National Federation of Sea Anglers ("NFSA") Competition Rules
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National Federation of Sea Anglers ("NFSA") Competition Rules Rule 11 FESTIVAL AND COMPETITION RULES These NFSA Festival and Competition rules (incorporating the 2007 NFSA rule change in respect of Pennell rigs) set guidance for competitions and organisers, and they are in four sections: General (G): Shore (S) Boat (B): and Minimum sizes (M). Please note that sections (S) and (B) are designed as a set of rules which can stand alone and be used as Competition Sheets by Organisers. Therefore, there will be a majority of items that are common to both, although it does not necessarily mean that the same wording has been used. The wording considered to be most appropriate to each application has been used. G 1 DEFINITIONS AND ABBREVIATIONS G 1.1 The name of the organisation is the National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA). G 1.2 A club is a properly constituted sea angling organisation having not less that ten fully paid up members. G 1.3 An Affiliated Club means a club affiliated to the NFSA (AC). G 1.4 An Associate Member means an associate member of the NFSA (AM). G 1.5 A Division means an approved Division of the NFSA. G 1.6 A Festival is the major competition of the year at which anglers compete for a Club's or Division's major trophies. Within these rules, for simplicity, the term Competition also implies Festival or Championship. G 1.7 The Committee means: in the case of the NFSA, the Standing Committee (SC); in the case of ACs/AMs, the Committee of the AC/AM; and in other cases the Committee in charge of the Festival. G 1.8 For the purposes of the Rules, events held on piers, harbour walls, breakwaters (including pontoons and marina pontoons) and shore, are all termed shore competitions. G 1.9 Throughout the Rules, where the context so admits the singular includes the plural and vice-versa and the masculine includes the feminine. G 1.10 Development Officer (D/O). G 1.11 The Organisers means the Competition Organisers which should be a Committee. G 2 APPLICATION. These Rules came into force on the 1st January 1998. As from that date, all previous Festival and Competition Rules became null and void. G 3 FESTIVALS, COMPETITIONS, INFORMATION, OBLIGATIONS & GUIDANCE. G 3.1 Festivals. The dates of all AC, AM and Divisional Festivals and Open Competitions shall be fixed in accordance with Rule 8. When such dates are fixed, no other AC, AM or Division shall hold its own event at the same venue on the same date excepting: G 3.1a Pier and Shore events may be staged on the same day and venue as a boat event and vice versa. G 3.1b A 'lesser' club event may take place at the same time and venue providing that those taking part are also taking part in the main Festival or Open competition. G 3.2 Competitions. ACs, AMs or Divisions are encouraged to arrange their own Competitions and attempt to avoid fixture clashes. G 3.3 Designated Matches. The NFSA is dedicated to the development of performance and excellence in competition angling. In conjunction with all ACs/AMs and other sea angling organisations the NFSA is committed to the provision of 'Designated Matches', at which a competitor will compete within an approved match format of an approved Organisation. The results of the 'Designated Matches' will be made available to the D/O by the Organisers and passed on to the NTSSC for information. Match organisers from such ACs/AMs and other sea angling organisations can apply to host such events that will require formal approval from the SC via the D/O. G 3.4 Festival & Open Match List. The NFSA shall produce a Festival and Open Match list that will be updated and circulated on a three-monthly basis. Festivals and other National Competitions should be notified to the D/O, if possible, 12 months prior to such an event. If during the year extra events are arranged the D/O should be notified in order that the date and other information can be printed in the NFSA circulars. G 3.5 Competition Match Pack. If any AC/AM or Division requires further information about running a competition, or requires advice on recommended match formats, they should contact the D/O who can provide guidance and further information, including the following: G 3.5(a) Master Zone Sheets (A3) and an A4-sized copy of these Rules and Size Limits for photocopying purposes. The size limits as recommended by the NFSA, or as appropriate to accommodate geographical area (i.e. dispensation taken up), should be provided at all matches with rule sheets. G 3.5(b) Advice sheets on measuring fish, weigh-in procedures, measure and return