TIFT Rules & Regulations

All anglers must adhere to all State and Federal regulations.

Each angler 13 years or older is restricted to weighing in the single heaviest fish per eligible species in their division per day.  Angler must select the heaviest fish to be weighed.  Trophies are awarded on the basis of total accumulated eligible points for two days of fishing.  Angler must accompany his or her fish to the weigh station and initial weigh card to ensure accuracy.  All anglers are restricted to weighing in once per day.  No person may fish from any tournament boat that is not a TIFT registered angler.  All captains or boat operators must be registered in TIFT for the angler’s fish to be eligible for TIFT awards.

  • Captain’s Meeting Thursday at 5 pm South Padre Island Convention Center.  Attendance is strongly advised in order to ensure you adhere to and comply with all TIFT rules.
  • Texas International Fishing Tournament, Inc. reserves the right to refuse entry into the tournament.
  • Ladies and Juniors may only win their respective divisions in the Bay, Offshore/No Billfish and Highest Offshore Points.  They will still be eligible for Grand Champion and Heaviest of Species awards.
  • The contest shall begin at 6:30 am (Bay Division) and 7:00 am (Offshore Division) on Friday.  No contestants shall be eligible for awards unless registered in advance of Friday.  Angler must be a registered contestant of TIFT in order for the fish to be weighed.  All fish will be measured and weighed only once and the decisions of the weighmaster and TIFT Executive Board are final.
  • Receiving Station:  All fish brought in to the receiving station at Southpoint Marina in Port Isabel to be weighed and measured must be in edible condition.  All fish are subject to further inspection if deemed necessary by the weighmaster or a TIFT Executive Board Member.  The station hours are from 2:00 pm – 8:00 pm on the first day of fishing and 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm on the final day.

THE WEIGHMASTER AND TIFT EXECUTIVE BOARD ARE THE FINAL AUTHORITIES AS TO THE SPECIES OF FISH AND POINTS AWARDED.

Please note:  The Long Island Village Swing Bridge, as a rule, opens only on the hour.  Please plan accordingly.

The tournament will be conducted in accordance to the International Game Fish Association rules (“IGFA”), except that an angler in the Offshore Division may receive assistance in moving rod from rod holder to chair.  Bay anglers may use treble hooks on any bait.  IGFA rules are available on the internet at www.igfa.org.

Team Trophy:     To be eligible to win the trophy, the contestant must give the boat name or number at registration.  Two to six persons on the same boat constitute a team.

Changing Divisions:  If, after registration, the angler wishes to change divisions, he/she should report to the weighmaster or tournament director before the day’s fishing begins.  Points will not count in previous division fished.

Tournament:   There will be two days of fishing:  Friday and Saturday.  Thursday is Playday.  All junior contestants and their families are urged to join in the activities at the South Padre Island Convention Center.

Bad Weather:  One day of fishing will constitute a tournament.  Parties will be held as scheduled.

Night Fishing:  Night fishing IS NOT allowed in any division.

Protests:    PROTESTS MUST BE FILED IN WRITING BY A REGISTERED TIFT ANGLER, HAND DELIVERED TO A MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD OR THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR, ALONG WITH A $500 DEPOSIT NO LATER THAN 8:00 PM SATURDAY.  If said protest is upheld, the $500 deposit will be returned to the angler who filed the protest.  If said protest is not upheld, the $500 deposit is forfeited by the angler who filed the protest.

Polygraph Test:  All contestants, including minors, agree to take a polygraph test if required by the TIFT Executive Board or the TIFT weighmaster.

Heaviest Fish Awards:  Any registered angler is eligible for the award of heaviest of species regardless of division fished, but fish will not count for points unless angler is registered in that fish division.

 

BAY DIVISION RULES

In addition to the General Rules, the following rules apply to the Bay Division:

The contest shall begin at 6:30 am on Friday.

Bay Division, Junior and Senior Classes:  All bay anglers, including juniors, are restricted one designated fishing line per registered angler in the water at any given time. 

Fishing hours:  Contestants may start fishing after 6:30 am both days.  All bay boats must be on their trailers or tied up in the berth by 8:00 pm on Thursday & Friday, and may not leave the dock before 5:00 am each day of fishing.  Final dock time for both Friday and Saturday is 5 pm for both Seniors and Juniors.  Anglers must weigh in their catch each day.  Helping a boat in distress in an exception to this rule if it is reported to a weighmaster or Tournament Director and angler will still be able to weigh in their catch.  Scoring:  Daily bag limits may include the single heaviest of fish of each of the following species:  redfish, trout and flounder, scored at one (1) point per pound.  Any fish that does not meet state limits at the weigh station will be disqualified without substitution for that species.  No redfish longer than 28” will be weighed.

Special Note:  The TX numbers will be required for all bay boats.  Anglers must specify their correct TX numbers to be registered in the Bay Challenge Pots.  TIFT flags must be prominently displayed on all bay boats fishing in the tournament.

