5 Of The Most Expensive “Richest” Saltwater Fishing Tournaments In The World!


Have you ever participated in a saltwater fishing tournament before?

Well, these five saltwater fishing tournaments should certainly be on your bucket list if you love to compete while fishing.

Growing up fishing in Boca Grande and Little Gasparilla Island as a young kid, I always thought that the annual “World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament” held in the Boca Grande Pass was one of the most expensive fishing tournaments in the world…

world's most expensive fishing tournaments
The Miller Lite team fishing in Boca Grande

Not to downplay that tournament by any means, but the total pot money in some of these other tournaments can even make the Boca Tarpon tournament look small today.

I was blown away with some of the overall prize money (and cost to enter) in some of these fishing tournaments below.

These are five of the most expensive saltwater fishing tournaments in terms of entry fee and overall winning pot. Read on and discover how lucrative participating in high-stakes saltwater fishing tournaments can be, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment if I missed any big money saltwater fishing tournaments.

5. Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic

most expensive saltwater fishing tournaments
Breathe Easy with a best of a marlin in an Emerald Coast Marlin Classic.
Image source: www.marlinmag.com

Started in 2003 and held at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s Baytowne Marina, this fishing tournament ranked fifth on the “Big Money Tournament” by Marlin magazine.

Authorized by the World Billfish Series and a part of the Offshore World Championship, this event gives every angling team a chance to grab a spot at winning a big pay-off, while still allowing everyone to enjoy lots of family-friendly activities (nightly entertainment, fireworks, live music, etc).

With cash categories for dolphin, tuna, and wahoo as well as individual fisherman trophies, competing anglers have a multitude of ways to venture their claim on Destin fishing tournament history!

Setting a standard for world-class sportfishing tournaments along the Gulf Coast, it has once again taken the spotlight as its most recent annual fishing competition, held last June 22-26, has an overall record fleet of 85 boats that caught a total of 55 billfish during the 2.5 days of fishing.

Twenty-three blues (with four boated), 12 sailfish, and 20 white marlin were recorded, representing an overall release ratio of 92.7 percent. The 86 gamefish caught totaled 6,983.3 pounds, tallied by 46 tuna, 25 Mahi, and 15 wahoo.

A Destin-based Viking 54, Rise Up, earned the biggest chunk of the record with $1.95 million in overall prize money, scaled the largest blue marlin of the tournament, and became the Grand Champion.

Tournament Director Adam Alfonso said that what they accomplished for their 14th-anniversary celebration has “broken the record” and gave everyone, not just the organizers and participants but even the spectators, a fabulous week.

“Most boats ever, largest overall purse ever at nearly $2 million, plus new tuna and wahoo marks. Wow, what a fabulous week, matched by beautiful weather and outstanding fishing. I can’t wait to shatter still more records next summer,” he shared.

The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic tournament has a base entry fee of $5,000 or $71,561 per team with optional entries. Similarly, there are no entry limits as to the number or size of both private and charter boats.

Next year’s ECBC is scheduled for June 21-25, 2017. Join and have a blast!

To have a glimpse of the highlights of the recently concluded 14th Annual ECBC Tournament, watch the video below or visit them HERE.

Pretty amazing tournament!

It would be fun just to hang out at the weigh-in!

4. Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament

most expensive fishing tournaments
Boat Reel Pressure with a massive marlin in the Big Rock Tourney

June means big blue marlin are lurking the waters off of Morehead City, North Carolina – a season that’s so perfect for most marlin fishing enthusiasts and summer fanatics. If you’re one of them, you better NOT miss next year’s action at the Big Rock Blue!

This week-long event is one big-boat tourney that pays big bucks, too…

Established in 1957, Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament lets every competing angler out there to fish for four out of six days. Recently, the 58th Big Rock was held on June 10-18 and declared the following as the WINNERS:

Being on top of the 174 boats in the 58th Big Rock is no joke, congrats to Ashley Lauren fishing team, reeling in a 621.4-pounder to take the lead for good and winning $662,995 from the Big Rock’s record $1,914,100 purse.

Though participating this fishing game may cost you about $19,000 (total entry fee for all levels), this doesn’t only give you a chance to bring home the pot money but also lets you have a blissful week-long summer vacation with your loved ones and fishing buddies and yes, meet new friends that love fishing as much as you do.

The 59th Annual Big Rock tourney is on June 9-17, 2017. Mark your calendar!

