RULES

Tournament Entry

Entry Fee is $6,000 per boat.

$250.00 Discount for early Registration if paid prior to May 2, 2023.

$600 late fee after May 11, 2023

Additional Registration discount for MBGFC members of $250  

The Gulf Coast Masters is a sport fishing 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 only minor technical differences will be employed by anglers. One note exception is the allowance that the rod may be handed off one time during the first minute of fight. All rules of the Mobile Big Game Fishing Club also apply. 

Rules Acceptance

Rules, including published rules in print or on the website (Gulfcoastmasters.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 Gulf Coast Masters and paying entry fees, Participants agree to abide by the Tournament Rules and accept decisions made by the Rules Committee. All decisions are final.

Captains Meeting

The Captain’s meeting will be held on Wednesday at MBGFC Clubhouse as a drop in event anytime between 1:00pm to 5:30pm. The captain, owner or designated team representative must sign-in and be present at the captain’s meeting. Any changes to the rules and final instructions will be given at the captains meeting. You must check in and obtain wrist bands for attendees prior to attending the kickoff party at Fishers. Those without wristbands will not be allowed to enter. Additional wristbands will be available at clubhouse or at the party. Sponsors receive one wristband per $1000 of sponsorship.

Permits & Licenses

An Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Angling Permit is required and participants must be familiar with and follow HMS regulations. 

https://hmspermits.noaa.gov/findPermit

Anglers must obtain an Alabama Saltwater Fishing License which can be purchased locally or online.

Tournament Start

Teams may depart from Perdido Pass at 10am on Thursday. 

Fishing Hours

Boats may begin fishing at 10:01am on Thursday morning and continue fishing until the scales close at 8:00pm on Saturday. All boats with catch & release videos and fish to be weighed, must return by water, and must pass by the Perdido Pass Bridge and check in by 8:00pm on Saturday. Boats are to remain in the water from the time of departure after the captains
meeting until returning to the weigh dock. Boats may be lifted on a boat lift, hauled out, or placed on a trailer for repair work, weather or other reasons but are not permitted to be moved with a trailer during the tournament. The vessel must return to the water at the same location from which it left before proceeding to fish.

Weigh Station Hours

Scales will be open 6-8:00pm on Friday and Saturday 4-9pm. All fish caught during the tournament must be weighed before scales close on Saturday night. Boats must be checked in at Perdido Pass Rocks North of the Bridge by 8pm. on Saturday to have their fish weighed in. Scales will close immediately after the last fish is weighed. All billfish catch verification forms for boated and/or released fish must be turned in to official before the scales close.

Qualifying Fish

The following species are eligible for completion when caught by registered anglers in accordance with tournament rules:

Eligible for Catch & Release

  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Sailfish
  • Spearfish

Eligible for Weigh-in at Scales

  • Blue Marlin – 111″ minimum (LJFL)
  • Tuna – 20 lbs. minimum weight
  • Wahoo – 20 lbs. minimum weight
  • Dolphin – 20 lbs. minimum weight

Boated Blue Marlin must measure at least 111 inches in length from the tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the tail (LJFL).Deck checking of billfish is strictly prohibited: A boated billfish is one that has been partially or totally pulled onto the boat. Boated billfish cannot be released for points. Culling or discarding a previous boated marlin is prohibited. Violation of this rule will result in team disqualification from the tournament, including all categories entered, and forfeiture of all entry fees. 

No angler or boat may be in possession of more than one blue marlin per day. Any angler in violation of this rule will be banned from further participation in the tournament without refund. 

For each day the scales are open (Friday and Saturday), each boat will be allowed to bring to the scales a maximum of 1 blue marlin, 3 tuna, 3 wahoo, and 3 dolphin.

The tournament committee reserves the right to reject any fish entry because of poor condition or one that does not meet the eligible requirements set by this tournament. The condition of the fish will be left to the scrutiny of the tournament director and committee. THEIR DECISION IS FINAL.

Reporting of Billfish

Each boat is required to record all billfish that are boated or released in the order in which the first fish are caught on the Billfish Scorecard. The order of the recorded releases should match the order that appears on the boats’s Catch & Release video. The Billfish scorecard will be available in your boat information packet. Report all boated billfish on the form. 

Be prepared to give the following information:

  • Name of Boat
  • Name of Angler
  • Species of Fish (Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Spearfish, Sailfish 
  • Time released or boated
  • Length of blue marlin if boated

DO NOT report Tuna, Dolphin, or Wahoo on the catch & release form.

