2023 Official Tournament Rules
This is a fun tournament, and all participants are expected to fish in a sportsmanlike manner and to follow IGFA Regulations as well as the following additions. Please pay special attention to the “circle hook only” rule amendment (12.i).
1. Minimum Boat Size: 30 ft LOA. Final determination of boat eligibility will be at the discretion of the Tournament Committee.
2. All vessels and participants shall comply with Florida state and Federal Fisheries laws and regulations regarding fishing licenses, vessel permits, fishing gear, season size limits and bag limits.
3. Tournament fishing will begin at 8 am. All entrants must check out each day by radio with the Committee Boat before entering the ocean. All entrants must not pass the sea buoy before 7 a.m. Boats must leave and enter from Fort Pierce Inlet, St. Lucie Inlet, or Jupiter Inlet. Tournament fishing will stop at 3:00 pm. All boats inside the inlet by 4:30 p.m. will be considered on time. Any late returns shall be penalized by deducting all fish caught for that day. Mechanical or electrical problems will not excuse a late return.
4. Tournament fishing boundaries and inlets:
a. Northern Boundary 27°50’00” N, ≈ 2 miles South of Sebastian Inlet
b. Southern Boundary 26°50’00” N, ≈ 8 miles South of Jupiter Inlet
c. Only inlets within the boundary lines allowed (i.e. Ft. Pierce, St. Lucie, Jupiter)
5. Dangerous boat operating during tournament and especially in the inlet area will result in DISQUALIFICATION! No passing allowed between Sandsprit Park and the St. Lucie Inlet. To maintain safety in a narrow channel, no passing between Sandsprit Park and the seaward side of the North/South breakwaters. A slower boat may, at its discretion, via Channel 80 VHF invite a faster boat to pass in the restricted area. Safe and gentleman-like conduct to and from Pirate’s Cove Marina is expected.
6. Any fish hooked before 3:00 pm and reported to the Committee Boat may be fought until caught, but vessel must be in by 4:30 pm. Any fish hooked after 3:00 pm on any fishing day is ineligible.
7. Line, Leader, Bait, Rods and Reels
a. The angler or crew will furnish all tackle and line.
b. Spinning Reels are not allowed.
c. All sailfish must be caught on dead bait or artificial lures. No live baiting or chumming permitted. Dead bait or artificial teasers without hooks are permitted. NO PITCH BAITING IS PERMITTED AT ANY TIME.
d. LINE AND BACKING: 20lb line is the only line permitted in this tournament. Monofilament, multifilament, and lead core multifilament lines may be used. Wire lines are prohibited. Backing is permitted. The catch shall be classified under the breaking strength of the first 16.5 ft of line directly receding the double line, leader, or hook. This section must be comprised of a single, homogenous piece of line and may not exceed 130-lb line class.
e. Double lines are not required but are measured from the start of the knot, braid, rill or splice, making the double to the furthermost end of the knot, splice, snap, swivel or other device used for securing the trace, leader, lure or hook to the double line. The double line shall be limited to 15 ft.
f. LEADER: The use of a leader is required. It must meet the following specifications: The length of the leader is the overall length including any lure, hook arrangement is 15ft. There are no regulations regarding the material or strength of the leader.
g. The combined length wind-on leader or double line, and the leader, shall not exceed 20 feet, including the hook.
h. Single hook only.
i. “NON-OFFSET” CIRCLE HOOKS ONLY – J-HOOKS ARE NOT ALLOWED.
j. LINES & TEASERS: A Maximum of 8 lines per boat are permitted. 6 lines with baits and 2 teasers without rods. Teasers are permitted without hooks. Live teasers are not permitted. Teasers may be deployed from rod but with an electrical reel or kite rod with an electric reel. Teasers must come off the outriggers.
k. Neither teasers nor baits are allowed in the water until fishing starts at 8:00 am.
l. Boats can be dead in water or moving forward for the first hook up. If baits are left in the water for multiple hook ups, the boat CAN be backing down, but any fish caught must be hooked, fought, and released from the cockpit. If baits are brought in, they may not be put back out until normal trolling is resumed.
m. In the event of a multiple hookup, the angler may make use of the rod holder to hold the rod. NO REELING OF LINE CAN OCCUR FROM A ROD HOLDER DURING THE HOOKUP.
8. Only releases by registered anglers will count towards totals. Any registered anglers per boat, per day with no more than two (2) of those registered anglers being professional. A professional is any person who has been paid for their professional services as a captain, mate or crew member while engaging in fishing within the last twelve (12) months.
