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March 30, 2011

Offshore Fishing Slam Guide

A rundown of the 10 blue-water grand slams and three royal slams

underwater billfish

Pacific Offshore Grand Slam and Super Grand Slam
Eligible species: bluefin, yellowfin and bigeye tuna, and any billfish. • A mere four anglers have managed to make the annals of the Pacific Grand to date; the Pacific Offshore Super Grand Club remains vacant.

Tuna Grand Slam and Super Grand Slam
Eligible species: yellowfin, bluefin, bigeye and albacore. • The Tuna Super Grand Slam Club has but one member so far, Robert Weaver of Olivebridge, New York, approved in January 2009.

3 BLUE-WATER ROYAL SLAMS

Royal slams require an angler to catch all listed species, though he/she has a lifetime (not just one day) to do so. It's taken much of a lifetime for many royal slam club members to realize that goal. Catches can be recognized retroactively, so, for example, John Walton of Sarasota, Florida, registered his first of nine billfish species with an Atlantic sail off Marathon (Florida Keys) in 1949 and finally wrapped up number nine, the elusive spearfish, fishing Portugal in 1995. Mike Leech, past president of the IGFA, started his billfish royal slam odyssey off Fort Lauderdale in 1954 with a sail, and nailed the slam nearly a half-century later, in 2000, with a spearfish, like Walton, but Kona proved the magic spot for Leech. On the other hand, Rob Ruwitch of Miami, managed his royal slam in just three months. The three royal slam clubs are based on types of fish:

Billfish Royal Slam
Nine required species: Pacific sailfish, Atlantic sailfish, Pacific blue marlin, Atlantic blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, white marlin, swordfish and spearfish. • A total of 89 anglers have at this time earned the honor. Some have done so multiple times.

Tuna Royal Slam
Eight required species: Atlantic or Pacific bigeye, blackfin, bluefin, dogtooth, longtail, skipjack, southern bluefin and yellowfin. • In all, just three anglers make up the Tuna Royal Slam Club.

Shark Royal Slam
Nine required species: blue, hammerhead, mako, thresher, tiger, white, tope, whaler and porbeagle. • Only four anglers currently qualify as members.