IGFA & NZSFC Fishing Rules

IGFA & NZSFC Fishing Rules and Angling Regulations

The following angling rules have been 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.

The word “angling” is defined as catching or attempting to catch fish with a rod, reel, line, and hook, as outlined in the international angling rules. There are some aspects of angling that cannot be controlled through rule making, however. Angling regulations cannot ensure an outstanding performance from each fish, and world records cannot indicate the amount of difficulty in catching the fish. Captures in which the fish has not fought or has not had a chance to fight do not reflect credit on the fisherman, and only the angler can properly evaluate the degree of achievement in establishing the record.

Only fish caught in accordance with IGFA international angling rules, and within the intent of these rules, will be considered for world records.

As these IGFA fishing regulations are for world record claims, these rules have been extended by the NZSFC for better understanding to enable them to be more suited for club trophies and tournaments. Any club who is considering running a fishing tournament with high value prizes should extend these fishing rules further to cover any circumstances pertaining to their club and sponsors requirements.

These game fishing regulations must be used for NZSFC National Record Claims.

These game fishing regulations must be used in the Annual NZSFC National Fishing Tournament.

Any Club or organization using these Game Fishing Regulations do so at their own risk. The NZSFC does not accept any responsibility in the use of these game fishing regulations in any other Tournaments.
Following are the rules for freshwater and saltwater fishing and a separate set of rules for fly-fishing.

 

RULES FOR FISHING IN FRESH AND SALT WATER
(Also see Rules for Fly-fishing)

Equipment Regulations


A. LINE
1. Monofilament, multifilament, and lead core multifilament lines may be used. For line classes, see World Record Requirements.
2. Wire lines are prohibited.

B. LINE BACKING
1. The use of backing is permissible.
2. The catch shall be classified under the breaking strength of the first 16.5 feet (5 meters) of line directly preceding the double line, leader, or hook. This section must be comprised of a single, homogeneous piece of line.

C. DOUBLE LINE
The use of a double line is not required. If one is used, it must meet the following specifications:
1. A double line must consist of the actual line used to catch the fish.
2. Double lines are measured from the start of the knot, braid, roll or splice making the double to the farthermost end of the knot, splice, snap, swivel or other device used for securing the trace, leader, lure or hook to the double line.
Saltwater species: In all line classes up to and including 20 lb (10 kg), the double line shall be limited to 15 feet (4.57 meters). The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 20 feet (6.1 meters).
The double line on all classes of tackle over 20 lb (10 kg) 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).
Freshwater species: The double line on all classes of tackle shall not exceed 6 feet (1.82 meters). The combined length of the double line and the leader shall not exceed 10 feet (3.04 meters).

D. LEADER
The use of a leader is not required. If one is used, it must meet the following specifications:
The length of the leader is the overall length including any lure, hook arrangement or other device, and is measured to the bend of the last hook. The leader must be connected to the line with a snap, knot, splice, swivel or other device. Holding devices are prohibited. There are no regulations regarding the material or strength of the leader.
Saltwater species: In all line classes up to and including 20 lb (10 kg), the leader shall be limited to 15 feet (4.57 meters). The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 20 feet (6.1 meters).
The leader on all classes of tackle over 20 lb (10 kg) shall be limited to 30 feet (9.14 meters). The combined length of the double line and leader shall be limited to 40 feet (12.19 meters).
Freshwater species: The leader on all classes of tackle shall be limited to 6 feet (1.82 meters). The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 10 feet (3.04 meters).

E. ROD
1. Rods must comply with sporting ethics and customs. Considerable latitude is allowed in the choice of a rod, but rods giving the angler an unfair advantage will be disqualified. This rule is intended to eliminate the use of unconventional rods.
2. The rod tip must be a minimum of 40 inches (101.6 cm) in length. The rod butt cannot exceed 27 inches (68.58 cm) in length. These measurements must be made from a point directly beneath the centre of the reel. A curved butt is measured in a straight line. When the rod butt is placed in a gimbal, the measurement from the centre of the reel seat to the pivot point of the gimbal can be no more than 27 inches. (The above measurements do not apply to surf casting rods).

