Bahamas Billfish Championship Angling Rules
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All anglers and crewmembers are expected to be familiar with the IGFA Salt Water Angling Rules. The angler must hook, fight and bring the fish to gaff or the point of release unaided by any other person. No one other than the angler may touch the rod. IGFA Salt Water Angling Rules apply at all Bahamas Billfish Championship tournaments with the following exceptions:
- All boats participating in the Bahamas Billfish Championship tournaments must have a valid Bahamas Fishing Permit with a Bahamas Fisheries sticker affixed thereto.
- All boats participating in the Bahamas Billfish Championship tournaments will depart from and fish within a 60-mile radius of the host resort in Bahamian waters.
- Teams fishing the Bahamas Billfish Championship may include one (1) professional. A professional is defined as any individual who has been paid to be a captain or crew, fish a rod, feed fish and/or bring a fish to the boat in the last three (3) years. Professional must be declared prior to lines in on the first day of fishing.
- The Committee Boat monitors VHF channel 71 and Bahamian telephones (phone numbers announced at each tournament).
- A maximum of six rods per boat may be fished.
- Maximum line strength shall not exceed that of manufacturer’s stated, 130-pound test. The tournament committee reserves the right to take line samples for testing or request labels from line spools. No bonus points will be awarded for using line lighter than 130-pound test.
- No live bait permitted. Should a non-qualifying species take a lure and/or bait, and subsequently be itself taken by a billfish, the hook-up would not be considered as using "live bait." The use of non-offset circle hooks is optional.
- Fish must be hooked, fought and, if boated, off loaded at the tournament’s designated weigh station on the same boat.
- Lines in the water at 8:00 am – Lines out of the water at 4:00 on all fishing days. No early weigh-ins.
- An angler may fight a fish until it is lost, released or boated so long as it was hooked and reported to the Committee Boat prior to “lines out of the water.” A confirmed hook-up that results in a boated fish on the last day of the tournament must be brought to the weigh station by twelve midnight. A billfish caught after 12:00 midnight will count as a release or capture for the day it was hooked-up. A ‘Billfish Capture Affidavit’ must be completed and presented to the Weigh Master at the time the fish is weighed.
- To qualify as a "released fish" the leader must be brought within the grasp of the mate or the end of the leader must be wound to the rod tip. A 'Billfish Release Affidavit' must be completed for each billfish released and presented to the Committee Boat between the hours of 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm on the same day the fish is caught. These hours can be extended if a team was fighting a fish and reported to the Committee Boat prior to “lines out of the water.”
- The ‘Billfish Release Affidavit’ must be accompanied by a time and date-stamped digital image of the fish (still image or video) that clearly shows the billfish species reported and the colored ribbon for that day. The billfish must be photographed within thirty (30) feet (leader length) from the boat. The digital image verifies the Affidavit; therefore, no points will be awarded if the species shown in the digital image does not match the species reported on the Affidavit. 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.
- Release digital images and affidavits must be presented to the Committee Boat at the designated tournament location after the vessel on which the fish was released and said digital images were taken returns to the host marina.
- Anyone that submits a billfish capture or release affidavit understands that attesting to a false catch will constitute aiding and abetting an act of fraud.
- Each individual tournament’s rules committee is composed of at least three Bahamas Billfish Championship anglers and Committee Members.
- Protests must be filed in writing and presented to the Committee Boat prior to 7:00 pm on the same day as the alleged violation along with a nonrefundable $100.
- Flagrant disregard for Bahamas Billfish Championship rules will result in disqualification of the angler and/or team and removal from the tournament with no refund of monies paid.
Points & Scoring
Points are awarded on a basis of 50 points for released sailfish, 100 points for released white marlin or spearfish, and 600 points for released blue marlin. One point per pound will be awarded for eligible blue marlin boated 600 pounds and under and two points per pound for any blue marlin over 601 pounds. Boated fish must be in excess of the benchmark minimum length to be weighed in. The benchmark minimum length for blue marlin is 101 inches as measured from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the tail. The benchmark at each tournament remains 101 inches until two (2) fish over 101 inches have been weighed in that tournament. The following day's benchmark minimum will then be the length of the longest fish. When a fish exceeding the length of the new benchmark is boated, the benchmark will increase to the length of the longest fish for the following day.
No fish will be “weighed-in” that does not meet the benchmark minimum length. Should a fish be boated and/or brought to the dock which measures less than the benchmark minimum length, the Team will be penalized 600 points.
One hundred (100) points are awarded as participation points to each team for each tournament fished during the series. In the event of a tie in total points between two or more teams for the same award, the team that first achieved the point total shall be the winner.