About The Classic

The Big Bend Saltwater Classic fishing tournament was launched in 1989 by The Organization for Artificial Reefs, Inc, (OAR), a private, non-profit, marine interest group based in Tallahassee,Florida. To date, it is the longest running consecutive tournament in the Big Bend region. The family-oriented tournament was founded to serve as OAR's primary fund-raising project. Today, the tournament is organized by a volunteer board of directors, is incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida as The Big Bend Saltwater Classic Foundation, Inc., and is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. OAR, the tournament's parent organization, has been a 501(c)(3) organization since 1987. Currently, all proceeds generated from the event are used to expand and develop a system of artificial reefs in the Northeastern Gulf of Mexico, OAR's purview of operation. With 223 anglers participating in the inaugural tournament in 1989, the event quickly established itself as the largest professionally-run fishing tournament along Florida's Big Bend Gulf coast. Today, the tournament ranks among the top saltwater fishing tournaments, by participation, according to Florida Sportsman Magazine, with over 700 anglers registered during peak tournament years. The first tournament was held at Shield's Marina in St. Marks. This was changed in 1990 to Panacea Harbor Marina, then in 1991 the Moorings Marina in Carrabelle. During the years of 2006 through 2016, the tournament continued to be headquarted in Carrabelle. This 2017 tournament year, the headquarters returns to Shields Marina in St. Marks. Multiple fish species will be open in Recreational and Junior divisions. The Big Bend Saltwater Classic is a North Florida angler's tradition, held annually on Father's Day Weekend. We look forward to another great year!