Updated January 5, 2019
It’s the most important part of every tournament. Each participant should take the time to read and understand the tournament’s format, entry & rules before the Captain’s meeting on registration day. Have questions? Contact Us.
Tournament Format & Entry Information
Registration takes place 4:00-8:00pm on Wednesday, June 19 at the Baytowne Conference Center.
The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is a “modified release” tournament; blue marlin are the only billfish that may be weighed, but must meet a 110″ minimum length before they can be boated. Release points are awarded for blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish. The three heaviest weighed blue marlin, dolphin, tuna and wahoo are eligible for cash awards, as are the top three teams entered in the Release Division, and the top three Crews entered in the Crew Division. Awards are presented to the top overall, release, lady and junior anglers, and the top overall release team has its name engraved on the Magnificent Blue Perpetual Trophy, donated by Galati Yacht Sales and Viking Yachts, sculpted by Chris Barela and on permanent display in the Grand Sandestin.
Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin
9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy W
Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Attention: Adam Alfonso, Recreation Department
THERE ARE FOUR WAYS TO ENTER
A $1,200 DEPOSIT MUST ACCOMPANY YOUR ENTRY
- PREFERRED Fill out and submit the Online Entry Form.
- Email the completed form (PDF) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mail completed forms to the address above.
DO NOT mail after June 3rd.
- Bring completed forms with you to Registration.
You can download a PDF version of the entry form at this link: Entry Form.
You can enter the tournament any time before the end of Registration on Wednesday; the base entry fee ($6,000) must be paid in full by the end of Registration. Optional entry levels and jackpots can be entered at any time up until the start of tournament fishing.
Teams must check in during Registration to verify team information, pay any entry fees due and collect team bags. Teams receive six (6) wristbands for the kick-off party, four (4) Angler bags and one (1) Captain’s bag. Additional wristbands and merchandise may be purchased. If you have any questions or need help email email@example.com or text/call Julia at 910.264.3947.
TEAM ENVELOPES—RULES AND SCORECARDS
Each team is given an envelope at Registration which includes a billfish scorecard, tail tags, rules and other forms.
CHECK—PREFERRED Checks (business, personal, cashiers) are accepted for both Registration and Optional Jackpots. Make checks payable to SANDESTIN INVESTMENTS, LLC.
CASH—Cash (USD) is accepted onsite during Registration and Jackpot Entry.
CREDIT CARD—We accept American Express, Visa and MasterCard. A convenience fee of 2.5% is added to entry fees (E1, E2, E3) if you use a credit card. There is no fee if you use a credit card to pay jackpots.
A 7% sales tax is added to entry fees (E1, E2, E3). There is no tax on jackpots.
There are three levels of entry: One mandatory base entry (E1) with an 80% return, an optional Release Division (E2) with an 85% return and an optional Crew Division (E3) with a 100% return. Each entry level pays out to three places with the following splits: three winners—50/30/20; two winners—60/40; one winner takes all. There are also twenty-seven optional jackpots with a 90% return. Each jackpot category pays out to three places with the following splits: three winners—60/25/15; two winners—65/35; one winner takes all. If no qualifying fish is caught in a jackpot category, the amount that was allocated to awards is refunded to only those teams entered in the category where no qualifying fish was caught.
E1—Base Entry (mandatory)—$6,000 ($6,420 with tax)
The base entry includes weighed blue marlin, dolphin, tuna and wahoo. Awards are based on the top three heaviest fish in each species. Of the amount allocated to awards, 60% goes to the top billfish and 40% goes to the top gamefish, split evenly between the three gamefish species. If there are no marlin weighed, the prize money rolls evenly into the gamefish categories. If there are no winners in a gamefish species category, the cash allocated for that species rolls evenly into the remaining species categories. If there are no gamefish caught in any species category, the prize money rolls to the billfish category.
E2—Release Division (optional)—$2,000 ($2,140 with tax)
The release division includes blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish. Awards are given to the top three teams accumulating the most release points. Billfish releases must be video verified.
E3—Crew Division (optional)—$300 ($321 with tax)
The crew division includes the team’s overall catch—both weighed fish and billfish releases. Awards are given to the top three crews accumulating the most total weight plus release points.
You can enter any combination of jackpots (for example: B1, B2, B3, D2, W3). Each jackpot is based on the top three heaviest fish, or most release points, in that jackpot category.
You must be entered in the Release Division (E2) before you can enter the Release Jackpots.
