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Tillamook Coast Life Blog

Oregon Tuna Classic

This article was originally published in August 2014 and updated in September 2018.

The Oregon Tuna Classic marks the end of summer for regional fishermen.  Held at the Old Mill Marina in Garibaldi, the annual event takes place at the end of August when the sun is still hot—but the days are about to turn colder and rainer in just a few short weeks. The Oregon Tuna Classic consists of two days of hard-working fisherman catching all they can to help out the local Oregon Food Bank.

The Classic began in 2005, when a group of fishermen in the area decided to work together for a good cause. The event’s mission to help out the hungry in our state, has gained momentum through the years as participation in the Tuna Classic grows. Sponsors donate cash; anglers donate the fish they catch. It all goes to helping the food bank.

Over ten years ago, two local fishermen realized they were giving away a lot of their catch each year to friends and family. They wondered if all that extra food couldn’t be put to a different use—and the idea for this event was born.

Today, the Tuna Classic is a nonprofit charity tournament and completely volunteer-run. It has expanded to include a few different tournament offerings each year. And if benefiting those in need isn’t incentive enough, cash prizes are given to the fishermen to encourage friendly competition. Participants get awards for things like the heaviest fish (and second and third heaviest!), and the largest pelagic (blue fin, big eye tuna, yellow fin, yellowtail jack, marlin or swordfish). You compete as part of a team—generally 60 or 70 teams enter the competition.

Local and national businesses are sponsors for the tournament, including Garmin and Cabela’s. The Tuna Classic can be a way for smaller businesses to get involved, help out in the community and get their names out there—for instance the Big Wave Cafe and Beaches Restaurant and Bar contribute in this capacity.

The Oregon Tuna Classic offers a way for corporations, local businesses and citizens to come together and help the community, while celebrating the fun of fishing with some healthy competition. If you’re ready for a fun-filled weekend full of fishing, don’t miss this event!