3. The Mid-Atlantic Saltwater Fishing Tournament (MA500)

world's richest fishing tournaments
Team “Miss Annie” with a nice spread in past tournament

The million-dollar-plus tourney started in 1991 and will hold its 25th anniversary this August 21-26, 2016 at the Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey.

With a total of $2,812,010 payout in 2015, this fishing competition has a unique way of having various categories and optional jackpots intended to share out the prize money into the hands of more winners.

Having a base entry of $2500, you can add up certain categories and levels of your choice to multiply your chances of winning. Participating anglers can target billfish, tuna or other qualifying species during the three of five possible days of fishing, while also enjoying lots of fun-filled hospitality and dock parties.

In 2015, a total of 543 billfish caught by 139 boats with each fishing for three days — having a release rate of 96 percent (523 billfish). There were actually seven winners who received a payout of more than six figures and 12 winners received payouts of $40,000 or more.

To note, Michael Savino of Brooklyn, NY took home whooping pot money of $714,259 for the heaviest white marlin at 77 lbs. Wow!

Check out what Mid-Atlantic $500,000 MA500 has in store for you and your buddies this year:

2. White Marlin Open (WMO)

world's most expensive fishing tournaments
Some monster tuna caught in last years White Marlin Open by Team “MJ’s”

Join this tourney with the largest participating fleet of over 300 boats every year. Billed as the world’s largest billfish tournament, White Marlin Open lets you explore the so-called “White Marlin Capital of the World,” Ocean City, Maryland and likewise rewards you with huge dollar payout!

The 43rd Annual White Marlin Open will be held on August 8-12, 2016 at Harbour Island Marina – seeing some of the best billfish crews and personalities from around the East Coast while also attracting thousands of spectators. Base entry fee is $1,000 per boat on or before June 1st; hence, $1,300 after the stated period.

#GirlPower: This Lady Angler Is A Champ!

In 2015, 308 boats vied for their share of a total winning pot exceeding $3.5 million. Cheers to Cheryl McLeskey (owner of the Virginia Beach Fishing Center) and her team aboard Backlash for reeling in a 94-pound white marlin – bringing home an estimated prize of $1.1 million.

most expensive saltwater fishing tournaments

Photo Source: White Marlin Open Facebook Page

This winning haul was the third largest ever weighed at the White Marlin Open – having the tournament record still at the 99-pound white marlin caught in 1980.

1. Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament

most expensive fishing tournaments
A 525lb blue marlin in a past Bisbee’s Black & Blue Tourney

Bisbee tournaments are tagged as the big daddy of all fishing tourneys.

Bringing hundreds of anglers around the world to Cabo San Lucas for 35 years, this tourney is designed to have entry categories that cater to anglers of all levels. With its growing number of participants year after year, this was, and remains, the largest payout in sportfishing tournament history.

Base entry fee is at $5000, while a whooping “across the board” fee amounts to $71,500. Despite its being pricey, many anglers, captains and crew from all 50 states as well as up to 18 other countries are taking the challenge to be the top boat to haul the seven-figure jackpot.

The Bisbee family still runs the Black & Blue, which started back in 1981. Thanks to Bob Bisbee, the great man behind this angling legacy that offer some of the highest cash payouts in the world of sport fishing competition and continue to change lives by making someone a millionaire by just catching a fish!

In 2006, the prize money totaled $4,165,960 – the largest payout in the fishing tournament history, kudos to Bad Company 55 for taking home $3,902,997.50.


As always, the Bisbee’s team encourages everyone to “fish, party, and make time for the family!”

Whether there’s a six- or even seven-figure prize or just a simple trophy on the line, tournaments always bring out the best in competitive fishing, not to mention its amazing way to give back to charitable institutions and conservation-oriented organizations around the world.

Every angler is encouraged to join any fishing tournaments and events, at least once in their lives, and win lots of F’s: fishing frenzy, fun, and friends.


There are some pretty rich (aka expensive and high-stakes) saltwater fishing tournaments out there!

But what an amazing way to participate in something you love, compete against some of the best anglers in the world, and have a chance at winning hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars.

What is the most expensive fishing tournament you have ever fished?

Did we miss any?

Let us know in the comments.

P.S. Feel free to TAG your fishing networks or SHARE this to them. I’m sure they’ll love this list, too!

P.P.S. Join the 50,000+ Salt Strong members and take your fishing experience to the next level. Get our free saltwater fishing tip of the week and best fishing videos emailed right to your inbox. Click Here to join the “Salt Strong” Tribe today.

Fish On!

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