The unofficial rules for the 2023 Bermuda Billfish Release Cup.
The Bermuda Billfish Release Cup is a two-day boat tournament. Prizes pay down to third place (first, second and third). Eligible species include blue marlin, white marlin, spearfish, sailfish, yellowfin and bigeye tunas, and wahoo.
The fee is $1,500 per boat for the billfish division and $500 per boat for the game-fish division. Teams may enter one or both divisions. This basic entry fee covers the participation of the boat and attendance at all planned entertainment and social activities for participants. The tournament committee reserves the right to deny tournament entry to any individual, organization or corporation. A final registration, team putt-putt competition, captains meeting and kickoff party will take place from 5 to 8:30 p.m., July 9, at the Bermuda Fun Golf located at the Royal Naval Dockyard. All teams that are preregistered and teams needing to register must send at least one representative to obtain tournament credentials. All team and boat captains should attend the scheduled angler/captains meeting at 7:30 p.m., July 9 at Bermuda Fun Golf. If they do not attend, they accept and agree to be bound by all instructions and/or rule changes made during that meeting. In an effort to maximize participation, registrations will be accepted until 8:29 a.m., July 10.
In an effort to receive early registrations, the tournament will allow participants to cancel their registration until the deadline of 10:00 p.m., July 9. The tournament will refund all entry fees.
ANGLER, CREW & BOAT REQUIREMENTS
Without exception, each boat must have on board one designated boat captain and mate. Designated captains and mates can also be registered anglers. Guests are allowed on the boats. Boats may receive aid from other boats in the form of towing due to mechanical failure. Teams and boats are NOT allowed to receive assistance in landing or releasing fish. All participants must exercise good and courteous sportsmanship whether at the dock, under way or fishing.
BOATS WITH SONAR
Sonars are not permitted to be used until lines in at 8:30 AM.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
July 9 — 3:30 p.m. Boarding of The Elizabeth at the Hamilton Princess Marina. 4:00 p.m. The Elizabeth leaves from the Hamilton Princess Marina and heads to the Royal Naval Dockyard.
5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Final Registration, Bermuda Fun Putt-Putt Competition, BBQ Dinner, and Captains Meeting
8:00 p.m. Boarding of the Elizabeth at the Royal Naval Dockyard
8:30 p.m. The Elizabeth departs the Dockyard and heads back to the Hamilton Princess Marina.
July 10— Fishing day: 8:30 a.m. start, 4:30 p.m. lines out. Release video check-in and game fish weigh-in at the Barrs Bay Park.
July 11 — Fishing day: 8:30 a.m. start, 3:00 p.m. lines out. Release video check-in and game fish weigh-in at the Barrs Bay Park. 5:30 p.m. Boarding of The Elizabeth at the Hamilton Princess Marina.
6:00 p.m. The Elizabeth departs from the Hamilton Princess Marina and heads to the Royal Naval Dockyard for the Awards Banquet at Bone Fish Bar & Grill. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Silent Auction, Dinner Buffet and Awards at Bone Fish Bar & Grill 8:30 p.m. Boarding of The Elizabeth at the Royal Naval Dockyard 9:00 p.m. The Elizabeth departs the Royal Naval Dockyard and heads back to the Hamilton Princess Marina.
For dockage at Pier 41 Marina contact Willy Freeman on VHF channel 77, cell phone 441-705-4141, or email [email protected]
IGFA tackle rules apply in this tournament unless otherwise stated (see release rules for scoring points). If necessary, anglers are allowed to pass the rod or receive assistance when fighting fish.
BILLFISH RELEASE RULES
All teams must provide their own video camera(s) to verify releases. All video recording equipment must be set to the proper Bermuda time and date and must be synchronized to the official tournament time. To verify a catch, you must use the release cards provided. Teams will be informed of the release card to use prior to each days start of fishing. To score an official release, the video footage must include sufficient footage to (1) clearly identify the species; (2) show a team member, angler or crew touching the leader while the fish is still hooked; (3) display the catch release card provided by the tournament; (4) identify the time and date of the catch; and (5) show the full release of the fish. The video must identify all of these elements. Do not delete any video taken during fishing hours, even if it does not include the above elements and will not be used to prove a catch. After the release video is taken, the time, species, release number and angler name must be written on the catch-report affidavit. Each registered angler and boat captain must then sign the catch-report affidavit. At the end of the day's fishing, the camera, camera connections, catch-report affidavit and all video footage taken must be brought to the weigh station for verification of official release points. Catch reports should be turned in by 7:00 p.m. July 10 and 5:00 p.m. July 11.
BILLFISH SCORING SYSTEM
Five-hundred (500) points rewarded for every blue marlin officially released. One hundred (100) points for every white marlin, spearfish or sailfish officially released. In the event of a tie the team reaching the highest score first wins with the other team assuming the next award position. This is based on the time of release.
