2017 TOURNAMENT RULES

A. SAFETY AND CONDUCT:
B. REGISTRATION:
C. ELIGIBILITY.
D. RECREATIONAL TEAM CHALLENGE:
E. FISH CATEGORIES AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
F. SCORING:
G. PRIZES:
H. FISHING AREAS:
I. TACKLE AND METHODS:
J. OFFICIAL SCHEDULE:

K. WEIGH-IN:
L. RULINGS AND RULES COMPLIANCE:
M. LIABILITY:
N. COMMUNICATIONS:
O. ENTRY FEES:

P. PHOTO AND VIDEO RELEASE:
Q. WEATHER CONTINGENCY
  

 

A. SAFETY AND CONDUCT
1. Participants are expected to follow all applicable laws and rules for safe boating, including those regarding USCG equipment requirements.

2. Participants are expected to follow all applicable laws pertaining to the taking of marine fish.

3. Participants are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship and courtesy. Any participant who exhibits
threatening behavior or who otherwise engage in disorderly, illegal or improper conduct of any kind is subject to immediate disqualification from the Tournament.

4. Willful violations of marine laws or other violations of safe and proper conduct may lead to disqualification.

B. REGISTRATION
1. No angler will be eligible to win any tournament prize or contribute to a team score unless properly registered, with payment of the applicable fee(s), before catching the entered fish, or waver of fee via Tournament sponsorship.

2. Properly registered entrants will be issued a Tournament ID card or registrant number that must accompany fish brought to weigh-in and which must be presented when claiming prizes.

3. Tournament officials may verify proper registration at any time by requesting presentation of a Tournament ID and registrant number.

4. Registration may be completed in advance by mail, internet (www.saltwaterclassic.com), in person at selected locations, or by telephone as indicated on the registration form.

5. Mailed entries must be received by Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.

6. The final deadline for entry by any means other than mail is midnight, Thursday, June 15, 2017 Eastern Daylight Time.

7. Entry fees in all categories are non-refundable.

C. ELIGIBILITY
1. Recreation Division: Open to all anglers. Recreational anglers can fish from a Charter boat so long as the Captain, crew or mate does not hook or play fish.

2. Junior Division: Open to anglers below the age of 13 at the start of the tournament.

3. Recreational Team Challenge: Open to all anglers eligible to enter the Recreational Division or Junior Division. Additional fee required.

4. Recreational Jackpot: Open to Recreational Division entrants. Additional fee(s) required.

5. Kingfish Jackpot: Open to all registered entrants in the Recreational Divisions. Additional fee required.

6. Redfish Jackpot: Open to all registered entrants in the Recreational Division. Additional fee required.

7. Participants are eligible to compete in only one division at a time.

8. Individuals who have been barred from participation for previous violations are ineligible to compete in any division.

D. RECREATIONAL TEAM CHALLENGE:
1. With payment of an additional fee, groups of recreational anglers may compete as sponsored teams in the Recreational Division.

2. The Team Challenge competition is an optional element of the Recreational Division competition and will not affect team members' scoring or eligibility for prizes in the corresponding main division.

3. The only prize in the Team Challenge competition shall be a Team Challenge Trophy.

4. All anglers on a team must be eligible for and individually registered in the Recreational Division or Junior Division. Failure to meet this requirement will disqualify the team.

5. Recreational teams must consist of at least two and no more than six anglers, who may fish together or separately.

6. Recreational teams may fish from no more than two boats. Failure to meet this requirement will disqualify the team.

7. If any angler registered in the Team Challenge competition chooses to fish on a vessel separate and apart from other team members, all persons aboard the same vessel, including captain and crew, must be registered tournament anglers in the Recreational Division. Failure to meet this requirement will preclude the team member fishing with unregistered persons from entering any fish into the Team Challenge.

