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California Billfish Series

California Billfish Series Facts:

  • 1st event, Zane Grey Invitational, September 11th-13th
  • 2nd event, Avalon Billfish Classic, September 18th-20th
  • 3rd event, Catalina Classic, September 18th-20th
  • Largest Striped Marlin and Striped Marlin release divisions
  • Official events

California Billfish

The California Tournament Series is the premier offshore billfish series in California. Held every September, the series consists of three events, The Zane Grey Invitational, The Avalon Billfish Tournament, and the Catalina Classic. The California Classic is a modified-release tournament with cash prizes for the heaviest fish caught. The Avalon Billfish Classic is an all-release event.

Boats fishing the California Tournament Series of tournaments often use circle hooks when casting natural live baits. There are no recreational circle hook requirements outside of billfish tournaments. The National Marine Fisheries Service defines a circle hook as a hook originally designed and manufactured so that the point of the hook is turned perpendicularly back towards the shank of the hook to form a generally circular or oval shape. The unique curved shape of a circle hook, essentially like that of a capital "G" helps prevent it from catching in the gut or throat of a fish, where it can cause significant internal injury.

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California Billfish Series Weather Forecasts and Fishing Data

When targeting Striped Marlin during the California Billfish Series, Buoyweather provides the best Chlorophyll, SST, wind and swell information available on the web. Stay on top of the blue marlin bite with our Tide and Moon phase charts optimized for areas offshore of Catalina Island.

Buoyweather premium members can stay on top of the Stiped Marlin bite by utilizing the Bouyweather mobile marine weather service or accessing the full range of Buoyweather features through our web app. Additionally, forecast alerts can be emailed to your mobile device or personal email account. TRY BUOYWEATHER PREMIUM 15 DAYS FREE - Sign up to become a premium member now.

California Billfish Series Fishing Tips

  • Check for 7 day wind and swell forecasts for the area Catalina Island. This will give you a good idea of what conditions to expect and where to fish during the tournament.

  • Striped Marlin can often be found feeding close to the surface in water temperatures above 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Check SST and Altimetry charts to find temperature breaks within the tournament boundary. Current breaks hold bait and serve as natural migratory pathways for bait and the striped marlin that feed on them

  • In windy conditions trolling smaller 7 and 9inch jigs is an effective strategy for catching striped marlin during the Catalina Billfish Series.

  • During calm conditions striped marlin in Southern California waters can often be seen tailing on the surface with a good pair of gyro-stabilized binoculars. Teams can then cast live bait to these fish, often resulting in multiple hook-ups.