Ilwaco Tournament in the bag or bucket or what have you.


July 31, 2012

 The Ilwaco leg of the Oregon Tuna Classic just wrapped up this past weekend and we were pleased that the weather and ocean was the best we have seen in some time.  Light winds and minimum seas allowed for a very pleasant fishing experience over the two days of fishing Friday and Saturday.  Garmin, our new Title Sponsor for 2012 and 2013, must have brought fantastic weather with them.

We made some changes to the event this year by adding an extra day of competition to the event thus increasing the opportunities to win with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners on both Friday and Saturday.  We also added an overall winner for the two days combined earning a Shimano/PowerPro prize package and also the opportunity to win the Garmin Grand Giveaway by the winning team using Garmin products on their boat.  In addition we added a Charter Division on Saturday where individual fisherman competed against each other with their single largest fish.

 This year we held the live weigh in, lunch and auction on Sunday with a tent filled with 260 fisherman and families set to see the final results.  Pig Out BBQ put on the meal as live weigh in took place and the teams eagerly awaited the results.

 With 45 teams entered, 41 took off to the grounds on Friday morning. We had a couple of unfortunate teams with boat issues keeping them in port.  38 teams turned in fish at the end of day and all 38 turned in 5 fish for a total of 190 fish weighing 4,144lbs. The bite was on early in the day and most teams arrived back at port well before the 6:00pm cut-off time.  The albacore didn’t stand a chance.  The size of the fish were smaller than many had hoped for (a solid 18-20lb average) with the exception of those teams that found the larger fish!  The team fortunate enough and taking the top honors was our port sponsor team, Defiance Boats with a total weight of 126.95lbs.  Following in 2nd place was team Ellie’s Anglers with 122.75lbs and 3rd was our title sponsor team Garmin – Bad to the Bone with 116.85lbs. Taking the big fish pot was team, Garmin – Bad to the Bone with a 29lb tuna.

  Saturday was much the same as Friday as the ocean conditions remained calm but with some new teams on the board and slightly bigger fish.  This time 42 teams started the day and 39 teams turned in fish.  Again all 39 teams turned in 5 fish.  The 195 fish turned in weighed a total of 4,084lbs.  Taking the top honors was Just Keep Fishing with 135.8lbs, 2nd place was Defiance Boats with 131.95lbs and 3rd place was another Defiance team, Usual Suspects with 128.25lbs.  Unfortunate circumstances kept team ProMotion Fishing products off the board as they were unable to cross the finish line before the 6:00pm deadline.  Did I mention that their top 5 fish would have swept the day?!  Big fish pot honors, with a whopping 35.75lb tuna, went to No Quarter Given who finished just out of the top 3 in 4th place for the day. Current IFGA rankings are still being calculated and will be released shortly.

  The Charter division sponsored by Colbach Law, Wilcox and Flegal and Phenix Rods was won by David House with a 27.3lb tuna, coming in second was yours truly with a 27.05lb tuna and 3rd was Matt Coppo at 22.70lbs.  All were fishing aboard the Pacific Dream skippered by Tom Merriman. 

 A few anglers turning in 112 extra tuna added to the ending fish counts for the 2 days.  A number of fish were even turned in by a private boat not even fishing in the event and we thank them for their contribution!  At the end of the weekend we had a total of 10,640 pounds of fresh albacore split between the local food banks of Pacific County and Oregon Food Bank of Clatsop County. 

 We thank all that participated and we would not be able to put this on without our countless sponsors and volunteers.  See you in four weeks when we roll into Garibaldi for the final leg of the tournament series.

 We hope to see you there.

 Greg Elliott

OTC Chairman

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Registration site is broken

The registration site is broken. We hope to be back up tomorrow morning. Regular registration will be extended to Wed. July 25th. There will be no increse in the registration fee. We are sorry for any inconvenience


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June 14th Update from Nalu

The tuna are coming, the tuna are coming!

There’s no denying the fact that the tuna will be here sooner rather than later, and what better thing to do than have a gathering just before the season gets in full swing?

The total scope of this gathering is not set, but I do have some preliminary details, and they are pretty cool.

First off, Mike Domeyer and Mike Potts of Team KingFisher have agreed to spend time talking first hand about their experience at the IGFA World Championship, as well as how they got there. Without doubt, Team KingFisher negotiated through the 2011 Oregon Tuna Classic with determination and skill to capture the overall title. For both experienced anglers, and new ones, we are all fortunate to have a team that is very willing to share the secrets to their success. More details to follow..

