Every year, we are approached by new members who have questions about the club “rules” for fishing. We generally rely on that persons “sponsor” to indoctrinate them into how the club operates, but one area that we are frequently asked questions about is the IGFA rules.

Until 1940, there was no universal code of sporting ethics to guide anglers in their pursuits.
The first steps in this direction were taken in the late 1930’s by members of the British Tunny Club, who hoped to formulate rules for ethical angling. However, the looming threat of war interrupted their plans. Shortly after IGFA was founded in 1939, its officers immediately set to the task of establishing angling guidelines and requirements for world record catches. The angling rules were formulated by the International Game Fish Association to promote ethical and sporting angling practices, to establish uniform regulations for the compilation of world game fish records, and to provide basic angling guidelines for use in fishing tournaments and any other group angling activities.  You can access the rules at the IGFA website, and there is also a link here, and on the MRMTC website.

The IGFA rules and regulations are quite specific and can be somewhat lengthy to completely understand.  They provide specific guidance about things like how long a double line can be with the leader, how long a gaff can be (8 feet) and how long the rope on a flying gaff can be (30 feet), where a hook can be placed in a trolling lure.  Some of them can be pretty difficult to understand at times, and if you want to know what I am talking about, you will probably need to read the part about legal assist hooks on jigs around 5 times before you start to understand it.

With certain exceptions, the Manasquan River Marlin and Tuna club adheres to the IGFA rules and regulations.  Over time, we have made certain exceptions to the rules to accommodate the type of fishing that we do.  The exceptions we have made are that we allow:

• Spreader Bars and Umbrella Rigs are permitted (yes, that’s right – spreader bars are not IGFA compliant, so we made an exception to allow them to be used.)

• Wire Line is permitted – We have made an exception due to the popularity of wire line trolling for striped bass in our area.

• Firearms are permitted for gaffed makos.

• We permit “hook and hand” meaning a fish may be hooked by anyone other than the angler provided that the rod is immediately transferred to the angler who fights the fish alone until boated or released.

Below are some of the more pertinent areas of the IGFA rules that commonly apply to us, or that we see questioned from time to time.

• Electric reels are not permitted.  Yes, that’s right, if you want to win the tilefish perpetual, you need to be prepared to crank that fish up from the depths manually.

• Treble hooks are not permitted for live or dead bait.  Yes, that’s correct.  Although the snag and drop technique on bunker is a very popular way to catch striped bass in our area, it is not an acceptable method within our club.

• Harpoons are not allowed on fish.  You can still go ahead and dart that big eye behind the boat, but just know that in doing so, you are disqualifying yourself and should not submit a weigh-slip for that fish.

• Fish may NOT be fought out of the rod holder.

Again, these are just some of the rules that we wanted to reiterate, but we still recommend that all members take a pass thru the rules.  If in doubt, please see a trustee, or email a question to the board at info@mrmtc.com.


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