10-week competition for gaudy prize packages. After a successful inaugural season, and an upgraded follow-up, the BFC is back, and even in the planning stages of this one, the grand prizes are more valuable than last year’s, which was nothing to shake a stick at.


In talking to participants, including the winners, the “no brainer” element always comes up. Common denominators are: we are fishing anyway, might as well take a shot at the prizes, it’s only 40 (or less) bucks, I can fish as often as I want and it’s a simple format.


It’s actually even easier this time around with the addition of “floating weigh stations” which are specific sportboats that can officially weigh a Big Fish Challenge worthy fish for registered participants right there on the water. Right off the bat, San Diego’s Prowler, Dominator and Daiwa Pacific as well as Dana Wharf’s Helena jumped all over that opportunity, and that list is sure to grow. If the sportfisher you are loyal to is not a floating weigh station, you need not worry, as official weigh stations are sprinkled all along the Southern California coast, and there is nowhere you can be that is not a short trip from one.


As it stands now, official weigh stations include (from San Diego north) San Diego Marlin Club, Fisherman’s Processing, Dana Landing Market and Fuel Dock, Ken’s Custom Reel in Oceanside, Dana Point Fuel Dock, Balboa Angling Club, Alamitos Bay Fuel Dock, 22nd Street Landing, CISCO’s, Ventura Sportfishing, Hook, Line and Sinker in Santa Barbara and Sea Landing.


As you can see, wherever you’re fishing, there’s an official scale nearby.


Here’s a quick overview of how the event works: anglers visit WONbigfish.com where signups, rules, prize lists and updated leaderboards can be found for the duration of the event.


Competitors can sign up for any number of species categories for $10 each, or all six for $40. When a possible leading fish in each species category is caught, it can be weighed in at any of a number of convenient weigh stations up and down the coast, and a photo of it being weighed is uploaded to the Challenge site. Weekly updates will appear in the pages of Western Outdoor News, but real time updates will always be available on the website.


Anglers can jump in and register at any time, but obviously your best shot at winning is to do so before it kicks off so you have a full 10 weeks of competition at your disposal.


The biggest fish in each category in each week of the Challenge earns a prize package, and the biggest fish for each species when the dust settles at the end of the 10 weeks scores an incredible grand-prize package, which at this point (it’s still growing) is valued at over $5,200. Put it this way, when grand-prize winners came to WON headquarters to pick up the spoils of victory, they were in trouble if they didn’t come in a truck.


That’s a good, basic overview of the Big Fish Challenge, and it really is that simple.


There were a lot of interesting if not heartbreaking occurrences surrounding the inaugural event. For one, the weekly prize (as well as an overall leader) in the dorado category went unclaimed for weeks, but as reflected in the paper, plenty of local dodos were being caught… by anglers NOT SIGNED UP. Finally, a registered fisherman nabbed a qualifying dorado near the end of the tourney, and it wasn’t even that big.


There was also an angler who won two grand-prize packages when he finished on top of two species categories. So, he got two of everything, which included the cash prize for each species. Throughout that Challenge, there were plenty of leaders losing their top spots only to regain it later, which added to the entertainment value of the whole thing. At times, it went back and forth between the same couple ang­lers for several weeks.


Last summer, in the second running, it played out more along the lines of contending fish being caught early and holding the top spot for weeks if not until the end of the Challenge. And, last year was also dominated by private boaters, but the first installment had mostly sportboat anglers bringing home the bacon along with the kayak winner.


The preliminary prize list is already impressive, and it includes products, service and even cash from supporting sponsors that will either go toward the six grand-prize packages or as part of the weekly prizes that get sent out during the event.


