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A full slate of WON events await in the New Year
From the U.S. Open of bass fishing to the biggest tuna tournament in the world, there’s plenty on the docket for 2018

SAN CLEMENTE — Each and every year, a smorgasbord of some of the most fun, exciting and lucrative fishing events you’ll find anywhere are put on the schedule by Western Outdoor News, and 2018 will certainly be no different. Starting in April, myriad fishing contests will kick off, running right on through the year and culminating with the biggest tournament in the world: the WON/Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot.

From freshwater to saltwater, WON has the fishing tournament gamut covered, from prestigious bass fishing events to all-for-nothing, big-fish showdowns aboard some of the most popular sportfishers in the Southern California fleet. From novices to seasoned veterans, from hard-core anglers to family fun, Western Outdoor News has the event for everyone on the ledger. Here’s a look at what’s to come in 2018: (check out the complete listing of WON events below online at by clicking on the ‘EVENTS’ tab at the top of the home page).

APRIL 11-13: WON BASS California Open, Clear Lake, Calif. — Now heading into its sixth year, the California Open continues to gain notoriety and prestige with each annual contest. Held at arguably what is the best big-bass lake in the country in Clear Lake, the potential of massive, record-breaking bags and thrilling weigh-ins is always a possibility at the Cal Open. A “bucket list” fishery for many West Coast bassers, Clear Lake is the Holy Grail for big-bass potential, and with a Bass Cat Sabre FTD / Mercury 150hp OptiMax ProXS prize package and ample cash up for grabs, it’s a no-brainer draw that brings both talent and excitement to the Northern California bass haven each and every spring. Set for mid-April amid pre-spawn conditions, the 2018 Cal Open is a total crapshoot in which anything can happen.

To secure your entry for the 2018 WON BASS California Open at Clear Lake, sign up online by clicking on the ‘EVENTS’ tab at the top of the home page or contact WON BASS Tournament Director Billy Egan at (949) 366-0248, or via e-mail at ($1,000 pro entry fee, $400 co-angler entry).

THE ROCKFISH RUMBLE is the first WON saltwater event of the year (April 26), pitting four Ventura Sportfishing boats and their anglers against each other in a battle for the biggest bottom biters.

APRIL 26: WON/Ventura Sportfishing Rockfish Rumble (5 a.m. departure, 4 p.m. return), Ventura Sportfishing, Ventura, Calif. — Four of Ventura Sportfishing’s top sportboats will battle it out, as over 100 anglers vie for top honors, prizes and cash awards in this annual one-day event. With the Pacific Dawn, Pacific Eagle, Island Spirit and Amigo heading out to the famed Channel Islands for this springtime big-fish contest, you can expect huge rockfish and lingcod to come flying over the rails, with any angler on any boat able to garner that one big bite and take all the marbles (i.e. cash and prizes), plus there’s a winner on each individual sportfisher for the biggest fish.

To sign up for April’s Rockfish Rumble, click on the ‘EVENTS’ tab at the top of the home page or contact sales rep Austin Jones at (949) 366-0726, or via e-mail at ($105 per angler).

NO CHOR-TAGE OF fun at the annual Lake Havasu Striper Derby, as longtime competitors, the Chor family, are among the many who fish the two-day WON derby each May.

MAY 19-20: WON/Lake Havasu Striper Derby — By far the largest striped bass fishing tournament of its kind in the western U.S., Striper Derby has drawn well over 18,000 teams over its 36-year run as WON’s longest-standing fishing tournament. This two-day family-friendly event is always a blast and great time had by all under the Havasu sun, with plenty of giveaways, raffles, prizes and awards slotted to go out to Derby competitors at the Sunday award ceremony, highlighted by a Klamath 16EXW aluminum and Suzuki 40hp motor package as the grand raffle prize. Two-man teams battle it out over two days’ fishing to try and amass the heaviest possible striper weight to take top honors. Plenty of cash is also on the line with randomly-drawn Blind Bogeys along with General Big Fish and High Roller .

Big Fish optional cash pools, giving anglers plenty of ways to win (besides all of the usual great giveaways and post-derby raffles).

To sign up click on the ‘EVENTS’ tab at the top of the home page, or contact Tournament Director Billy Egan at (949) 366-0248, or via e-mail at ($175 for basic team entry; $275 for team entry, Sat./Sun. Blind Bogey and General Big Fish optionals; and $375 to enter the High Roller optional).

CAPT. MARCUS MEDAK of the New Lo-An poses with the 2017 San Diego Offshore Jackpot champion Charlie Hashimura of Las Vegas and his 111-pound bluefin tuna.