The reporting of billfish should be to the tournament phone 251-207-1515 via text (or call if text is not available), with in one hour of catch.

The GCM and MBGFC require the MBGFC proprietary marlin harvest tag to ensure that
additional blue marlin will not be harmed. Each boat will only be provided one tag and it must
be attached immediately to any boated blue marlin, included in the required video, and
photograph with the immediate reporting of the fish within one hour of harvest.

Weigh – In – Procedures

IMPORTANT:
Tournament scales will be located at the Mobile Big Game Clubhouse. Boats having fish to weigh must be checked in by 8:00pm on Saturday. Anglers must remain with their fish until completion of the weigh-in procedure. The angler must sign the weigh-in stat sheet to verify the weight, at which time this will make the weight official. All fish weighed at the scales will be returned to the boat with the exception of a blue marlin. Boats with blue marlin and/or meat fish to weigh in will be unloaded at the main dock at the Mobile Big Game Clubhouse. Failure to sign the weigh -in or release verification can lead to disqualification of the fish/team.

Tournament Awards

All Tournament Awards are based on 60 registered tournament boats. Payouts are subject to change depending on the number of entires. Awards for Heaviest Fish will be presented to the angler/boat for fish caught in the following categories:

Species1st Place2nd Place3rd Place
Blue Marlin$50,000$25,000$15,000
Catch & Release$45,000$20,000$10,000
Tuna$20,000$10,000$5,000
Wahoo$20,000$10,000$5,000
Dolphin$20,000$10,000$5,000

If no qualifying blue marlin are weighed, the cash award for blue marlin will roll down and be divided between the top 3 team’s accumulated catch & release points, 50/30/20.

Top Jr. Angler (18yrs or younger) & Top Lady Angler Awards will be determined by MBGFC point system. Ties. Will be broken using GPS time of release. If no billfish are released in a category, the first fish to hit the dock will be used to break any ties. 

  • 1 point per pound for weighed blue marlin
  • 500 points per blue marlin release
  • 200 points per white marlin, sailfish or spearfish release
  • 1 point per pound for largest 2 tuna (accrued points for up to 2 tuna)
  • 2 points per pound for largest 2 wahoo (accrued points for up to 2 wahoo)
  • 3 points per pound for largest 2 dolphin (accrued points for up to 2 dolphin)

Catch & Release

Billfish Catch: A billfish is considered caught when the leader connection is show reeled to the tip of the rod, or a team member is shown touching the leader.

Billfish Release: Billfish Release: The billfish is considered released when, after being caught by the above definition, the rod and angler are shown with the fish no longer connected to the line or the billfish is shown in the water, no longer connected to the line in a healthy state per the video review official, with their ruling final.

Tournament Designator/Identification Marker

Designators will be assigned at the mandatory Captain’s Meeting. These markers must appear in all video submissions.

Video Verification and Points Award for Catch and Release

Points for catch and relase are awarded when, in the process of the catch and relase as defined above, all technical elements are shown on video. Tagging is not required for points and billfish removed from the water or boated will be disqualified. 

Video submitted for consideration for points must include the following technical elements:

  • Angler fighting fish, including video of rod and reel
  • Cockpit panoramic view
  • Tournament Designator
  • The Catch (swivel at rod tip or team member touching the leader. 
  • Video of Billfish for species identification. (Judges use dorsal, anal and pectoral fins for fish identification)
  • The Release (the Billfish being released on video of the rod and angler with the fish no longer connected to the line)
  • Secondary cockpit panoramic view after the relase
  • After the secondary cockpit panoramic view, a clear video of the GPS date & time; to be used for official release time. Hold camera steady for several seconds to allow clear focus of GPS Date & Time (This is Critical.) GPS must display in CDT. Show designator along GPS if possible.

Verification videos become property of the tournament. Verification videos and billfish scorecards must be turned in to the video judges at the designated judging location near the weigh station between the hours of 3-8pm on either Friday or Saturday. 

Billfish Scorecard

All billfish release or boated must be logged on the Billfish Scorecard in the sequence in which they were caught. Scorecards must be singed by the Boat Captain indicating they agree to the information as recorded. The scorecard must include boat name, angler’s name, species, date and time of the release. Detailed instructions are printed on the billfish scorecard which is included in the team packet handed out at registration.

All billfish must be recorded on the Billfish Scorecard regardless if you enter the Optional Entry for Catch & Release. In case there are no blue marlin that qualify for the minimum size requirements and no awards are issued for that division, the money will be divided and rolled over to the teams with the most points on the scorecard. 