Second… The Oregon Tuna Classic is looking to blow out the remaining t-shirts, hoodies, and 1/4 zips that we had left over from the 2011 season. There are not a lot of these, so it will be first come first served with no “pre sale” or pick up later. I will post the graphic later, but this is a great quality shirt with a killer graphic on the back of a Fishtrap on the Slide. Cost will be $8 for one or $15 for two, and $25 for sweatshirts, and the first 20 people through the door will be given a free shirt. As always, all proceeds go to the OTC which is non-profit and there is no money being made by anyone involved- this all goes right back to the cost of putting on the tourneys. You all get a killer shirt or sweatshirt and we don’t sit on excess inventory that we paid for. If you didn’t attend the OTC, and haven’t seen the 2011 shirts, they are really sweet- only possibly to be outdone by the 2012 ones.

For those that are new to tuna fishing, this is a great place to meet and greet.

More details to follow, but that’s the start of it…. As always, everyone is welcome, and anyone who wants to gear to show others is more than welcome. I’m happy to bring jig gear and talk jigging or any other style of fishing that I employ.

Who’s in and how many? At this time, the plan is to have it held at Quimby’s in NW Portland.

Time and date set:
Quimby’s   06/20/2012  starting at 6:00 PM

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Ok folks, the website is up and running and the registrations are turned on. It’s time to get signed up for this years events. Look for notice of an upcoming TA meeting. See ya all there.

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April 2012 OTC Update

Here we are, the first week of April. I met with BDC Advertising, our webpage designer and we went over all the changes for the website this year. Expect the site to up and fully functional next week. I want to give the Board a chance to audit all the changes and make any needed corrections .

Something new this year, the Ilwaco Tournament will have a charter boat division.


  1. You sign up with a participating Charter to fish on Saturday July 28th.
  2. Register online with the OTC for $100.00
  3. Fish on Saturday and bring your heaviest tuna to Check In by 7:00 PM.
  4. Join us on Sunday for the Weigh In, Awards and Lunch
  5. Pay out will be $500 for 1st, $250 for 2nd and $125 for 3rd place.
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(March Madness) 2012 OTC Update

Hi Folks,we are fine tuning the changes for this years events and this requires a good deal of editing of the website pages. Please be patient with us as we work through this process to minimize any errors and confusion. It is our expectation to have the website and the registration process fully up and running the first week of April.  Thank you………. RC

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Big Changes in 2012

The end of 2011 is just around the corner and before we know it, Tuna Season 2012 will be back around!

Those of us involved with putting on the Oregon Tuna Classic would first like to once again thank all of the participants and sponsors that have made the OTC such a great event! THANK YOU! As with each previous year, the 2011 events were a great success, and the ultimate result was helping many people in need.

As some already know, some significant changes are taking place for 2012. Each change has been discussed in great depth by the board, and was taken very seriously. The changes made are all done to provide for a long term, sustainable event that participants, sponsors, and the community can rally around. We truly believe we have accomplished that with the enhancements for the upcoming year. To give some perspective on why the OTC has made some significant changes in 2012 it is important to step back and see how the event has evolved.

In 2005 the a FIRST EVER tuna tournament in Oregon or Washington was held with a group of 17 boats. A couple weeks of prep, a flat ocean, and a makeshift BBQ afterwards and the first event was a huge success! The excitement of the day was undeniable, and providing tuna for the needy made everyone feel great! A core group got together that fall and put in place the framework for what would eventually be the OTC and a multi event tuna tournament.

Fast forward to 2011. The Oregon Tuna Classic holds 4 events, the Washington Tuna Classic holds an event, and Defiance Boats holds the first ever Tuna Smackdown event. In just a few short years, the options for fishing a tuna tournament go from none to six over the course of a relatively short season. While the OTC is understandably proud to be the first tuna tourney in the Northwest, we have always supported, and continue to support those that wish to hold a tourney. Both the WTC and Defiance Boats coordinated with us in 2011 to try and provide the best options available to everyone, and we all get along great.