E. FISH CATEGORIES AND ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
1. Fish species eligible for scoring in the tournament, with minimum qualifying lengths (see 2. below) are:

a. Recreational Division: COBIA, 34" Fork; DOLPHIN, 22" Fork; FLOUNDER, 13"; GROUPER-RED or GAG, 25"; MACKEREL-KING, 27" Fork; MACKEREL-SPANISH OR CERO , 14" Fork; SHEEPSHEAD, 14"; SPOTTED SEA TROUT, 16"; WAHOO, 22"; REDFISH (RED DRUM) 20"-26" SLOT*;

b. Junior Division: BLACK SEA BASS, 12"; FLOUNDER, 12"; GROUPER-RED or GAG, 25”; MACKEREL-KING, 25" Fork; MACKEREL-SPANISH OR CERO, 13" Fork; SPOTTED SEA TROUT, 16"; REDFISH (RED DRUM) 20"-26" SLOT*;

All redfish in the tournament must measure 20"-26". Any fish outside of the slot limit as designated by Big Bend Saltwater Classic officials will not be weighed.

2. Minimum qualifying lengths are measured as total length. Total length means the straight line distance from the most forward point of the head with the mouth closed, to the farthest tip of the tail, with the tail pinched (in accordance with FWC rules) except those noted as FORK, which are measured to the middle of the fork of the tail.

* SLOT is defined as overall length to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail pinched no shorter than 20" and no longer than 26". Fish not meeting this standard will be ineligible for the tournament.

3. Fish must have been caught personally by the registered entrant who is credited with the catch in tournament scoring, using legal methods as defined in Section J, during legal hours of tournament fishing as defined in Section K.

4. The Tournament reserves the right to amend the lengths and/or remove any fish from competition, without notice, at any time in order to comply with federal and/or state requirements.

F. SCORING:
1. Scoring by weight: All scoring in the tournament is based on the weight of single fish entered by registered anglers in any of the eligible species categories for their division.

2. Single category: Individual anglers or teams may hold only one place at a time in a single category.

3. Subsequent Entries: Individual anglers or teams may improve their standing in a given category with subsequent entry of larger fish at any time before the close of the tournament.

4. Official Weigh Stations: All fish to be considered for scoring must be weighed on an official scale at an Official Weigh Station.

5. Recreational Division Individual Scoring: The scoring system for this division determines individual winners in each species category and a single overall winner of the tournament Grand Prize. The five heaviest qualifying fish in that category determine category winners. Category ties are resolved by evenly splitting the combined placement prize amounts among the tied contestants. Points are awarded for a placement in each category as follows:

1st - 100 POINTS
2nd - 80 POINTS
3rd - 75 POINTS
4th - 63 POINTS
5th - 51 POINTS

The sum of points accumulated for placing in the various categories determines the overall Grand Prize winner. A tie for the Grand Prize winner is broken by a formula based on the weight of the individuals' scored fish in comparison to the average weight of all fish placing in the applicable category(ies).

6. Junior Division Scoring: The scoring system for the Junior Division determines winners in each species category. The five heaviest qualifying fish in that category determine category winners. Category ties are resolved by evenly splitting the combined placement prize amounts among the tied contestants.
 
7. Team Challenge Scoring: The scoring system for the Recreational Team Challenge determines a single winning team. Team members' qualifying fish are entered in the name of the team. A team may hold only one place at a time in a species category, as determined by the heaviest qualifying fish posted by a member of that team. Points are awarded and accumulated by teams in the manner described above. Scoring of team fish is independent of any placement and points that the same fish may earn in the Recreational Division. Teams entered by the same sponsor may not contribute to one another's scores.

G. PRIZES:
1. Recreational Division:

Fish category winners are awarded cash and plaques for first through third place in each category as follows:

  • First Place – $1,000 (minimum value)
  • Second Place – $400 (minimum value)
  • Third Place – $250 (minimum value) 

The Grand Prize winner will receive a package of goods and/or services as advertised elsewhere. The Grand Prize is not transferable, may not be redeemed for cash, and includes a limited-time offer wherein the prize must be redeemed by the winner upon penalty or forfeit. 

2. Junior Division: Fish category winners are awarded goods and services for first through fifth place in each category as follows:

  • First Place - trophy and a prize package
  • Second Place – trophy and a prize package
  • Third Place – trophy
  • Fourth Place – trophy
  • Fifth Place – trophy

3. Team Challenge: The Team Challenge Trophy is awarded to the winning team’s sponsor. The trophy is rotating and may be retained only so long as it is successfully defended in subsequent tournaments. The trophy remains the property of the BBSC and shall be returned prior to next year’s tournament.