Blue Marlin: B1-$500, B2-$750, B3-$1,000, B4-$2,500, B5-$5,000, B6-$10,000Release: R1-$500, R2-$750, R3-$1,000, R4-$2,500, R5-$5,000, R6-$10,000 Dolphin: D1-$500, D2-$750, D3-$1,000, D4-$2,500, D5-$5,000 Tuna: T1-$500, T2-$750, T3-$1,000, T4-$2,500, T5-$5,000 Wahoo: W1-$500, W2-$750, W3-$1,000, W4-$2,500, W5-$5,000
Decisions pertaining to the distribution of a team’s total purse are the sole responsibility of the team members, regardless of whether an award is published as an individual or team award. The tournament organizers do not participate in decisions regarding cash distribution. We suggest you discuss how any prize money won is to be distributed before the tournament.
Disbursement Order—Before winnings are paid each team receiving a cash award must complete a Disbursement Order specifying how the funds are to be distributed. The Disbursement Order is given to the Team Contact, either at the Awards Brunch or emailed, and once completed must be signed by the Team Contact as recorded on the Entry Form.
Form W-9—Any person or company receiving a check must submit a W-9 before funds can be disbursed.
Cash Disbursement and Tax Documents—Cash awards are paid by check and mailed within two weeks following the receipt of the completed Disbursement Order and W-9(s). A 1099-MISC is issued for all prize money to the person or company to whom the check is made payable.
Top Overall Release Team (Perpetual Trophy)—Sponsored by Galati Yacht Sales and Viking Yachts
Awarded to the team that accumulates the most release points and is also entered in the Release Division. The winning team’s name is inscribed on the Magnificent Blue Perpetual Trophy sculpted by Chris Barela, which is on permanent display in the Baytowne Marina Bar & Grill.
Top Angler—Sponsored by Simrad
Awarded to the angler who weighs the heaviest blue marlin. If no marlin are weighed, awarded to the angler who accumulates the most total weight plus release points.
Top Release Angler—Sponsored by Costa del Mar
Awarded to the angler who accumulates the most release points.
Top Lady Angler—Sponsored by Glas Designs
Based on overall catch—both weighed fish and billfish releases, and awarded to the lady angler accumulating the most total weight plus release points.
Top Junior Angler/Billfish—Sponsored by The Billfish Foundation
Awarded to the junior angler (15 years or younger) who accumulates the most total release points.
The ECBC is a qualifying event in the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship (gulfcoasttriplecrown.com) and InTheBite’s Captain of the Year Cup (inthebite.com/captain-of-the-year-cup). Points and/or placement awarded in the ECBC count in these tournament series. The ECBC sends team contact, points and placement information to each Series’ coordinator. Any prizes or awards are the responsibility of the Series’ and not the ECBC. Refer to the Series’ websites for current rules and standings.
Dockage fees are not included in entry fees. A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve a slip, which is applied towards overall marina fees after the tournament. If you have any questions or need help with your reservation email firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call Julia at 910.264.3947.
Withdrawals must be submitted via email to email@example.com.
Withdrawals submitted before May 31—Any fees paid are refunded in full.
Withdrawals submitted after May 31 and before noon on Registration day—Deposit is rolled to the following year, but must be used the following year or is forfeited; any additional fees paid are refunded in full.
Withdrawals submitted after noon and before 8:00pm on Registration day—Deposit is forfeited; any additional fees paid are refunded in full.
Withdrawals submitted after 8:00pm on Registration day—No refunds.
Tournament Series Participation
The ECBC is a qualifying event in the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship (gulfcoasttriplecrown.com) and InTheBite’s Captain of the Year Cup (inthebite.com/captain-of-the-year-cup). And because we are, when you fish the ECBC you are also competing in these prestigious tournament series giving you even more ways to become a champion!
Rules, including published rules in print or on the ECBC website (fishecbc.com), are subject to change without notice. It is the sole responsibility of the participating anglers, captains, crews and guests (“Participants”) to know and abide by the Tournament Rules as published and as amended during the Captain’s Meeting. By entering the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin® and paying entry fees, Participants agree to abide by the Tournament Rules and accept decisions made by the Rules Committee as final.
The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin® is a fishing competition. Participants enter at their own risk, and understand the possibility exists that there may be no winners if no qualifying fish are caught.
The Captain’s Meeting takes place between 6:00–7:00pm during Registration. Attendance by the Boat Captain or another registered member of the team is mandatory and sign-in is required.
For questions regarding tournament registration, rules, marina slip reservations, payment or angler changes email firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call Julia at 910.264.3947.
For marina or dockage specific questions email email@example.com or call 850.267.7773.
For tournament communications during check-out, check-in and access to the weigh station use VHF-72.
If you require fuel, ice, or have other marina needs upon returning from fishing use VHF-10 or call 850.267.7773.