F. REEL
1. Reels must comply with sporting ethics and customs.
2. Power driven reels of any kind are prohibited. This includes motor, hydraulic, or electrically driven reels, and any device, which gives the angler an unfair advantage.
3. Ratchet handle reels are prohibited.
4. Reels designed to be cranked with both hands at the same time are prohibited.

G. HOOKS FOR BAIT FISHING
1. For live or dead bait fishing no more than two single hooks may be used. Both must be firmly imbedded in or securely attached to the bait. The eyes of the hooks must be no less than a hook’s length (the length of the largest hook used) apart and no more than 18 inches (45.72 cm) apart. The only exception is that the point of one hook may be passed through the eye of the other hook. A hook may not precede bait, lure or bait/lure combo by more than one hook’s length.
2. The use of a dangling or swinging hook is prohibited. Double or treble hooks are prohibited.
3. A two-hook rig for bottom fishing is acceptable if it consists of two single hooks on separate leaders or drops. Both hooks must be imbedded in the respective baits and separated sufficiently so that a fish caught on one hook cannot be foul-hooked by the other.
4. A photograph or sketch of the hook arrangement must accompany all record applications made for fish caught on two-hook tackle.

H. HOOKS AND LURES
1. When using an artificial lure with a skirt or trailing material, no more than two single hooks may be attached to the line, leader, or trace. The hooks need not be attached separately. The eyes of the hooks must be no less than an overall hook’s length (the overall length of the largest hook used) apart and no more than 12 inches (30.48 cm) apart. The only exception is that the point of one hook may be passed through the eye of the other hook. The trailing hook may not extend more than a hook’s length beyond the skirt of the lure. A hook may not precede bait, lure or bait/lure combo by more than one hook’s length. A photograph or sketch showing the hook arrangement must accompany a record application.
2. Gang hooks are permitted when attached to plugs and other artificial lures that are specifically designed for this use. Gang hooks must be free swinging and shall be limited to a maximum of three hooks (single, double, or treble, or a combination of any three). Baits may not be used with gang hooks. A photograph or sketch of the plug or lure must be submitted with record applications.
3. Assist hooks or other such single hooks that are attached to a lure with a lead constructed of monofilament, multifilament, wire or other such material must conform to the following: When using assist hooks on any artificial lure, other than a skirted lure, the lead cannot be more than 1 ½ hook’s length and the bend of the hook may not be more than 4 inches (101 mm) whichever is less, from the closest point of attachment on the lure. Double and treble hooks may not be used as assist hooks.

I. OTHER EQUIPMENT


1. Fighting chairs may not have any mechanically propelled devices that aid the angler in fighting a fish.
2. Gimbals must be free swinging, which includes gimbals that swing in a vertical plane only. Any gimbal that allows the angler to reduce strain or to rest while fighting the fish is prohibited.
3. Gaffs and nets used to boat or land a fish must not exceed 8 feet (2.44 meters) in overall length. In using a flying or detachable gaff the rope may not exceed 30 feet (9.14 meters). The gaff rope must be measured from the point where it is secured to the detachable head to the other end. Only the effective length will be considered. If a fixed head gaff is used, the same limitations shall apply and the gaff rope shall be measured from the same location on the gaff hook. Only a single hook is permitted on any gaff. Choke ropes must not exceed 30 ft (9.14 meters) including the wire or chain on one end. Harpoon or lance attachments are prohibited. Tail ropes are limited to 30 feet (9.14 meters). (Once the catch is along side and under control and the crew are unable to lift the fish on board, an anchor rope or block and tackle may be attached to the tail or gaff rope to bring the catch on board as long as the crew can verify it was not used in the fight of the fish). (When fishing from a bridge, pier or other high platform or structure, this length limitation does not apply).
4. Entangling devices, either with or without a hook, are prohibited and may not be used for any purpose including baiting, hooking, fighting or landing the fish.
5. Outriggers, downriggers, spreader bars and kites are permitted to be used provided that the actual fishing line is attached to the snap or other release device, either directly or with some other material. The leader or double line may not be connected to the release mechanism either directly or with the use of a connecting device. Spreader bars are also acceptable when used strictly as a teaser.
6. Daisy chains, birds, floats and similar devices may only be used if they do not unfairly hamper or inhibit the normal swimming or fighting ability of the fish, thereby giving the angler or crew an unfair advantage in fighting, landing or boating the fish.
7. A safety line may be attached to the rod, reel or harness provided that it does not in any way assist the angler in fighting the fish.
8. Tag poles must not exceed 12 feet (3.66 meters) in length.

