2024 Tournament Rules

Updated April 17, 2024

It’s the responsibility of the captain, crew and anglers to understand and abide by the Tournament’s rules, including any special instructions or changes that may be announced during the Captain’s Meeting. At least one representative from each team must be present at the meeting.

Captain’s Meeting | Wednesday, August 21, 2024 | 7:30pm

Rigging Your Teaser

Rules are subject to change. Final instructions are given at the Captain’s Meeting.

It is the responsibility of the captain, crew and anglers to understand and abide by the Tournament’s rules, including any special instructions or changes that may be announced during the Captain’s Meeting.

INDEX

1. Permits and Licenses
2. Fishing Dates and Times
3. Lay Day & Lay Day Tournament
4. Tournament Communications
5. Official Clock
6. Weather & Cancellation Policy
7. Boundaries & Ports of Departure
8. Equipment and Angling Rules
9. Captains, Mates & Anglers
10. Mechanical Failures
11. Eligible Species and Points
12. Blue Marlin Photo Verification
13. Official Billfish Release
14. Reporting Billfish
15. Scoring & Billfish Scorecards
16. Weighing Fish
17. Breaking Ties
18. Observers
19. Polygraph Examination
20. Protests

1. Permits and Licenses
Registered boats and anglers are expected to comply with all Federal and State laws regarding fishing licenses, size limits, bag limits and any other regulations that may apply. For information regarding Federal HMS Permits refer to hmspermits.noaa.gov. For information regarding the National Saltwater Angler Registry program refer to www.fisheries.noaa.gov/recreational-fishing-data/national-saltwater-angler-registry. You may need to register with the Virginia Fisherman Identification Program (free) – review information at www.mrc.virginia.gov/FIP/. For information regarding Virginia state saltwater fishing licenses refer to www.mrc.virginia.gov/regulations/recfishh&l_licensing.shtm. If you wish to be eligible for a Virginia Citation, you must have a Virginia Saltwater Fishing License. For information regarding the Virginia Citation program visit dwr.virginia.gov/fishing/trophy-fish.

2. Fishing Dates and Times
Tournament fishing days are Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Fishing hours are 8:30am to 3:00pm all three days. No lines or teasers may be in the water before the official start or after the official end of tournament fishing. Billfish hooked and reported to the Committee Boat prior to lines out may be fought until caught or released, except for the final day when any team wishing to weigh a fish must be within Rudee Inlet by 6:45pm.

3. Lay Day & Lay Day Tournament
Teams may fish any two of the three available fishing days (Captain’s choice). Lay Day forms must be signed, either digitally or physically, by a registered member of the team and submitted by 8:30am of the day being declared as a lay day, otherwise the boat is recorded as fishing that day. We prefer you submit your lay day online at vbbt.com/layday/. You’ll receive an emailed confirmation and PDF copy of the form. Lay Day forms may also be turned in at Station #1 during Registration or at the Weigh Station the evening before your lay day. There is a green lay day form in the team envelope you were given at Registration as a backup. There is also a card in the team envelope you were given at Registration with instructions for submitting your lay day.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Should an issue arise regarding the submission of a Lay Day form, only verbal contact with Paula (757-652-8409) or Deirdre (757-287-4932) prior to 8:30am of the day at issue shall constitute notice, and resolution shall be at the sole discretion of these Tournament Officials. Voicemail, email and text messages do not apply—you must speak directly with either Paula or Deirdre.

LAY DAY TOURNAMENT
The Lay Day Tournament is essentially a one-day “tournament-within-a-tournament” for those teams wishing to fish their lay day. All rules of the VBBT apply except for continuous GPS time. Scoring is based first on combined billfish points, ties are broken by time only – the day/date is not taken into consideration.

4. Tournament Communications
Tournament Officials and Committee Boats monitor VHF Channel 74.

5. Official Clock
Official tournament time is continuous GPS time and starts Thursday at 8:30am. Times are recorded to the full minute.

