Tournament Rules

2023 Tournament Official Rules (v.8)

Rules are subject to change.
Final Rules will be presented at the Captains Meeting, Thursday, July 13th, 2023

Section 1: Tournament Entry & Registration

Tournament registration is $8,000.

  • Teams may register via Catchstat at bmgc.catchstat.com
  • Teams may pay the entry fee in full or submit a $1,000 nonrefundable deposit upon registration.
  • Entry payments can be made via check, wire transfer or credit card. You will find these details on Catchstat as part of your registration.
  • Tournament entry balance is due before July 12th, 2023
*Blue Marlin Grand Championship reserves the right to refuse application or entry into the Tournament at its discretion with or without cause.

Section 2: Tournament Format, Payout and Optional Cash Awards


The Tournament format will be split between weighed Blue Marlin, Catch and Release, and Gamefish.

40% of Total Tournament Payout will be paid to Weighed Blue Marlin.
Places: 1st (50%), 2nd (30%), 3rd (20%)*

40% of Total Tournament Payout will be paid to Billfish Catch and Release.
Places: 1st (50%), 2nd (30%), 3rd (20%)*

20% of Total Tournament Payout will be paid to Gamefish. Split evenly between Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo.
Places: 1st (50%), 2nd (30%), 3rd (20%)*

*If only two eligible fish in a Tournament entry category are weighed, the payout will be split 1st Place (60%) and 2nd Place (40%). If only one eligible fish is weighed in a category, that fish sweeps the category. If no gamefish are caught in a category, the total Tournament Cash Awards for the category will be evenly distributed between the remaining two categories then paid 50%/30%/20% (1st - 3rd)

Teams may enter Optional Cash Awards categories online before the Tournament at bmgc.catchstat.com or at Check in/ Optional registration at the Orange Beach Event Center on Wednesday, July 12th, from 1:00-9:00 PM.

Optional Cash Awards Payouts: Optional Cash Awards entry fees will have a 90% return.
Places: 1st (50%), 2nd (30%), 3rd (20%)**
** One team entered will be refunded in full, two teams entered will be 60/40 split, and 3 or more teams will be the standard 50/30/20 split.

Section 3: Determination of Tournament Winners

The heaviest Blue Marlin weighed will be awarded 1st place in the Weighed Blue Marlin Tournament Payout and will be Tournament Champion. 2nd and 3rd place follows sequence according to heaviest weighed.

If a team catches multiple Blue Marlin on separate days/ trips:

Each fish will be eligible to place in the Weighed Blue Marlin Tournament Payout category. Each fish will be weighed and scored independently.

If no eligible Blue Marlin are weighed, Tournament entry fees for weighed Blue Marlin will roll over to Catch & Release.

Section 4: Tournament Schedule

Wednesday, July 12th
1PM - 9PM Team Check-in & Final Optional Cash Awards Entry
Held at The Orange Beach Event Center

Thursday, July 13th
9AM Mandatory Captain's Meeting Held at The Orange Beach Event Center
10:01 AM Tournament Departure from The Wharf Marina
A Work of Art will lead teams from the Wharf through Perdido Pass. Boats departing from other marinas in Orange Beach will fall in line.
The Tournament will officially begin with a shotgun start at Noon on VHF 72.

Saturday, July 15th
6:00 PM Tournament Return Demarcation Line Tournament boats must return to The Wharf weigh-in through Mobile Pass and must be visually confirmed by Tournament spotters at the official demarcation line between ICW markers #103 & #104 at Sailboat Bay by 6 PM.

Boats not inside demarcation line by 6 PM will be ineligible to weigh-in or submit Catch & Release video.
Boats may not return to the Wharf via Perdido Pass.

Sunday, July 16th
9 AM Tournament Awards Breakfast in the Orange Beach Event Center

Section 5: Tournament Eligible Fish

The following species and size limits of gamefish, when caught in the Gulf of Mexico per all Tournament Rules, will be eligible for Tournament awards. The use of dart gaffs and harpoons is prohibited.
BLUE MARLIN 110" 1 per boat per trip/day
WAHOO 20 LB. 3
No Tournament boat may be in possession of more than one Blue Marlin at a time.

