Ludington Offshore Classic returns July 15-21

April 1, 2024

MCP file photo

LUDINGTON — The annual Ludington Offshore Classic/Big Boys Fishing Tournament is scheduled for July 15-21 with daily events for professionals, amateurs, women and youth. Registration is open online, and the contests are expected to draw hundreds of participants from around the Midwest.

The event has grown in popularity over the last 21 years. The Offshore Classic Pro Division will pay $20,000 to the winner, and the Amateur Division will pay up to $7,500 (*Payouts based on number of boat entries.)

“We’re happy to bring back this tournament every year,” said Brandy Miller, president/CEO of the Chamber Alliance of Mason County, which puts on the event. “This is our favorite week of the summer when people get excited to enjoy Lake Michigan and see who will take home these amazing cash prizes.”

In 2023, Big Boys contest winner, Flat Out, took home the top prize of $22,400 after defeating 31 other boats in contention. Captain David Baker and his five-member crew earned 453.25 points in the two-day event.

“Our strategy was to catch our 12 fish each day,” Baker said. “We focused more on lake trout north of Manistee and salmon off Big Sable Point. We had some nice-sized trout, which is probably why we won. It’s kind of the luck of the draw – but we found something the trout liked.”

The weekend’s pro tournament saw SlipKnot taking away the $20,000 top prize. Its crew had two days of spectacular fishing during the event, bringing in the 12-fish limit on Day 1 and 11 fish on Day 2, weighing a whopping total of 290.7 pounds.

SlipKnot captain, Lenny Vaughan, said he and co-captain, Mark Chmura, fished north of Big Sable Point on both days.

“The second day was a little bit more of a challenge for us,” he said. “We ended up catching 13 fish but only 11 for the tournament. The Ludington Offshore Classic is a tough tournament due to having to catch two species to complete your tournament limit.

“This was my second appearance at the Ludington Offshore tournament,” he added. “The Ludington Offshore tournament is the biggest and best on Lake Michigan. To have won it this year really puts me in the company of some of the best salmon fishermen of all time. I’ll be back next year to try to win it again.”

2024 Events

Following a captains meeting on Monday, July 15, fishing begins at 6 a.m. July 16, with two days of competition in the Big Boys category. Big fish and big payouts are the name of the game during this high-stakes contest.

The Ludington Legends Memorial Tournament will be held on Thursday, July 18. Boats at least 18 feet long are welcome to join the fun and weigh their five best fish for the day. This minimal-rules event is designed to pay homage to departed fishermen who have given much to the local fishing community.

The ladies and kids will have their fun on Friday, July 19. Cash awards and a trophy are up for grabs in the Ladies Pro/Am Tournament. Ladies will weigh their five best fish, with no more than three of each species. The Ladies Big Fish will pay out $500 in each division. The youth tournament welcomes kids 16 and younger to participate and weigh their largest fish for prizes. Again this year, youth will participate in teams.

Pro/Am anglers will take to the lake on Saturday and Sunday, July 20-21.  This event has been revamped to offer over and above our traditional 100% payouts. The logistics will be much like past tournaments with weigh-ins conducted in a drive-through fashion, and secret cooler and awards ceremonies held under the pavilion at Waterfront Park. 

Register for the 2024 tournament at

2024 Schedule of Events:

July 15: Big Boys captains meeting

July 16-17: Big Boys Tournament

July 18: Ludington Legends Memorial Tournament

July 19: Ladies and Youth

July 20-21: Pro/Am Ludington Offshore Classic


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