MAY 2-5, 2024
Catch & Release Billfish
Heaviest Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo
Entry: $1,500 per Team • $2,000 per Team for Non-Members
+ Optional Jackpots
Thursday, May 2 - Registration & Captain's Meeting 5:30pm.
Friday, May 3 - Boats depart at Noon • Shotgun Start
Saturday, May 4 - Scales open 4-6:00pm
Sunday, May 5 - Boats must be inside the jetties by 4:00pm
Scales open at 2:00pm • Awards Ceremony following the close of scales
Entry is $1,500 per team for club members and $2,000 per team for non-members, plus 7% required Florida State Tax.
Payment types are cash, check, or credit cards will require a 3.5% processing fee.
Tournament entries are non-refundable. Payment of the entry fee constitutes a representation by each entrant that he/she has read and fully understands all rules and will abide by such rules and the decisions of the Tournament Director. Registration closes at 7:30pm on Thursday, May 11.
The Captain’s Meeting will be held at Harbor Docks in Destin, FL on Thursday, May 11 at 5:30pm. The owner, captain, or designated team member must sign-in and be present for the meeting. Rules are subject to change and will be made final at the Captain’s Meeting.
Optional entries are a separate entry. The optional entry is not required to compete for tournament awards.
Winner Take All: Catch & Release Billfish • $2,000
Winner Take All: Swordfish • $500
Catch & Release Billfish: $2,500 • $1,000 • $750 • $500
Tuna: $2,500 • $1,000 • $750 • $500
Dolphin: $2,500 • $1,000 • $750 • $500
Wahoo: $2,500 • $1,000 • $750 • $500
Optional Jackpot payouts will be the total amount of the monies received, minus 10% for tournament service fees with the remaining 90% to be paid out. All jackpot divisions will pay 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place with a 50%, 30%, 20% split, assuming a minimum of three fish are weighed in per species. If only two fish are weighed, the split becomes 60%, 40%. If one fish is weighed, the winner receives 100%. If no fish are weighed, a refund will be given to the teams entered in that optional. The Winner Take All jackpots will be 100% payout.
The primary contact of each team will be the representative payee to receive all payments of cash awards. Payments are made by check. A single check will be written to the team’s representative for a combined total payout after a W9 is completed. ECBGFC accepts no responsibility for the division of any cash awards between team members.
The following awards are based on 30 registered teams. Payouts are subject to change depending on the number of entries. Catch & Release awards will be presented to the teams with the most accumulated points utilizing video verification. Awards for heaviest fish will be presented to the teams caught in the following categories:
• 1st Place - Catch & Release Billfish $7,000 • Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo $3,500
• 2nd Place - Catch & Release Billfish $5,500 • Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo $2,500
• 3rd Place - Catch & Release Billfish $3,500 • Tuna, Dolphin, Wahoo $1,500
If no qualifying fish are weighed in for any category, the cash award assigned will be added to other categories in a proportional manner as determined by the Tournament Director.
Top Lady Angler and Top Junior Angler Awards will be presented to the one angler based on points. One (1) point per pound for fish weighed in and 200 points per billfish release.
Swordfish is an optional entry, not included in the tournament base entry.
Polygraphs may be administered at the discretion of the Tournament Director.
In the interest of true sportsmanship, the start of the tournament will be as follows: Boats can depart from ports between Orange Beach, AL and Mexico Beach, FL immediately following the Captain’s Meeting. You are required to check out via Radio Channel 68 or by Texting or Calling Crystal LaFosse (337) 802-5525 or Racheal Sharp (850) 687-1972.
Fishing begins with lines-in at 8:00pm on Thursday, May 11 and continues until Saturday, May 13. Boats must return to the scales by water. There is no lines-out time, however, all boats must check-in inside the jetties in Destin by 4:00pm on Saturday to qualify to weigh-in at Harbor Docks..
WEIGH STATION HOURS & PROCEDURES
Scales will be open 4:00-6:00pm on Friday, May 12 and open at 3:00pm on Saturday, May 13 at Harbor Docks. Scales will close immediately after the last fish is weighed. All billfish verification forms and videos must be turned in to officials before the close of scales.
A tail tag with the team name and angler’s name must accompany each fish before unloading to the scales. Tail tags will be given in your entry packet. All fish weighed at the scales must be returned to the boat.
The following species are eligible for competition when caught by registered anglers in accordance with tournament rules:
Catch & Release Billfish Weigh-in at the Scales
• Blue Marlin • White Marlin • Sailfish • Spearfish
• Dolphin - 15 lb. minimum
• Tuna - 20 lb. minimum
• Wahoo - 20 lb. minimum
• Swordfish - 47” lower jaw/fork minimum (Optional)
For each day the scales are open (Friday & Saturday), each team will be allowed to bring to the scales a maximum of three (3) tuna, three (3) dolphin, three (3) wahoo, and one (1) swordfish for those entered in the swordfish optional jackpot.
Harpoons are allowed. No electric reels.
The tournament committee reserves the right to reject any fish entry due to its condition or one that does not meet the eligible requirements set by this tournament. Fish are subject to gutting at the scales. The condition of the fish will be left up to the scrutiny of the Tournament Director and/or Committee. Their decision is final.
NO PASSING THE ROD AFTER THE FIRST MINUTE OF THE FISH BEING HOOKED.
Each boat is required to record all billfish that are released in the order in which the fish are caught on the Billfish Scorecard. The order of the recorded releases must match the order that appears on the video. It’s encouraged to call or text in all releases as they happen. Reporting is monitored by calling or texting Crystal (337) 802-5525 or Racheal (850) 687-1972.
Be prepared to give the following information:
• Team or Boat Name
• Angler’s Name
• Species of the fish
• Time released
Do not report Tuna, Dolphin, or Wahoo on the scorecard.
Video verification is required for each billfish released and recorded on the scorecard. Video submitted for consideration of points must include the following technical elements:
• Angler fighting the fish, include video of the rod & reel
• Cockpit panoramic view
• Tournament designator
• The catch (swivel at the rod tip or team member touching the leader)
• Show the billfish for species identification
• The release of the fish
• Secondary cockpit panoramic view
• Clear shot of the GPS date and time (central time zone) to be used for official release time. Hold the video steady for several seconds to allow clear focus of the date & time (this is critical.)
Video verification becomes property of the tournament. Please use a fresh SD card to have the videos readily available. Cell phone videos are acceptable.
Tournament designators will be assigned at the Captain’s Meeting.
Catch & Release placements are determined by points awarded as follows:
• 200 points for any billfish release
PERMITS & LICENSES
All captains and participants must be familiar with and are responsible for all licenses and permits required by the State of Law.
In case of a tie, placement is determined by time. For catch & release, time is verified by the boat's GPS time of release. For fish weighed in, time is verified in the order of fish weighed in at the scales.
WEATHER: TOURNAMENT DELAY OR CANCELLATION
In the event the tournament committee feels in their best judgment that fishing is unsafe due to severe weather, high seas, or any cause beyond their control, the tournament may be canceled or delayed. If delayed, a new start time or date will be announced should weather conditions improve. If canceled, entry fees will be rolled over to the following year in their entirety or may be refunded less $500 for non-refundable deposit. If one day is fished, the tournament goes on.
All teams and participants should make their decision to fish based solely on their own judgment. Fish at your own risk.
We strive to be a fun organization and safety is our first priority. Should the seas be deemed unsafe for some vessels, we will give the option of a refund with no hard feelings.