Angling & Equipment Rules


Rules, including published rules in print or on the Bisbee’s website (www.bisbees. com), are subject to change without notice. Current instructions are given at the Captain’s Meeting for each event, where attendance by at least one team member is mandatory. By entering one of the Black & Blue Tournaments and paying the entry fee, participating anglers, captains, crews and guests (“Participants”) agree to abide by the rules. Bisbee’s Black & Blue Tournaments expects the highest level of integrity and sportsmanship from its participants. Refer to Schedule of Events for time and location of Captain’s Meetings. Except where noted, the following information and rules apply to all three events.


Angling Rules

The Bisbee’s Tournaments are “Team” tournaments.
  1. The tournament does not regulate who may be involved in the management of, or the manipulation of, the equipment and/or tackle leading up to, during, or following the playing of a fish.
  2. Once a fish is hooked, the rod/reel involved in playing the fish must stay in physical contact with the angler(s).
  3. When a fish is hooked or entangled on more than one line, the team must cut away the extra line(s) as quickly as possible.
  4. From the time that a fish strikes, anyone onboard may remove other lines, teasers and devices from the water.
  5. Once the leader is brought within grasp of the mate, or the end of the leader is wound to the rod tip, more than one person is permitted to touch the leader—this DOES NOT apply to the double line.
  6. 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.

The Following Acts Will Disqualify a Catch

  1. Failure to comply with the Tournament’s general, equipment or angling rules and regulations.
  2. Resting the rod in a rod holder, on the gunwale of the boat, or any other object while playing the fish.
  3. 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 fish.
  4. Shooting, harpooning, or lancing any fish at any stage of the catch.
  5. 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.
  6. Changing the rod or reel while the fish is being played.
  7. Splicing, removing, or adding to the line while the fish is being played.
  8. Using a size or kind of bait that is illegal to possess.
  9. Attaching the angler’s line or leader to part of a boat or other object for the purpose of holding or lifting fish.
  10. If a fish escapes before gaffing 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 the length of the tip below minimum dimensions.
  12. Mutilation to the fish, prior to 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 disqualifying injuries.

Equipment Rules

Four pages of diagrams follow to help clarify these rules. Anglers are responsible for their own bait. Any lures, teasers or bait may be used as approved by these rules and the Illustrated Diagrams that follow.

View Equipment Diagrams

  1. Line
    1. Dacron, monofilament, multifilament and lead core multifilament lines may be used provided they are all of a “manufacturer’s stated line class” of 130 pounds or less. Line by the trade name of Spectra is acceptable. Wire lines are prohibited.
  2. Line Backing
    1. Backing not attached to the fishing line is permissible with no restrictions as to size or material.
    2. If the fishing line is attached to the backing, the backing may not exceed a “manufacturer’s stated line class” of 130 pounds.
  3. Line(s) on Reels
    1. Two different types or strengths of lines (commonly called “top-shots”) may be used on a single reel provided each of the lines meets the tournament’s described requirements.
    2. The connecting knot, splice or braid may not exceed seven (7) feet in length.
    3. Anglers weighing fish must report the use of top-shots or the use of two different lines on their reel at the time of weigh-in in order for weigh station personnel to examine the line(s) and connecting method.
  4. 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 line 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.
    3. In all line classes up to and including 20 pounds, the double line shall be limited to 15 feet. The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 20 feet.
    4. The double line on all classes of tackle over 20 pounds shall be limited to 30 feet. The maximum combined length of the double line and leader is 40 feet.
  5. Leader
      The use of a leader is not required. If one is used, it must meet the following specifications:
    1. The length of the leader is the overall length including any lure, hook arrangement or other device.
    2. The leader must be connected to the line with a snap, knot, splice, swivel or other device.
    3. Holding devices are prohibited.
    4. There are no regulations regarding the material or strength of the leader.
    5. In all line classes up to and including 20 pounds, the leader shall be limited to 15 feet. The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 20 feet.
    6. The leader on all classes of tackle over 20 pounds shall be limited to 30 feet. The combined length of the double line and leader shall be limited to 40 feet.
  6. Rod
    1. Rods must comply with sporting ethics and customs.
    2. The rod tip must be a minimum of 40 inches in length. The rod butt cannot exceed 27 inches.
    3. These measurements must be made from a point directly beneath the center of the reel. A curved butt is measured in a straight line.
  7. 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.
  8. Hooks—Natural Bait (Live or Dead)
    1. Any hook used with natural baits, live or dead, must be a non-offset circle hook.
    2. No more than two single hooks may be used. Both must be firmly embedded 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 apart. The only exception is that the point of one hook may be passed through the eye of the other hook.
    3. The use of a dangling/swinging hook is prohibited. No double or treble hooks.
  9. Hooks—Artificial 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 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.
    2. The tournament recognizes products produced by Quick Rig Corporation under the trade name “Double Trouble Hooks” as acceptable tackle to be used in the tournament.
  10. Other Equipment
    1. Fighting chairs may not have any mechanically propelled devices that aid the angler in fighting.
    2. Gimbals must be free swinging. Gimbals that allow anglers to reduce strain or rest while fighting the fish are prohibited.
    3. Harnesses may be attached to the reel or rod, but not to the fighting chair. The harness may be replaced or adjusted by a person other than the angler.
    4. Rod belts or waist gimbals are permitted.
    5. Gaffs used to boat a fish must not exceed 8 feet in overall length. In using a flying or detachable gaff the rope may not exceed 30 feet. The gaff rope is measured from the point where it is secured to the detachable head to the other end. 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. Harpoon or lance attachments are prohibited. Tail ropes are limited to 30 feet.
    6. Entangling devices, with or without a hook, are prohibited and may not be used for any purpose including baiting, hooking or fighting the fish.
    7. Nets may not be used to obtain a fish.
    8. Outriggers, downriggers, spreader bars and kites are permitted to be used, provided that the actual fishing line is attached to a 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.
    9. 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 team an unfair advantage in fighting, releasing or boating the fish. Acceptability of this equipment will be determined by the Rules Committee on an individual, as needed basis.

      NOTE:  Should a team not wish to rely on a Rules Committee decision, they may opt to place a release device above the bait or lure which contains the hook(s). In this case, the release device may be attached to the double line and/or leader.
    10. A safety line may be attached to the rod provided it does not in any way assist the angler in fighting the fish.