The end result for the OTC is that six tourneys over the course of a short season is a lot. We listened to participants say over and over that their entire summer seemed to revolve around tourneys. In addition, the board of the OTC ended up having the summers blow past in a whirlwind of tourney activities. As much as we love the tourneys….we all feel that something was being lost and that 4 OTC events felt like a grind for many. In reviewing what percentage of teams participated in all four, and how we could best provide for ALL participants and our charity, it became obvious that a change was needed.

The big change is that the OTC will condense down from four tournaments to two. Newport and Charleston will no longer hold events, and Ilwaco and Garibaldi will continue moving forward. Certainly this was no easy decision, and it does not reflect any negativity on the locations that will no longer host the events. Both Newport and Charleston have been some of the most wonderful and fun events that we have ever held, but logistically speaking, they simply do not align with what we feel we can accomplish for participants in 2012.

So, on to the 2012 event info and some of the OTHER big changes! Two events instead of four….but two BIGGER, BETTER, more KICK TAIL events than have been held yet! One of the biggest things to the success of the OTC is that both events will share a fairly common theme, though each event will be run INDEPENDENTLY. What that means to participants is that you will continue to see the same rules, guidelines, procedures and such at each event, though there may be slight differences. What that means to the OTC is that each event will be managed from the home port in its entirety. The Ilwaco event organizers maintain total control over running their actual event themselves, as does Garibaldi. This gives each port the ability to really take community ownership while the OTC provides a solid structure with the rules of the tournament itself.

So, what changes from 2011 to 2012 for BOTH events? The tourneys will be a Three Day Event.

FridayFull fishing day with boats able to leave any port and fish to the event port. There will be a “Lines in the water” fishing start time. The return check in time is still TBD, but is currently expected to be later than the previous 4:00pm. There will be a short on-site check in and captains meeting Friday night.

Saturday- Full fishing day with Shotgun Start. Return check in time will be 6:00pm. Fish offload and TBD if some or all fish will be weighed that night or left to weigh live at the banquet. Depends on what the port wishes to do. There will be NO dinner on Saturday night.

Sunday- Awards, Raffle, Sponsor Displays, and Lunch Banquet. Port discretion regarding live weigh in, etc. There will be free time to spend with sponsors in working booths such as Garmin and other boat and product vendors prior to lunch, then the lunch, awards, and raffles. We feel that having the lunch and awards on Sunday will allow teams a full day of fishing on Saturday, the ability to spend more time “telling lies” Saturday night, and a relaxed, non-tiring event on Sunday where people can actually spend time and not feel rushed- or tired.

CHANGE IN THE PRIZE FORMAT- The prize format will be amended to be more like other tournaments. EVERY team that signs up for the event will automatically be entered in a base “JACKPOT”. The total payout of this jackpot will be based on the number of teams entered.

In addition to the AUTOMATIC jackpot, there will be a wider range of “SIDE POTS”. As of now, we anticipate $100, $250, $500, and $1000 levels.

Both the AUTOMATIC and the SIDE POTS will be SPLIT over both days of the event. That is: The $100 side pot will be split with 50% being paid out on Friday and 50% being paid out on Saturday. Each day the payouts will be split with percentages going to the TOP THREE places, and a small percentage to the OTC. 60% First, 20% Second, 10% Third, 10% OTC. (These % could change, and will be formally announced when finalized)

So- To give an example- For the $500 Side Pot. The side pot is entered by 20 teams for a total amount of $10,000. That amount is split between Friday and Saturday, so each day the payout the amount is $5000. The team that gets First -EACH DAY- will get 60% which is $3000. Second will get 20% which is $1000, Third- 10% which is $500, and the OTC retains 10% which is $500. This is for EACH DAY, so most likely different winners each day, which means more opportunity to win.

There will also be Pelagic and Big Fish side pots with the same type of payouts.

There will be an OVERALL WINNER for the weekend. We will announce the particulars of that at a later date.

All winning teams will be required to consent to a POLYGRAPH test to validate that they followed the rules of the tournament. This will account for the Friday “Lines in the Water” time, as well as the no fish caught previously, or kept on the boat.

The 2012 OTC Ilwaco Tuna Classic will be held July 27th, 28th, and 29th in Ilwaco, WA.

The 2012 Garibaldi Oregon Tuna Classic will be held August 24th, 25th and 26th in Garibaldi, OR.

