Hope Town United Sailfish Tournament

Hope Town United Sailfish Tournament

December 10 - December 12, 2020

Tournament Rules

Rules, Stipulations and details: 

(HTU Rules committee reserves the right to modify or change rules and schedule up until the Captains meeting. Any changes will be announced prior to fishing days.)

Teams MUST fish two days: Friday + Saturday to qualify. No exceptions. 

Lines in: 7:30am | Lines out: 3:30pm

Boundaries: From 27.30.00 latitude (Ft. Pierce Inlet area) to 26.02.00 latitude (Ft. Lauderdale Inlet area) and no further offshore than 072.50 longitude.

Fishing: (Species)

Teams will fish for sailfish (by release only) and scored by overall releases based on points for using dead or live bait. 

Dead and Live bait teams will fish against teams in the same bait categories. There will be two top teams – one for dead bait and one for live bait. 

Dead and live bait teams will not be scored or compete against one another. 

Meatfish division: Includes Kingfish, Dolphin, Wahoo, Tuna, Cobia by weight and time. No mutilated fish will be weighed. 

Weigh Station: 

Weigh station will be held at Sailfish Marina (98 Lake Dr.) 

Each fishing day (Friday + Saturday) from 3:30-5:30pm. No fish will be weighed past 5:30pm, unless the team is in line for weigh in.

Teams are required to radio in whether they will be weighing fish each day.  They will be directed by staff where to dock while weighing.

No more than 2 fish per species will be weighed. 

Team angler must accompany his/her fish to the weigh station, DO NOT LEAVE FISH unattended. Angler must receive fish weight and time and sign off with the weigh master. 

Fish are scored by overall weight and time weighed (not caught). 

Fishing: (Regulations)

I.G.F.A. Rules apply except as follows, only non-offset circle hooks and maximum manufacturer stated 20-lb. test line may be used.

The length of the leader may not exceed 15 feet.  The combined length of the double line and the leader may not exceed 20 feet.  

Live or dead baits may be used, but only one type of bait is permitted in the water at any one time. Teams are required to declare which type of bait they will use prior to the fishing day.  If a team decides to change from live to dead baits, the team must notify the Committee by radio prior to lines in.  

Chumming of any kind, including with live bait, is prohibited.

No more than six rods are permitted in the water at any time. This includes rods being used to catch bait.

Live Bait: No more than two kites may be used. Artificial or dead bait dredges or teasers are permitted.

Dead Bait: No more than two dredges may be used. Artificial or dead bait surface teasers and daisy chains are permitted.

Live bait teasers are prohibited.

Passing the rod after hookup (hook and hand) is permitted by a non-registered angler to a registered angler only once per fish. The pass must occur as close to immediately after hookup as possible and as soon as the line is tight.

To qualify each release must be called in to the Tournament Committee including the boat name, type of bait and angler's full name immediately by VHF radio or cell phone. It is acknowledged with an assigned catch number and official time of release. The time, catch number and angler’s full name must be entered for each release on the boat’s catch card. 

A release is official when the leader is touched by the mate, the leader is wound inside the rod tip or the cork on a live bait rod touches the rod tip.

Catch Validation: 

HTU Tournament committee will utilize video catch/ release verification for all participating boats.

Every boat must supply their release footage at the end of each fishing day upon check in. Release videos are required to be uploaded to the HTU (Reel Time App) no later than 7pm. NO VIDEO = NO FISH. The video must match the date / time stamp on the correlating catch card for that day. Catch release cards must be submitted by text photo to Tournament Director, Courtney Bowden 561-909-7868 cell by 7pm as well. 

Video must clearly capture the species of fish during the fight and the release of each fish. Angler fighting the fish must also be identified on video. Failure to qualify species and release of fish will result in disqualification of fish.