Point Values for Catch & Release

The Catch & Release is determined by points awarded as follows:

  • 500 points per Blue Marlin
  • 200 points for White Marlin, Sailfish and Spearfish
  • 1 point per pound for largest 2 tuna (accrued points for up to 2 tuna)
  • 2 points per pound for largest 2 wahoo (accrued points for up to 2 wahoo)
  • 3 points per pound for largest 2 dolphin (accrued points for up to 2 dolphin)

Only billfish caught and released according to these Rules are eligible for Awards as described herein. 

The Billfish Scorecard must accompany the Catch & Release video to the weigh-in-dock. The form must be completed with all required information. Catch & Release verification videos and scorecards must be turned in to the video judges at the weigh-in dock between the hours of 3-8pm on Friday or Saturday.

A Polygraph Test may be administered at the discretion of the Tournament Director and/or Committee.
Results of the polygraph are to be evaluated and enforced at the tournament director and/or committee discretion. In consideration for the GCM processing each tournament participants registration acceptance of his or her entry, each registered angler specifically Agrees and consents to voluntarily submit to a polygraph examination(s) that will be conducted by a polygraph examiner selected by the GCM, at any time until all prize winners and awards are determined and announced. Further, each registered angler agrees to obtain the agreement and consent of each and every occupant of the boat from which he or she fishes during the tournament (including but not limited to the captain and crew) to submit to a polygraph examination or examinations as described above. All must agree to accept polygraph results and should sign the polygraph agreement form forfeiting rights to protest or challenge polygraph results and the resultant decisions by the tournament committee. Failure to sign is equivalent to signing agreement. The method and conduct of all polygraph examinations and the interpretation, of the results thereof, shall be in the sole judgement of the polygraph examiner appointed by the GCM whose opinion shall be final. If any registered angler of occupant of a vessel refuses to submit to a polygraph examination, or if any registered angler or occupant gives a response which, in the sole opinion of the polygraph examiner, is untruthful, then the offending angler(s) on the boat shall be immediately disqualified without further notice from the tournament in question. Any registered angler(s) that is disqualified shall not be entitled to any prizes, awards, or rerun of the entry fees or cash award fees and, at the discretion of the Rules Committee, are refused entry to future GCM Tournaments. 

Payment for Cash Awards

Prior to fishing, each tournament boat must designate a representative payee to receive payment for all cash awards. Payment for cash awards is by check. A single check will be written to the boats representative payee for the combined total of tournament cash awards and optional cash awards. Checks will be written after the Awards Ceremony on Sunday. Gulf Coast Master’s accepts no responsibility for the division of any cash awards between team members.

Optional Entry Awards

This is a separate entry. The Optional Entry is not required to compete for Tournament Awards. Participants may pay an Optional Entry Fee in one or more of the following:

SpeciesDivision 1Divison 2Division 3Divison 4Division 5
Blue Marlin$10,000$5,000$2,500$1,000$500
Catch & Release $10,000$5,000$2,500$1,000$500
Tuna $5,000$2,500$1,000$500
Wahoo$5,000$2,500$1,000$500
Dolphin$5,000$2,500$1,000$500
No Sonar$1,000
Crew$500

The Catch & Release, Blue Marlin, Tuna, Wahoo, Dolphin will pay 1st, 2nd, and 3rd with a 50%, 30%, 20% split. The No Sonar and Crew Jackpots are winner take all categories. In the event of limited participation in any category listed above, the payouts will be modified as follows: One team entered will be refused in full, 2-5 teams will be winner-take-all, 6-9 will be 60/40 split and 10 or more teams will be standard 50/30/20 split. Participants who wish to pay an Optional Entry Fee Prior to May 1, may submit a credit card, cashier’s or business check made payable to the Gulf Coast Masters. Participants who wish to pay an Optional Entry Fee after May 1 must pay by cash, credit card or cashiers check during registration hours on Wednesday from 5pm-10pm of tournament week or make payment arrangements with the Tournament Director. Optional Awards for Catch & Release are determined by points according to Tournament Rules. Optional Awards for boated Blue Marlin, Tuna, Wahoo and Dolphin are determined by points according to Tournament Rules. In the event that no qualifying fish are weighed by an Optional Entry participants in a given Division eligible for an Optional Award, 90% of the Optional Entry Fees collected for that division are returned to participant(s) who paid Optional Entry Fees for that division. 

