While all efforts are made to keep this information current, all rules published on this website shall be considered unofficial. Official rules will be distributed and announced at the registration check-in and captains meeting. All participants agree to the terms of these rules by participating in the tournament.
Click here to download the 2018 OWC Angler Registration form.
Offshore World Championship Rules
This is an invitational tournament with teams receiving an application to participate in the tournament. Acceptance of the application is at the sole discretion of the tournament organizers. A team shall consist of a minimum of two (2) anglers and a suggested maximum of six (6) anglers representing their qualifying tournament team. There is no limit to how many anglers a team can register. At least one (1) person on the team has to have been on the original team of the qualifying tournament they are representing.
No professionals in the host country are permitted to participate as anglers. The term professional shall be defined as any individual who derived their income from actively engaging in the act of fishing in the past five years within the waters of the host country, such as a full or part-time captain, mate or television personality whose program is centered on the act of fishing in the host country. The following individuals shall not be deemed professional under these rules and regulations; yacht brokers, licensed captains who do not derive their principal income from fishing in the host country and who do not actively engage in fishing as their primary occupation, event coordinators and/or tournament promoters, television personalities who periodically engage in fishing in the host country, but do not center their image, reputation, name or television program on fishing in the host country, charter operators and owners who periodically engage in fishing in the host country but do not actively engage in fishing on a regular basis as their primary occupation. All participants will be required to submit entry forms for each angler in which they will declare their occupation. Any questions arising as to any applicant angler being a professional angler as defined under these rules and regulations shall be resolved by the tournament organizer. The tournament organizer reserves the right to deny the entry of any applicant into the tournament. All decisions by the tournament organizer in regard to the determination of whether any proposed angler shall be declared a professional and therefore ineligible to fish in any tournament shall be final, binding and non-appealable.
The entry fee of $12,750 provides entry for one team of up to (4) registered anglers. Only five (5) anglers may be registered for any one fishing day, and only these five anglers will be allowed on the boat. In the event there are more than five anglers on the team, anglers may be rotated daily. In the event anglers need to be rotated in, the team must deliver a list of anglers to the tournament director prior to the start of fishing, indicating who the anglers are for that given day. Teams are provided a registered tournament charter boat, captain and mate. Registered charter boat captains or mates cannot be registered tournament anglers. Teams are not allowed to replace registered charter boat captains, mates or charter boats provided by the tournament. Teams are allowed to leader or handle their own fish releases or catches. Teams are not allowed to hire other boats, planes or helicopters to find fish or assist them in any way in catching or releasing fish. Registered anglers may not draw chartered boats in which they have ownership or any other interest. Costa Rica regulations require that everyone on the boat have a fishing license and each charter boat have a registered captain and mate for that fishing day. The tournament will provide fishing licenses for registered anglers. All teams must participate in the charter boat draw. Teams will fish on a different charter boat each day. In the event a boat is disabled, a replacement boat will be rotated in for that day and any lost fishing time will be compensated for at the discretion of the tournament organizers.
The fee is $12,750 per team (up to four registered anglers). This basic entry fee covers the participation of two to four registered anglers. It also covers attendance at all planned entertainment and social activities for up to four (4) participants, charter boats for four days of fishing, angler gifts and prizes and awards. Additional anglers can be added for a fee of $750 per angler.
Non-angler participation ticket packages can be purchased for $300 per person. (Guests of anglers are welcome but are required to purchase participation tickets for entry to all planned entertainment and social functions.) Only registered anglers will be allowed on the charter boats.
Team Registration, Team Photos, Boat Draw and Release Video Camera Check-in
Participating teams must register and pay the entry fees by March 9, 2018. All registered participants must check in at the tournament registration table at the host hotel to receive their tournament credentials, boat draw, angler gifts, register their video cameras and take their team photos. The registration check-in location will be at the El Parador Resort from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 15, 2018. All registered participants will receive an angler welcome bag at the registration check-in and have their team photo taken. Any team failing to check in at that time must inform tournament organizers prior to the registration date.
Rules Briefing & Gala Kickoff Party
The tournament rules briefing will be held from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 15, 2018, at the El Parador Resort patio. All registered anglers must attend the scheduled angler’s rules meeting. If they do not attend, they accept and agree to be bound by all instructions and/or rule changes made orally or in writing during that meeting. Immediately following is the gala kickoff party dinner and entertainment.
