2020 Tournament Rules

Updated March 19, 2020

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 19, 2020 | 7:30pm

Rigging Your Teaser

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.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/nnri/. 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.state.va.us/mrc-permits.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 www.mrc.state.va.us.

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.

Teams may fish any two of the three available fishing days (Captain’s choice).

Lay Day forms must be signed by a registered member of the team and turned in by 8:30am of the day being declared as a lay day, otherwise the boat is recorded as fishing that day.

Forms may be dropped off at registration on Wednesday, at the weigh station or scoring bus on Thursday or Friday and at Fisherman’s Wharf Marina or the Virginia Beach Fishing Center on any day.

If for some reason you cannot make it to one of the drop off points in time, you may text a photo of your completed form to Tournament Officials Paula Owen at 757-652-8409 or Deirdre Bell Loftin at 757-287-4932 prior to 8:30am. Should an issue arise with regard to the submission of a Lay Day form, only verbal contact with Paula or Deirdre 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.

Tournament Officials and Committee Boats monitor VHF Channel 74 and SSB Channel 452 (4149.0).

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

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 in order for a Daily Award to be paid.

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.

IGFA Saltwater Equipment and Angling rules apply with the exception of any special instructions given in these rules, and any instructions or changes that may be given during the Captain’s Meeting. Copies of IGFA rules are available during Registration. 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. This is a trolling tournament. While hook-ups accomplished with no headway are permissible if they occur at a time when baits settle while fighting another fish, unconventional non-trolling techniques are strictly prohibited. Backing into schools, casting, casting or pitching to a tailing fish or fish balling bait, use of casting tackle, use of live bait, live bait teasers or fishing for bait during the tournament is not permissible. The use of Tinker (Chub) Mackerel or Atlantic (Boston) Mackerel for bait is prohibited.

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.

The capture of a blue marlin under 110-inches and 400-pounds results in the forfeiture of all accumulated points and disqualification of the team from further competition.

As soon as you release or boat a billfish, call a Committee Boat and report Boat Name, Species, and Status (Released or Boated). 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 a Committee Boat. If a Committee Boat cannot be raised, a verifiable report must be given to another tournament boat and the boat name noted on the Scorecard. Committee Boats are announced during the Captain’s Meeting.

The Billfish Scorecard is the Team’s record of billfish hooked and subsequently released, tagged, lost or boated. Scorecards are compared to the Committee Boat radio logs for verification. Billfish should be recorded as caught to ensure accuracy. If you caught a billfish you must turn in a Scorecard. Scorecards are distributed during Registration. Lost billfish should not be reported to a Committee Boat but should be recorded on the Scorecard for statistical purposes. The same applies to recording the time the billfish was hooked and whether it was tagged.

Before turning in your Scorecard be sure it’s filled in completely including a suffix if necessary for the angler (i.e. Jr., Sr., III). 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 indicating they agree to the information as recorded.  Turn in all copies of the Scorecard to the Scoring Table by the designated deadline (see Rule #14). If you did not catch a billfish you do not need to turn in a Scorecard.

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 or not it is subsequently captured.

All fish must be weighed at the official Weigh Station located at Southside Marina, and must be brought to the scales by boat. 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.

Scoring closes Thursday and Friday at 8:00pm and at 7:00pm on Saturday. Forms 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, forms must be turned in by 7:00pm. The location of the Scoring Table is announced at the Captain’s Meeting.

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.

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.

Registered Participants agree to submit to a polygraph examination if requested to do so by VBBT Officials. Failure to comply will 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 any and all entry money, prizes or prize money, and are refused entry to future VBBT tournaments. The decision of the Rules Committee is final.

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. 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.