Video Procedure: 

Video of the angler stating the release number and team name must be provided before the next fish is submitted. In the case of a multiple hookup, releasing all fish before stating the release number is permitted. Camera footage must be uploaded via the tournament App (by Reel Time Apps) no later than 7PM. Camera footage becomes property of the tournament. A cell phone may be used as long as video is consistent with all other rules requirements. Contact the committee to notify if an issue occurs while uploading. 

*Any question or concern regarding fish verification will be determined solely by the Video/Rules Committee. Polygraph will be administered to the winning team ONLY in the event there is a discrepancy and protest filed. 

*Your entry into the HTU Sailfish Tournament implies expressed approval that you and all anglers and crewmembers will submit to a polygraph test if requested by the rules committee. Failure to do will result in disqualification. 

Release points will be awarded as follows:

100 points for sailfish on live bait. (In respective bait category) 

100 point for sailfish on dead bait.

300 points for marlin (released) on either bait.

General requirements: 

Each fishing day cameras must start with an image of the tournament provided verification at the Captain’s Meeting along with a timepiece between the times of 7:00AM and 7:30AM (This will be considered checkout). Accepted timepieces are GPS, VHF or Cellular devices.

The final 15 minutes of the tournament ALL billfish hookups must be called in. In addition all video in the final 15 mins must start with a time stamp at hookup to insure the fish was hooked before lines out.

Boats and anglers must comply with all state and federal fishing regulations and licensing requirements. Failure to do so may result in disqualification. All boats must carry appropriate liability insurance.


Tournament officials may cancel the tournament day if in their best judgment unsafe conditions exist at sea for the average boat entered. No refunds of any sort will be made for any cause in the event of such cancellation. If the day (or any portion thereof) is “weathered out”, the tournament results will be final based on the results of the official fishing time that can be completed. Notice of cancellation and/or resumption of fishing will be provided via Committee Phone. A determination permitting fishing by tournament officials should not be interpreted to mean that the tournament ensures the safety of any registered angler or occupant of any boat.  Anglers must make their own judgments whether to fish under the prevailing weather conditions based on the size and seaworthiness of their boat, their seamanship skills, and any other relevant factors.


All ties will be broken based on time. The earlier billfish release or earlier fun fish weigh-in will win the tie.


Any protests concerning the conduct of an angler or rules violations must be filed in writing with the tournament committee no later than the close of the fishing day on the day of the alleged violation. Along with a non-refundable $500. The rules committee will address protests; the decisions of the committee and Director are final. Teams may be subject to polygraph if necessary and agree to polygraph by filing said protest. 


No refunds for entry fees will be given for any reason including, but not limited to acts of nature, war, national security, Covid-19, vessel malfunctions or travel restrictions. Calcutta fees will be returned (minus the % for service fee) given a team is unable to compete. 

Hold Harmless - All registered anglers and non-registered occupants of their boats enter and participate in this tournament voluntarily at their own risk. In consideration for the tournament’s acceptance of his or her entry, each angler, for his or her heirs, executors, and administrators, agrees to release, hold harmless and indemnify the Tournament (Hope Town United, inc.), its officers, managers, directors, agents, sponsors, donors, the city and county where the event is held, and all other persons connected directly or indirectly with the operation of the tournament, from and against any and all liabilities, claims, actions, damages, costs, fees or expenses which he or she may have against any above-described party, or which his or her captains, crew members, family members, companions or non-registered occupants of their boat may have, arising out of or in any way connected with his or her participation in this tournament, including any injury or death suffered by any registered angler, boat captains, crew members, family members, companions or other occupants of any boat, and including any damage to vessels and equipment, which occurs during or in conjunction with the event. Each Angler understands and agrees that this release specifically includes and waives any claims based on libel, slander, negligence, action or inaction of any above-named party. 

Signing of the Entry Sheet - By signing the entry form, the Boat Owner/Team Representative agrees to follow the above tournament rules.  All Boat Owners/Team Representatives are required to sign the entry form as certification that they have read and agreed to abide by all guidelines and the above liability release