ANGLING REGULATIONS
1. From the time that a fish strikes or takes a bait or lure, the angler must hook, fight, and land or boat the fish without the aid of any other person, except as provided in these regulations.
2. If a rod holder is used once the fish is hooked, the angler must remove the rod from the holder as quickly as possible.
3. In the event of a multiple strike on separate lines being fished by a single angler, only the first fish fought by the angler will be considered for a world record.
4. If a double line is used, the intent of the regulations is that the fish will be fought on the single line most of the time that it takes to land the fish.
5. Use of a rod belt or waist gimbal is permitted.
6. When angling from a boat, once the leader is brought within the grasp of the mate, or the end of the leader is wound to the rod tip, more than one person is permitted to hold the leader. Anyone assisting a shore-bound or wading angler must be within a rods length of the angler before touching the leader or netting or gaffing the fish.
7. One or more gaffers may be used in addition to persons holding the leader. The gaff handle must be in hand when the fish is gaffed
8. The angling and equipment regulations shall apply until the fish is weighed.
9. In the event of an angler wishing to re-use a successful lure on the same day, the leader must be cut on a 45 degree angle at the swivel top or loop end. Both pieces together with the re-rigged lure must be presented to the weighmaster or judge that day.
10. Any catch will not be deemed to be complete until after the catch is weighed. In the event of a fish being tagged, the catch will be deemed complete when the tag is inserted in the fish.
11. When tagging a fish, the tag pole must be held at all times.

The following acts will disqualify a catch:
1. Failure to comply with equipment or angling regulations.
2. The act of persons other than the angler in touching any part of the rod, reel, or line (including the double line) either bodily or with any device, from the time a fish strikes or takes the bait or lure, until the fish is either landed or released, or in giving any aid other than that allowed in the rules and regulations. If an obstacle to the passage of the line through the rod guides has to be removed from the line, then the obstacle (whether chum, floatline, rubber band, or other material) shall be held and cut free. Under no circumstances should the line be held or touched by anyone other than the angler during this process.
3. Returning the rod to the rod holder, resting the rod in a rod holder, on the gunwale of the boat, or any other object while playing the fish. The rod being passed to the angler after the fish has taken the bait or lure
4. Handlining or using a handline or rope attached in any manner to the angler’s line or leader for the purpose of holding or lifting the fish.
5. Shooting, harpooning, or lancing any fish (including sharks and halibuts) at any stage of the catch.
6. Chumming with or using as bait the flesh, blood, skin or any part of mammals other than hair or pork rind used in lures designed for trolling or casting.
7. Using a boat or device to beach or drive a fish into shallow water in order to deprive the fish of its normal ability to swim.
8. Changing the rod or reel while the fish is being played.
9. Splicing, removing, or adding to the line while the fish is being played.
10. Intentionally foul-hooking a fish.
11. Catching a fish in a manner that the double line never leaves the rod tip.
12. Using a size or kind of bait that is illegal to possess.
13. Attaching the angler’s line or leader to part of a boat or other object for the purpose of holding or lifting the fish.
14. If a fish escapes before gaffing, or netting, and is recaptured by any method other than as outlined in the angling rules.
15. When live baiting and the deckhand or any other person other than the angler is holding the rod when the fish takes the bait.
16. If a fish escapes before gaffing, netting, tagging, or deliberately releasing it, it will be considered a free swimming fish and will not be regarded as a catch.
17. That any marlin taken out of the water to be Tagged and released will be disqualified.
18. If the tag pole is used in a manner of a
Harpoon, when tagging a fish or when it leaves the hand.

The following situations will disqualify a catch:
1. When a rod breaks (while the fish is being played) in a manner that reduces the length of the tip below minimum dimensions or severely impairs its angling characteristics.
2. 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. (Injuries caused by leader or line, scratches, old healed scars or regeneration deformities are not considered to be disqualifying injuries). Any mutilation on the fish must be shown in a photograph and fully explained in a separate report accompanying the record application.
3. When a fish is hooked or entangled on more than one line.

