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Saltwater sportfishing tournaments are highly competitive sporting events with stakes sometimes over millions of dollars for winning teams. Not only is the actual performance of fishing an extremely exciting affair, but the weigh-ins are also a tremendous spectator matter that locals even tend to attend. Continue reading to learn more about our picks for the top 10 saltwater fishing tournaments worldwide, with some honorable mentions listed at the end. Additionally, Team Galati is a proud sponsor of an exciting lineup of tournaments and events this year — find the lineup linked below.
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Ocean City, Maryland
Named the “Largest Participating Fleet” by Marlin Mag, the White Marlin Open is the biggest saltwater fishing tournament, by any standard. In 2015, over 300 boats sought out the biggest white marlin for a chance at a share of more than $3.9 million. The winning white marlin took home over $1.1 million, with the second-place white worth just over the million-dollar mark, as well.
Just outside of Destin and listed #6 for Top Boating Destinations on the Gulf Coast, Sandestin draws visitors to Florida’s lush Emerald Coast for countless reasons. The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, or ECBC for short, takes place at the Baytowne Wharf, located within the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. With the prize topping over $1 million for the past several years, the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is truly a gem that you won’t want to miss. Sunday morning brunches for the awards ceremony are no stranger to this tournament, for the weigh-ins typically extend well into Saturday evening. The Village of Baytowne Wharf features an array of boutiques, eateries, galleries, and nightlife festivities – fun for the entire family!
Los Sueños, Costa Rica
Located in the warm tropics of Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s lush Pacific coast, Los Sueños’ Resort and Marina is the proud sponsor of the world’s most competitive billfish tournament. Galati Yacht Sales has been a proud sponsor of the Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown since its inception, which dates back to 2004. Fast forward nearly two decades later, and the events have exploded, drawing teams and anglers from around the globe, such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Costa Rica, Russia, and the United States.
Costa Rica’s consistently warm climate and generally calm seas allow the deep-water ecosystem to thrive with life. Bringing these ingredients together, in harmony with the backdrop of Los Sueños Resort, yields a magical outcome that truly cannot be found anywhere else.
The 2023 Los Sueños Triple Crown tournament season has officially kicked off, with over 1,100 recorded billfish releases since January 17, 2023. Notably, Team Galati placed 2nd in Leg 1 of the 2023 Signature Triple Crown, with 6,400 points, 34 sails, and 6 marlin. Leg 2 will be held through February 22-25 and Leg 3 will be held through March 22-25, 2023.
Morehead, North Carolina
Back in the day, winners of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament were said to be awarded a red children’s wagon filled with silver dollars – well, it’s safe to say that times have changed, and the stakes are much higher. Set to celebrate its 65th anniversary this coming June, the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament’s purse has effortlessly surpassed the lofty million-dollar mark for the past two decades. The tournament week commences with a lady angler shootout, quickly following the main event, which offers participants a choice to participate in four of the possible six fishing days. Make a vacation out of it and head to North Carolina’s coast this summer for the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament!
Cape May, New Jersey
With a wide variety of categories and optional jackpots that are intended to spread the prize money into the hands of more winners, the Mid-Atlantic Saltwater Fishing Tournament is an all-around unique experience. Hedge your bets, then target billfish, tuna, or other qualifying species during the three of five possible days of fishing. The Mid-Atlantic Tournament is a prime choice for a fantastic time and a shot at taking home the big bucks. Not to mention, the dock parties and hospitality both leave lasting positive impressions.
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
If your dream is to become a millionaire while getting a bronzed suntan, then be sure to participate in Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament and enter in as many of the optional jackpots as your wallet will allow. Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament in Cabo San Lucas is undeniably the wealthiest event in all of saltwater sportfishing. Additionally, Cabo San Lucas is one of sportfishing’s most premier destinations, so you’re already a winner the moment you drop your line into Cabo’s rich deep blue water.