Culling/ Discarding of previously caught billfish is prohibited.

Blue Marlin removed from the water for the purpose of deck checking will be disqualified.

Weighed Blue Marlin 110 inch minimum length. Lower Jaw Fork Length (LJFL). The length of a fish as measured from the tip of its lower jaw to the fork of the tail (over body of fish measurement method).

Video back up of all boated Blue Marlin is recommended.

Section 6: Billfish Catch & Release Rules & Scoring

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 and deck checked will be disqualified.

Verified video releases are scored:

Section 7: Catch & Release Video Verification Requirements

Video must be captured on a digital video camera and must include:
  • Angler fighting fish, including video of rod and reel.
  • Cockpit pan.
  • Tournament designator, which is the same for the entire Tournament.
  • Video of swivel at rod tip or mate touching the leader.
  • Video of Billfish for species identification.
  • Video 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. GPS must display in CDT.

If the video shows the 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.

If the date is shown but no release time: The date as recorded will be used and the time of check-in at the official demarcation line (#103 & #104) Sailboat Bay is used as the official release time.

Section 8: Tiebreakers:

The earliest times and dates will be the determining factor in breaking a tie.

Blue Marlin weighed on Friday will break a tie with Blue Marlin weighed on Saturday.

On Saturday, times recorded at the demarcation line will be used to break Blue Marlin and gamefish ties.

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

Demarcation times will also be used for catch and release video scoring ties in the event of missing GPS date/times.

Section 9: Weigh-In Schedule Friday, July 15

Weigh Scales Open 7 AM - 8 AM
'Early-Bird' weigh-in. Blue Marlin only.
To schedule a Friday morning weigh-in, teams must call and receive a confirmation from the Tournament committee by 9 PM on Thursday, July 13th.

Weigh Scales Open 5 PM - 7 PM
Check-in at Sailboat Bay not required on Friday.
The boat must be clearly in sight of weigh dock by 7 PM to be eligible for weigh-in.

Section 10: Weigh-In Schedule Saturday, July 16

Weigh Scales Open 5 PM - 8 PM or until last eligible fish waiting in line.

Section 11: Weigh-in Procedure:

Each fish to be weighed must be tail tagged with the boat and the angler name before the fish leaves the boat. Tail tags are included in the registration packet handed out at check in.

All fish must be off-loaded and weighed at The Wharf central weigh-in station.

Fish to be weighed must be in fresh condition, not frozen nor mutilated in any such manner.

The weigh-in committee, led by Weigh Master Craig Martin, has the final decision and authority to disqualify a fish for poor condition or mutilation.

Mutilation is defined per IGFA Angling Rules:
Mutilation to the fish, prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals, or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh.

All mutilated fish must be disclosed prior to arrival at weigh-in.

Fish to be weighed or catch and release videos may not be transferred from one Tournament boat to another.

Tournament officials may alter the weigh-in sequence.

Section 12: Billfish Video Verification Procedure

Only teams that have successfully cleared the demarcation line at Sailboat Bay, on Saturday, July 15th before 6:00 PM, will be eligible to have video scored.

Scoring order may be prioritized for teams with multiple Blue Marlin releases.

One team member shall accompany videos to be verified with completed Verification Billfish Scorecards to video scoring at The Marina Office.

Verification Billfish Scorecards must be completed, legible, and signed by the captain before arrival at the video judging area. Incomplete or non-legible scorecards may cause loss of place in line until corrected.

The first release video should be cued up and ready to play immediately.

Multiple fish may be recorded on the same video, but the scorecard should reflect the official release order.

Videos must be digital, preferably on an SD or micro SD card. Videos must be able to be transferred from your video device to a laptop computer for viewing.

Teams are responsible for providing any needed cables or adapters for the judges to score videos.

The team representative will sign a video scorecard accepting the video judges scoring as final.

Video Verification judging will conclude with the closing of weigh-in or after the last eligible team waiting in line video has been judged.

Section 13: Polygraph Examination

Blue Marlin Grand Championship winning captains will 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 will be refused entry to future BMGC Tournaments.