A glance at the grand prize packages (you can see it in detail in the grand prize sidebar) as they stand now shows: $500 cash in prize money from Mercury Marine, who is back as the title sponsor. Grand Prize winners will so receive an Avet reel, Costa sunglasses, a mount of their winning fish by Global Fish Mounts, a Calstar rod, Plano tackle bag, any of a number of overnight trips, a 976Bite.com membership, braid and saltwater lures from Yo-Zuri, more lures from Rapala, VIP passes to the next Fred Hall Show, Hi-SEAS fluorocarbon, a year subscription to Terrafin, Gamakatsu hooks, Engel premium hard-side and soft coolers, Fishworks clothing a Lowrance Hook2 fishfinder/plotter, Kill Fish gaffs, Hogan’s Bait and Tackle gift cards and swag, service certificates for Quality Performance Marine, and Studio Abachar is back providing framed pieces for each species category that are Big FIsh Challenege branded.


Again, there are six of these up for grabs and the most it can possibly cost you to get in the running is $40... AND YOU’RE GOING TO FISH ANYWAY!


At this point, the grand prize package has a total value of right around $5,200, and if the first two years of the event are any indication, that number is only going to go up between now and Week 1, if not during the course of the 10-week competition.


Personally, I am a fan of the residual value of the grand prize package. Here are some examples, maybe they will help you see me working.


Obviously, all the gear you win can and will be employed for future Big Fish Challenges. The subscriptions to intel powerhouses Terrafin and 976Bite will immediately make you a next-level saltwater angler with all that insider info, which will only help your chances at repeating next year.


There is also the trophy-case factor. For the rest of your life, you’ll have the framed Abachar piece on the wall identifying you as a former Big Fish Challenge grand prize winner, not to mention the Global Fish mount of your winning beast. Look at those things the same way a retired NFL player looks at his Super Bowl rings. Validation! These are the things angling legends and primo man caves are made of.


Looking back at the first two years of the Big Fish Challenge, it’s played out exactly how the creators had hoped: all inclusive, low maintenance, level playing field and minimal investment and requirements.


It was a very fun event that featured minimal investment for a shot at huge prizes, and anglers of all kinds were on a level playing field. Keep an eye on Western Outdoor News for updates on the event.


WON Big Fish Challenge Grand Prize Packages!


Here’s the beauty of the WON Big Fish Challenge. For just $10 per species or $40 for all six, you could win one or more grand prize packages worth $5,200! That’s right, there are six — one each for yellowtail, white seabass, bluefin tuna, barracuda/bonito, halibut and lingcod. That’s a minimal investment for a potential maximum payout. You’re going fishing anyway. Why not sign up?


Let’s take a look at the highlights of what’s on offer in each grand prize pack. It’s spectacular, and starts with $500 cash in Mercury prize money. Winners also get a Global Fish Mount of their winning fish to hang on the wall. There’s an Avet reel and a CalStar rod. You get a pair of Costa sunglasses. Yo-Zuri is kicking in a fabulous saltwater lure package that includes a dozen of their best baits, plus spools of Yo-Zuri SuperBraid. Engel is providing not one but two premium coolers, one hard-side and one soft. Here’s another wall hanger — a framed Amadeo Bachar print featuring you winning fish species. Plus a Lowrance Hook2 7-inch sonar/chart plotter. It’s a ton. As we’ve said elsewhere, you better bring a truck to haul it all away.


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LAST YEAR’S GRAND prize packages waiting to be taken home by each species category winner. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS


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PRINTS BY STUDIO ABACHAR are species-specific for each grand-prize winner, event branded and a very unique and popular element of the packages. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS


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CORI HUSBAND SHOWED up in the tuna category almost every week of both runnings of the Big Fish Challenge, so she was a very deserving winner of the tuna category in 2017. WON PHOTO BY MIKE STEVENS

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A SURFACE IRON fired off the Native Sun earned the yellowtail grand prize in 2016 for Ulisses Figueroa.


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TWO FOR TEAM SEWER — Jorge Villegas took the 2016 halibut division with this 40-pound flattie, and a 32.4-pound white seabass won him that species category, too. Yes, he got TWO grand prize packages for his effort.


nealbabourran
NEIL BARBOUR RAN away with the tuna category in 2016 with a 257.7 pounder that no one came close to beating.


registeringisaREGISTERING IS A PIECE of cake at WONbigfish.com. Just pick your species for $10 each, or go “all in” for all species for the discounted rate of $40.


