Tour the world-famous Tuna Club on Saturday, Aug. 11

The clubhouse of the Tuna Club of Avalon built in 1916. The exterior of the Tuna Club. The club is open to members only, except for one day each year when the club opens its doors to public tours to raise money for the Catalina Island Museum. Photo courtesy of the Catalina Island Museum

The history of Catalina Island’s Tuna Club is legendary. World-record catches of big-game fish, famous members, and concerns about conservation encompassed the original charter of the club. One day each year the Tuna Club’s historic clubhouse opens its doors to the public. All proceeds directly benefit the exhibitions and programming of the Catalina Island Museum.

Led by Tuna Club historian Michael Farrior, this year’s tours take place Saturday, Aug. 11.

Inside the clubhouse you will find a unique display of artifacts, trophies and photographs, which document the birth of big-game fishing and the first rod and reel catches of tuna, marlin and broadbill swordfish.

Some of the club’s most colorful stories are related to writer and member Zane Grey. But he wasn’t always a fisherman, or even a writer. Grey studied dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania while on a baseball scholarship. He played semiprofessional baseball and opened his own practice, but all he wanted to do was write. It took some time to develop his writing skills but he became the best-selling Western author of all time. From 1917 to 1926, Grey was in the top ten best-seller list nine times.

Grey would spend several months each year gathering experiences and adventures. He would then spend the rest of the year writing magazine articles or the annual novel.

With his love of fishing and concern for conservation, Grey and the Tuna Club on Catalina Island were a perfect fit.

He was a boisterous member, who loved to regale other members with the details of his catches.

In 1920 he caught a 418-pound broadbill swordfish – a real trophy and the largest catch of the season thus far. His record stood until the wife of the club’s president decided to try her hand at broadbill fishing and quickly brought in a swordfish 2 pounds heavier than Grey’s catch.

Grey was suspicious and announced publicly that such a petite lady could not have reeled in the fish without help—a clear breach of club rules. Arguments ensued and considerable tension invaded the normally gentlemanly atmosphere of the clubhouse. Grey was asked to either apologize to the lady or submit his resignation. He did both.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to experience the birthplace of sport fishing. The tours of the Tuna Club take place on Saturday, Aug. 11, only. Tickets are selling fast!

Due to its popularity, a fourth tour time has been added this year. Guided tours will take place at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3 pm. Only 25 tickets are available for each tour. Tickets are $30 for members of the museum and $35 for non-members. All proceeds directly benefit the Catalina Island Museum. This event is expected to sell out, be sure to purchase your tickets early. For more information, to purchase tickets, or become a member, the museum may be reached by phone at 310-510-2414 or at its website: CatalinaMuseum.org.

The Catalina Island Museum offers the best in art and history exhibitions, music and dance performances, lectures by guest speakers from all over the world, and the finest in silent, documentary and international film.

Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

The new Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building is located in the heart of Avalon at 217 Metropole Ave. For more information, call the museum at 310-510-2414 or visit CatalinaMuseum.org.

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