9. Scoring ties will be broken by the boat first achieving winning status as determined by the time recorded in daily catch logs. The numeric day of fishing for the boats in question will also be used to break scoring ties.
10. Competing boats must honor and give fighting boats all the room necessary. Backing down is permitted.
11. Any protest must be filed in writing or by the angler on the observer’s daily log by 6:00 pm on the same day as the protested incident. A $500.00 protest binder must accompany all protests. This binder is refundable if the Rules Committee upholds the protest. All protests will be held confidential, and the Rules Committee’s decision WILL BE FINAL.
12. Participants in the Pirate’s Cove Sailfish Classic fish at their own discretion and risk. The decision to fish is solely the captain’s choice. There will not be any weather lay days.
13. Officials and all other persons connected directly or indirectly with the operations of the tournament shall be exempt from any liability for loss, damage, negligence, harm, or injury suffered to any participant, entrant, sport fisherman, their companions, boat captains, crew members, vessels and equipment which may occur during the tournament.
14. All boats must carry Liability Insurance.
SAILFISH (Tier 1):
1. THIS IS A SAILFISH RELEASE TOURNAMENT. An official release will be credited when the swivel touches the rod tip for the first time, or the mate takes control of the leader. The digital image must have the colored flag of the day in view. Release is official when swivel touches the rod tip or mate takes control of the leader. The leader must be cut as close to the fish as possible. Deliberate jerking or snatching of leader by mate to cause the leader to break will disqualify the fish.
2. A sailfish hook-up must be called into the “Committee Boat” as soon as possible on VHF channel 73. If unable to reach “Committee Boat” by VHF radio, then releases can be called in by cell phone. The “Committee Boat” will validate your hook-up by announcement. Any cell phone releases called in will be relayed over VHF radio. All boats must have a VHF radio. The “Committee Boat” will then verify your information by announcement and give you a release time, which must be recorded on your daily catch affidavit and turned in at the end of the fishing day, with your video evidence. If you lose your fish prior to release (i.e. jump-off, pulled hook, etc..) please inform the “Committee Boat” as soon as possible. The time stamp of the digital image is the official release time and must be within (plus or minus) fifteen (15) minutes of the time reported by radio to the “Committee Boat.” If the timestamp of the identification of the fish is over fifteen (15) minutes from the VHF call, then the release time will be moved to the time of the identification time.
a. Video Requirement: Every billfish released in the tournament must be verified by video footage clearly identifying the release. The video clip to be shot by all teams should be to initialize the video device with the time, date and GPS location, and flag color of the day at the start of fishing. All videos and score cards must be turned into the “Committee Boat” by 6 p.m.
3. Sailfish catches must be reported to the Committee Boat as released. Boat name, angler name and time of release must be reported, and fish number caught for video/camera. Releases may be relayed if Captain cannot reach Committee Boat.
4. The total number of fish caught will determine winners regardless of the number of days fished (up to three).
GAME FISH (Tier 2, 3 and 4)
1. You must enter tier 1 to participate in tiers 2, 3 and 4.
2. Gamefish are defined as kingfish, dolphin, wahoo, and blackfin tuna. If no qualifying gamefish are caught in tier 2, the tournament will roll the prize money for each category in the next year’s prizes.
3. Winning gamefish will be determined by weight. In the event of a tie, the winner will be determined by the first fish weighed in. Fish must be in fresh edible condition and fit for human consumption. All gamefish must be weighed on the day they are caught. Hookup time for gamefish should NOT be reported to Tournament Headquarters.
4. All gamefish eligible for prizes must be off-loaded and weighed at the official Tournament weigh station from the boat landing the fish. The fish must be entered on the official entry form by the Tournament Weigh Master. The same scales and weigh station will be used for all fish. Gamefish scales will close at 6:00 p.m. Participants must notify the tournament committee by radio, text or phone prior to 4:30 p.m. and give specific ETA to the official weigh station.
5. The weigh station is located at Pirate’s Cove Resort and Marina. All Gamefish must be brought in by boat.
6. Attempted weight alteration of any gamefish will be subject to disqualification and automatically disqualify the boat from the tournament. IGFA rules apply regarding mutilated fish. The Rules Committee reserves the right to cut open any fish for inspection of suspected weight altering efforts such as inserted weights, ice, water, etc.
7. The Weigh Master has the right to refuse any fish in their sole discretion.
8. The weigh station will remain open until the last checked in boat is offloaded and fish is weighed.
Chris Dempsey @ 772-287-2500 ext. 150