matches and organising competitions. G 3.5(c) Explanation of results sheets and simple points systems. G 3.5(d) Copies, as required, on codes of safety for organisers of small dinghy competitions, Do's and Don'ts at Sea, and the current match list. G 4 COMPETITIONS GENERAL G 4.1 Entry Conditions. When competition entries are pre-booked, entry forms, together with applicable entry fees, shall be submitted by the specified date to the Organisers. After the acceptance of the entrant, the Organisers have no obligation to return the entry fee or in the event of a bait-supplied match, bait money, should the entrant wish to withdraw from the competition. If entry cannot be accepted because of lack of space the entrant shall be notified and the entry fee returned. G 4.2 Right to Refuse Entry. The Organisers reserve the right to refuse entry without explanation and shall in such a case return all entry fees. G 4.3 Late Entries. Late entries may be accepted; however, this will be at the discretion of the Organisers and may incur extra fees. G 4.4 Abandonment. In the event of bad weather and/or in the interests of safety, the Organisers shall have the power to abandon the competition. In such a case, entry fees, less any legitimate competition expenses such as boat or other hire charges and printing costs etc. which may have been incurred, will be returned to the Competitors. G 4.5 Duration. The duration of each competition will be fixed by the Organisers. G 4.6 Weigh-In. If a competitor is disqualified for fishing, or arriving ashore after time, they shall, if practicable, be notified before their catch is weighed-in. Every competitor who has not been previously disqualified must weigh-in their catch when required or, if they have caught nothing, report accordingly. Failure to comply without adequate cause on any occasion may, at the discretion of the Organisers, lead to disqualification for the whole event. G 4.7 Eligible Species. Skate are classified scientifically as round fish and therefore they are barred from any class for flat fish. Octopus, Crustacea, Squid and Cuttlefish are ineligible. However, the competition organisers may also bar the catching of other species of fish. The Mako, Porbeagle, Thresher, Hammerhead and Blue Sharks are ineligible except in a Shark Festival; but if there is a special class for them, they can be weighed-in for that class only. G 4.8 Licensed Angling Boats. Licensed angling boats must not have more persons on board than the boat's licence dictates. G 5 ENCOURAGEMENT AND DISPENSATION FOR THE DISABLED. G 5.1 Use of Electric Reels and Winches. Electric reels and winches are not permitted in competitions unless dispensation is given by the Organisers to accommodate a disabled angler who otherwise would not be able to compete. G 5.2 Close/ Easy Access Pegs. The Organisers have the right to provide close or easily accessible pegs to accommodate disabled anglers who otherwise would not be able to compete. G 5.3 Casting Assistance. A competitor may cast for another angler who is deemed incapable of casting due to physical disability provided that such an arrangement is requested from the Organisers, and agreed prior to the commencement of the competition. G 6 CONSERVATION AND SCOPE FOR COMPETITION ORGANISERS These Rules set guidance for competitions and minimum size limits. Organisers may vary the Rules by raising size limits, or indeed seek dispensation for reduction, provided that they are equal to, or above minimum legal limits. Organisers may introduce a points system for catch and return competitions; however, notification shall be given to the competitors and D/O. SHORE COMPETITION RULES (S) S 1 Duration. The start and finish of a competition will be signalled by the Organisers. Anglers are permitted to wet their line with a plain lead up to 20 minutes prior to the commencement of the match. S 2 Equipment. An angler is permitted to have up to three rods set up with reels, lines and traces attached but can use no more than two rods with a combined total of three single hooks or two Pennell mounted baits, one on each rod at any one time, so constructed that the measurement between the eyes of the two hooks does not exceed 10 cm (shore angling). However during one rod competitions a Pennell rig will be deemed as two hooks. Reels must be operated by hand (Subject to Rule G 5. 