Fishing Rules (Effective 1/1/2016)

  1. TOURNAMENT YEAR: January 1, thru December 31.
  2. GENERAL RULES:
    1. Fish must be caught in accordance with IGFA rules except as modified by NEFMA rules.
      1. IGFA rules modifications may be issued for individual Shootout-tournaments.
      2. Treble hooks may be used in combination with natural bait when targeting Kingfish. Any other fish taken with this combination shall be disqualified.
    2. PORTS: Boats must leave from and return to St. Augustine, Ponce Inlet, Mayport, or Fernandina (St Mary's Entrance). There are no boundaries. EXCEPTION: See Shootout-Tournaments.
    3. Communications: VHF Channel 72 or as directed by the Board of Directors.
    4. The General Member must be on board their designated boat for a catch to be awarded points unless the boat has a Designated Captain. In which case, the Designated Captain must be on board their designated boat for a catch to be awarded points.
    5. Each General Member/Designated Captain Member must designate their boat at the beginning of the fishing year. If boat ownership changes during the fishing year, the new boat must be designated to the Club as their official boat before any fish caught will be counted. More than one boat change per year must be approved by the board.
    6. Fish must be brought in on the designated boat on which they were caught.
    7. Fish caught while the boat or Captain is chartered are not eligible for any awards.
      1. Chartered Boat: Defined as a vessel that is operated for hire for which there is a payment made for the privilege of fishing. This does not preclude the sharing of expenses with your crew or business associates.
      2. Chartered Captain: Defined as one who is paid for the operation of the vessel while fishing. This does not preclude a General Member from having a Designated Captain Member or paying a captain to operate/maintain the vessel.
    8. If a billfish is caught and the Captain wishes to keep the fish, the bill may be removed for refrigeration purposes. The body may not be cut or divided in any manner.
    9. Mechanical Breakdown: Boats must depart and return under their own power for their fish to count for that day. Once a boat is "under tow" it is disqualified for that fishing day.
    10. These rules govern our fishing and shootout tournaments only. The Bluewater Tournament has special rules of its' own. Fish caught in the Bluewater Tournament are eligible for year-end awards providing all fish entry forms are properly submitted.
  3. FISH: The club awards for the following:
    1. SPECIES
      1. Blue Marlin
      2. White Marlin
      3. Swordfish
      4. Sailfish
      5. Mako Shark
      6. Non-Designated Billfish
      7. Wahoo
      8. Yellowfin Tuna
      9. Blackfin Tuna
      10. Dolphin
      11. Kingfish
    2. SIZE: All fish must comply with Federal and state regulations and legal minimums in effect at the time of catch. Any fish brought in not in compliance with those regulations will not count and may result in a fine by the Florida Wildlife Commission or other Federal Agency.
      1. BLUE MARLIN MINIMUM SIZE: Any Blue Marlin caught and weighed that measures less than 115 inches (tip of lower jaw to fork of tail) will not receive any points.
      2. WHITE MARLIN MINIMUM SIZE: Any White Marlin caught and weighed in that measures less that 66 inches (tip of lower jaw to fork of tail) will not receive any points.
      3. SWORDFISH MINIMUM SIZE: The minimum size for Swordfish as set forth by the National Marine Fisheries Service is 47 inches (tip of lower jaw to fork of tail) straight measurement, not curved over the body. It is the Captain's responsibility to know how to measure Swordfish. Any Swordfish caught and weighed in that weighs less than 75 pounds will not receive any points.
      4. MAKO SHARK MINIMUM WEIGHT: Possession of Mako Sharks is regulated by the National Marine Fisheries Service and is subject to closure; therefore, it is the captain's responsibility to know possession rules. Any Mako Shark caught and weighed in that weighs less than 75 pounds will not receive any points.
      5. SAILFISH MINIMUM SIZE: Any Sailfish caught and weighed in that measure less than 63 inches (tip of lower jaw to fork of tail) will not receive any points.
      6. YELLOWFIN TUNA MINIMUM SIZE: In addition to the minimum weight listed below, the minimum size of Yellowfin Tuna is 27-inch Curved Fork Length measured in a line, tracing the contour of the body from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail, which abuts the dorsal insertion of the pectoral fin and the dorsal side of the caudal fin. Any Yellowfin Tuna caught and weighed in that weigh less than 20 pounds will not receive any points.
      7. ALL OTHER BOARDFISH: Minimum weights for all other board fish are listed below. Any fish weighed in below these minimum weights will not receive any points.
        1. Wahoo – 10 Pounds
        2. Dolphin – 10 Pounds
        3. Blackfin Tuna – 10 Pounds
        4. Kingfish – 10 Pounds
    3. SCORING: The following point system will be used to determine Boat of the Year Winner. The system will also be used to score Shootout-tournaments to determine order of finish.
      1. BILLFISH DIVISION: The following point structure will apply for all boated and weighed billfish.