Grand Champion:  Bay anglers must have weighed in at least one redfish, one trout and one flounder during the two days of fishing to qualify for Grand Champion, Second and Third Place.

Juniors:  Ages 12 and under may enter stringers of no more than one (1) each of trout, redfish, flounder, drum, jack crevalle and snook in addition to five (5) fish each of all other species common to the bay (excluding sharks, stingrays, and alligator gar) per day.  Whole stringers will be weighed and awarded on (1) point per pound.  Ages 13-16 will be scored the same as Seniors.

Special Note:  All Junior Bay Division contestants must hook and play their own fish.  A fishing pole with a fish already hooked and handed to a junior to reel in is NOT a legal catch.  Please restrict help to saving lives and limbs.

Dock Time:  Final dock time for both days of fishing is 5 pm.  Anglers must be in sight of weighmaster in front of weigh station no later than 5 pm to qualify.

 

OFFSHORE DIVISION RULES

In addition to the General Rules, the following rules apply to the Offshore Division:

The tournament will be conducted in accordance to the International Game Fish Association rules (“IGFA”), except that an angler in the Offshore Division may receive assistance in moving rod from rod holder to chair.  IGFA rules are available on the internet at www.igfa.org.

Fishing Hours:  Contestants may start fishing at 7 am on both days.  Offshore boats may depart their dock any time after 7 pm on Thursday, and may stay out Friday night if they choose.  They must stop fishing by 6 pm on the first day and 4 pm on the final day.  During the last 30 minutes of fishing each day, all hook ups must be reported to a committee boat or the Tournament Director.  Dock time for the first day is 8 pm; final day, 7 pm.

ANY BILLFISH OR SHORTFIN MAKO THAT ARE TO BE WEIGHED IN AT THE DOCK MUST STILL MAKE DOCK TIME ON EACH DAY OF FISHING AND MAY NOT BE ACCUMULATED OVER THE TWO DAYS OF FISHING.  ALL RELEASED BILLFISH OR SHORTFIN MAKO WITH ACCOMPANYING PHOTOS OR VIDEO FOR BOTH DAYS MAY BE TURNED INTO THE WEIGH DOCK ON SATURDAY.  ANGLERS ARE STILL ALLOWED TO WEIGH IN ONLY ONE FISH PER SPECIES PER WEIGH IN AND NO LINES OF ANY KIND ARE ALLOWED IN THE WATER PRIOR TO FISHING START TIMES.

Scoring:

a)     Blue marlin, swordfish and shortfin mako shall be scored, regardless of line size, as follows:  the weight of the fish, multiplied by two (2).  Minimum length for blue marlin to qualify for points is 103”; 50” for swordfish; and 54” for shortfin mako.

b)    White marlin and sailfish shall be scored as follows:  the weight of the fish multiplied by three (3).   Minimum length to qualify for points is 69” for white marlin; 66” for sailfish.

c)     Other offshore fish—blackfin tuna, yellowfin tuna, bonito, ling, wahoo, barracuda, dolphin, king mackerel and jack crevalle will be scored on (1) point per pound.   Spanish mackerel and sharks (other than shortfin mako) are only awarded a Heaviest of Species Trophy and are not eligible for points.  Catch is limited to the single heaviest fish per eligible species per day of fishing.

d)    Catch and Release Class:  Any offshore fisherman may elect to Catch and Release his catch.  Points for Catch and Release trophies will be awarded for the following only:

  • BLUE MARLIN —- 1,000 POINTS
  • SWORDFISH      —- 600 POINTS
  • WHITE MARLIN  —- 250 POINTS
  • SAILFISH            —- 200 POINTS

To qualify for Catch and Release points, video and/or photos will be allowed.

Photo image must contain the following:

1)  A picture or digital image clearly showing the fish and TIFT object of the tournament.

2)  Clear identification of the species of billfish.  In order for a fish to be scored as a blue marlin, swordfish or white marlin the image must clearly show it is a blue marlin, swordfish or white marlin.  Otherwise, it will be scored as a sailfish and will score the minimum 200 points.

Video image must contain the following:

1)  Mate with leader in hand, the fish and TIFT object of the tournament.

2)  Clear identification of the species of billfish.  In order for a fish to be scored as a blue marlin, swordfish or white marlin the image must clearly show it is a blue marlin, swordfish or white marlin.  Otherwise, it will be scored as a sailfish and will score the minimum 200 points.