1 Electric Reels) and reels designed to be cranked by both hands at the same time are prohibited. The use of fishing poles is permitted. S 3 Terminal Tackle. Spare baited traces are allowed and no more than three hooks may be attached to any trace. A treble hook counts as one hook but no more than one treble hook and two single hooks may be used in a rig, with the exception of plug type spinning lures which are permissible when used alone. S 4 Baits. All baits, feathers and\or lures may be used, unless notified otherwise by the Organisers. S 5 Restrictions. Organisers may draft rules prohibiting the use of any tackle or method that is likely to cause danger, damage or discomfort to any competitor or other persons. Such rules must be submitted to the SC for approval after which they must be notified to all participants. S 6 Casting. Anglers wishing to use 'power casting' styles should use a minimum of 50 lb breaking strain shock leader. Furthermore, it is recommended that the breaking strain of shock leader should be a minimum shock leader of 10 lbs per oz of weight being used. In the interests of safety competitors are advised that any form of dangerous casting is prohibited. Anglers are permitted to cast immediately after landing a fish. However, in pegged matches, the retrieval of this cast is not permitted until the angler's catch is recorded by the steward or adjacent angler on the official bag label if issued. S 7 Assistance. Assistance may be given to land a fish but no-one other than the competitor may handle the rod. In pier competitions, assistance to land fish with a drop net is permitted, as is hand-lining the fish up the pier or promenade wall, provided that it can be lifted clear of the surface and not pulled through the water towards the competitor. S 8 Hooked Fish. The deliberate foul hooking of fish is not permitted; however, accidental foul hooked fish are allowed at the discretion of the Organisers, if specified before the start of the competition. In the event of fish being hooked by two or more competitors or caught on lost traces, they shall not be eligible for weighing in. S 9 Undersized Fish. It is each angler's responsibility to ensure all undersized fish are returned immediately to the water. A competitor's fish may be kept in water but any physical attempt to extend their length will lead to disqualification. S 10 Minimum Sizes. The SC shall fix the minimum sizes or weights of fish eligible to be included in the competitors catch. However, Organisers may fix sizes and weights higher than those fixed by the SC in which case all competitors will be notified. Fish below the minimum sizes shall not be brought to the scales. It is each anglers responsibility to ensure all fish brought to the scales are sizeable. The Organisers will provide a Master Measure and adjudicator for anglers to have their catch checked, at the angler's request by the organisers, prior to presenting the fish to the scales; however, the onus of responsibility is on the angler. Undersized fish brought to the scales may result in disqualification. S 11 Compulsory Weigh In. At the end of the competition competitors have one hour, or a period specified by the organisers, for bringing their own catch, peg and completed bag label (if applicable) to the weigh-in. The bags, if used, must be identified by a number or competitor's name. The Organisers may retain all fish until after the weigh-in. S 12 Protests. Any complaints must be submitted to the Organisers in writing within one hour of the end of the competition. A Protest Fee of £10 must accompany the complaint, returnable if the objection is upheld. The decision of the Organisers will be final in the event of any dispute not covered by these rules. S 13 Entry & Disqualification. The Organisers reserve the right to refuse entry without explanation and shall in such a case return the entry fees. Any angler found breaking the rules will be disqualified. S 14 Loss and Damage. The Organisers shall not be held responsible for any loss, accident or damage occasioned to any competitor, official or member of the public. S 15 Litter. Any angler found leaving litter or throwing litter into the sea during or after the competition will be disqualified. S 16 Position. Fishing should be from a peg and/or zone, allocated by means of a draw. Anglers must fish from no other peg number or zone. The redrawing of pegs is not allowed. It is recommended that there is 20 metres minimum spacing between pegs and that peg 1 is always to the left looking seawards of the stretch to be pegged. In zones, it is recommended that there are a maximum of 45 competitors. This rule is not applicable to roving matches. S 17 Fair Play. As well as the aforementioned rules, the rules of fair play will apply. Competitors must conduct themselves in a manner within the spirit of the sport. BOAT COMPETITION RULES (B) B 1 Duration. The duration of fishing will be fixed by the Organisers. To cover differences in boat speeds, times to start 