Hope Town United Marlin & Meatfish Tournament

May 05 - May 08, 2021

Tournament Rules

HTU Marlin & Meatfish Tournament Rules

What & When: The Captain's Meeting: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 will be held during the Cinco De Mayo welcome celebration for all registered teams and guests. 

Where: Hope Town, Elbow Cay, Bahamas 

*A team representative must be in attendance, as rules are subject to change and will be announced at the Capt. Meeting. 

*All boats must declare where they are docking and which island they will be departing/ fishing from for the tournament day. 

*Any fish that is harvested, must be brought in on the boat which the fish was caught. No exceptions. 

All teams must possess a Bahamas Fishing Permit.- Click Here 

All teams and anglers must comply with all Bahamian rules and regulations CLICK HERE TO READ.

The Tournament fishing days are Friday (May 7th) and Saturday (May 8th) with "lines in" at 8:00am and continue until "lines out" at 4:00pm both days.  All boats must be inside the marina before 6pm each evening, as the Committee must have your catch affidavits and videos by then. An angler may fight a fish until it is lost, released or boated so long as it was hooked and reported to the Committee prior to lines out of the water. If you are hooked up after the closing of fishing on Day 1 or on Day 2, you may continue fighting the fish until you catch or lose  the fish. Day 2 of fishing, teams will have until 6pm to get to the dock! No exceptions! Any gamefish requiring a weigh-in must be at the scales prior to closing at 6pm. 

There is one mandatory lay day (Thursday, May 6). Teams may practice fish on the lay day if desired, unless determined by the Committee. All teams fish at your own risk.

There are NO boundaries set. Please note weigh station and scale times as there will be no exceptions. Zero.  


IGFA rules apply.  

Six anglers per team per day are permitted, with no restrictions. Teams are permitted to hook and hand, but only once, upon the initial hookup.

To be eligible to compete as a Junior Angler, the angler must be 16 years old or under at the start of the tournament registration.

A maximum of six lines (with hooks) are permitted at any one time. An unlimited amount of hookless baits or teasers are allowed. "J" hooks may be used on lures only. Natural baits must be deployed with non-offset circle hooks. No live bait allowed.

Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish and Spearfish are eligible for catch and release. Blue Marlin may be eligible for weigh-in, with a minimum 101" LJFL (lower jaw to fork length) measurement requirement, however only one per boat may be killed per fishing day. Tuna (Yellowfin, Blackfin, and Big Eye only), Wahoo, and Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) are eligible for weigh-in, with a 15 lb. minimum weight requirement, and are categorized as "Gamefish" in this tournament.

A billfish hook-up must be called in to the "Committee Boat" as soon as possible on the VHF channel or cell number (TBD). The "Committee Boat" will validate your hook-up by announcement. A billfish release must be called in to the "Committee Boat" with the following information: species released, boat name, angler name. 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. It is unnecessary to call in any other species besides billfish. If you lose your fish prior to release (i.e. jump off, pulled hook, etc.) please inform the "Committee Boat" as soon as possible. If you call in a release, then it will be recorded as a release. The video/ digital image the official release time and release must be within (plus or minus) fifteen (15) minutes of the time reported by radio to the "Committee Boat. Which will be validated with the radio log. 

If you call in a release, then you MAY NOT kill your fish. Be sure of your intent before calling the catch into the "Committee Boat". Once you call in a "release" it is recorded as a release and cannot be changed. "Deck-checking" is not permitted. Once you have decided you have a kill fish on the leader, please inform the "Committee Boat" of your intent, and again when it is landed. The fish's measurements must be given to the Committee as soon as possible, and will be relayed to the fleet by the "Committee Boat". It is highly recommended you continue to capture your kill on video, although not required.

