IGFA Rule Change on Gang Hooks and Lures

IGFA announced a change to its International Angling Rules, which are widely considered as the official rules of sport fishing.

The recent change comes after feedback from the angling community regarding the use of soft-bodied lures where hooks are embedded into the lure itself to enhance the lure’s swimming ability.

Previously under IGFA International Angling Rules, this is considered illegal as the hook is not considered “free-swinging”, even though the hook may become free swinging after the fish has taken the bait. To accommodate the increasing use of hooks in this fashion, the IGFA has changed their rule to the following:

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). It is permissible to imbed or securely attach a gang hook to a lure provided that the hook becomes free swinging once the fish takes the lure. Gang hooks may not be used with natural bait. A photograph or sketch of the plug or lure should be submitted with record applications.

Prior to making this rule change, the IGFA consulted several prominent fishing captains/guides, as well as reputable angling organizations including the Game Fish Association of Australia (GFAA), the Japan Game Fish Association (JGFA), the New Zealand Sport Fishing Council (NZSFC), the Big Game Fishing Club of France (BGFCF), and the International Women’s Fishing Association (IWFA), 

“As tackle and techniques continue to evolve, it is important for the IGFA review the relevancy of our International Angling Rules as necessary,” said IGFA President Jason Schratwieser. “Rule changes are something we take very seriously and do not happen often, however, we feel confident in this change as it fits within the intent of our rules and has been vetted by top angling authorities around the world.”

For questions or to learn more about IGFA International Angling Rules, please contact Zack Bellapigna, IGFA Angler Recognition Coordinator at [email protected].