Live and Learn: Rule Changes for 2015

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The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin is one of the best tournaments in the Gulf, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get better. The 2014 event was led by a new team backed by a few veterans, and there were plenty of lessons learned on all sides – nothing like a fresh set of eyes!

We’ve spent the past few months going over all aspects of the event, but to begin with have focused mainly on a few rule changes. The proposed changes are listed below and we want your feedback! Not only on these changes but on any way you think we can improve.

We’ll let you know when the final version of the rules is posted. In the meantime, here are the highlights:

  • Now accept all types of checks at both Registration and Jackpot Entry.
  • Split the Top Junior Award into two awards, one for Top Junior Gamefish, and one for Top Junior Billfish.
  • Removed the option to enter the Release Division only. We apologize, but from now on everyone will have to enter the Level 1 Base Entry. The Release Division and Crew Division are still optional entry levels in addition to the base level.
  • Spelled out in the rules that
    – attendance at the Captains Meeting is required and sign-in is mandatory,
    – judging is based solely on tournament rules; we encourage teams to follow state & federal laws,
    – no lines or teasers targeting tournament species may be in the water before the start of fishing but bait fishing is allowed,
    – we expect you to compete in the spirit of the IGFA angling rules.
  • There will be only one tournament designator (video verification object) that can be used for every day of fishing. The designator will be handed out at registration.
  • Made several changes to the billfish recording, verification and scoring aspects. From now on, no billfish will be disqualified unless the tournament designator is missing from the video.
  • We still want you to video each release from start to finish, with no interruptions in the video, ending with a shot of the GPS which, if readable, will be the official date and time of release. However, we realize that several factors can interfere with this process so in order to be consistent and fair when determining date and time of release (used to break ties in release points) we have devised a system for determining date and time based on what is missing from the video. The details will be posted in a future newsletter.
Julia Brakhage

About the Author:

Julia Brakhage is the owner of Tournament Control™, a consulting firm providing information management services including websites, newsletters, databases and tournament registration, scoring and cash award calculation. Julia has over thirty-seven years of experience in information and business management. Over twenty of those years have been spent working directly with sportfishing tournaments and tournament series. Her systems have been used to register over 10,000 fishing teams, 40,000 anglers, and to distribute over $79 million in cash awards. To learn more about Julia visit