IGFA angling and tackle rules apply in this tournament unless otherwise stated. (See tournament release rules for scoring release points.) It is the responsibility of each team and crew member to know, understand and abide by IGFA and tournament rules during this competition. Any angler who breaks these rules is subject to expulsion and disqualification, upon a determination by the tournament organizers, from this and future tournaments without a refund of any registration fees.
IGFA equipment and angling rules apply with one exception: Mates or any other non-registered anglers are not permitted to pitch baits or drop back baits to fish. Because many fish that are caught during the tournament are teased up and pitch baited or bait and switched, we suggest that teams practice pitch baiting and drop back baiting in advance of the tournament. In the event that the provided captain or mate breaks any IGFA rules please notify the tournament director. Captains and mates are allowed to use teaser reels and hookless baits and lures for bait and switch method of fishing.
Teams are responsible for ensuring that IGFA and tournament rules are followed. Teams are encouraged to check tackle, leaders, hook arrangements and line prior to the start of fishing. Charter boats are required to have rods, reels and tackle on board. Anglers are permitted to bring their own rods and reels and fishing gear. Only fish caught on rod and reel will qualify. Each boat will provide dead bait depending on what is available during tournament time. Live bait is NOT allowed in the tournament. Dead bait must be rigged with non-offset circle hooks only. Circle hooks may not be offset. Lures without natural bait may be rigged with conventional J-hooks. Teams may purchase and provide their own dead bait. Fishing for bait prior to the start of fishing is prohibited. No lines are permitted in the water prior to the start of fishing.
Each team must complete a Daily Catch Report Affidavit form, which is supplied in the tournament bags at registration. The form must be completed and turned in at the end of the fishing day. No form, no points! The angler must furnish, upon request, the lure, leader, line, hook, rod, reel and terminal tackle with which the fish was caught.
The Rules Committee has the right to investigate and act upon any incident occurring during the tournament. It shall have the right to disqualify any capture following examination and measurement of tackle and equipment used on the boat. Refusal to allow the committee to examine any tackle, line and/or leaders will result in immediate disqualification from the event without a refund of any registration fees. The tournament committee reserves the privilege of changing the rules and starting and finishing times for any reason it deems necessary. All decisions of the Rules Committee are final and non-appealable.
The tournament, at its sole discretion, may assign an observer or photographer to any boat on any fishing day. If an observer or photographer is assigned, the boat is responsible for their comfort and safety. Observers do not determine official releases or catches.
All billfish releases are to be reported to tournament control along with the assigned team number, angler number and fish species. If a tournament boat is out of range, the catch must be relayed via radio or cell phone as soon as possible. Tournament control’s time will act as the official time for the start, catch, and end of fishing each day without exception. The official tournament VHF channels will be announced at the captains and anglers meetings. A Costa Rica cell-phone number through which teams can also communicate will be given at the captains and anglers meetings. All hookups must be reported during the last 15 minutes of fishing.
Teams may fish out to 45 nautical miles from the entrance of Marina Pez Vela.
All fishing line will be allowed except for wire lines. Wire leader is allowed in the tournament. Costa Rica charter operators fish with 30- to 50-pound class gear, but if you prefer your own tackle, please bring it with you.
The length of the leader is the overall length, including any lure or hook arrangement. In all line classes exceeding 20 pounds (10 kg), the leader shall be limited to 30 feet (9.14 meters). The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 40 feet (12.19 meters) total.
Unlimited in use or numbers.
Unlimited in use or numbers.
All tournament participants must use non-offset circle hooks for all species whenever natural bait is used.
Dead bait, lures and any combination thereof are permitted in this tournament. Live bait is NOT allowed in the tournament. Dead bait cannot be purchased during tournament fishing hours. Teams are allowed to purchase dead bait prior to the start of fishing.
There is no weather committee. The tournament is conducted on a “fish at your own risk” basis. If any portion of the tournament is fished and a team or teams land or release fish that match the tournament’s eligible species and minimum weight limits, then prizes will be awarded.