RULES FOR FLY FISHING

Equipment Regulations

A. LINE
Any type of fly line and backing may be used. The breaking strength of the fly line and backing are not restricted.

B. LEADER
Leaders must conform to generally accepted fly fishing customs.
A leader includes a class tippet and, optionally, a shock tippet. A butt or taper section between the fly line and the class tippet shall also be considered part of the leader and there are no limits on its length, material, or strength.
A class tippet must be made of nonmetallic material and either attached directly to the fly or to the shock tippet if one is used. The class tippet must be at least 15 inches (38.10 cm) long (measured inside connecting knots). With respect to knotless, tapered leaders, the terminal 15 inches (38.10 cm) will also determine tippet class. There is no maximum length limitation.
A shock tippet, not to exceed 12 inches (30.48 cm) in length, may be added to the class tippet and tied to the lure. It can be made of any type of material, and there is no limit on its breaking strength. The shock tippet is measured from the eye of the hook to the single strand of class tippet and includes any knots used to connect the shock tippet to the class tippet.
In the case of a tandem hook fly, the shock tippet shall be measured from the eye of the leading hook.


C. ROD
Regardless of material used or number of sections, rods must conform and cast according to generally accepted fly fishing customs and practices. A rod shall not measure less than 6 feet (1.82 meters) in overall length and any rod that gives the angler an unsporting advantage will be disqualified. Overall butt length may not exceed six inches when measured from the centre of the reel foot to the end of the butt. Overall butt length for two-handed or spey rods longer than 11 feet may not exceed 10 inches when measured from the centre of the reel foot to the end of the butt.


D. REEL
The reel must be designed expressly for fly fishing. There are no restrictions on gear ratio or type of drag employed except where the angler would gain an unfair advantage. Electric or electronically operated reels are prohibited.


E. HOOKS
A conventional fly may be dressed on a single or double hook or two single hooks in tandem. The second hook in any tandem fly must not extend beyond the wing material. The eyes of the hooks shall be no farther than 6 inches (15.24 cm) apart. Treble hooks are prohibited.


F. FLIES
The fly must be a recognized type of artificial fly, which includes streamer, bucktail, tube fly, wet fly, dry fly, nymph, popper and bug. The use of any other type of lure or natural or preserved bait, either singularly or attached to the fly, is expressly prohibited. Only a single fly is allowed. Dropper flies are prohibited. The fact that a lure can be cast with a fly rod is not evidence in itself that it fits the definition of a fly. The use of any lure designed to entangle or foul-hook a fish is prohibited. No scent, either natural or artificial is allowed on flies. The use of scented material in a fly is prohibited.


G. GAFFS & NETS
Gaffs and nets used to boat or land a fish must not exceed 8 feet (2.44 meters) in overall length. (When fishing from a bridge, pier or other high stationary structure, this length limitation does not apply). The use of a flying gaff is not permitted. Only a single hook is permitted on any gaff. Harpoon or lance attachments are prohibited. A rope or any extension cannot be attached to the gaff.

Angling Regulations
1. The angler must cast, hook, fight, and bring the fish to gaff or net unaided by any other person. No other person may touch any part of the tackle during the playing of the fish or give aid other than taking the leader for gaffing or netting purposes. Anyone assisting a shore-bound or wading angler must be within a rods length of the angler before touching the leader or netting or gaffing the fish.
2. Casting and retrieving must be carried out in accordance with normal customs and generally accepted practices. The major criterion in casting is that the weight of the line must carry the fly rather than the weight of the fly carrying the line. Trolling a fly behind a moving water craft is not permitted. The craft must be completely out of gear both at the time the fly is presented to the fish and during the retrieve. The maximum amount of line that can be stripped off the reel is 120 feet (36.57 meters) from the fly.
3. Once a fish is hooked, the tackle may not be altered in any way, with the exception of adding an extension butt. A harness cannot be attached to the fly rod.
4. Fish must be hooked on the fly in use. If a small fish takes the fly and a larger fish swallows the smaller fish, the catch will be disallowed.
5. One or more people may assist in gaffing or netting the fish.
6. The angling and equipment regulations shall apply until the fish is weighed.