Key West, Florida
This year’s Key West Marlin Tournament is set for July 2023, coinciding with the annual Hemingway Days Celebration in Key West, Florida. In 1999 the tournament was reborn with a new and exciting scoring format – every boat remains in the tournament until lines out on the final day. The tournament is limited to the first 75 boats that register, so be sure to submit your entry ASAP to participate in this action-packed sport fishing event.
Named “Best Odds Outside the Tournament” by Marlin Mag, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic is an angler and gambler’s paradise. Hosted at the lavish Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi, this renowned billfish tournament is going into its 25th year. Fire out to the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico to take a shot at some marlin or tuna, then hit the tables for some Poker or Blackjack. The tournament record for blue marlin is a 1,054-pounder caught by Barry Carr on Sea Wolff – are you up for the challenge?
Orange Beach, Alabama
The week of July 12th – 16th may just be an ordinary week to you, but for some, this is none other than “Billfish Week”. Dubbed both the “Superbowl of Sportfishing” and the “Greatest Show in Sportfishing,” it’s safe to say that the Blue Marlin Grand Championship is enjoyed by many. The Blue Marlin Championship is held at the beautiful Wharf Marina — a premier event venue that is packed with entertainment during the tournament. From great restaurants and bars, and music venues with live acts, to VIP Yacht displays, the Wharf surely has something for everyone to enjoy.
Hosted by Galati Yacht Sales & Viking – Behind Marina Office & between I/J Dock.
Presented by Galati Yacht Sales – Delivered to your boat!
Lizard Island, Australia
Mark this tournament on your list and make way to the land Down Under if you wish to experience the opportunity of catching a record-breaking black marlin! After the 20th anniversary event in 2006, the tournament adopted a catch-and-release mandate. However, if your team is fortunate enough to release a fish deemed to be greater than 1,000 lbs., your team’s name will be engraved on the Lizard Island 1,000 Pound Tag and Release Club perpetual trophy.
A 3-leg sailfish series tournament with stops in premier SoFlo spots: Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami, Florida.
Wedged between Longboat and Siesta Key on Florida’s West Coast, the Sarasota Slam is located in the prime position for a competitive, yet diverse fishing experience, with three divisions, including billfish, inshore, and offshore.
A one-day shootout that happens worldwide, every year on July 4th. It’s the Superbowl of Blue Marlin.
Teams from countries all over the globe, such as Brazil, Angola, Tonga, and New Zealand, travel to Costa Rica in hopes of becoming the Offshore World Champion.
Located in the Bahamas at the Abaco Beach Resort, this tournament is a niche event for any custom sportfishing boat enthusiast.
Galati Yacht Sales is honored to sponsor and partake in many great sportfishing tournaments while cheering on all our customers in the blue-water arena. View our full list of upcoming sportfishing tournaments sponsored by Team Galati below.
Los Sueños Triple Crown (Leg 2) – Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Feb. 22, 2023
Los Sueños Triple Crown (Leg 3) – Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Mar. 22, 2023
Viking Key West Challenge – Key West, FL
Apr. 12, 2023
Orange Beach Billfish Classic Tournament – Orange Beach, AL
May 16, 2023
Gulf Coast Masters – Orange Beach, AL
May 22, 2023
Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic – Biloxi, MS
Jun. 5, 2023
Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic – Sandestin, FL
Jun. 21, 2023
Blue Marlin Grand Championship – Orange Beach, AL
Jul. 12, 2023
Texas Lone Star Shootout – Port O’Connor, TX
Jul. 18, 2023
Los Cabos Billfish Tournament – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Oct. 15, 2023
Bisbee’s Los Cabos Offshore Tournament – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Oct. 19, 2023
Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Oct. 24, 2023
2022 Sport Fishing Championship: Eleven-Event Series
Top Boating Destinations on the Gulf Coast
Summer 2022 Sportfishing Tournaments Recap