2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

Frequently Asked Questions (answers are subject to change)
Revised: April 18, 2017

The MGCBC is a sport fishing tournament where participants agree to fish in the spirit of IGFA rules. 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 noted exception is the allowance that the rod may be handed off one time within the first minute of the fight. However, the state of Mississippi rules which will be enforced when a state record is submitted, states that “fish must be hooked, fought, and brought to net or gaff by the applicant with no help from any person, except that another person may operate the net or gaff.” The full page of State Saltwater Fishing Record Rules can be found at http://www.dmr.ms.gov/index.php/marine-fisheries/finfish/138-state-saltwater-fishing-record-rules

Measured from lower jaw to the fork of the tail, blue marlin must measure at least 107 inches and swordfish must measure at least 60 inches. Fish not meeting these minimums will not be accepted to the weigh-scale and will remain on the boat.

All billfish and swordfish releases require video verification (see rule 13). Also, rule #7 requires all billfish and swordfish to be logged on the Catch & Release Form in the order that fish are either boated or released. The order of boated or released fish on the catch and release form along with the date and time, must match the sequence on the video turned into the judges for scoring.

No, the angler or team will be responsible for filling out the state of Mississippi application for a state record.

No, the heaviest swordfish at the end of the tournament, which has broken the state record, will receive the state record prizes provided a successful polygraph and a confirmed record by the state of Mississippi. The same goes for the other species where vehicles are offered as prizes.

Yes, in order to compete for state records each angler must purchase a state of Mississippi saltwater fishing license. While the state of Mississippi allows tournament anglers to compete without a license, the state’s rules for breaking a state record require anglers to possess the license in order to apply for a state record. You can purchase the saltwater licenses online at https://www.ms.gov/mdwfp/hunting_fishing/

Yes, to participate in a registered Atlantic HMS tournament, anglers or vessel owners must possess an HMS permit.

Yes, polygraphs will be administered by the tournament at the discretion of the tournament director. A registered member of the team, designated by the captain or owner, must be willing to sit for a polygraph. The designated member cannot be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the polygraph examiner determines a subject is under the influence, that person will be disqualified from performing the polygraph. Without a successful polygraph the team will forfeit all cash prizes and the tournament will not support an application to the state for a record fish.

Electric reels are not allowed for fighting fish at any time as “fish must be legally caught in a sporting manner on rod, reel and line or pole and line, and hooked with a legal hook and lure”.

It is recommended that tournament participants follow the guidelines established by the NMF and Mississippi DMR regarding hooks.

According to the Mississippi state record rules, fish must be landed using a gaff or net.

One blue marlin per day, two total for the tournament. Possession for blue marlin is one per day. Example: One blue marlin per boat can be brought to the weigh scales for the first day of weigh-in (Friday). Boats can return to fishing grounds and catch a second blue marlin to be weighed on the second day of weigh-in (Saturday) for a total of two blue marlin for the tournament.
For tuna, wahoo, dolphin and swordfish divisions, three fish per species per day. Example: Regardless of when they are boated, for each boat, three swordfish can be weighed on the first day of weigh-in (Friday), and three additional swordfish can be weighed on the second day of weigh-in (Saturday). Only three fish per species will be allowed at the weigh scales on any weigh-in day. It is recommended that tournament participants follow possession guidelines established by the NMF and Mississippi DMR. It is very important that swordfish are logged on the catch and release form according to rule #7.

Yes, a separate swordfish optional catch and release category is scored separately from the tournament’s regular catch and release category. In the swordfish optional catch and release, one point is awarded for each video verified swordfish release. The boat with the most swordfish releases will place (first, second or third) in the optional division ($500, $1000, $2500 and $5000) the boat was entered into.

No, the tournament’s overall release award will be given to the boat with the most video verified release points for blue marlin, white marlin, spearfish and sailfish. Swordfish releases only count for the optional swordfish release category. See tournament rule #9.