SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA— It’s official— the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) has recently announced that the 2023 IGFA SoCal Open will take place Sept. 29-Oct. 1 with weigh stations plotted in San Diego, Newport Beach, and Catalina Island. The two-day tournament is open to all anglers and will now offer a new format featuring five major offshore game fish.
The SoCal Open was previously a swordfish-only tournament, but this year, four new eligible species have entered the hunt. The change reflects the diverse offshore fishery of Southern California and will include Bluefin tuna, striped marlin, dorado, and yellowtail.
“We’re thrilled to announce the new dates and a new, expanded format to the 2023 IGFA SoCal Open,” said IGFA President Jason Schratwieser in a statement from May 4. “We believe these changes not only reflect the diversity of Southern California’s offshore game fish but the passionate anglers who have cherished this resource for decades as the birthplace of big game sportfishing.”
Trophies and prizes will be awarded to the top three anglers and teams and the anglers who record the heaviest of the eligible species, excluding striped marlin, which will be judged on total release points. In addition, a new Junior Angler category has been added and will be based on total points, only eligible for anglers ages 16 and under.
The fishing days are Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, and the awards ceremony will take place on the afternoon of Oct. 1 at the Dana Point Yacht Club.
Tournament proceeds will support initiatives related to the IGFA’s commitment to research and conservation. Previous tournament initiatives have included research from Barbara Block’s lab at Stanford University, where onsite biologists removed lateral rectus muscles from harvested swordfish as part of ongoing efforts to better understand brain and eye temperature regulation in the species when pursuing prey.
The IGFA encourages early registration for the tournament, as spots are limited and expected to fill up quickly. Early bird registration is $300 per angler and is available to those who register before Aug. 1. The entry fee after that is $350 per angler. Teams are responsible for chartering or providing their own boats for the tournament.
For more information or to register, visit the IGFA website at www.igfa.org/igfa-social.