So….Some significant changes, but ones that are intended to really enhance the OTC. In discussion with numerous teams and sponsors, the change to two dedicated weekends a month apart has been widely accepted as a much better format. The extended fishing hours, and the increased ability to place in the money on multiple days has also been met with great enthusiasm. The Sunday lunch and chance to visit vendors should cap the weekend off nicely.

On behalf of everyone involved with the OTC I would again like to thank those that has been involved and grown with us over the years. We feel that with the changes that will be implemented, 2012 is going to be the most exciting year yet. These changes really create events that are stepping up a notch and providing the excitement and enthusiastic we want to generate for our participants.

If anyone has questions, please feel free to ask away and I’ll do my best to provide answers.

Tight lines everyone!

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Whats New for 2011

June 7, 2011

It’s been a quiet winter for northwest tuna fanatics but that’s all about to change in the next few weeks. 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 Aholics” hanging out on the Salty Dogs chat forum on 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 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

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A Big Thumbs Up To Reeling In Hunger

August 29, 2010

A light rain was starting to fall in Garibaldi Sunday evening but I don’t think anyone really cared. The community was still buzzing and most people were still talking about the massive crowd that filled the big tent Saturday night. Fishermen were moving slow, some had loaded their boats headed for home and the big boats were motoring back along the coast to their home ports.

I visited with Tred Barta while transporting him to the coast on Thursday and as much as his illness has humbled him it is also very inspiring to see him getting back in the saddle and do what he loves most. He was in rare form when he took the microphone Friday evening while teams were still checking in and if there was ever any doubt about how big his personality is that was cleared up quickly. Being self described as “210 pounds of blue twisted steel sex machine with a Republican political view slightly right of Attila the Hun” is only a glimpse of a man that has come close to meeting his maker and has had intimate conversations with God with the love of his life, Annie, by his side. Setting on the side lines is not the Barta way and learning to live life again through his adventures seen on his award winning TV show, ”The Best and Worst of Tred Barta” on the VERSUS network every week is inspiring many with disabilities to get back out there and take charge of their lives.

Saturday morning 73 teams checked in at the roll call, a mile offshore in the darkness, and waited. Then at 6:20 am as the sun was breaking through the clouds Tred blessed the fleet with a Fisherman’s Prayer and a few moments later the sea was churned into a froth of boat wakes and prop wash as engines roared to life and boats raced for the horizon.

The seas were less than ideal and boats soon slowed down when the adrenaline rush was quickly replaced by the hard jarring and pounding that comes with the strong north winds that grace the Pacific Northwest. Some plowed onward, others raced over the top and a few returned to port and greeted those upon their return later in the day.

It was a good day for the hungry in Tillamook County when 48 teams turned in 6,414 pounds of tuna at the Tillamook Bay Boathouse. Weigh master Vickie Rutledge with her crew of volunteers from Sterlings Savings Bank called out the weights and secretly recorded the totals as teams waited in suspense to see who would be the new season champion and get the official invite for the IGFA Offshore World Championships held next May in Cabo San Lucas.

Team Just Keep Fishing had been leading in the points with a slight lead over Team Green Lightning Laundry followed not too far behind by Gales Creek Tuna Gaffers and Team Wildcat. It was Team Just Keep Fishing’s title to lose and a bad day on the water would leave it wide open for any of the other teams in the chase.

It was scratch fishing the first few hours for most but as the sun rose high in the sky teams started picking off a few fish here and there. Some getting their 5 fish and heading for the barn while others trying for a few more, in hopes of some bruisers that could help them make the podium.

Saturday evening over 650 people filled the tent to celebrate the end of the 2010 season and crown a new OTC Champion but that would have to wait a little longer. Tred soon showed up along with Annie and his fishing buddy for the day, Lonnie Morgan, another disabled fisherman and the tent came to life again with his larger than life persona. It was a long evening as the program worked through the live auction, raffles, short speeches from the local food bank, acknowledgement of guests and few more inspiring words from Tred to motivate the crowd to give.

In the past seasons there have been some perennial teams that have frequented the podium throughout the season but with more people learning how to fish tuna the playing field is changing and the 2010 season has seen some new faces standing high on the podium.

Our first place team, coming in with 139.3 pounds is Team Albie Damned from Garibaldi, Oregon and skippered by Dan Mitchell is one of those teams that are new to the sport. Dan and his second mate, Jeff Stokes, have been very focused the last few years on learning various techniques and have been posting some great numbers this season so it’s no wonder they took the top spot for this event. His crew was quick to donate their $3,000 first place winnings back to the OTC to help feed the hungry, the bragging rights was enough prize for them.