'lines in' and times to stop 'lines out' may be used; competitors are expected to adhere to those times honestly. B 2 Equipment. An angler may use only one rod, unless notified in advance that two rods, at the same time, may be used, with reel and running line. Spare rods may be assembled with a reel attached, line through the rings/rollers, attached to a line swivel equivalent. Rod length will be a minimum of 1 metre, maximum of 3.25 metres. Reels must be operated by hand (subject to Rule G 5.1, Electric Reels); and reels designed to be cranked by both hands at the same time are prohibited. The use of fishing poles is permitted. B 3 Terminal Tackle. Spare baited traces are allowed and no more than three hooks may be attached to any trace. In the case of Pennell mounted baits, the measurement between the eyes of the two hooks must not exceed 20 cm (boat angling). A treble hook counts as one hook but no more than one treble hook and two single hooks may be used in a rig, with the exception of plug type spinning lures which are permissible when used alone. If allowed in the particular competition's rules, two rods are used at the same time, a maximum of three hooks between the two rods or two Pennell mounted baits, one on each rod at any one time may be used. Subject to the above, only one set of terminal tackle will be in use at any one time. B 4 Baits. All baits, feathers and\or lures may be used, unless notified otherwise by the Organisers. B 5 Restrictions. Organisers may draft rules prohibiting the use of any tackle or method that is likely to cause danger, damage or discomfort to any competitor or other persons. Such rules must be submitted to the SC for approval after which they must be notified to all participants. B 6 Casting. Unless prohibited by the Organisers or Boat Skippers, casting is permissible. Anglers on charter boats wishing to cast must use a shock leader of a minimum of 35 lbs (15 kgs) and a maximum of 60 lbs (27.25 kgs) breaking strain, and all casts should be made with the terminal tackle outside the boat. B 7 Assistance. No other person may touch an anglers rod, reel or line after his fish is hooked or give any assistance to an angler which would be to the detriment of the fish except that another person(s) may gaff or net fish when it is brought within range. Anglers may not rest their rods on the gunwales of the boats or other such structure whilst winding fish in. Crew may bait hooks and unhook fish. B 8 Hooked Fish. The deliberate foul hooking of fish is not permitted; however, accidental foul hooked fish are allowed at the discretion of the Organisers, if specified before the start of the competition. In the event of fish being hooked by two or more competitors or caught on lost traces, they shall not be eligible for weighing in. B 9 Undersized Fish. It is each angler's responsibility to ensure all undersized fish are returned immediately to the water. Competitor's fish may be kept in water but any physical attempt to extend their length will lead to disqualification. B 10 Minimum Sizes. The SC shall fix the minimum sizes or weights of fish eligible to be included in the competitors catch. However, organisers may fix sizes and weights higher than those fixed by the SC, in which case all competitors will be notified. Fish below the minimum sizes shall not be brought to the scales. It is each anglers responsibility to ensure all fish brought to the scales are sizeable. The Organiser will provide a Master Measure and adjudicator for anglers! to have their catch checked, at the anglers request, by the Organisers prior to presenting the fish to the scales; however, the onus of responsibility is on the angler. Undersized fish brought to the scales may result in disqualification. B 11 Compulsory Weigh-in. Every competitor who has not been disqualified must weigh in their catch daily, or if they have caught nothing, shall report to the weigh-master accordingly. Failure to comply with this rule on any occasion may at the discretion of the Organisers lead to disqualification. Bags of fish must be delivered to the weighing station by the time specified by the organisers. No bags of fish will be returned to competitors until the expiration of that time. The bags must be identified by a number or competitors name. Organisers may retain all fish until after the weigh-in. B 12 Protests. Any complaints must be submitted to the organisers in writing within one hour of the end of the competition. A protest foe of £10 must accompany the complaint, returnable if the objection is upheld. The decision of the Organisers will be final in the event of any dispute not covered by these rules. B 13 Entry & Disqualification. The