4. Recreational Jackpot: Entrants in the Recreational Division have the option of entering any of the applicable Jackpot prize categories, each of which requires an additional fee. 70% of fees generated by each category will be awarded to the angler posting the largest fish by weight in the following categories: Cobia, Dolphin, Flounder, Grouper, Sheepshead, Snapper, Spanish Mackerel, Speckled Trout, and Wahoo.

5. Kingfish Jackpot: Entrants in the Recreational Division have the option of entering the Kingfish Jackpot for an additional fee. 70% of such fees generated will be awarded to the angler posting the largest King Mackerel by weight.  Minimum guaranteed payout for this prize will be $5,000*.  

6. Redfish Jackpot: Entrants in the Recreational Division have the option of entering the Redfish Jackpot for an additional fee. 70% of such fees generated will be awarded to the angler posting the largest Redfish by weight within the specified slot limit.  Minimum guaranteed payout for this prize will be $3,000*.

* Based on 500 Registered Anglers in the Tournament.

7. SeaTow Weigh-A-Fish--Win a Grand: $1,000 prize awarded via raffle.

 To be entered in the Sea Tow “Weigh a Fish – Win a Grand” drawing, the following requirements must be met: 

  1. Must be listed as the primary member or co-owner in the Sea Tow membership system.
  2. Sea Tow membership must be active as of the drawing.
  3. One entry per member.
  4. Must be present at the award presentation at Tournament Headquarters to claim prize.
  5. All divisions are eligible for entry.
  6. Member must weigh any fish species eligible for scoring in the tournament to be entered into drawing. 

9. Cancellation: In the event of only a single entry in a division, the Big Bend Saltwater Classic will consider competition in that division terminated and thus will refund the entrant's registration fee in full.

 
* Based on 500 Registered Anglers in the Tournament.
 
H. FISHING AREAS:
1. Departure points: Tournament entrants must depart from port (or may fish from shore) along the portion of the Gulf of Mexico coastline from the Keaton Beach Canal in Taylor County to the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.

2. Boundaries on water: Providing stated limits on points of departure are observed, there are no boundary restrictions on the waters in which tournament entrants may fish.


I. TACKLE AND METHODS:
1. The angler credited with a catch in tournament scoring must have personally hooked and played the fish to boatside or shore, without assistance. Normal sportfishing practices for landing a fish (e.g., gaffing, wiring, or landing nets) may be assisted.

2. Fish must be hooked and landed on a single rod and reel, pole, or handline.

3. Electrically driven reels on a free-standing rod (e.g., "Electramates") are acceptable.

4. Expressly prohibited fishing methods for purposes of this tournament include: mounted winch devices ("one-armed bandits"), motor-driven longlines, spearing, gigging, netting, shooting (including use of bangsticks), or any method of catch in violations of State or Federal laws. Evidence of prohibited methods will disqualify the catch and all entrants fishing aboard the vessel on which such rule violations were committed.

5. Presence of prohibited gear on a contestant's boat will be considered evidence of use and shall be considered grounds for disqualifying the catch and all entrants fishing aboard the vessel.

J. OFFICIAL SCHEDULE:
1. Official Time: All times given represent Eastern Daylight Time in Carrabelle, Florida occurring from June 16-17, 2017.

2. Tournament fishing hours begin (First Lines in the Water) at 5:30 a.m., Friday, June 16, 2017.

3. All fishing in all divisions continues without interruption until 5:00 p.m., Saturday, June 17, 2017.

4. Official Weigh Station hours are: 3:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Friday, June 16; 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturday, June 17, 2017.

5. Tournament Awards Ceremony will be held Saturday, June 17, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. at the Tournament Headquarters, Shields Marina in St. Marks, Florida.

 
K. WEIGH-IN:
1. Scoring: To be eligible for scoring, fish must be brought to an Official Weigh Station within the weigh-in hours specified above by a person or persons bearing the Tournament ID card(s) of the registered angler(s) whose fish are to be scored (see 6. below).

2. Official Weigh Stations: There are two official Weigh Stations where fish may be weighed in. The weigh stations are: Shields Marina in St. Marks, Florida, and The Moorings in Carrabelle, Florida.

3. Weigh-In Zones: Fish, intended to be scored, shall be considered eligible only if at posted deadline times they are located within the in-line traffic at each scale at an Official Weigh Station. No waivers of these rules will be granted because of hardship or other eventualities.

