2019 TOURNAMENT RULES

Rules are subject to change. Final rules including any final revisions will be distributed at the Captains Meeting, Thursday, July 18, 2019.

TOURNAMENT ENTRY:
 

Tournament entry is $3,000 after June 23rd. Tournament dockage at the Freeport Marina will be provided to tournament boats based on entry date (size restrictions may be a factor). Tournament discount dockage rates will apply and be handled directly with the Marina.

POTENTIAL TOURNAMENT CASH AWARDS PAYOUTS:

Blue Marlin Tournament Cash Award - $15,750    

If no Blue Marlin is weighed, this money will go to the 1st Place Billfish Release boat.
(Payout based on 35 boats)


Optional Cash Awards will pay out 60/30/10, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. If only two eligible fish are weighed in the category, the cash awards will be split 65/35 between 1st and 2nd place. If no blue marlins are harvested during the event, the blue marlin mandatory side pot money will roll over to the top billfish release boat (100). The optional blue marlin meat pots will be returned minus 10%.

TOURNAMENT CHECK-IN & OPTIONAL ENTRY REGISTRATION:

Registration will begin at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 (all Teams must be checked in by 7:00 pm). Optional Side Pot Entries will open at 7:00 pm and close at 11:00 pm on Wednesday, July 17, 2019.


TOURNAMENT DEPARTURE:

Boats docked at the Freeport Marina will depart behind the tournament pace boat at 10:00 am Thursday, July 18th. Boats docked elsewhere and not participating in the boat parade may depart no earlier than 12:00 pm (noon). 

TOURNAMENT RETURN: 
 

All tournament boats must return to the TBC Weigh-In through the Freeport Jetties and will be confirmed by tournament spotters. BOATS MUST BE INSIDE THE FREEPORT JETTIES BY 5:00 PM SATURDAY EVENING. 

WEATHER AND COMPLETED TOURNAMENT:

In the event the tournament committee feels in their best judgment unsafe offshore weather and sea conditions exist, the tournament may be delayed by a day. The tournament may be resumed should weather conditions improve. All teams and participants should make their decision to fish based solely on their own judgment of prevailing conditions, vessel seaworthiness, and captain and crew's seamanship skills. 

TOURNAMENT CANCELLATION:

In the event the tournament is canceled, 100% of optional side pot entries and 80% entry fees will be refunded within two weeks. Boats may elect to roll over 100% of their entry fee to the following year. Entry fee may only be rolled over to the following year one time.

WITHDRAWALS:
 

There will be no refunds of tournament entry fees, deposits or optional entries after the Captain’s Meeting at 9:00 am, Thursday, July 18, 2019. No refund of entry fees or Optional Side Pot Entries due to mechanical breakdown or any other reason once Tournament officially begins. 

 

SPORTSMANSHIP AND ANGLING RULES:

The TBC is a sportfishing tournament where participants agree to fish in a fair and ethical manner. While the tournament does not strictly enforce the use of IGFA rules, it certainly expects that anglers will employ only minor technical differences. One noted exception is the allowance that the rod may be handed off one time within the first minute of the fight. 


It is the Team's responsibility to comply with all Federal and Texas state laws regarding fishing licenses, size limits, bag limits and any other regulations that may apply. 

POLYGRAPH EXAMINATION: 

Texas Billfish Classic winning captains may be polygraphed. Failure to comply will result in disqualification of the participant and, at the discretion of Tournament Officials, the participant's entire team. Disqualified participants and/or teams forfeit any and all entry money, prizes, or prize money, and may be refused entry to future tournaments. 

RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS:

In consideration for being accepted by the Tournament Organizers for participation in the Texas Billfish Classic, the Participants hereby release, forever discharge, and agree to hold harmless the Tournament Committee, Sponsors, Texas Billfish Classic, LLC, City of Freeport and their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, volunteers, partners, members, the and/or attorneys for any and all losses, claims, or demands of any kind or character whatsoever arising from the negligence or gross negligence of the Releases 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 Releases or any other cause connected with or occurring during the Tournament. 

DISPUTES:

All disputes, protests, claims, differences or controversies relating to any aspect of the Tournament, including, without limitation, Tournament Rules, must be submitted to the Tournament Organizers/Rules Committee no later than 8:00pm on Saturday, July 20thor are deemed waived. All such disputes must be presented in writing along with a non-refundable fee of $1,000 cash. All such disputes shall be decided by the Tournament Organizers/Rules Committee and shall be final and binding upon all parties. 

