Rules & Regulations

Every sport has its code of ethics. The sport of fishing is no exception; therefore, all participants shall display honorable, ethical, sportsmanlike conduct in regard to the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open and their own competitive fishing.


1. The Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open Fishing Tournament is a Captain’s Choice Tournament. Captains fish at their own discretion and accept full responsibility for their crew and vessel whether on land or in the water. A captain may be any male or female over the age of 16.

2. All persons fishing in the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open must have a valid Florida Saltwater Fishing License. (Exemptions: children under the age of 16 or a Florida resident age 65 or older with Florida ID)

3. A copy of the rules shall be kept aboard each boat and available to each participant. Each participant shall read and thoroughly familiarize himself/herself with these rules. Any participant who violates any rules of the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open, whether intentional or not, could possibly disqualify himself and all other participants aboard his/her boat. A disqualification shall prevent a participant from collecting prizes for fish registered.

4. Every member on board a vessel participating in the tournament must be registered prior to fishing and his registration ticket his possession when he arrives at the weigh-in dock. The captain or owner of each participating boat shall see to it that every person aboard his boat is registered.

5. All tickets must be properly completed with the required information at the time of ticket purchase. Only registered participants are eligible for prizes.

6. No registration tickets will be sold after the Captain’s Meetings.

7. Registration tickets must be presented at the Weigh Station when entering a fish for a prize competition during the hours listed below. (Participants may be required to present acceptable personal identification when registering any fish into Gulf Coast Open competition, i.e. valid driver’s license, employee ID cards, etc. Any registration ticket that appears to have been altered will not be accepted.)


9. There will be one checkout at Pelican Bend Marina.  There are no boundaries.

10. Scales open at 3:00pm on Saturday.

11. All entries must be caught with a rod and reel.

12. The official Weigh Station is at Pelican Bend.

13. The winner will be determined by the largest legal fish entered according to weight. If there is a tie, then the earliest fish weighed gets the win.

14. All anglers must have his or her registration ticket on their person in order to weigh their fish and must present their ticket prior to putting the fish on the scale.

15. Have your VHF radio turned to VHF Channel 72 when coming to the weigh-in dock.

16. All entries with fish to be weighed must be past the check-in boat by 6:00pm.

17. Weigh-in is from 3-6:00pm

18. The Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open Tournament Committee reserves the right to reschedule the tournament due to weather. No refund of tickets will be made due to rescheduling.

19. All fish shall be weighed using platform or hanging scales, per the judge’s discretion. Those fish requiring to be weighed by hanging scales will be lifted and weighed by the tail.

20. All fish shall be kept in as good a condition as possible, preferably on ice, so the judge can make an accurate judgment as to its freshness. Any fish deemed to be frozen, spoiled or rotten, will be disqualified. Any fish that has been shot, cut, mutilated, bang struck, frozen, or showing signs of unsportsmanlike handling will be disqualified. All fish entered may be subject to a Torry meter test for freshness. All Judges’ decisions shall be final.

21. No fish will be accepted that has been gutted or chemically treated prior to weighing. The official judge or his representative may at his discretion gut any fish presented.

22. A marine biologist may be on hand to determine the freshness of your catch.

23. No participant shall be assisted in any way to land his or her fish except for help in netting or gaffing his/her catch. No exceptions are made. The participant presenting the fish to be weighed must catch the fish they enter into competition.

24. All participants must abide by all federal and state regulations. The Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open reserves the right to hold leader board fish for display purposes until official closing time at which time the fish must be claimed or forfeited. All fish registered are subject to scientific evaluation by conservation personnel on site. (i.e. removing the ear bone and/or fish skeleton).

25. All anglers must reasonably dispose of those fish not held by the Tournament.

26. The Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open reserves the right to amend minimum lengths and / or remove any fish from competition, without notice, at any time in order to comply with federal and / or state requirements.

27. At the close of each day’s fishing, those anglers who are in line at the weigh station, or identified by a Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open Official as being in line at 6:00pm will be allowed to have their catch weighed and entered.

28. Any captains permitting a person on his/her boat to violate any rule of the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open as well as all State and Federal regulations may cause all participants aboard his/her boat to be disqualified.

29. No boat fishing shall make landfall, congregate with another boat, and/or pass anything between boats or land after lines in or before weigh-in each day. Any boat receiving assistance is disqualified. Any boat rendering assistance will not be disqualified but notifying the tournament committee, committee boat, or another tournament participant, is recommended. The boat rendering assistance must still make any time schedules and/ or weigh-in hours.

30. All participants in the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open are subject to a polygraph test. Failure to submit or pass a polygraph test will subject the participant to disqualification.

31. Unsportsmanlike conduct will result in disqualification without refund of tickets.

32. All prizes not claimed at the awards ceremony on Saturday March 25, 2017 or at the NBOA Marine Insurance office, 4404 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida, (800-248-3512) by Friday, April 1, 2017, will become property of the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open and may be donated to the Freedom Waters Foundation.

33. All rule interpretations shall come from the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open Committee.

34. Information and/or rules posted on the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open website are for informational purposes only. The 2017 Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open Fishing Tournament brochure shall serve as the official rules.

35. Protests of any nature must be submitted in written statement form by the captain and personally turned in to the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open Committee no later than one-half hour after the last fish is weighed and must be accompanied by a $500 cash deposit.

36. Any matter not specifically covered by these rules may be decided by and at the sole discretion of the Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open Tournament Committee. All decisions will be final.

37. Disclaimer: The Pelican Bend Gulf Coast Open Fishing Tournament is not responsible for typos within the awards package and rules, and reserves the right to amend or substitute prizes due to events beyond the tournament’s control.

38. All anglers must conform to local, state, and federal laws.

39. All entrants coming to the tournament scales must conform to all no wake zones and speed limits.

40. To contact tournament committee call 800-852-6262 (Monday through Friday. Regular business hours).

41. To contact tournament headquarters call Pelican Bend at 239-595-6927 on Thursday, Friday or Saturday March 24-25.

42. Participants under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs will not be allowed to weigh.




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