The Tournament Organizers may cancel any tournament fishing day if, in their best judgment, unsafe conditions exist. Resumption of fishing is announced by 6:00am the following morning on VHF-72. A resumption of fishing announcement by the Tournament Organizers does not ensure the safety of any Participant; whether or not to fish must be based solely on the team’s own judgment taking into consideration the prevailing conditions, the seaworthiness of their vessel, and the crew’s seamanship skills. One day of offshore fishing or any part thereof, by at least one-third of registered boats constitutes a complete tournament.
Tournament fishing starts at 12:00pm on Thursday and continues through Saturday at 6:00pm. No lines or teasers targeting tournament species may be in the water before start of fishing, but bait fishing is allowed. There are no boundaries.
The ECBC tournament organizers expect the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship from their Participants and for them to compete in the spirit of the IGFA Saltwater Equipment and Angling rules. Any member of the team may set the hook and fight the fish, or may set the hook and immediately pass the rod to another team member, but the rod may only be passed one time; the angler must then fight the fish unassisted.
Fish caught not according to tournament rules are disqualified. Fish under minimum weight and/or length and any fish weighed over the limit do not qualify for points. If your intent is to release the billfish, do not remove it from the water—if you do (as recorded on the video) the billfish is disqualified. Mutilated fish, mutilation defined as anything that impairs the fighting ability of the fish, are not weighed. Fish must arrive at the scales in edible condition. Refer to the following table and diagrams for eligible species, requirements and points.
Illustrations © Diane Rome Peebles
Tournament fishing begins at noon Thursday with a “shotgun” start. Boats may leave from any marina, but must be behind the line by 12:00pm. The exact coordinates of the line end points are given at the Captain’s Meeting. Please check-out with ECBC Officials on VHF-72 as you reach the line. At noon Tournament Officials announce the start of the tournament. Boats wishing to depart after 12:00pm must call Tournament Headquarters at 910.264.3947 to check out, and an ECBC Official must have eyes on your boat before noon on Thursday.
If you return on Friday or before 4:00pm on Saturday, you must contact Tournament Headquarters at 910.264.3947 to declare you are coming in to weigh fish or turn in scorecards. Otherwise you must be under the Destin Pass Bridge by 6:00pm on Saturday.
Tournament Officials are stationed at the Destin Pass Bridge on Saturday between 4:00-6:00pm in a boat flying an ECBC flag and count down to 6:00pm on VHF-72 then announce that boats that have not passed cannot weigh fish or turn in scorecards. As you pass under the bridge the ECBC boat will record the time they visually saw you pass, but you must also check in with the ECBC Boat on VHF-72. The time you pass under the bridge is your time of return and is used to determine the sequence in which fish are weighed and may be used to break ties in the weight of two or more fish or in release points. Once you are checked in, the Weigh Station contacts you on VHF-72 with instructions to either stand by, return to your slip or back into the scales.
In addition to returning a Billfish Scorecard, teams competing in the Release Division must turn in a video recording of each billfish released. In order to qualify the billfish release for points, the video must include the following:
- Once you start recording the end of the fight and billfish release, the recording must continue uninterrupted until you have recorded the GPS date and time. This ensures we are looking at a single event. The GPS date and time are used for breaking ties. (See Rule 14-D.)
- The Tournament Designator handed out at registration must be included in the video. The same designator is used for all three days of fishing. This ensures the fish was caught during the ECBC tournament.
- The video must show the billfish species, the billfish being caught (leader connection touches the tip of the rod or a team member touches the leader), and must show the billfish being released (no longer connected to the line).
TIP Record as many of the billfish’s fins as possible; this allows us to properly identify the billfish species.
Refer to diagram for fin identification:
1-dorsal, 2-pectoral, 3-anal.
Illustration © Diane Rome Peebles
Billfish Scorecards and release videos must stay together with a member of the team and be presented to the video verification judges at the marina before the close of the weigh station on Saturday night along with the camera that took the video and any cables needed to view the video. Videos must be in digital format, preferably on a SD or micro SD card. We must be able to transfer your video to a laptop computer for viewing.
A) Before you arrive at the judging location:
- Review your scorecard and be sure anglers, species, dates and times are recorded.
- Make sure your scorecard has been signed by the boat captain.
- Have any cables needed to view the video on a laptop computer.
- Cue your video to the start of the first release.
- Send no more than two team members.
B) Release point decisions are based on the following:
- If the billfish species can be identified, it receives the number of points for that species.
- If the fish is clearly a billfish, but the species cannot be identified it receives 175 points.