BINDING ARBITRATION:

In the event the Tournament Organizers/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. The Participants specifically waive any right to a trial by judge or jury. Arbitration shall be held exclusively in Brazoria County, Texas.
 

PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO IMAGE RELEASE:

The Participants specifically agree and consent to the use of any photograph, video recording, or audio recording in which they appear or are heard, by the Tournament Committee, Texas Billfish Classic, LLC for any purpose whatsoever including, but not limited to, resale, advertising, and promotional material without compensation or restriction of any kind. 

WEIGH-IN:

  • Friday, July 19th, optional evening weigh-in for Blue Marlin ONLY

  • Saturday, July 20th, 5:00 pm until the last boat checked in and in line at the weigh-in (which will be confirmed by tournament committee). All fish must be weighed at the TBC central weigh-in station at Hook’s. Fish to be weighed must be in fresh condition and not mutilated in any such manner. (Gaff, hook, and line wounds are acceptable.) Fish may not be frozen. The weighmaster has final decision to disqualify a fish for poor condition or mutilation. No Blue Marlin, game fish to be weighed or catch and release video may be transferred from one boat to another. Fish to be weighed must be tail tagged with boat and angler's name prior to fish leaving the boat.


ELIGIBLE SPECIES TO WEIGH-IN:

The following species and size limits of gamefish when caught in the Gulf of Mexico in accordance with all tournament rules will be eligible for tournament awards. 

 

SPECIES                                             MIN WEIGHT/LENGTH LIMIT

BLUE MARLIN                                   110" 1 per boat per trip/day

DOLPHIN                                           20 LB. / 3

TUNA (YELLOW FIN, BIGEYE)          20 LB. / 3

WAHOO                                             20 LB. / 3


WEIGHED BLUE MARLIN AND BILLFISH CATCH AND RELEASE POINTS: 
 

WEIGHED BLUE MARLIN                            1 POINT per pound

BLUE MARLIN CATCH AND RELEASE        600 POINTS

WHITE MARLIN / SPEARFISH                     250 POINTS

SAILFISH/UNIDENTIFIED BILLFISH            200 POINTS

BLUE MARLIN CAUGHT ON THURSDAY MAY BE WEIGHED FRIDAY MORNING ONLY IF REPORTED TO TOURNAMENT CONTROL ON THURSDAY. BLUE MARLIN CAUGHT ON FRIDAY MAY BE WEIGHED ON FRIDAY NIGHT OR SATURDAY NIGHT. NO TOURNAMENT BOAT MAY BE IN POSSESSION OF MORE THAN ONE BLUE MARLIN AT A TIME. THE MINIMUM LENGTH IS 110” (LOWER JAW - FORK TAIL, TAPE OVER BODY OF FISH MEASUREMENT METHOD) 

 

DETERMINATION OF TOURNAMENT WINNERS:

The heaviest Blue Marlin weighed is the TBC Tournament Champion and is considered 1st place for the blue marlin Tournament Cash Award. If only catch and release points are the issue (no eligible Blue Marlin killed), the first team to reach the total most points, as scored by the tournament judges and verified by the boat's video of GPS time and date, wins the Tournament. Blue Marlin and gamefish weight ties are broken by check-in time, as through the official line of demarcation at the tip of the Freeport jetties as video recorded by tournament spotters. Top Lady Angler and Top Junior Angler awards are scored by weighed blue marlin points and catch and release points. In the event no billfish are weighed, nor catch and release points awarded, Lady Angler and Junior Angler awards will be decided by heaviest gamefish caught. 

VERIFICATION OF BILLFISH RELEASE SCORECARDS:

Teams will be provided billfish catch and release reports, which must be legibly filled out prior to judging, signed by the captain and turned in with the video recording. Multiple fish may be recorded on same video but scorecard should reflect the same order. Please fill out all blanks for scoring information on the scorecards.  

VIDEO SUBMISSIONS RELEASE:

All recordings of video images and sounds become the property of the Tournament and may be used by the Tournament for display purposes as it sees fit including but not limited to Tournament Jumbotron television, radio, any media print, television series, advertisement or future marketing campaigns. 

