Tuna Club to hold public tour to support Island Museum

The Tuna Club is only open to the public one day a year. This year, the annual open house to support the Catalina Island Museum will be held at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17. The club will sell 60 tickets for the event.

As any Islander can tell you, the world’s first rod and reel angling of tuna, marlin and broadbill swordfish took place in the waters off Catalina Island by members of Avalon’s world-famous Tuna Club.  

The Tuna Club is only open to the public one day a year. This year, the annual open house to support the Catalina Island Museum will be held at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 17. The club will sell 60 tickets for the event.

As any Islander can tell you, the world’s first rod and reel angling of tuna, marlin and broadbill swordfish took place in the waters off Catalina Island by members of Avalon’s world-famous Tuna Club.  

A private club since its inception in 1898, the Tuna Club covets its traditions, the most honored of which is strict privacy.  

The club permits the public to tour the historic interior of the clubhouse only one day a year, with all of the proceeds benefiting the Catalina Island Museum.  

Mike Rivkin, author of several books on fishing and past president of the Tuna Club, will conduct tours this year on Saturday, Aug. 17.  Rivkin will share the unique history of the club and its role in the birth of sport fishing, while examining the club’s unrivaled collection of angling artifacts, trophies and photographs.

The Tuna Club’s greatest legacy stems from its founder, Dr. Charles Frederick Holder.  

Holder became a pioneer in ocean conservation by coming up with the first regulations to govern big game angling and founded the club in 1898.  

Members to this day strictly adhere to the rules as dictated by Holder, and the club remains committed to ethical angling and preserving the sport’s great traditions.  The Tuna Club’s history includes a number of famous anglers, such as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, movie director Cecil B. DeMille, actors Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel, writer Zane Grey and Gen. George S. Patton.

“The Tuna Club prides itself on being one of Avalon’s oldest and most civic-minded institutions,” Rivkin said recently from his Avalon home. “We have partnered with the Catalina Island Museum because we share the museum’s commitment to history and education.”

“We are excited to be able to offer such an exclusive opportunity to our members and the community of Avalon,” said Dr. Michael De Marsche, the Museum’s executive director.

“The preservation of island history is an important link between the museum and the Tuna Club, and we are honored to partner with them,” De Marsche said.

Tickets are $30 for members of the museum and $35 for the general public.

For more information or to purchase tickets, the museum may be reached by phone at 310-510-2414 or at its website: CatalinaMuseum.org.

The Catalina Island Museum, its digital theater and store are located on the ground floor of Avalon’s historic Casino and are open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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