The second place team coming in with 134.5 pounds is Team Fat Cat from Ilwaco, Washington. A fun group of guys to fish with these guys truly enjoy the spirit of the competition and it was no big surprise when they also donated their $2,000 second place earnings back to the OTC.

Rounding out the third place spot with 129.8 pounds is Team Defiance/ CornFed. Tommy and his crew have been working hard this summer and this is the second time they’ve been on the podium at an event, taking second place earlier this month at the Washington Tuna Classic. Some hard work and good fishing skills pays off for them.

The IGFA points leader Team Just Keep Fishing were sweating bullets coming into the last event and skipper Dave Putnam was pretty frazzled all week with the anxiety of not knowing how things would play out. Lady luck just happen to be their side and they posted enough weight to hang onto the lead taking the title of Season Champions for the 2010 Oregon Tuna Classic and winning the official invite to the IGFA Offshore World

Championships. Team Green Lightning Laundry and Gales Creek Tuna Gaffers had a great season but just couldn’t muster enough weight, on this last event, to catch them.

There’s only a few things left to wrap up for this season but there’s still plenty of time to get back out there and catch a few more fish.

I’d like to give another heartfelt thank you to our title sponsor, Ron Brockmann, an Allstate agent from Albany Oregon. Ron fished on various teams during the season and was always there to help when we needed a hand. It was good karma coming full circle when he was invited to be a crew member on Team Albie Damned helping them to land in first place for this final event. I can’t think of a more fitting finish for his season for everything he’s given to us and those in need.

We’ll see you back on the water. Tight lines

Del Stephens OTC Chairman

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Official OTC Results for Charleston 2010

And the Winners are………..

1st….Wildcat 131.10
2nd….Chillabit 124.15
3rd…..Gales Creek Tuna Gafers 118.45
4th…..See-Ya 118.25
5th…..Just Keep Fishing 118.05
6th…..Bad To The Bone 117.5
7th…..Bad Ass Tuna 116.3
8th…..Green Lightning Laundry 115.5
9th…..G-Loomis 115.2
10th…Eat Me Lures 114.45
11th…Tia Maria/Amtech 114.05
12th…Offshore Adventures 113.35
13th…Joe Joe 113.05
14th…Gangfishkhan 112.90 24.05 biggest fish
15th…Pro Fish N Sea 112.90 23.60 biggest fish
16th…Sea Wolf 111.45
17th…Sterling Bank/ Time Out 110.95
18th…Allstate#2 110.55
19th…Ma’ Honey 110.25
20th…Tuna Jihad 109.95
21st…Albacore Section 109.5
22nd…Tuna Tanglers 109.30
23rd…Pera Linn 108.85
24th…Engage 108.75
25th…Tuna Tunite 108.3
26th…No Bail 106.85
27th…Dogs of War 106.60
28th…Crow 105.40
29th…Reel Crazy 103.75
30th…Pro Sport Center 101.45
31st…Sallysea 100.00
32nd…Deuces Wild 99.55
33rd…Black Bolt 99.30
34th…Federablies 98.25
35th…Allstate#1 97.10
36th…T-Acres 90.55
37th…Called In Sick 83.35

The standings for the IGFA Offshore World Championships will probably be shuffled a little with Gales Creek Tuna Gafers hitting the podium again, Just Keep Fishiing trailing closely behind and Green Lightning Laundry also making a top 10 finish…I’ll get the remaining results posted hopefully this evening when I get home and try to get Huge Duck Fan to update the season standings and post the current positions.

A huge thank you to Jim Pex (Tailchaser) for his great work and efforts as the port captain for this event…And always we have to thank the Mill Casino for hosting the event, cooking and providing a great venue for the weigh-in..

Thanks to Vickie Rutledge, our weigh master, for rolling thru the weigh-in in a fast efficient pace…we had anticipated having dinner later than what it actually turned out due to her hustle. I know she’s tired today for a job well done…we can’t forget her husband Woody who was right there along with Keta and Aaron hauling 4015 pounds of tuna up to that stage..those guys have got to be dragging this morning…

Congrats to all the top teams and thank you to all those that came and supported this event…you guys & gals are what makes this event great.

Del Stephens
OTC Chairman

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