The following acts will disqualify a catch:
1. Failure to comply with equipment or angling regulations.
2. The act of persons other than the angler in touching any part of the rod, reel, or line either bodily or with any device during the playing of the fish, or in giving any aid other than that allowed in the rules and regulations. If an obstacle to the passage of the line through the rod guides has to be removed from the line, then the obstacle shall be held and cut free. Under no circumstances should the line be held or touched by anyone other than the angler during this process.
3. Resting the rod on any part of the boat, or on any other object while playing the fish.
4. Handlining or using a handline or rope attached in any manner to the angler’s line or leader for the purpose of holding or lifting the fish.
5. Intentionally foul-hooking or snagging a fish.
6. Shooting, harpooning, or lancing any fish (including sharks and halibut) at any stage of the catch.
7. Chumming with the flesh, blood, skin or any part of mammals.
8. Using a boat or device to beach or drive a fish into shallow water in order to deprive the fish of its normal ability to swim.
9. Attaching the angler’s line or leader to part of a boat or other object for the purpose of holding or lifting the fish.
10. If a fish escapes before gaffing or netting and is recaptured by any method other than as outlined in the angling rules.
11. When a rod breaks (while the fish is being played) in a manner that reduces its length below minimum dimensions or severely impairs its angling characteristics.
12. When a fish is hooked or entangled on more than one line.
13. 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. (Injuries caused by leader or line, scratches, old healed scars or regeneration deformities are not considered to be disqualifying injuries). Any mutilation on the fish must be shown in a photograph and fully explained in a separate report accompanying the record application.
World Record Requirements
Game fish catches can only be considered for world record status if they are caught according to International Angling Rules. Following is information on world record categories, requirements, and procedures for filing claims. An application fee of $40 US for members and $65 US for non-members is required for each claim. All materials submitted become the property of IGFA.
World Record Categories
GENERAL INFORMATION
IGFA maintains world records for both freshwater and saltwater game fishes in line class, tippet class and all-tackle categories.
In order to qualify for a record, a catch must be a minimum of 1 pound (.453 kg) in weight and must outweigh the existing record by the required amount or meet the minimum weight requirements, if any, for vacant records. No applications will be accepted for fish caught in hatchery waters or sanctuaries. The catch must not be at variance with any laws or regulations governing the species or the waters in which it was caught.
When an additional species of game fish is made eligible for IGFA world records, the effective date will be announced. Fish caught on or after the effective date will be eligible for records. Announcement of an additional species in the World Record Game Fishes book or in other IGFA publications will be considered proper notification in lieu of any other notice.
ALL-TACKLE CATEGORY
All-tackle world records are kept for the heaviest fish of a species caught by an angler in any line class up to 130 lb (60 kg). Fish caught on lines designed to test over the 130 lb (60 kg) class will not be considered for record claims.
All-tackle record claims are considered for all species of fish caught according to IGFA angling rules.
Applications for species not currently included in the IGFA line class and tippet class listings must meet the following criteria:
1. The fish must represent a valid species with a recognized scientific name.
2. The fish must be a species commonly fished for with rod and reel in the general area where the catch is made.
3. The fish must be identifiable based on photos and other supporting data presented with the application.
4. The fish must be considered “trophy-sized”. A rule of thumb is that the weight must fall within the top half of the estimated maximum weight of the species.

LINE CLASS & FLY ROD CATEGORIES
Line class records are kept according to the strength of the line. Fly rod world records are maintained according to tippet strength. Each species recognized for the line class records is also recognized for tippet records. Records are kept in the following line and tippet classes:
TIPPET CLASSES
Metric US Customary
1 kg 2 lb
2 kg 4 lb
3 kg 6 lb
4 kg 8 lb
6 kg 12 lb
8 kg 16 lb
10 kg 20 lb

LINE CLASSES
Metric US Customary
1 kg 2 lb
2 kg 4 lb
3 kg 6 lb
4 kg 8 lb
6 kg 12 lb
8 kg 16 lb
10 kg 20 lb
15 kg 30 lb
24 kg 50 lb
37 kg 80 lb
60 kg 130 lb

With the exception of all-tackle claims, line classes are limited for many species.