Each team is allowed only TBD. To qualify for weigh-in, the fish must have a lower jaw length of 66" and 65 lbs. If the fish does not meet the minimum measurement requirement, then the undersized fish is disqualified and no points will be awarded. Fish meeting the minimum requirement will be awarded 5 points per pound. Short billed, Long billed and Mediterranean Spearfish are NOT allowed to be boated. A "Hatchet Marlin" and a "Round Scale Marlin" will be considered a White Marlin for this tournament and may be boated. The fish must be brought to the weigh-in station on the boat it was caught on! Please video the harvesting of the kill fish. 

A boat may kill only one per day per boat, one per angler. To qualify for weigh-in, the fish must measure a minimum of 101" LJFL on day one. If the fish does not meet the minimum measurement requirement, then the undersized fish is disqualified and no points will be awarded. Fish meeting the minimum requirement will be awarded 1 point per pound. The fish must be brought to the weigh-in station on the boat it was caught on! Please video the harvesting of the kill fish.

Teams may weigh-in one of each species per day. Scale hours are 4:30pm-6pm each fishing day. The minimum weight of each species is 15 pounds. Any fish eligible for weigh-in must be brought to the scales by a team representative, preferably the actual angler. In the event of a tie, we request you record your landed gamefish on the day's catch affidavit, with the angler's name and time boated. We love videos too. Each fish must be brought to the dock by the boat it was caught on! You may then "walk or roll" the fish to the weigh station as needed.

All billfish must be released to qualify. A billfish is considered released when: a) the swivel between the mainline or double line and leader hits the rod tip b) the mate grabs the leader or c) the wind-on leader comes through the rod tip. Please release the fish in good condition by either removing the hook-set or cutting the leader as close to the hook-set as possible. "Popping" the leader is not a good method of healthy release, and we ask that you refrain from doing so.

No mutilated fish will be weighed. No exceptions. 



Identification Markers - each team will be required to validate their videos and catches/ releases/ kills with a “marker” of the committee choosing to be announced at the Captains Meeting. 

Billfish Release Affidavit - each billfish release is required to be noted on the day's release card and submitted with your video to the Committee each fishing day. Failure to turn in your card will disqualify that day's catch(es). Release/ catch cards are supplied with your registration package. If you do not have one for each day, please see the Committee for a replacement.

Submission of Recordings - Verification recordings must be submitted to the Committee between 4:40pm-7pm each day of fishing. All recordings, images, sounds etc. may become property of the Tournament and may be used at any time. Recordings and/or images will be downloaded from the team's device(s), if needed.

Disputes or Protests – Protests must be filed with the Tournament Director prior to the close of scale each fishing day. Protests must be in writing accompanied with a non-refundable $500 fee.  All disputes will be settled by the Committee. All decisions are final. If found true, the protest fee will be returned to the boat who filed. 


Participation in optional calcutta is not required to compete for awards.

90% of all optional calcutta fees are distributed in the form of cash/awards with proper tax information as requested. 

Participants wishing to pay calcutta fees, may pay by U.S. currency, check (payable to Hope Town United, Inc. ), wire transfer, cash or check. 

Awards for all divisions are determined by points as stated in these rules. 

Heaviest Marlin (if applicable) divisions are determined by weight as stated in these rules. In the event no qualifying fish are weighed, all fees collected for this/these division(s) will be refunded. 

Gamefish: If no gamefish are caught in any division then that category will be shared/split into the other divisions. If no gamefish are caught, then all money will be refunded at 100%. 


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.

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, county or country where the event is held, and all other persons connected directly or indirectly with the operation of the tournament (including, Tournament Director, Courtney Bowden – Contact Courtney Consulting, LLC), 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 nonregistered 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 registering a team and signing the entry form, the Boat Owner/Team Representative agrees to follow the above tournament rules, including all regulations set by the Bahamian Government.  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.

*as of March 3, 2021 – Rules, prices, schedule subject to change by committee as needed prior to the Capt. Meeting, May 5, 2021. All changes will be announced and published with appropriate timing. 

Please contact: Courtney Bowden, Tournament Director · 561-909-7868 · Hello@ContactCourtney.com or Hope Town United, Director: Seneca Reynolds · 561-339-5022 · Seneca@hopetownunited.org with questions.