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Sport Fishing Tournament

Tournament Rules

  1. The Sport Fishing Tournament is open to the public. There is no entry fee. Charter boat captains are eligible. Weighmasters are eligible to enter, provided their fish are weighed in at a weighing station other than their own.
  2. All fish except those caught beyond the three-mile limit in the Atlantic Ocean entered in the Tournament must be caught within the boundaries of the State of Delaware. Any fish caught outside the three-mile territorial sea must be landed in a vessel leaving from a Delaware port and returning to a Delaware port.
  3. All fish entered in the tournament must be weighed at an official Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament Weigh Station.
  4. All fish entered in the tournament must be caught in a sporting manner with hook and line. No other person may touch the rod or line until the fish is brought within the grasp of the mate.
  5. All scales used to weigh in fish must be certified yearly by the Delaware Division of Weights and Measures (Department of Agriculture 739-4811).
  6. All fish entered in the tournament must meet the minimum weight requirement as set up for this year’s tournament.
  7. No smallmouth bass will be recognized from Kent or Sussex Counties unless Division of Fish and Wildlife qualified personnel examine and approve the catch.
  8. A fish will not be recognized as a state record unless qualified personnel from the Division of Fish and Wildlife approve the catch. In case no Division personnel are available at the time of the weigh-in, the angler must save the entire fish for examination and approval at the earliest convenient time for the Division.
  9. In the case of a tie for the largest fish of the year or a new state record, both fish will be recognized.
  10. To replace a record for a fish weighing less than 25 pounds, the replacement must weigh at least 2 ounces more than the existing record. To replace a record for a fish weighing 25 pounds or more, the replacement must weigh at least one-half of 1 percent more than the existing record. Example: at 100 pounds the additional weight required would be 8 ounces. Any catch that exceeds the existing record by less than the amount required to defeat the record will be considered a tie.
  11. The Tournament Director reserves the right to disqualify any entry.
  12. All entry forms must be filled out completely and in a legible manner by the weighmaster. The signed forms should be mailed in by the angler.
  13. The tournament runs from January 1 – December 31. No entry forms for the previous tournament year will be accepted after 4:30 p.m. January 31.
  14. Only one citation per species of fish will be issued to any individual during the tournament year. In the event an individual catches a larger fish than the one for which he originally was issued a citation, a new citation will be issued for the larger fish if the individual returns the older citation.
  15. Only one saltwater award and one freshwater award will be issued to any one individual during the tournament year.
  16. Special citations will be issued upon approval of the Tournament Director in the case of unusual catches or extenuating circumstances. If the weigh station feels the catch is rare or unusual, an entry form should be submitted for approval. All decisions by the Director on unusual species will be final.
  17. Citations will be awarded for released white or blue marlin. Fill out the standard entry form except for length, weight, and girth and include a signature and telephone number of a witness to the catch other than the angler and captain. Any marlin kept for taxidermy also will be eligible for Tournament entry provided a taxidermist receipt is enclosed with the entry form. Marlin retained for any purpose other than mounting will not be eligible for entry in the Tournament.
  18. The Tournament Director reserves the right to disqualify any weigh station if the Tournament rules are not observed.
  19. Hybrid striped bass will only be recognized for entry when caught in non-tidal water.
  20. The State of Delaware assumes no responsibility in the certification of a catch for consideration by the International Game Fish Association or any record keeping body other than the Delaware Sportfishing Tournament. If the angler wishes to qualify his/her catch for consideration in some other tournament, it is the responsibility of the angler to insure that his catch and weigh-in meets the appropriate criteria. The Delaware Sportfishing Tournament makes no distinction based on line classes or sex of the angler or fly versus conventional fishing gear.
  21. Call (302) 735-2960 for tournament information.

Live Release Awards

In order to promote conservation ethics among Delaware anglers, the Division of Fish and Wildlife is providing recognition patches to anglers who catch and release live eligible species that exceed the minimum lengths specified. To qualify, an angler must make the catch in Delaware waters or off Delaware’s Atlantic coast line. The eligible species must be measured from the tip of the jaw to the tip of the tail (straight line measurement with mouth closed) and this measurement must be verified by a witness who signs the entry form. The fish so measured must be released immediately. Fish kept either alive or dead and brought to a weigh station will be weighed for entry in the Sport Fishing Tournament using certified scales and will not be eligible for a Live Release Award. Only those fish released alive immediately shall be eligible for a Live Release Award. Billfish released alive are eligible for either the Live Release Award or the Sport Fishing Tournament Award, whichever one the angler chooses.

No angler will be issued more than one live release freshwater award and one live release saltwater award per year, although he or she may apply for and receive one of the live release citations for each eligible species.

Applications for Live Release Awards are available on-line or may be picked up at any Sport Fishing Tournament Weigh Station and must be mailed to the Division of Fish and Wildlife within 30 days after the catch. The entry form for live releases must include both the angler’s signature and the signature of a witness to the actual measurement and live release of the fish. No fish entered for a Live Release Award will be eligible for consideration as a State record fish. All potential State record fish must be weighed at a certified Weigh Station.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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