C) The following will result in disqualification of the billfish release:
- Billfish is removed from the water for any reason other than to bring it to the scales to weigh.
- Tournament designator is missing from the video.
- Evidence of the billfish being caught and subsequently released is missing from the video.
- Video shows a tournament rule infraction.
D) Release Date and Time decisions, used for breaking ties, are based on the following:
If the video clearly shows an uninterrupted recording of a billfish being caught and released, but is interrupted before the GPS date and time are recorded, or if the date and time cannot be read from the GPS, the following rules are used to determine date and time of release.
- Times are recorded to the full minute with no rounding up or down of seconds.
- If, after releasing the billfish, the video continues uninterrupted and includes a readable shot of the GPS, the date and time on the GPS are used as release date and time.
- In the above situation, if the GPS shows the time but not the date, the GPS time is used and the last day of tournament fishing is used as the release date; if the GPS shows the date but not the time, the GPS date is used and the time you passed under the Destin Pass Bridge is used as the release time.
- If the GPS is not recorded, or the video is not continuous, the last day of tournament fishing is used as the release date and the time you passed under the Destin Pass Bridge is used as the release time.
Before gamefish are offloaded from the boat, a Tail Tag must be filled out for each fish to be weighed. The team should enter everything on the tag except for the time, weight, length and signature which are filled in at the scales. Six tail tags are included in the team envelope handed out at registration.
All fish must be weighed at Baytowne Marina and must be brought to the scales on the boat from which they were caught. The scales are open Friday from 4:00pm–9:00pm and Saturday from 4:00pm–10:00pm. The weigh station remains open on Saturday until all fish are weighed; the weighing of blue marlin takes precedence over gamefish. Fish are weighed to the tenth of a pound. The angler must remain with the fish throughout the weigh-in and before leaving the scales must verify weight information and sign the Tail Tag. All fish weighed become the property of the tournament. The Weighmaster has the right to refuse to weigh any fish that does not meet tournament requirements.
Ties between the weights of two or more fish are broken by “weigh-in time”; “weigh-in time” is defined as:
On Friday — “weigh-in time” is the time the fish was weighed.
On Saturday — “weigh-in time” is the time the boat returned under the Destin Pass Bridge.
All registered Participants agree to submit to a polygraph examination if requested to do so by the Rules Committee. Failure to comply or failure of the test results in disqualification of the entire team. Disqualified teams forfeit any and all entry money, prizes or prize money and, at the discretion of the Rules Committee, are refused entry to future ECBC tournaments.
This section must be carefully read by each Participant.
In consideration for being accepted for participation in the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin® (the “Tournament”), the Participants hereby release, forever discharge, and agree to hold harmless the Tournament, Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort, Sandestin Investments LLC, Baytowne Marina, Tournament Control™, Inc., and their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, volunteers, partners, members, and/or attorneys (collectively the “Releasees”) for any and all losses, claims, or demands of any kind or character whatsoever arising from the negligence or gross negligence of the Releasees or from any other cause connected with or occurring during the Tournament. The Participants expressly acknowledge that he/she has received, reviewed, and agrees to abide by the Tournament Rules and this Release. Furthermore, the Participants expressly acknowledge that activities relating to deep sea fishing are extremely dangerous and involve the risk of serious injury or death. Having so acknowledged, the Participants hereby assume full responsibility for the risk of bodily injury or death due to the negligence or gross negligence of the Releasees or any other cause connected with or occurring during the Tournament.
All disputes, protests, claims, differences or controversies relating to any aspect of the Tournament, including, without limitation, Tournament Rules, must be submitted to the Rules Committee no later than thirty (30) minutes following the close of the Weigh Station or are deemed waived. All such disputes must be presented in writing along with a non-refundable fee of $500 cash. All such disputes shall be decided by the Rules Committee and shall be final and binding upon all parties.
In the event the Rules Committee cannot render or refuses to render a final and binding decision with respect to any dispute, protest, claim, difference, or controversy under review, the matter shall be resolved by binding arbitration under the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association. The decision rendered in arbitration shall be in writing and shall be final and binding upon all parties. The parties shall have no further recourse, except as provided for by the commercial rules of the American Arbitration Association. Once the decision is rendered, it produces the effect of “res judicata” and the parties shall fully comply with the decision without delay. The Participants specifically waive any right to a trial by judge or jury.
The Participants specifically agree and consent to the use of any photograph, motion picture, video or audio recording in which they appear or are heard, by the Tournament, Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort, Sandestin Investments LLC or Tournament Control™, Inc. for any purpose whatsoever including, but not limited to, resale, advertising, and promotional material without compensation or restriction of any kind.