LINE TESTING
IGFA tests all line and tippet samples submitted with world record claims in accordance with the metric line class designations, which vary slightly from the standard US customary designations. For example, the US customary equivalent of 4 kilograms is 8.81 pounds. Thus, line designated by the manufacturer as 8 lb class line may test up to 8.81 pounds (4 kg) to qualify for an 8 lb line class record. The US customary equivalents in pounds for metric line classes are as follows:
Metric US Customary Equivalent
1 kg 2.20 lb
2 kg 4.40 lb
3 kg 6.61 lb
4 kg 8.81 lb
6 kg 13.22 lb
8 kg 17.63 lb
10 kg 22.04 lb
15 kg 33.06 lb
24 kg 52.91 lb
37 kg 81.57 lb
60 kg 132.27 lb
Line and tippet samples submitted with record claims are uniformly tested in accordance with Government specifications, which have been modified and supplemented by IGFA.
Note: IGFA offers a line and tippet testing service for members only.


Record Catch Regulations
GENERAL INFORMATION
1. Protested applications or disputed existing records will be referred to the IGFA Executive Committee for review. Its decisions will be final. IGFA reserves the right to refuse to consider an application or grant a claim for a record application. All IGFA decisions will be based upon the intent of the regulations
2. Any and all claims and/or disputes regarding the IGFA International Angling Rules shall be governed by and construed and enforced in accordance with, the laws of the State of Florida, without regard to such jurisdiction’s conflict of laws principles. In the event that the parties are unable to mutually resolve any dispute, controversy or claim arising out of, in connection with, or in relation to the IGFA International Rules, such dispute, controversy or claim shall be resolved by litigation; in that connection, each of the parties to such dispute hereby
(i) irrevocably and unconditionally consents to submit itself to the sole and exclusive personal jurisdiction of any federal or state court located within Broward County, Florida (the “Applicable Courts”),
(ii) waives any objection to the laying of sole and exclusive venue of any such litigation in any of the Applicable Courts,
(iii) Agrees not to plead or claim in any such court that such litigation brought therein has been brought in an inconvenient forum and agrees not to otherwise attempt to deny or defeat such personal jurisdiction or venue by motion or other request for leave from any such court, and
(iv) agrees that it will not bring any action, suit, or proceeding in connection with any dispute, claim or controversy arising out of or relating to the Angling Rules in any court or other tribunal other than any of the Applicable Courts. Nothing in this Section shall prevent enforcement in another forum of any judgment obtained in the Applicable Courts.
In the event that it shall become necessary for any party to take action of any type whatsoever to enforce the terms of the IGFA International Angling Rules, the prevailing Party shall be entitled to recover all its costs, including attorney’s fees, costs, and expenses, including all out-of-pocket expenses that are not taxable as costs, incurred in connection with any such action, including any negotiations, mediations, arbitrations, litigation, and appeal.
3. When a substantial award is specifically offered for a world record catch in any line or tippet class, only a claim for an all-tackle record will be considered.
4. In some instances, an IGFA officer or member of the International Committee or a deputy from a local IGFA member club may be asked to recheck information supplied on a claim. Such action is not to be regarded as doubt of the formal affidavit, but rather as evidence of the extreme care with which IGFA investigates and maintains its records.
SPECIES IDENTIFICATION
1. Photographs must be submitted by which positive identification of the exact species can be made. Read the rules on photographs at the end of this section, and refer to the Species Identification section in the World Record Game Fishes book to determine which features must show to identify your fish. Applications without photographs will not be accepted.
2. If there is the slightest doubt that the fish cannot be properly identified from the photographs and other data submitted, the fish should be examined by an ichthyologist or qualified fishery biologist before a record application is submitted to IGFA. The scientist’s signature and title (or qualifications) should appear on the IGFA application form or on a separate document confirming the identification of the species.
3. If a scientist is not available, the fish should be retained in a preserved or frozen condition until a qualified authority can verify the species or until notified by IGFA that the fish need no longer be retained.
4. If no decision can be made from the photographs and the angler can provide no further proof of the identification of the species, the record claim will not be considered.
WITNESSES TO CATCH
On all record claims, witnesses to the catch are highly desirable if at all possible. Unwitnessed catches may be disallowed if questions arise regarding their authenticity. It is important that the witnesses can attest to the angler’s compliance with the IGFA International Angling Rules and Equipment Regulations.
MINIMUM WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS FOR VACANT RECORDS
The minimum acceptance weight for any record catch claim is 1 pound (.453 kg).

