Registration/Check-in: All registered boats must be checked-in with the Tournament Committee and entry fee paid by 6:30pm,Wednesday May 24th to qualify for prizes and trophies. Any boat entered in the Georgetown Blue Marlin Tournament shall not be entered in another tournament simultaneously. The Tournament reserves the right to deny entry to anyone. All registered boats and anglers must be in compliance with Federal and State Regulations regarding recreational and/or charter fishing as well as SC Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Tournament Fishing Guidelines.
Rules Meeting: At least one person from each boat will be present at the Captain’s meeting and is responsible for knowing the tournament rules including any changes that may take place at the meeting on the Wednesday evening prior to the tournament.
General Tournament Rules:
1. Boats are required to leave from Georgetown, South Carolina/Winyah Bay, must fish in the coastal waters of South Carolina, and may not leave the dock before 3:00 a.m. No lines in the water before 8:00 a.m., including teasers and fishing for live bait. Lines out of the water each day at 3:00 p.m. Scanning sonars will be allowed; however, they cannot be used prior to lines in at 8:00 am or after lines out at 3:00 pm. Boats must declare a fishing or non-fishing day by VHF, telephone, cell phone or in person prior to leaving its slip/dock or before 6:00 a.m. of that day. If a boat has not declared, and is not in its slip/dock, it is considered a fishing day for that craft. If necessary, a boat may notify a committee boat before lines-in time.
2. Boats may fish two-out-of-three eligible fishing days, Captain’s Choice. Eligible fishing days are: Thursday May 25th, Friday May 26th & Saturday May 27th. In the event these three days of fishing are canceled, then Sunday May 28th shall be a fishing day (weather day). One day of fishing constitutes a tournament.
3. Small Craft Advisory as defined and posted by NOAA Weather Service cancels that day’s fishing. This will be determined no later than 6:00 a.m. each fish day. It is understood that the safety of a participating vessel is ultimately the responsibility of the Captain.
4. Official Tournament Time will be continuous GPS time.
5. Tournament VHF channel will be announced at the captains meeting.
6. In order to accommodate mechanical or other unforeseen problems, boats may be substituted up until the end of the Captain’s meeting. Boats will be allowed to withdraw from the tournament up until start of fishing the first day with a prorated portion of the entry fee retained for socials and services provided.
7. All fish must be caught in accordance with all state and federal laws, and under IGFA Rules with the exception of passing rod to qualify to earn SC Governor’s Cup points or awards. After a fish strikes, the rod may be passed to one angler one time as soon as possible. All anglers may have the rod passed one time to them. After the rod has been passed, only the angler is allowed to touch the rod, reel, line. Once the leader is brought within the grasp of the mate or is wound to the rod tip, then the angler may have assistance to catch and release or boat the fish. Series points will accrue towards Series awards for these fish. Vessels may provide assistance to other vessels for boating fish. Violations of state or federal law, will lead to the disqualification of all fish caught on that fishing day and the day will be counted as an eligible fish day for the tournament.
8. This is a rod and reel, hook and line tournament. Double line and leader may not exceed 40ft; neither of which may exceed 30ft. The following practices are illegal in this tournament: a) use of hand line or rope attached to the line or leader, b) shooting, harpooning, or lancing.
9. Effective January 1, 2008, The National Marine Fisheries Service regulations require anglers fishing from HMS permitted vessels and participating in Atlantic Billfish tournaments to use only non-offset circle hooks when deploying natural baits or natural bait/artificial lure combinations. The regulations allow the use of J-hooks with artificial lures in tournaments. All tournament entries will adhere to the NOAA and National Fisheries Service definitions of a “non-offset circle hook”.