Section 14: Sportsmanship and Angling Rules

Safety first! Participants agree to adopt a "safety first" approach at all times during the Tournament and to immediately report any unsafe behavior to Tournament Organizers/Rules Committee.

Participants agree to compete by IGFA rules with one exception: Rod may be transferred (handed off) one time within the first minute of the fight.

It is Participants' responsibility to comply with all Federal and Alabama state laws regarding angling rules, fishing licenses, permits, size limits, bag limits and any other regulations that may apply.

Participants are assumed to have all necessary permits, licenses and/or registrations required by law. However, it is not the responsibility of the Tournament officials or directors to verify that all required permits, licenses and/or registrations are acquired by anglers participating in the Tournament. Failure of a winning angler to have obtained any or all required permits, licenses and or registrations shall not be the basis for a protest to be filed under the Tournament Rules or for a fish to be disqualified.

For information regarding Alabama Saltwater Fishing Licenses refer to http://www.outdooralabama.com/licenses/saltwater-recreational-licenses.

For information regarding Federal HMS Permits call 877.376.4877 or refer to www.hmspermits.noaa.gov.

Section 15: Video Submissions Release

Recordings of video images and sounds become the property of the Tournament. The Tournament may use these for any purpose in any media format, including but not limited to Tournament television, radio, social media, print, television series, advertisement, or future marketing campaigns.

Section 16: Weather and Completed Tournament

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. Participation of at least one-third of the registered Tournament fleet constitutes a completed Tournament. Participation, as mentioned above, shall be defined as boats which pass the official line of departure demarcation which will be the Perdido Pass Bridge.

Section 17: Tournament Cancellation Policy

If the Tournament should be cancelled due to any cause beyond the control of the Blue Marlin Grand Championship, Tournament entry fees will be rolled over for one year less Tournament deposit. 100% of optional entries will be refunded.

Section 18: Withdrawals

Withdrawals from the Tournament before 10:00 AM, Thursday, July 13th, will be eligible to be refunded 100% of their Optional Entries and Tournament entry fees less the $1,000 deposit. There will be no refunds of Tournament entry fees, deposits or optional entries after the official fleet departure at 10:01 AM Thursday, July 13th.

Section 19: 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, Wharf Entertainment Properties, LLC, Wharf Retail Properties, LLC, Blue Marlin Grand Championship, LLC, Wheels Up Special Events, LLC, or Coastal Marina Management, LLC for any purpose whatsoever including, but not limited to, resale, advertising, and promotional material without compensation or restriction of any kind.

Section 20: Tournament Rules Disputes

Tournament Rules Disputes are disputes of Tournament Rules set forth above. All disputes, protests, claims, differences, or controversies relating to any aspect of the Tournament Rules must be submitted to the Tournament Organizers/Rules Committee no later than 30 minutes following the closing of weigh-in on Saturday, July 15th or are deemed waived. All such disputes must be presented in writing along with a non-refundable fee of $1,000 cash. Failure to present the non-refundable fee of $1,000 cash with a dispute will result in a waiver of the dispute and Tournament Organizers/Rules Committee will not consider the dispute. The Tournament Organizers/Rules Committee shall decide all such disputes and its decision shall be final and binding upon all parties.

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 relating to any aspect of the Tournament Rules, Participants must first serve written notice to Tournament Interests within ninety (90) days of the failure or refusal to render a final and binding decision, setting forth in detail the nature of the alleged dispute and an itemization of remedies sought. Participants must then submit to mediation in good faith, bearing 50% of the mediation expense. Failure to serve proper notice or to mediate in good faith shall serve as a waiver of any rights to pursue litigation. In the event litigation is commenced by any party, Participants waive the right to a trial by jury Rules Committee: Scott Burt, Art Favre, Craig Martin, Dewey Blaylock, Jim Cox. .

Section 21: Release of All Claims, Express Assumption of Risk, Defense, and Indemnification Agreement.