Crew Jackpot

Entry cost for the category is $500

  • 500 points per Blue Marlin
  • 200 points for White Marlin, Sailfish and Spearfish
  • 1 point per pound for largest 2 tuna (accrued points for up to 2 tuna)
  • 2 points per pound for largest 2 wahoo (accrued points for up to 2 wahoo)
  • 3 points per pound for largest 2 dolphin (accrued points for up to 2 dolphin)

No Sonar

Entry cost for the category is $1,000

  • 500 points per Blue Marlin
  • 200 points for White Marlin, Sailfish and Spearfish
  • 1 point per pound for largest 2 tuna (accrued points for up to 2 tuna)
  • 2 points per pound for largest 2 wahoo (accrued points for up to 2 wahoo)
  • 3 points per pound for largest 2 dolphin (accrued points for up to 2 dolphin)

Submission for Video Recordings

Verification video recordings must be submitted not later than the closing of the scales on final day of fishing. Recordings should be submitted immediately upon return to the marina. All recorded images and sounds become the property of the tournament and may be used by the tournament for display purposes during the weigh in and future marketing campaigns. All images will be copied from digital hard drive cameras, tapes, CD’s, and DVD’s etc. 

Video Tips and Recommendations:

  • Use only new SD cards
  • 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.
  • File with .MXF filename extension cannot be opened or viewed by the judges.
  • Judges will not score from your laptop computer or iPad type tablet.
  • Judges will accept more than one video for 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 that this video is adequately long enough to allow identification. 
  • Limit the video release recordings from only this tournament with the segments stages, cued and ready for scoring. Before entering the scoring room, know 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 clearly understands how to provide the video digital media to the scoring judge. One person per team is allowed in video scoring. 
  • Understand how to properly display the GPS date and time on your boat GPS prior to the tournament. This is critical for a tie-breaker.

Remember: Report releases and boated fish to a Committee Boat on VHF Channel 72 so we can track them for unofficial reporting to the media and the verification committee. Release may able reported to weigh station phone 251-207-1515

Weather: Tournament Delay or Cancellation

In the event the tournament committee feels in their best judgement fishing is unsafe due to severe weather, high seas, or any cause beyond the control of the Gulf Coast Masters, the tournament may be cancelled or delayed. If delayed, a new start time or date will be announced should weather conditions improve. If canceled, entry fees will be refunded. One day of part there of offshore fishing by one-third of the boats entered constitutes a complete tournament. Entrants shall have no claim against the Gulf Coast Masters for return of paid entry fees. All teams and participants should make their decision to fish based solely on their own judgement. Fish at your own risk. 

Tie Breakers

For fished weighed in any category of fish brought to the scales, placement is determined by the order of Weigh-in at the scales. The recorded time of weigh-in determines placement. In case of a tie for Top Lady Angler or Top Junior Angler on points, placement is determined first, by heaviest fish and then, by the first angler to reach the highest point total as verified by boat’s GPS time. 

Protest

Any protests relating to the tournament must be submitted in writing along with $1,000 deposit by the team captain to the tournament committee no later than 15 minutes after the last fish is weighed on the final day of the tournament. All entrants agree to abide by tournament rules and regulations. All disputes are decided by the Tournament Director and Committee. Their decision is final. Poor disqualification will result in forfeiture of entry fee and prize money.

Waiver/Disclaimer

It is understood that all participants in the Gulf Coast Masters enter at their own risk, and that the officers, committee members, sponsors, directors, tournament venue and all persons connected directly or indirectly with the operation of said tournament, shall be exempt from any liability for libel, slander, loss, damage, negligence, harm injury or death suffered ny any participant, entrant, anglers, his/her companions, boat captains, mates, crew members, vessels and equipment which may occur during or in conjunction with the tournament. By the tournament entry, the captain consents that the Gulf Coast Masters may without payment or restriction, use any photographs in which he/she or any of their crew may appear for any purpose whatsoever; including, but not limited to resale, advertising, commercial or promotional material. The captain and his crew further release the Gulf Coast Masters, officers and directors, and all persons from injury, loss or damage which may result.

All state record winners must submit to and pass in a conclusive manner, a polygraph examination administered by a polygraphist provided by tournament officials. All entrants agree to submit to a polygraph examination at the request of the tournament committee if there is a conflict involving said entrant. Failure to submit to such an examination will result in disqualification of the entrant at the sole discretion of the tournament committee.

ALL DECISIONS OF THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR AND COMMITTEE WILL BE FINAL.