Check out the current grand prize list:

6 Species - Prize packages for each overall winner Approx. value

Mercury prize money — $500

Quality Performance Marine Service Certificate — $500

Avet Reel — $250

Costa Sunglasses — $250

Global Fish Mount — $750

Calstar Rod — $300

Plano Tackle Bag — $80

Overnight Trips — $250

976-Bite Membership — $150

Yo-Zuri Saltwater Lure Assortment — $200

Yo-Zuri Super Braid, (300 yd. spools), 50-, 65- & 80-lb. — $5

Rapala Saltwater Lure Assortment — $180

Fred Hall Show - (2) 2019 VIP Passes — $40

HI-SEAS Fluorocarbon (Clear & Quattro 20-60-lb.) — $190

Gamakatsu Hooks — $100

Terrafin 1 year Subscription — $100

Engel HD 30 Soft Side Cooler — $199

Engel 80 Qt Cooler — $319

Fishworks Clothing Set — $150

Amadeo Bachar Print — $340

Lowrance Hook2 7” — $599

Kill Fish Gaffs — $80

Hogan’s Bait & Tackle — $75

Winn Grips Overwrap & Grip Sleeves — $48


TO ENTER, CLICK HERE


Mercury BIG FISH CHALLENGE

Don't be left out, signup today for The Big Fish Challenge


bigfishchallenge.com


Visit the event website to join the fray – sign up for one, or all six species


The second annual WON Big Fish Challenge presented by MERCURY OUTBOARDS lunged out of the starting gate Friday (June 30) at midnight, the first of 10 weeks of competition up and down the coast for the biggest saltwater game fish Southern California has to offer. With beastly bluefin right outside our backdoor, the timing couldn’t be better.

The event website,"WONBigFish.com"  is up and running and it’s a breeze to enter the Challenge. Just click on the ‘Enter Big Fish Challenge’ tab on the home page and add each species ($10 per species) you want to fish for to your shopping cart, or go “all-in” for all six species for $40. The six eligible species are tuna, yellowtail, white seabass, dorado, lingcod and halibut, so take your pick or target ’em all!

 Once you’ve created a user name and password and paid your entry fee, you’re good to go for the duration of the 10-week event. Submitting your catch is also a no-brainer. Just click on the “Submit a Fish Weight” icon in the upper right hand corner of the webpage and upload your photo (the higher resolution the better). Enter your fish weight and select your species, weigh-in location and the week of competition you caught the fish. Enter your full name, hometown, boat name, and the date and location the fish was caught or any other details you’d like to add about your catch, then click on the “Save” icon. That’s it, you’ve made your submission and are in the running for the Challenge!

Check back in at "https://wonbigfish.com" as often as you’d like to scope out the competition and all of each week’s catches to see how your fish stacks up. Weekly prize packages will be awarded for the biggest fish in each of the six species divisions, with grand champion prize packages worth $5,700 going out for the biggest of each species at the end of the 10-week Challenge.

So get in on the action and secure your spot in the Big Fish Challenge. Let the games begin...

Week 8 of WON Big Fish Challenge brings three new leaders
Top spot in dorado category remains unclaimed with two weeks to go


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THIS 25.7-POUND YELLOWTAIL moved into the top spot of that species category in the WON Big Fish Challenge. It was caught by Bill Gehring aboarf the Pacific Islander and weighed in at CISCOS. A new halibut and lingcod leader were also caught in week 8.

Soooo, anyone fishing where you might run into a dorado?


With week 8 of the WON Big Fish Challenge in the rearview mirror and less than two weeks to go, the dorado category lies vacant. That means, you could catch a 5 pounder and win an insane grand prize package for having the biggest representative for a species category at the end of the season for no other reason than no one else weighed one in. That being said, some of the other fish holding the top spots in a species category are very beatable.