        SPECIES 1ST PLACE 2ND PLACE 3RD PLACE 4TH PLACE 5TH PLACE
        Blue Marlin 500 425 350 275 200
        White Marlin 200 175 150 125 100
        Swordfish 150 125 100 75 50
        Sailfish 125 100 75 50 25
        Non-Designated Billfish 125 100 75 50 25

        Release Points will be awarded for all Billfish released in accordance with NEFMA rules. The points awarded per release will be equal to the first place points for the respective species as defined above.

      2. GAMEFISH DIVISION: The following point structure will apply for all boated and weighed gamefish.

        SPECIES 1ST PLACE 2ND PLACE 3RD PLACE 4TH PLACE 5TH PLACE
        Wahoo 250 200 150 100 75
        Dolphin 250 200 150 100 75
        Yellowfin Tuna 250 200 150 100 75
        Blackfin Tuna 150 125 100 75 50
        Mako Shark 150 125 100 75 50
        Kingfish 100 75 50 20 10

        Release Points will be awarded for all Mako Sharks released in accordance with NEFMA rules. The points awarded per release will be equal to the first place points for Mako Sharks as defined above.

      3. New Club Records: Any boat catching a fish that breaks the current club record for any species, including Blue Marlin will be awarded a bonus equivalent to the first place points for that species. If a record is broken more than once during the fishing year, each boat that breaks a record will receive and keep their bonus points.
      4. For year-end and Shootout-tournament awards, points are awarded at the time of weigh-in or when fish are released. If no time is entered, 11:59pm will be used. Ties will be broken by the time of accumulation of points. In the case of tie weights, the fish weighed in first is the winner.
    4. RELEASING:
      1. To qualify and receive Year End Tournament Points, released Billfish and Mako Sharks must be photographed in accordance with the following rules:
        1. Photographing and Releasing Fish: To qualify as a "Released" fish, a digital photograph(s) or video of the fish must be submitted within 72 hours of the catch via the official club website (www.NEFMA.com). The photo may be taken with a personal camera or phone.
        2. The photo/video must allow the Tournament Director or Board of Directors to identify the species of the fish and to determine that the fish is "under control' of the crew. "Under Control" means that the crew has leader in hand, the fish is close enough to the boat and is in a position that a tag could be used if desired.
      2. General Releasing Rules:
        1. The fish must be intentionally released. The recommended method is to remove the hook If your hook cannot be easily and safely removed, the alternative method is to cut the leader as close to the hook as possible. If the leader breaks or the fish gets off the hook while in control of the leader the fish qualifies as a release. The key word is "intent". If your intent is to release the fish, then the fish will count. If your intent is to boat the fish, and the fish gets off then the fish does not count.
        2. The fish may not be removed from the water in its entirety at any time. The head of the fish may be lifted to facilitate its release. The less time the fish spends alongside the boat the greater the chance for survival. Fish that are weak should be revived along side with the dorsal fin in a vertical position. This procedure may take several minutes but may make the difference between death and survival. If the fish cannot be revived, the fish may be released and points will still be awarded.
        3. If a billfish, of legal size, that has been previously tagged is recaptured, it may (should) be brought in and will be awarded points for a tag and release. This does not preclude a fish from being weighed as a board fish.
    5. RECORDING:
      1. Each Captain or designated associate member is responsible for weighing and certifying the boat's catch. All fish caught must be weighed on board approved currently certified scales. Entries must be submitted on the official web-site (www.nefma.com). All catches must be submitted within 72 hours of the time of release or weigh-in.
      2. By doing so, the Captain is certifying that all criteria in these rules have been met. Also, in the case of a release, it is the opinion of the Captain, the fish was released in a condition that afforded the fish a reasonable chance of survival.