6. Weather and Cancellation Policy
Weather related decisions are at the sole discretion of each Captain; the Tournament Committee does not declare a “weather” day in the event of severe weather conditions. If any of the boats registered in the tournament decide to fish on a particular day (based on lay day forms), that day is declared an official fishing day and all eligible fish are scored according to tournament rules. However, at least 10% of the fleet must fish for a Daily Award to be paid.

7. Boundaries and Ports of Departure
All boats must fish into and out of Virginia Beach. Boundaries are 100 nautical miles from the Rudee Inlet Sea Buoy. Fish must be hooked within these boundaries but may be fought outside of the boundaries once hooked.

8. Equipment and Angling Rules
IGFA Saltwater Equipment and Angling rules apply except for any special instructions given in these rules, and any instructions or changes that may be given during the Captain’s Meeting. Copies of the tournament and IGFA rules are in your team envelope. The VBBT is a Boat tournament—any member of the crew may set the hook, but a registered angler must then fight the fish unassisted. Unconventional non-trolling techniques are prohibited. No backing into schools, casting, use of casting tackle, use of live bait or live bait teasers. The use of Tinker (Chub) Mackerel or Atlantic (Boston) Mackerel for bait is prohibited. Currently, the use of omnidirectional sonar technology is not allowed during the tournament which for this purpose starts at midnight Wednesday, August 21, 2024 and runs continuously through 3:00pm on Saturday, August 24, 2024. This rule also applies to your lay day whether you are fishing in the Lay Day Tournament or just fun fishing.

9. Anglers, Captains and Mates
There is no limit to the number of anglers per team, and it does not matter on which day the angler fishes, but anglers must be registered with the tournament before fishing for the day starts. Captains and mates are also considered anglers. At a minimum, you must provide a First Name, Last Name, City and State for all team participants. Angler changes/additions must be made using the online form at vbbt.com/anglers/. Anglers and crew may not change teams during the tournament.

10. Mechanical Failures
Should a situation arise where a boat cannot make it back by the deadline, the fish and angler with scorecards may be transferred to another tournament boat, after consulting with VBBT Officials. If a boat becomes completely disabled, another boat may be substituted. Substitute boats must be registered with the Tournament Director prior to fishing.

11. Eligible Species and Points

12. Blue Marlin Photo Verification

Released blue marlin may earn an additional 130 points for a total of 200 if the fish can be photo verified. If you wish to have your fish verified, you must submit a time-stamped photo or video that clearly identifies the fish as a blue marlin and includes the verification ribbon for that day along with your scorecard at the official VBBT weigh station. Verification cards are in your team envelope handed out during check-in on Wednesday. The color of the day is announced by the Committee Boat prior to lines in each day.

When you bring your scorecard and photo/video to the weigh station, VBBT officials will view the media, determine the species and initial your scorecard that the blue marlin has been verified. If the species cannot be verified, or if the verification ribbon for the day is missing, you will receive 70 points. You can use any type of media, including cell phones, if the image can be clearly viewed. Videos are preferred and give officials a better chance of identifying the species. Please bring photos/video of blue marlin only.

13. Official Billfish Release
A billfish is considered officially released when the leader connection is wound to the tip of the rod, or the mate or other crew member touches the leader. Tagging is not required for tournament points but is encouraged if the billfish is under control and the tag can be placed without injury to the fish. If a gaff breaks the plane of the cockpit covering boards, the team has committed to a capture and the billfish will not count as a release whether it is subsequently captured or not.

14. Reporting Billfish
As soon as you release or boat a billfish, call the Committee Boat and report Boat Name, Species, and Status (Released or Boated); you do not need to report lost billfish. In addition, billfish hooked within the last hour of fishing on any day and billfish still being fought at lines out must be reported to the Committee Boat. If the Committee Boat cannot be raised, a verifiable report must be given to another tournament boat and the boat name noted on the Billfish Scorecard. The Committee Boat is announced during the Captain’s Meeting. Billfish Scorecards are compared to the Committee Boat radio log for verification and official time of release.