The six overall winners in each category when the challenge ends will receive: $500 cash from Yamaha, an Avet reel, Cousins rod, Costa sunglasses, a Global Fish Mount of your winning fish, Plano tackle bag, Foodsaver Titanium G800, 12 spools of Hi-Seas fluoro, three spools of Izorbraid, five bulk spools of Ande mono, a Gamakatsu hook assortment, lifetime pass to the Fred Hall Shows, one-year subscription to 976-bite AND Terrafin, and overnight trip, jewelry from Jon Petty Goldsmith, an 85-quart Esky cooler, $500 gift certificate to Marine Service, $150 in Fishworks clothing and an event-specific Studio Abachar print commemorating your winning catch.


A trio of fish occupying the top spots were bumped off in week 8. The 40-pound halibut caught by kayak angler Jorge Villegas and weight in at 22nd Street Landing in San Pedro surpassed Greg Barnicoat’s 37.5 pounder that’s been leading for weeks. The 16.7-pound yellowtail that was leading up to last week was bound to be beat, and it was a 25.7-pound yellow caught aboard the Pacific Islander by Bill Gehring and weighed in at CISCOS in Oxnard that shot past it and now leads the category. Heartbreaker for Cori Husband who stuck a 25-pound-even forkie she weighed in at Dana Point Fuel Dock.


Ron Briggs, who lost the top spot in the lingcod category last week reclaimed it in week 8 with a 12.8 pounder he caught on the Pacific Islander and weighed at CISCOS. He was also the angler who lost the top spot for yellowtail this week.


That’s how easy it is to get in the running. There is still time, and for only a couple bucks, it’s still worth it, especially when the weight to beat to become the grand prize leader in the dorado category is zero pounds, zero ounces, and it’s not like they aren’t being caught right now.


For the rules, prize lists, standings and sign ups, head over to WonBigFish.com.


Only a couple weeks left to lay claim to huge prize packages
Dorado category in Big Fish Challenge remains wide open

After a tuna-heavy week 6, week 7 of the WON Big Fish Challenge had zero tuna entries (so even a football tuna would have taken home the weekly prize) and no Grand Prize leaders were bumped off. Perhaps participants in the Challenge have been scared off by Neil Barbour’s 257.7 bluefin caught last week that could win the grand prize for the tuna slot, and opted not to weigh in smaller fish. Bad move.


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WITH A BIG HALIBUT AND SEABASS, 8-year-old Parker Taix claimed two weekly prizes (one for each species) in Week 7 of the WON Big Fish Challenge. The flattie went 27.7 and the seabass tipped the scale at 21.3 pounds. Both were caught at Santa Rosa Island aboard the Amigo.


So, even as we enter the eighth week of the 10-week event, it’s still pretty easy to win amazing prizes.


The top performance of the week goes to 8-year-old Parker Taix who claimed a pair of weekly prize packages with his 27.7-pound halibut and a 21.3-pound white seabass. Both were caught on squid fished on 30 pound at Santa Rosa Island aboard the Amigo.


With week 7 tabbed as the halibut week as far as who wins the Avet reel, young Parker will score that as well as two weekly prize packs containing Big Hammer swimbaits, Gamakatsu hooks, a Fishworks shirt, Hi-Seas line and a Winn Grips rod wrap.


Dane Saiki, who caught an 8.5-pound yellowtail, will also score a weekly prize for his fish also caught and weighed in at CISCO’s. Ron Briggs, whose name has popped up in the Challenge as much as anyone’s, won another weekly prize with a 5.8-pound lingcod caught out of CISCO’s. Briggs is currently the grand prize leader in the yellowtail category with a 16.7 pounder.


With the end of the Challenge just a couple weeks away, there is still time to get involved for just a few bucks at WonBigFish.com, and take a shot at the weekly prizes, including the Avet reel that goes to a different species category every week, and a $5,000 grand prize when the dust settles for the biggest dorado, tuna, yellowtail, halibut white seabass and lingcod weighed in over the course of the event.


The leaderboard can be referenced as can the list of prizes at WonBigFish.com.


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