      3. In tournaments, Captains should enter all their fish which are above the minimum weights, even though they think their fish is not the largest. This information will help in our yearly catch records which will improve fishing for all. Please print angler's name on the form.
      4. In order to receive Boat of the Year or Shootout points, a picture or video of the fish must be submitted. Pictures are required for both Billfish and Gamefish.
      5. All General & Associate Members are required to submit their catches through the club's website by first logging in, then mousing over "Catches" in the navigation of the website, and then selecting "Submit Catch."
  4. TOURNAMENTS:
    1. BLUEWATER: Our most prestigious tournament. The tournament is an open tournament therefore club membership is not required. Fish caught during the Bluewater Tournament are eligible for yearend awards.
    2. SHOOTOUT TOURNAMENTS:
      1. NEFMA General Rules shall apply for every Shootout Tournament unless modified either in this section or at the captains meeting for the Shootout.
      2. The NEFMA Shootouts will run calendar year Jan - Dec. Shootout dates will be declared by Jan 15 each year.
      3. Participating vessels must leave and return from Mayport, St Augustine, Ponce Inlet, or Fernandina.
      4. Each shootout will consist of 3 fishing days. The Captain must declare their fishing day no later than 8:00pm the day before by notifying clubnefma@gmail.com or calling/texting the designated number. One of those days will be designated for all boats. Boats not fishing on this date will only be allowed to count their other 2 declared days.
      5. These are no checkout tournaments. Boats may depart any time after 12:00am on an eligible fishing day and must return prior to 11:59pm on the same day. Boats may elect to fish overnight and the following day. Any boat electing to stay overnight must declare their intention to do so prior to departure. Any boat deciding to fish overnight must do so on their first eligible fishing day of the shootout, and their second eligible fishing day will be counted for the second day of their fishing trip.
      6. All declared boats must check in by text, phone call, or e-mail to designated number by 11:59pm on their declared day of fishing.
      7. You may un-declare a fishing day via cell phone to tournament chairman or email to clubnefma@gmail.com on a declared fishing day one time for mechanical failure if a line has not been deployed. You may un-declare multiple times due to weather before leaving the inlet.
      8. Unless otherwise stated, all NEFMA recognized species will be eligible to receive points in every shootout.
      9. Every Shootout will consist of a Billfish Tournament and a Gamefish Tournament. All General Members will be entered automatically in both.
      10. You can weigh fish in all categories. Points will be awarded based on the club's point structure. You can weigh as many fish in each category as you choose. You can place multiple times in each category. There will be a winner in each category and an overall winner for Gamefish and Billfish.
      11. Boats are required to comply with all State, Federal , and HMS regulations.
      12. All fish must be weighed at a designated weigh station. No mutilated fish will be accepted.
      13. Boats fishing in other sanctioned tournaments will be allowed to weigh fish at those designated locations per the tournament chairman. These will be identified at the beginning of each Shootout.
      14. The Captain and crew of all entrants are subject to a polygraph at any time during the tournament. Winning Captains may be required to submit and pass a polygraph test prior to being presented any prize. Failure to submit to a polygraph test automatically revokes all claims to prizes and disqualifies the Captain and crew from the tournament.
      15. No electric reels. Wire Lines are not allowed.
      16. SOMETHING ABOUT REMOVE
      17. You may substitute a boat once if the substitute boat is not registered in the tournament.
      18. All fishing must take place in US Waters in the Atlantic Ocean.
      19. All decisions by tournament chairman are final.
      20. Weather: Shootouts are Captain's Choice tournaments. Each captain is solely responsible for the safety of his or her vessel and crew at all times. Captains and crews are responsible for following any federal, state and local fishing or boating laws. We encourage all Captains to heed any weather warnings or dangerous weather conditions, as safety is paramount. It is up to each Participant to determine whether their craft is seaworthy for the conditions of any given fishing day.