15. Billfish Scoring & Scorecards
Scoring closes Thursday and Friday at 8:00pm and at 7:00pm on Saturday. Scorecards are accepted after 8:00pm on the first two days of fishing only if the team is fighting a fish or their boat becomes disabled, however, the Tournament Director must be made aware of the situation delaying the team. On the final day of fishing, scorecards must be turned in by 7:00pm.

Note: Everyone has a chance to win the Charity Mystery Fish drawing which normally pays out around $20,000 per day whether you released one fish or ten. But to win you must turn in your scorecard.

Before turning in your Scorecard be sure it’s filled in completely including a middle initial and suffix, if necessary, for the angler (e.g. Jr., Sr., III, John A Smith, John B Smith). If the angler was a Lady, check off under the “L” column. If the angler was a Junior, write in the junior’s age under the “JR” column. The boat captain must print their name and sign, either digitally or physically, indicating they agree to the information as recorded.

We prefer you submit your scorecard online at vbbt.com/scorecard/ if you do not have a blue marlin to verify. You’ll receive an emailed confirmation and PDF copy of the form. Scorecards may also be turned in at the Weigh Station. There are two scorecards in the team envelope you were given at Registration as a backup. If you have a blue marlin release to verify you must take your scorecard to the weigh station. There is also a card in the team envelope you were given at Registration with instructions for submitting your scorecard.

16. Weighing Fish
All fish must be weighed at the official Weigh Station located at Southside Marina. Blue marlin to be weighed must be brought to the scales by boat, gamefish may be transported to the scales by vehicle. The scales open daily at 12:00 noon. On Thursday and Friday, the scales close at 8:00pm. On Saturday, the final day of fishing, the scales close at 7:00pm. On the final day of fishing, any boat wishing to weigh a fish must be inside Rudee Inlet by 6:45pm. The Weighmaster and VBBT Officials reserve the right to refuse to weigh any fish that does not meet tournament requirements.

Additional Rules:

  • Boats are lined up to weigh in the order in which they arrive.
  • The weighing of blue marlin takes precedence over gamefish.
  • Fish must arrive at the dock in edible condition.
  • Mutilated fish are not weighed. In this case, “mutilation” is defined as any damage that would impair the fighting ability of the fish.
  • All fish are weighed to the tenth of a pound.
  • If anyone wishes to have a fish re-weighed, it must be done while the fish is still hanging.
  • The angler must remain with the fish throughout the weigh-in process, and before leaving the scales must sign the Weigh-In form.

17. Breaking Ties
Ties between the weights of two or more fish are broken by the time the fish was weighed. Ties between Release Points are broken by the time of release. The date of Release is based on the boat’s fishing day (day 1 or 2) as opposed to the tournament fishing day (day 1-2-3). The Rules Committee may consult Committee Boat Logs to reach decisions on release time or sequence of releases.

18. Observers
The Tournament, at their sole discretion, may assign an observer to any boat on any fishing day. If an observer is assigned, the boat is responsible for the observer’s comfort and safety, including providing lunch and non-alcoholic beverages.

19. Polygraph Examination
Registered Participants agree to comply with all rules and submit to a polygraph examination if requested to do so by VBBT Officials. If requested, it is normally the boat captain or relevant angler who takes the examination. Whomever is selected must be sober. Failure to submit to a polygraph may result in disqualification of the Participant and, at the discretion of VBBT Officials, the Participant’s entire team. Disqualified Participants/Teams or Participants/Teams that fail a polygraph examination forfeit all entry money, prizes or prize money, and are refused entry to future VBBT tournaments. The decision of the Rules Committee is final.

20. Protests
Registered participants may submit a protest against any fish entered. Protests must be submitted in writing to the Tournament Director by 9:00am on the day following the catch of the disputed fish or by 8:00pm on Saturday and must include verifiable evidence of a rule being broken. The Rules Committee at their discretion may use a polygraph examination to reach a decision. All participants agree to the final decision of the Rules Committee.