WEIGHTS NEEDED TO DEFEAT OR TIE EXISTING RECORDS
1. To replace a record for a fish weighing less than 25 pounds (11.33 kg), the replacement must weigh at least 2 ounces (56.69 gm) more than the existing record.
2. To replace a record fish weighing 25 pounds (11.33 kg) or more, the replacement must weigh at least one half of 1 percent more than the existing record. Ex: At 100 pounds (45.35 kg) the additional weight required would be 8 ounces (226.7 gm); at 200 pounds (90.71 kg) the additional weight required would be 1 pound (.453kg).
3. A catch which matches the weight of an existing record or exceeds the weight by less than the amount required to defeat the record will be considered a tie. In case of a tie claim involving more than two catches, weight must be compared with the original record (first fish to be caught). Nothing weighing less than the original record will be considered.
4. Estimated weights will not be accepted. (See Weighing Requirements.) Fractions of ounces or their metric equivalents will not be considered.
TIME LIMIT ON CLAIMS
With the exception of all-tackle records only, claims for record fish caught in US continental waters must be received by IGFA within 60 days of the date of catch. Claims for record fish caught in other waters must be received by IGFA within three months of the date of catch.

Claims for all-tackle records only are considered for catches made in past years if (1) acceptable photographs are submitted, (2) the weight of the fish can be positively verified, and (3) the method of catch can be substantiated. For catches made in the past, as much information as possible must be submitted on an IGFA world record application form with any additional substantiating data.
If an incomplete record claim is submitted, it must be accompanied by an explanation of why certain portions are incomplete. An incomplete claim will be considered for a record if the following conditions are met.
1. The incomplete claim with explanations of why portions are incomplete must be received by IGFA within the time limits specified above.
2. Missing data must be due to circumstances beyond the control of the angler making the record claim.
3. All missing data must be supplied within a period of time considered to be reasonable in view of the particular circumstances.
IGFA’s Executive Committee will make final decisions on incomplete claims.
WEIGHING REQUIREMENTS
1. All record fish should be weighed on scales that have been checked and certified for accuracy by government agencies or other qualified and accredited organizations. Disinterested witnesses to the weight should be used whenever possible. All scales must be regularly checked for accuracy and certified in accordance with applicable government regulations at least once every twelve months. If at the time of weighing the fish the scale has not been properly certified within twelve months, it should be checked and certified for accuracy as quickly as possible. An official report stating the findings of the inspection prior to any adjustment of the scale must be included with the record application.
2. The weight of the sling, platform, or rope (if one is used to secure the fish on the scales) must be determined and deducted from the total weight.
3. At the time of weighing, the actual tackle used by the angler to catch the fish must be exhibited to the weighmaster and the weight witness.
4. No estimated weights will be accepted. Fish weighed only at sea or on other bodies of water will not be accepted.
5. Only weights indicated by the graduations on the scale will be accepted. Visual fractionalizing of these graduations is not allowed. Any weights that fall between two graduations on the scale must be rounded to the lower of the two.
6. IGFA reserves the right to require any scale to be re-certified for accuracy if there are any indications that the scale might not have weighed correctly.

Note: IGFA offers a scale testing service for members only.