      21. The NEFMA Board reserves the right to change any of the above listed Shootout rules prior to the start of each tournament. Any modification must be made prior to the start of the tournament. Any modification to these rules will be printed and discussed at the Captains meeting for each shootout.
  5. AWARDS: To be eligible for yearly awards or Shootout tournament awards, you must be a dues paid general member. No fish will count until dues are paid.
    1. BILLFISH BOAT OF THE YEAR: The Award is based on one Tournament Year. All Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish, and Non-Designated Billfish caught will count toward this Award. The points per fish are listed on our Year End Fishing Board. Awards will be presented to the Top 3 boats. Current standings are posted on the website and will be sent each month in the Newsletter. There are no ties as the boat first accumulating the most points wins.
    2. GAMEFISH BOAT OF THE YEAR: This Award is based on one Tournament Year. Wahoo, Dolphin, Yellowfin Tuna, Blackfin Tuna, Kingfish, and Mako Sharks caught will count toward this Award. The points per fish are listed on our Year End Fishing Board. Awards will be presented to the Top 3 boats. Current standings are posted on the website and will be sent each month in the Newsletter. There are no ties as the boat first accumulating the most points wins.
    3. TOURNAMENT SERIES CHAMPION: This Award is based on bonus points accumulated during the Shootout Tournaments and the Bluewater Tournament. Fish points accumulated during the tournaments will not be included for this award. The Tournament Series Championship is based entirely on the accumulated bonus points listed below according to the participants' final standing in each tournament.
      1. Shootout Tournaments: The point system listed on (IIIC) will be used to determine order of finish in the shootout tournaments, unless specific shootout tournament rules apply.
      2. Bluewater Tournament: The Bluewater point system will be used to determine the order of finish for the Bluewater Tournament.
      3. NEFMA boats finishing in the Top 10 of each tournament will be awarded the following points: 1st - 501, 2nd - 300, 3rd - 200, 4th - 150, 5th - 125, 6th - 100, 7th - 80, 8th - 60, 9th - 40, and 10th - 20.
      4. The order of finish of only Club boats will be awarded points the same as listed above.
      5. These points only count towards the Tournament Series Championship and have no impact to any other awards.
      6. In the case of a tie at the end of the tournament year, the winner will be determined by whoever placed higher in the earliest tournament.
    4. ANGLER-OF-THE-YEAR: Year-end awards will be given to the top angler who accumulates the most board points in each of the following categories:
      1. Billfish Angler of the Year
      2. Gamefish Angler of the Year
      3. Billfish Lady Angler of the Year
      4. Gamefish Lady Angler of the Year
      5. Billfish Junior Angler of the Year (Ages 13 to 18)
      6. Gamefish Junior Angler of the Year (Ages 13 to 18)
      7. Billfish Junior Angler of the Year (Ages 12 and Under)
      8. Gamefish Junior Angler of the Year (Ages 12 and Under)


      Angler Points will be awarded in accordance with the Billfish Boat of the Year and Gamefish Boat of the Year sections listed above. To qualify, the anglers must be either a General or Associate Member when the fish is caught. For the purpose of this award, spouses, children and grandchildren who are 18 years and younger are considered Associate Members. Children or grandchildren who have their 19th Birthday during the fishing year will NOT be disqualified.

  6. MISCELLANEOUS:
    1. Protests: All protests must be made in writing within 72 hours of discovery of the infraction. All protests and decisions concerning fishing will be voted on by the Board of Directors. The decision of the Board of Directors on all rule interpretation will be final.
    2. Only active dues paid members will be considered for space on the Marlin Docks. Berths are allotted on a first come basis. Existing members have precedence over new members.
    3. Children and Grandchildren of General Members age 19 or older at the start of the fishing year must become an Associate Member to be eligible for year-end Awards.