GAME FISH SCORING SYSTEM
Game fish are scored by weight for wahoo and yellowfin or bigeye tunas meeting the 25-pound minimum. One wahoo and one tuna may be weighed per boat per day. The combined weight of the largest tuna and wahoo caught over the two days will determine the team's gamefish points. Game fish will be weighed to the tenth of a pound unless the fish is more than 200 pounds. Once a fish is boated and the intent is to weigh it for tournament points, teams must use the card of the day and have your designated photographer or any other crew member hold up the provided card next to the fish as the photo or video is taken. After the catch photo/video is taken, the official time, species, release card and angler name must be written on the catch-report affidavit. In the event of a tie the team reaching the highest score first wins with the other team assuming the next award position. This is based on the time of boated fish.
CATCH REPORT AFFIDAVIT
All catches to be considered for points must be recorded on the catch-report-affidavit sheets provided. The official time, species, release card of the day and angler's name must be written on the catch-report affidavit. Each angler and boat captain must then sign the catch-report affidavit. The catch-report-affidavit sheets must be turned in at the weigh station each day. In the event of a tie, the team reaching the highest score first wins.
For the Release Cup, fishing line is 130-pound-test maximum; tournament or non-tournament lines are eligible. If the stated line test is 130-pound or less on the label, it is allowed in the tournament. The catch shall be classified under the breaking strength of the first five meters of line directly preceding the double line, leader or hook. This section must be comprised of a single, homogenous piece of line.
The length of the leader is the overall length, including any lure or hook arrangement. In all line classes exceeding 20-pound (10 kg), the leader shall be limited to 30 feet (9.14 meters). The combined length of the double line and the leader shall not exceed 40 feet (12.19 meters) total. The tournament committee holds the right to examine any hook-sets, line and/or leaders at any time during the event. Refusal to allow the committee to examine any hook-sets, line and/or leaders will result in immediate disqualification from the event without a refund of any jackpot or registration fees.
Unlimited in use or numbers.
Unlimited in use or numbers.
Live bait, dead bait, lures and any combination thereof are permitted in this tournament.
All tournament participants must use non-offset circle hooks for all species whenever natural baits or natural-bait/artificial-lure combinations are used. www.nmfs.noaa.gov
DAILY FISHING HOURS
Fishing will commence at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. on July 10. Fishing will commence at 8:30 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. on July 11. No lines, teasers or the use of omnidirectional sonar technology will be permitted before the official fishing hours each day. The tournament committee reserves the privilege of changing starting and finishing times for any reason it deems necessary. A radio start will take place each morning at 8:30 a.m. The tournament control's time will act as the official time for the start, catch-and-release and end of fishing each day without exception. The official tournament channel will be 7 International.
In the event of late hookups, etc., all fish must be back to the weigh station and in the slip by 11:59 p.m. on July 10 and 6:30 p.m. on July 11.
All billfish hookups, releases and lost fish must be reported to tournament control, along with the boat name, angler name and fish species. All boated game fish that you intend to weigh must be reported to tournament control. The tournament control's time will act as the official time for the start, catch-and-release and end of fishing each day without exception. The official tournament channel will be 7 International. An International cell phone number of 407-405-0102 can also be used to communicate. During the last hour of fishing each day, all hookups must be reported.
WEIGH-IN/RELEASE VIDEO CHECK-IN
The weigh station and release video check-in is at the Barrs Bay Park. Teams are responsible for reporting fish to weigh and transportation of fish to the weigh station.
There is no weather committee. The tournament is conducted on a fish-at-your-own-risk basis. If any portion of the tournament is fished and a team(s) lands or releases fish that match the tournament's eligible species and minimum weight limits, then prizes will be awarded.
Participants may lodge protests against any catch which they believe was not made in accordance with these rules. All protests must be stated in writing and accompanied by $500. The tournament judges may call a protest hearing in their discretion; a protest hearing is not guaranteed. All protests will be settled on the day of the incident. All protests on July 10 and July 11 must be in the hands of the tournament's designated rules official by 7:00 p.m. July 10 and 5:00 pm July 11 on the day of the alleged incident unless there is a protest regarding a fish that comes to the scales late.The protest party, as well as the accused team members, captain and crew, must be present at any official protest hearing. The tournament committee may refuse to consider any protest evidence not submitted at the protest hearing in the presence of the protested team. If the protesting or protested team fails to show up for the protest hearing, that team forfeits its right to submit evidence. Decisions of the tournament organizers with regard to protests are final, nonappealable, and nonjusticiable.
All participants are expected to maintain a reasonable and sportsmanlike demeanor at all times throughout the tournament. Unsportsmanlike or threatening conduct towards tournament organizers or other participants, or any other behavior which the tournament organizers deem inappropriate, in their sole discretion, will result in immediate disqualification of the entire team with no refund of entry fees.