CATCH AND RELEASE RULES:

Only Billfish caught and released according to the following rules are eligible for tournament awards and cash awards. Billfish are considered caught when the leader connection or swivel touches the tip of the rod or the mate or other team member touches the leader. Billfish removed from the water or boated will be disqualified. 

GoPro or SD type video cameras are the preferred and recommended method of capturing catch and release video recording. If not recorded on a GoPro video camera the video must be captured on a digital video camera. No cell phone, iPad, DVD or CD video will be accepted. 

Video must include: 

  • Angler fighting fish including video of rod and reel. 

  • Cockpit pan. 

  • Tournament designator. 

  • Video of swivel at rod tip or mate touching the leader. 

  • Video of Billfish for species identification. 

  • Video of release of Billfish. 

  • Secondary cockpit pan. 

  • Clear video of GPS date & time of release. Hold camera steady for several seconds to allow clear focus of GPS Date & Time. This is critical. GPS must display in CDT.

 

SPECIAL SITUATIONS:

1. Billfish breaks off or hook pulls.

There must be video showing the mate grabbing the leader or a clear shot of the connection touching the rod tip. Be sure to include a shot of the designator in the action of this segment. WITHOUT stopping the camera, pan the cockpit showing no other rods in play. Go directly to the GPS and CLEARLY video the date and time. If ALL of these requirements are NOT met the fish WILL BE disqualified! It may be difficult for the Judges to determine the Species under these circumstances. 

2. When an Angler fights a fish to the Release.

Video the release. This may help the Judges determine the Species if questionable. During the video release, IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT stopping the camera, pan the cockpit and go directly to the GPS and film the Date and Time. Make sure you have a shot of the tournament designator in this segment. When the Angler fights the fish to the release as described above, you are NOT ALLOWED TO RECORD THE DATE & TIME AFTER THE LEADER GRAB OR CONNECTION TOUCH. You must wait till all of the above has occurred. 

Note: If video shows time of release but no date, the GPS time as recorded will be used and the last date of tournament fishing is used as the official release date. In the event the boat returned to Freeport to weigh-in on Friday and the video was viewed/scored by tournament judges at that time, then Friday will be used as the date of release.

Catch and Release Tiebreaker: ties are broken by the first team to reach the total amount of points as verified by the boats GPS time.

Verification Scorecard reports must be legibly completed and totaled along with date and time of last release prior to scoring and turned in with video. Videos must be turned in to scoring (having checked in thru the Freeport Jetties prior to 5:00pm and waiting in line) prior to the closing of the weigh-in. A team representative will be required to acknowledge and sign verification video scorecard accepting results.

Video Scoring Tips:

  • Use fresh, new SD cards dedicated solely to Texas Billfish Classic video.

  • SD type Sony and GoPro, etc. cameras which generate consumer type files allowing the judges to quickly copy the recording to a computer which facilitates slow motion and segment by segment scoring. 

  • Note: Files with .MXF filename extension cannot be opened or viewed by the judges.

  • Judges will not score from a laptop computer or iPad type tablet.

  • Judges will accept more than one video of the same release from a different camera (of the same type), provided the same previous video requirements are met. 

  • If possible and without harm to the fish, have the mate display the dorsal fin on the video at the time of release to assist with identification. 

  • Underwater video of the release is helpful with identification. Ensure video is adequately long to allow identification.

  • Limit recordings to only video release recordings from the 2019 TBC with the segments staged and cued and ready for scoring. Know before entering the scoring room where images are located on the recording. Have the SD card ready to be inserted into scoring computer.

  • It is critical the person sent to scoring understands computers/cameras/SD cards and the video scoring process. One person per team is allowed in video scoring.

  • Understand how to properly display the GPS date as well as the time on your boat GPS prior to the BMGC. This is critical for tie-breaker. 

  • Cell phones and iPads are not acceptable for date and time of release.

 

2019 TEXAS BILLFISH CLASSIC ACCEPTANCE

In consideration for being accepted by the Tournament Organizers for participation in the Texas Billfish Classic, the Participants hereby release, forever discharge, and agree to hold harmless the Tournament Committee, Sponsors, City of Freeport and the Texas Billfish Classic, LLC and their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, volunteers, partners, members, the and/or attorneys for any and all losses, claims, or demands of any kind or character whatsoever arising from the negligence or gross negligence of the Releases 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 Releases or any other cause connected with or occurring during the Tournament. 

 © 2019 Texas Billfish Classic - 501(C)3