New-look Big Fish Challenge powered by Mercury in celebration of event’s 10th running

'SINKER-RIG' SHANE WRIGHTSON tends to find a way into the winner's circle in numerous WON events, and the Big Fish Challenge was absolutely one of them.


SAN CLEMENTE— The 10th anniversary of the Big Fish Challenge (BFC) brings a whole new “Race to catch 6” format to the popular Big Fish Challenge powered by Mercury.

In the 2024 Big Fish Challenge, it will be a chase to catch six out of 10 designated species. That makes the BFC more of a variety contest than a big fish tournament.The species categories include the original five: tuna, yellowtail, white seabass, halibut and lingcod and new species for the 2024 installment of the BFC include: barracuda, bonito, bass (sand or calico), rockfish and sheephead.

In order to stick with the spirit of the BFC and level the playing field for saltwater anglers of all kinds (private boat, sportboat, kayak), the winning anglers will be the first to submit six species rather than all 10. That way, anglers can decide which four “wild card” species they can throw out and chase the six they are most likely to come across based on the type of fishing they do, and where in Southern California they fish. WON will be awarding the first 5 participating anglers to submit their photo with the fish and the angler holding the issue of WON (Dated July 5th or after).


Keeping with the “fish any time any place” spirit of the event, we have made submitting catches easier than ever, participants must be entered before submitting photos, and must pose holding their catch AND a current issue of Western Outdoor News (starting with the July 5th issue of WON). Photos must be emailed to and will be logged in the order they are received.

CORI HUSBAND has been competing in the WON Big Fish Challenge powered by Mercury from the beginning.

Entry is $50 and includes a year subscription to Western Outdoor News, and that is key, because a requirement for submitting a catch will be having a current issue of WON in the photo (dated July 5th or later). That will act as a timestamp of sorts to ensure catches are made within the BFC window and it can be determined who checked six boxes first. The good news there is, there are still going to be five winners. It will just be the “first five to catch six” format rather than a big-fish derby. Of course, all fish have to be legal per DFW regulations, and determining that will be per the discretion of WON staffers, so it will be in the angler’s best interest to submit fish that are clearly legal.

THE 2024 BIG FISH CHALLENGE is a race to be among the first five anglers to catch six of the 10 qualifying species.

Prize packages include a Furuno Fish Finder, AFTCO Gift Cards, Gamakatsu Hooks, Berkley Pro-Spec Fishing Line, Terrafin Subscriptions, Costa Gear, and more. For all essential details, prizes and rules visit

So keep an eye on that page because this year, more than any other, registering early is crucial for anyone looking to take a serious shot at a great grand prize package.

Big Fish Challenge by Mercury: grand prize packages falling into place

One thing that remains the same in the 10th installment of the WON Big Fish Challenge brought to you by Mercury is the generosity of the sponsors that power the event in the form of great products that make up the grand prize packages. The other common denominator spanning the entire decade of the Big Fish Challenge (BFC) in the prize department is each grand prize pile tends to be a living, breathing and evolving beast that tends to pick up extra stuff here and there as more sponsors get involved.

As it stands now (and it’s early) Western Outdoor News staffers have the following items locked in as part as the BFC prize haul: Furuno units (GP1971F GPS/Fishfinder), gift cards from AFTCO, Costa sunglasses and swag, subscriptions to Terrafin, Gamakatsu hooks and more swag, a certificate for Gray Taxidermy and whatever else finds its way into the treasure chest.

For more info and to register, click HERE.

FIVE FURUNO units are up for grabs in the Big Fish Challenge.