Preparation of Claims
To apply for a world record, the angler must submit a completed IGFA application form, the mandatory length of line and terminal tackle (as described in following) used to catch the fish, and acceptable photographs of the fish, the tackle used to catch the fish, the scale used to weigh the fish, and the angler with the fish.
APPLICATION FORM
The official IGFA world record application form or a reproduction must be used for record claims. This form may be reproduced as long as all items are included.
The angler must fill in the application personally. IGFA also recommends that the angler personally mail the application, line sample or fly leader and photographs.
When making any record claim, the angler must indicate the specified strength of the line or tippet used to catch the fish. In the cases of line class and tippet class records, this will place the claim in an IGFA line or tippet class category (see World Record Categories). All lines will be examined by IGFA to verify the specified strength of the line. If the line or tippet over tests its particular category, the application will be considered in the next highest category; if it under tests into a lower line or tippet class category, the application will not be considered for the lower line class. The heaviest line class permitted for both freshwater and saltwater records is 60 kg (130 lb) class. The heaviest tippet class permitted for fly fishing records is 10 kg (20 lb). If the line or tippet over tests these maximum strengths, the claim will be disallowed.
Extreme care should be exercised in measuring the fish as the measurements are often important for weight verification and scientific studies. See the measurement diagram on the record application to be sure you have measured correctly.
The angler is responsible for seeing that the necessary signatures and correct addresses of the boat captain, weighmaster and witnesses are on the application. If an IGFA officer or representative, or an officer or member of an IGFA club is available, he or she should be asked to witness the claim. The name of a boatman, guide, or weighmaster repeated as witness is not acceptable.
The angler must appear in person to have his application notarised. In territories where notarization is not possible or customary, the signature of a government commissioner or resident, a member of an embassy, legation or consular staff or an IGFA officer or International Committee member may replace notarization.
Any deliberate falsification of an application will disqualify the applicant for any future IGFA world record, and any existing records will be nullified.
LINE OR TIPPET SAMPLE
All applications for fly fishing records must be accompanied by the lure, the entire tippet, and the entire leader along with one inch of the fly line beyond the attachment to the leader. These components must be intact and connected.
All other applications must be accompanied by the entire leader, the double line, and at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) of the single line closest to the double line, leader or hook. All line samples and the leader (if one is used) must be submitted in one piece. If a lure is used with the leader, the leader should be cut at the eye attachment to the lure.
Each line sample must be in one piece. It must be submitted in a manner that it can be easily unwound without damage to the line.
A recommended method is to take a rectangular piece of stiff cardboard and cut notches in two opposite ends. Secure one end of the line to the cardboard and wind the line around the cardboard through the notched areas. Secure the other end, and write your name and the specified strength of the line on the cardboard. Any line sample submitted that is tangled or cannot be easily unwound will not be accepted.

PHOTOGRAPHIC REQUIREMENTS
Photographs showing the full length of the fish, the rod and reel used to make the catch, and the scale used to weigh the fish must accompany each record application. A photograph of the angler with the fish is also required.
For species identification, the clearest possible photos should be submitted. This is especially important in the cases of hybrids and fishes that may be confused with similar species. Shark applications should include a photograph of the shark’s teeth, and of the head and back taken from above in addition to the photographs taken from the side. Whether the shark has or does not have a ridge between the dorsal fins should be clearly evident in this photograph.
In all cases, photographs should be taken of the fish in a hanging position and also lying on a flat surface on its side. The fish should be broadside to the camera and no part of the fish should be obscured. The fins must be fully extended and not obscured with the hands, and the jaw or bill clearly shown. Avoid obscuring the keels of sharks and tunas with a tail rope.
When photographing a fish lying on its side, the surface beneath the fish should be smooth and a ruler or marked tape placed beside the fish if possible. Photographs from various angles are most helpful. An additional photograph of the fish on the scale with actual weight visible helps to expedite the application.
Photos taken by daylight with a reproducible-type negative film are highly recommended if at all possible.
Note: IGFA’s bimonthly newsletter International Angler keeps anglers up to date on world record catches.
It is important that we have clear, publishable photographs of the fish and the angler. If you have action shots of the catch, we would like to see them also.
Conversion Formulas for Weights & Measures
Persons submitting world record and contest claims are required to provide the weights and measurements of the fish in the units in which they were taken. The following formulas are provided for your information.
WEIGHTS

Ounces x 28.349 = Grams
Ounces x 0.02835 = Kilograms
Pounds x 453.59 = Grams
Pounds x 0.45359 = Kilograms
Grams x 0.0353 = Ounces
Grams x 0.002 = Pounds
Kilograms x 35.2736 = Ounces
Kilograms x 2.2046 = Pounds

MEASURES

Inches x 25.4 = Millimeters
Inches x 2.54 = Centimeters
Feet x 30.48 = Centimeters
Feet x 0.3048 = Meters
Millimeters x 0.03937 = Inches
Centimeters x 0.3937 = Inches
Centimeters x 0.0328 = Feet
Meters x 39.37 = Inches

MISCELLANEOUS

1 pound force x 4.448 = Newtons
1 kilogram force x 9.806 = Newtons
1 fathom x 6 = Feet