Participants may lodge protests against any catch which they believe was not made in accordance with these rules. All protests must be stated in writing and accompanied by $500. The tournament judges may call a protest hearing in their discretion; a protest hearing is not guaranteed. All protests will be settled on the day of the incident unless the tournament judges feel more time is necessary. All protests on April 16, 17, 18 and 19 must be in the hands of the tournament's designated rules official by 7 p.m. on the day of the alleged incident unless there is a protest regarding a fish that comes to the scales late. The protesting party, as well as the accused team members, captain and crew, must be present at any official protest hearing. The tournament committee may refuse to consider any protest evidence not submitted at the protest hearing in the presence of the protested team. If the protesting or protested team fails to show up for the protest hearing, that team forfeits its right to submit evidence. Decisions of the tournament organizers with regard to protests are final, nonappealable, and nonjusticiable.
All participants are expected to maintain a reasonable and sportsmanlike demeanor at all times throughout the tournament. Unsportsmanlike or threatening conduct towards tournament organizers or other participants, or any other behavior which the tournament organizers deem inappropriate, in their sole discretion, will result in immediate disqualification of the entire team with no refund of entry fees.
Billfish: Any blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, sailfish, spearfish or swordfish released in accordance with the tournament rules shall be awarded the following points:
• Blue, Black, Striped Marlin or Swordfish earn 500 points per release
• Sailfish/Spearfish earn 200 points per release
Game Fish: Points will be awarded on the basis set below for any game fish that exceeds the minimum weight limit in the following categories: yellowfin or bigeye tuna, wahoo or dorado. Minimum size limit is 25 pounds for each of these species. Weigh-in limit is two per species (2) per day per team for tuna of either species, wahoo or dorado. Game fish will be weighed to the tenth of a pound up to 200 pounds and to the pound for fish over 200 pounds. Teams will be awarded one point per pound for fish up to 99 pounds, one and a half points for fish 100 to 199 pounds, and two points per pound for fish 200 pounds or more. For example, a 40.6-pound tuna would earn 40.6 points. A 150-pound tuna would earn 225 points and a 201-pound tuna would earn 402-points. Teams must report boated game fish, team number and angler number that will be weighed and take video of them once they are on the boat.
Tournament Release Rules
Released blue, black, striped marlin or swordfish will receive 500 points; sailfish or spearfish will receive 200 points. Teams may not catch the same fish twice.
All teams must provide their own video camera(s) and know how to operate them to verify releases. All video recording equipment must be synchronized to the official tournament time and checked in by the tournament organizers. Teams must video their boat and team number with all release cameras each day before departing to go fishing. To score an official release, the video footage must include sufficient footage to (1) clearly identify the species; (2) show a team member, angler or crew touching the leader while the fish is still hooked; (3) identify the time and date of the catch; and (4) show the catch and full release of the fish. The video must be continuous, with no breaks in recording, and identify all of these elements. Do not delete any video taken during fishing hours, even if it does not include the above elements and will not be used to prove a catch. After the release video is taken, the official time, species and angler name must be written on the catch-report affidavit. Each registered angler and boat captain must then sign the catch-report affidavit. At the end of the day’s fishing, the video camera, camera connections used to plug into a computer, catch-report affidavit and all video footage taken must be brought to the weigh station for verification of official release points. Catch reports should be turned in by 6:00 p.m. unless a team is fighting a fish after lines out at 3:30 p.m. Failure to turn in a catch report will result in disqualification of that day’s catch.
Costa Rica law stipulates that all billfish must be released. Even if the billfish is a world-record catch, do not boat it or bring back to the docks.
All boats fishing in the tournament must depart from the designated starting point at Marina Pez Vela. The start and stop signal will be announced on the radio. Do not start fishing until tournament officials declare “lines in” on the radio. All fish must be hooked and called in to tournament radio control prior to the time of the stop-fishing signal each day. If, in the event a fish is still hooked up at the call of stop fishing, the angler may keep fighting the fish until it is released, boated or lost. Tournament radio control must be notified as soon as possible when a team has released the fish or the fish will be disqualified. The fishing days are April 16, April 17, April 18 and April 19.
The fishing hours are:
7:30 a.m. Start fishing
3:30 p.m. Stop fishing
All teams must turn in their catch-report affidavit, video and weighed fish no later than 6 p.m. Exception: if a fish is called in before lines out and is still being fought at the time of lines out or if the boat has mechanical difficulties and returns to the dock late.
Tipping of captains and mates is expected and the responsibility of the team. Suggested minimum tip per day for twin engine vessels is $200-$250 for 30’-34’ boats, $250-$300 for 35-40’ boats and $300-$400 for 41'-45’ boats and should be handed directly to the boat captain. Additional tipping is allowed and encouraged for exceptional service and performance.