4. Open Times: Fish may be officially weighed any time the weigh stations are open. Entrants are encouraged to bring their catch to weigh-in as soon as practical to ensure freshness and the least loss of weight.

5. Tournament ID: Fish will not be officially weighed without presentation of the entrant's Tournament ID or registration number, in person or by a representative. Contestants must have a valid Tournament ID on their person before entering the weigh-in line. Contestants who do not possess a valid Tournament ID will be directed to the Information Desk.

6. Handling: Fish qualifying for places on any of the tournament competition leader boards will be photographed and documented with the official weight and Tournament ID number, gut checked and released to the angler.

7. Freshness: Fish brought to weigh-in must be in a fresh, edible condition and must not have been frozen.

8. Tampering: Fish must be intact with no evidence of spearing, bangsticks, weight tampering, or other rules violations. It is the responsibility of the angler to ensure that all foreign objects are removed from the fish. Such objects shall include, but are not limited to: hooks, leaders, ice, and weights. Hooks or bait that have passed through the mouth and into the gullet may be left in place.  Any fish found to be in violation of this rule is subject to disqualification and/or gut check.

9. Gut check: All fish weighed by the tournament may be subject to a gut check after weighing at the discretion of Tournament officials.

10. Removal: Entrants are responsible for removing their catch.


L. RULINGS AND RULES COMPLIANCE:
1. Rules violations, the eligibility of entrants or entered fish, disqualifications, and any other matters not specifically covered by these rules will be decided by the Tournament Judge in consultation with the Tournament staff. The Tournament Judge may disqualify any person who commits any violation of tournament rules. The Tournament Judge may disqualify entrants from this tournament and from future tournaments and events.

2. Decisions of the Tournament Judge are final and binding on all entrants.

3. Ticket outlets are ticket sale representatives of the Tournament and in no way act as an agent for or on behalf of the Tournament. Ticket outlets cannot provide interpretations of the rules.

4. Lie-detector (polygraph) tests will be administered to randomly selected anglers at the tournament board's discretion. Individuals selected for polygraph tests must pass all portions of the test to be eligible to receive any prize. Failure to do so for any reason will result in immediate disqualification. Individuals who are judged by the polygraph examiner to be impaired by drugs or alcohol will be disqualified.

5. Protests of any nature must be submitted to the Tournament Chairman in writing by 9:00 a.m. on June 18, 2017 along with a cash deposit of $200.00 to be binding on the outcome of this tournament. An unsuccessful protest will forfeit the $200.00 deposit.

6. In the event of a protest, all prize money in the fish category named in the protest will be held by the tournament until the outcome of the protest is finalized.

7. Protests filed after 9:00 a.m. on June 18, 2017, will not affect the results of this tournament and will only be considered with respect to other actions against entrants.


M. LIABILITY:
1. All entrants participate in the tournament at their own risk.

2. Tournament officials, Shields Marina, The Moorings, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Official Weigh Stations and all other persons directly or indirectly connected with the operation of the tournament are exempt from any liability for loss, damage, injury, negligence, or harm to any entrant, their companions or other participants, boat captains, crew members, vessels, or equipment which may occur during the tournament.


N. COMMUNICATIONS:
Ship-to-shore communication for safety and for periodic tournament announcements will be maintained throughout the tournament on marine VHF channel 09.


O. ENTRY FEES:
Entry fees for the 2017 Big Bend Saltwater Classic are as follows:

Recreational Division Online Registration:  $65.00 (per angler)

Recreational Division Non-Online Registration:  $75.00 (per angler)

Recreational Team Challenge:  $150.00 (per team, individual registration required)

Recreational Jackpots:  $30.00 (per fish, per angler)

Kingfish Jackpot:  $40.00 (per angler)

Redfish Jackpot:  $40.00 (per angler)

Junior Division:  $25.00 (per angler)

P. PHOTO AND VIDEO RELEASE:

The participants specifically agree and consent to the use of any photograph, motion picture, video or audio recording in which they appear or are heard by the Big Bend Saltwater Classic for any purpose whatsoever including, but not limited to resale, advertising, and promotional material without compensation or restriction of any kind.


Q. WEATHER CONTINGENCY:
1. The tournament will not be canceled or postponed due to weather or sea conditions. Entry fees are non-refundable.