JUNE 28-29: WON/San Diego Offshore Jackpot — Now entering its 4th year, the San Diego Offshore Jackpot is the biggest sportboat tournament on the West Coast, with potentially 400 anglers fishing it out aboard up to 18 San Diego sportfishers from H&M, Point Loma and Fisherman’s Landing for bragging rights and cash and prizes totaling in excess of $10,000 for the three largest fish that are weighed in.

This exciting extended overnight tournament will pit some of the best and most experienced captains in the SoCal fleet against each other, who will all be vying for pride and the hopes of securing the perpetual Jackpot trophy at their home landing until the 2019 tournament rolls around — the coveted trophy currently calls Point Loma Sportfishing home after the New Lo-An claimed two of the top three spots this past June with big bluefin tuna into the triple digits. The trip departs the evening of June 28 and returns the following evening.

Entry fee for the event is $275 per angler, which also includes the $20 jackpot buy-in. To book your spot for the 2018 Offshore Jackpot, contact the three landings directly:

H&M Landing: (619) 222-1144,; Fisherman’s Landing: (619) 221-8500,; Point Loma Sportfishing: (619) 223-1627,

MASSIVE PRIZE PACKAGES await the overall winners in six species categories of the 10-week WON/Big Fish Challenge.

JUNE 29-SEPT. 6: WON/Big Fish Challenge — When it comes to unique, all-inclusive fishing tournaments, there are none bigger, better or longer in duration than the one-of-a-kind Big Fish Challenge. Entering its third year, this unique 10-week fishing contest is open to anglers up and down the coast from the Channel Islands on south into Mexican waters. Each week, anglers from all over the Southland battle it out in attempt to land the week’s largest fish in each of six different species categories: white seabass, tuna, yellowtail, dorado, lingcod and halibut.

Weekly winners in each species category are awarded an array of top-shelf prizes, while the overall winners for each species category when all is said and done at the end of the 10-week contest score a massive haul of top-of-the-line sponsor prizes valued at over a whopping $5,000 apiece for each winner! At the top of the list of the many great things about the Challenge is that anglers can fish whenever they want, wherever they want, and however often they want… whether on a private boat or sportfisher.

Another great aspect of the Challenge is the cost to get in on the action — or lack thereof — as it’s just $10 to enter each individual species category for the duration of the 10 weeks, or just $40 to go “all-in” for all six saltwater species. With huge prize packages feature some of the best gear from the industry’s top names up for grabs, this is one contest you won’t want to miss!

To sign up for the 2018 Big Fish Challenge, log on to in the weeks leading up to the event.

WADE WELLS’ WINNING WSB in the 2017 Channel Islands Shootout, based out of Ventura Sportfishing.

JULY 5: Channel Islands Shootout — Celebrating its 10-year anniversary in early July, 2018, the Channel Islands Shootout out of Ventura Sportfishing is only second in size and scope to the Offshore Jackpot as far as big-time sportboat fishing tournaments go. What started off as a single-boat event one decade ago has now grown to include four sportfishers (Pacific Dawn, Pacific Eagle, Island Spirit and Amigo) and over 100 competing anglers.

The fantastic fishing grounds of the Islands provides the perfect backdrop for anglers duking it out and targeting big white seabass, yellowtail and halibut. Always slated for early July, great weather and great fishing are often the rule rather than the exception. Take your shot at the top spot in the 10th annual Channel Islands Shootout next summer and battle it out for bragging rights and thousands of dollars in cash and prizes — not to mention the troves of sponsor-provided swag to be doled out to anglers.

With a 5 a.m. departure and all boats returning by 4 p.m. for the always-exciting weigh-in, big fish can certainly be expected at the scales.

To enter the Channel Islands Shootout, click on the ‘EVENTS’ tab at the top of the home page, or contact WON sales rep Austin Jones at (949) 366-0726, or via e-mail at

inauguralchampionINAUGURAL CHAMPION OF the Morro Bay Central Coast Lingcod Championship, Bryan Reed (left), with his 12.6-pound ling aboard the Rita G out of Virg’s Landing.

JULY 21: Morro Bay Central Coast Lingcod Championship — Based out of Virg’s Landing in beautiful Morro Bay, the gloves are off and all eyes are set on the Central Coast’s huge lingcod fishery in the second annual Lingcod Championship. Anglers aboard sportfishers Rita G and Fiesta — and possibly a third boat — will vie for monster lings and top honors in the one-day event that will bring with it a load of cash and prizes. There will also be plenty of great giveaways going out to all Championship anglers.