In consideration for being accepted by the Tournament Organizers for participation in the Blue Marlin Grand Championship of the Gulf, the Participants hereby agree to defend, indemnify, and hold the Tournament Committee, Sponsors, Blue Marlin Grand Championship, LLC, The Wharf Entertainment Properties, LLC, Wharf Events, LLC, Wharf Retail Properties, LLC, Coastal Marina Management, LLC, Wheels Up Special Events, LLC and their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, volunteers, partners, members, affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, predecessors, vessels, and/or attorneys (collectively, "Tournament Interests"), and any other Tournament participants, harmless for any and all losses, claims, damages, expenses (including but not limited to all reasonable attorneys' fees and expenses of litigation through all appeals), demands, liabilities, costs and obligations (including but not limited to claims for personal injury, loss of life, and/or damage to property) (1) whether or not arising out of the ordinary negligence of Tournament Interests; (2) in connection with any activities arising out of the Tournament;(3) for loss or damage to any vessel, its tackle, apparel, engines, machinery, appurtenances, equipment, stores, boats and furniture due to fire, theft, vandalism, collision, equipment failure, windstorm, rain, hurricane or any other casualty; and (4) against any losses incurred as a result of any Participant's breach of the Tournament Rules and/or this Release. This Release of All Claims, Express Assumption of Risk, Defense, and Indemnification Agreement shall survive the expiration or termination of the Tournament and this Agreement.

Should any provision of the Tournament Rules and/or this Release exempting Tournament Interests from liability be declared or adjudged to be invalid, Participants agree that in no event shall Tournament Interests' aggregate liability for all claims and all parties exceed $300,000. Participants agree to indemnify, defend, and hold Tournament Interests harmless for any amount above this sum, including, if necessary, payment of said excess amount to third parties. In no event shall Tournament Interests be liable to any Participant for any consequential, special, incidental, indirect or punitive damages.

The Participants expressly acknowledge that they have received, reviewed, and agree to abide by the Tournament Rules and this Release. Participation in the Tournament is a purely voluntary, recreational activity. Nothing in the Tournament Rules or this Release absolves the Participants of their obligation to follow the applicable navigation rules or relieves them of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen. 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 of the Tournament Interests or any other cause connected with or occurring during the Tournament.

Section 22: Governing Law

The general maritime law of the United States governs all losses, claims, damages, expenses, demands, liabilities, costs and/or obligations arising out of the Tournament, the Rules, and the Release (contained in Section 21). If there are any gaps in the general maritime law of the United States or if it does not address a disputed issue, the laws of the State of Alabama shall apply. Moreover, Participants hereby agree that all losses, claims, damages, expenses, demands, liabilities, costs and/or obligations arising out of the Tournament, the Rules, and the Release (contained in Section 21) be litigated in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. In addition, those lawsuits to which the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama lacks subject matter jurisdiction, Participants agree to bring any such actions before a court located in Baldwin County, Alabama, U.S.A., to the exclusion of the courts of any other country, state, county, or city.

Section 23: Mediation

In the event of any losses, claims, damages, expenses, demands, liabilities, costs and/or obligations arising out of the Tournament and the Release (contained in Section 21) prior to initiating litigation against Tournament Interests, Participants must first serve written notice to Tournament Interests within ninety (90) days of the alleged loss setting forth in detail the nature of the alleged claim and an itemization of remedies sought. Participants must then submit to mediation in good faith, bearing 50% of the mediation expense. Failure to serve proper notice or to mediate in good faith shall serve as a waiver of any rights to pursue litigation. In the event litigation is commenced by any party, Participants waive the right to a trial by jury.

Section 24: Joint Preparation

This Agreement shall not be construed against the party preparing it, but shall be construed as if it were prepared jointly by all affected persons and entities, and any uncertainty or ambiguity, or both, shall not be interpreted against any such person or entity.

Section 25: Entire Agreement

Participant acknowledges and agrees no representations or promises have been made to or relied upon by him/her in connection with the subject matter of this Agreement, which are not specifically set forth in writing herein. All representations and promises made by any party to another, whether in writing or orally, are understood by Participant to be merged in this document. Participant further agrees and acknowledges he/she will not claim, at any time or place, that this Release has been orally altered, modified, or otherwise changed by oral communication of any kind or character.