ALL BILLFISH, WHETHER BOATED OR RELEASED, MUST BE REPORTED OR RELAYED TO A COMMITTEE BOAT, THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OR THE TIFT PRESIDENT BY VHF RADIO, SINGLE SIDE BAND, CELL PHONE, OR SATELLITE PHONE BY STOP FISHING TIME EACH DAY AND THE LANDING TIME MUST BE VERIFIED WITH A VERIFICATION NUMBER BY A COMMITTEE BOAT, THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OR THE TIFT PRESIDENT TO QUALIFY FOR EARNED POINTS.  A FISH, VIDEO, OR PHOTO BROUGHT TO THE DOCK WITHOUT A VERIFICATION NUMBER WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR POINTS.  THE TIME REPORTED AND VERIFIED BY A COMMITTEE BOAT, THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OR THE TIFT PRESIDENT WILL BE THE OFFICIAL TIME.  IN THE EVENT OF A TIE, THE FIRST ANGLER TO ACCUMULATE THE HIGHEST RELEASE POINTS BY TIME WILL BE DECLARED THE WINNER.

A CATCH AND RELEASE CARD MUST BE COMPLETED FOR EACH RELEASED FISH WITH THE DATE, OFFICIAL TIME, VERIFICATION NUMBER, AND SIGNATURES OF THE ANGLER AND CAPTAIN AND SUBMITTED TO THE WEIGH STATION.

ALL BILLFISH TO BE RELEASED MUST REMAIN IN THE WATER.  PHOTOS OR VIDEO SHOWING SAID FISH IN OR ON THE BOAT WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR POINTS.

Catch and Release points will count toward Texas Grand Championship.

The Junior Offshore Class will consist of children through the age of 16.  The same scoring rules apply as in the Senior Class.  Please note:  In order to qualify for Texas Grand Champion, the angler must have weighed in or released a billfish or tarpon or weighed in a Shortfin Mako.

Dock Time:  Dock time is 8:00 pm on the first day and 7:00 pm on the second day.  Offshore boats must be past the red marker inside the jetties in the Brownsville Ship Channel by final dock time to qualify.  A committee boat will be standing by on VHF Ch 68 to verify.  Helping a boat in distress is an exception to this rule if it is reported to a committee boat or Tournament Director.  In this case, a reasonable time will be allowed for return.

No transfer of fish from one offshore boat to another is allowed.

Hooks:  Anglers fishing with natural bait (or natural/artificial combination bait) may only use non-offset circle hooks.  J-hooks may be used with artificial lures.

Fishing in Mexico:  Fishing in Mexican waters is NOT allowed.  If any vessel is found to have fished in Mexican waters, that vessel and its anglers will be disqualified from the tournament.

TARPON DIVISION RULES

In addition to the General Rules, the following rules apply to the Tarpon Division:

ALL TARPON MUST REMAIN IN THE WATER.  PHOTOS OR VIDEO SHOWING SAID FISH IN OR ON THE BOAT WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR POINTS.

Tarpon Division, Junior and Senior Class:  Fishing hours:  Contestants may start fishing 30 minutes before official sunrise.  They must stop fishing on the first day by one hour after official sunset.  All tarpon anglers, including juniors, are restricted to one designated fishing line per registered angler in the water at any given time.  Tarpon Division Catch and Release must be verified with the same photo or video requirements as listed in the Catch and Release information as contained in the Offshore Division Rules.  Scoring will be 125 points per tarpon, regardless of size.  Tarpon released must be reported to a COMMITTEE BOAT, THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OR THE TIFT PRESIDENT.  Tarpon division anglers are limited to TARPON ONLY and will not be allowed to weigh in or receive points for any other fish.

Dock Times:  For the first day only, fish hooked after 8:00 pm and before official sunset may be reported on the second day.  DOCK TIME ON FINAL DAY IS 7:00 PM, REGARDLESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES.

FLY FISHING DIVISION RULES

The Fly Division will be governed by the General Rules and Bay Fishing Rules.  Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.  Anglers will be eligible for Grand Champion Bay prize and heaviest of species award.

COMMITTEE BOATS & WEIGH STATION

Channel 68 VHF or Single Side Band 2638

Tournament Director Kristi Collier (956) 802-3475

TIFT President John Tippit (956) 792-8000

ALL BILLFISH AND TARPON WHETHER BOATED OR RELEASED, MUST BE REPORTED OR RELAYED TO A COMMITTEE BOAT TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OR TIFT PRESIDENT BY VHF RADIO, SINGLE SIDE BAND, CELL PHONE, OR SATELLITE PHONE BY STOP FISHING TIME EACH DAY AND THE LANDING TIME MUST BE VERIFIED WITH A VERIFICATION NUMBER BY A COMMITTEE BOAT, TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OR THE TIFT PRESIDENT TO QUALIFY FOR EARNED POINTS.  A FISH, VIDEO, OR PHOTO BROUGHT TO THE DOCK WITHOUT A VERIFICATION NUMBER WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE FOR POINTS.  THE TIME REPORTED AND VERIFIED BY A COMMITTEE BOAT, TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OR TIFT PRESIDENT WILL BE THE OFFICIAL TIME.