Organisers reserve the right to refuse entry without explanation and shall in such a case return the entry fees. Any angler found breaking the rules will be disqualified. B 14 Loss or Damage. The Organisers shall not be held responsible for any loss, accident or damage occasioned to any competitor, official or member of the public. B 15 Litter. Any angler found leaving litter or throwing litter into the sea during or after the competition will be disqualified. B 16 Boats. All boats used in the competition shall be adequate in size and carry safety equipment for all persons on board as specified in the Seaway Code. In addition to boat crew and any stewards, only competitors shall be allowed on the boat and there should be at least two competitors on board. If flags are issued to each boat they shall be kept flying from the start of the event until the return to the landing place. B 17 Boat Positions. Prior to the start of fishing, unbiased draws for positions shall be made. The drawer of number one shall fish as near the bow of the boat on the starboard side, and the numbers shall be from the starboard to, and across the stern or transom, with the highest number drawn fishing as near the bow of the boat on the port side. B 18 Fair Play. As well as the above rules, the rules of fair play will apply. Competitors must conduct themselves in a manner within the spirit of the sport. MINIMUM SIZE LIMITS (M) See Rule 5.3.8 (h). The minimum sizes are in metric: the approximate imperial equivalents are given for guidance purposes only and may be used by competition organisers, if specified. Should there be any dispute on the measurement of a fish, the Match Organisers Master Measure will be the deciding measure. All fish are to be measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail fin, except Skates and Rays which are to be measured wing tip to wing tip. The list of minimum sizes can be found here. M 1 MAFF/EC Limits and Dispensation below NFSA Recommended Size Limits. It is recognised that the NFSA Recommended Size Limits are, in many cases, higher than the current MAFF, National and EC minimum size limits. Whilst the NFSA encourages anglers to fish to the NFSA recommended sizes or higher, the NFSA also recognises in certain areas around the country that this would be unrealistic. Therefore, dispensation can be sought from the SC to reduce the NFSA recommended size should ACs/AMs consider such action necessary to accommodate and stimulate competition. Such dispensation will allow reduction of NFSA recommended size limits to those of MAFF. The unclassified limit otherwise remains as NFSA Recommended Size Limits, at 20 cm (8 ins) with the exception of Skate and Ray. Lesser Spotted Dogfish and Smooth hound for which no dispensation below the NFSA recommended sizes will be permitted. See also European Federation of Sea Anglers Rules
2007 NFSA rule change in respect of Pennell Rigs
A Pennell rig is quite simply one hook "snelled" onto a trace, by the line passing freely through its eye. In many cases this top hook can be slid up and down along that trace, though it can be tied permanently in position. Often the trace is wound around the hook shank three or four times to prevent it sliding, but to permit a degree of adjustment. A second hook is attached below it securely tied to the tip end of the trace. A single bait is attached between these two hooks. A Pennell rig holds the bait securely and improves the chances of hooking a fish. The rule change legitimises its use on two rods at the same time provided the distance between the eyes of the two hooks does not exceed (a) 20 cm for boat angling and (b) 10 cm for shore angling.
NFSA-compliant shore fishing Pennell rig
- a competitor may fish 2 rods and lines with not more than 3 hooks and 3 baits in total attached;
- alternatively, a competitor may now fish 2 rods and lines each terminating in a Pennell rig i.e. fish 2 sets of rods, lines and terminal tackle, each with 2 hooks, but with only one single bait on each set of 2 hooks on each Pennell rig. From a boat the maximum distance between the eyes of the pair of hooks on each Pennell rig must not exceed 20 cm. From the shore the distance between the eyes of the pair of Pennell hooks must not exceed 10 cm;
- a competitor may fish one rod and line terminating in a two hook Pennell rig with a single bait on it and fish a second rod and line with a single hook and bait attached, to give a total of 3 hooks, but with only 2 baits attached in total;
- a competitor may NOT fish one rod with a 2 hook Pennell rig and a single bait attached to it, together with a second rod with two separately baited hooks attached to it.