Entry fees are just $105 per angler. To lock up your spot in the second annual Central Coast Lingcod Championship, click on the ‘EVENTS’ tab at the top of the home page, or contact WON sales rep Austin Jones at (949) 366-0726, or

OCTOBER 6-7: WON/Big Bear Lake TroutfesT — Moving back to its rightful place in the first week of October for its 14th annual installment, this family-friendly event is always a blast for adults and kids alike. Each fall, family and friends head “up the hill” to take part in the annual two-day trout derby amid the beautiful alpine setting of Big Bear Lake. Hundreds of anglers vie to make the top 5 in four different divisions (Adult Male/Female and Junior Male/Female), while also gunning for the Big Fish Award of the event and the bounty that comes with it (last year’s winner took home a 2½-day sportfishing trip, a $250 Yo-Zuri lure assortment, Lew’s rod and reel combos, Costa sunglasses and a Global Fish Mount of her winning fish).

TroutfesT is also known for its plentiful post-event raffles and giveaways at the Sunday awards ceremony, which also features 10 randomly selected Blind Bogey winners and the grand daddy raffle prize giveaway of them all… a Klamath 16-foot aluminum armed with a Suzuki 20hp tiller motor that will go out to one lucky TrouTfester. Early fall in Big Bear in the middle of the alpine city’s Oktoberfest always makes this a popular fishing event with returning participants year after year.

ARIZONA PRO JUSTIN Patti swings on a Lake Mead bass on his way to going wire-to-wire to win the 2017 U.S. Open, earning nearly $120,000 in cash and prizes after topping the 207-boat field, the largest in the prestigious tournament’s 35-year history.

OCTOBER 15-17: WON BASS U.S. Open at Lake Mead — Coming off the heels of one of the most exciting tournaments with the largest-ever field (207 boats) in its 35-year history, the most prestigious bass fishing tournament returns in mid October: the U.S. Open at Lake Mead. Known in fishing circles as “the great equalizer,” Lake Mead draws hundreds of anglers out to the Nevada desert every year — including some of the top names in the sport — to duel it out for the coveted and prestigious Open trophy.

Up for grabs to the victor is over $100,000 in cash and prizes, including a Bass Cat Puma equipped with a Mercury 250hp OptiMax ProXS motor. With payouts to the top 40 spots (based on another 200-plus boats) along with Big Fish and Big Stringer money at stake, there’s plenty of cash to be awarded at the Open as always.

The unique three-day, shared-weight format of WON BASS Opens is also a draw, allowing co-anglers to fish with a variety of seasoned pros, with both a chance to claim the AAA title and tremendous learning opportunities and forging bonds with other anglers that last often last a lifetime.

Widely acknowledged among the toughest and most challenging bass fishing tournaments in the world in terms of both fishing skill and endurance, the U.S. Open draws competing anglers from throughout the United States and beyond each and every year.

Entry fees for the U.S. Open are $1,600 per pro angler and $600 for AAAs.

To secure your entry in the 36th U.S. Open at Lake Mead, log on to, or contact Tournament Director Billy Egan at (949) 366-0248, or

THE CABO TUNA JACKPOT is as much a huge party as it is a huge fishing tournament.

estrelladelnorteESTRELLA DEL NORTE poses with their Cabo Tuna Jackpot-winning yellowfin, a 338-pound super cow.

OCTOBER 31 – NOVEMBER 3: WON/Cabo Tuna Jackpot — The biggest tuna tournament in the world returns next fall for its 20th annual edition, primed to be the best Cabo Tuna Jackpot yet. This Cabo event’s slogan, “Fish hard and party harder!” is always on full display at the Jackpot, with myriad parties and festivities to accompany the exciting big tuna fishing of the tournament.

The Jackpot features over 150 teams of up to four anglers who venture into Cabo’s waters in search of monster tuna — along with wahoo and dorado — in the hopes of a huge payday. The 2017 installment of the event was witness to the tournament’s largest-ever cash payout, a whopping $747,500!

Along with all the great parties, the thrilling fishing and other festivities surrounding the Cabo Tuna Jackpot, the event also raises $50,000 annually for local charities in Mexico.

For more information, visit For additional Cabo Tuna Jackpot information, e-mail Tournament Director Pat McDonell at, or to enter, contact Lori Twilegar at (949) 366-0827.

THE SALTWATER BASS SERIES kicks off with a spotted bay bass event in Newport Harbor on Jan. 13.

Mercury Saltwater Bass Series: 11 event dates through 2018 — Added to the 2018 schedule will be the “Kings of Calicos” 3-event series in which the total accumulative weight wins the crown.

The SBS will also offer Masters and Rookie/Family divisions with both divisions fishing simultaneously in the same events, and awards will be given out to each division at the post weigh-in BBQ.

The first event is coming up on Jan 13 in Newport Harbor. That will be a spotted bay bass-only tournament, and the rest of the SBS schedule will continue all the way through the 2-day championship in June.

The popular Lucky Craft “Hardbait Open” will be returning in 2018, the date for that is TBA.

For more info head over to

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