Back by popular demand! The IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open returns to its original “swordfish only” format in 2024! 

We are excited to invite you to join us for the 2024 IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open – the world’s PREMIER swordfish tournament that is hosted annually in the famed waters off Southern California! Put your angling skills to the test as you compete against other anglers from around the globe in pursuit of the “gladiator of the sea”, all while fishing in the birthplace of big-game angling.

You do not want to miss this incredible tournament experience that celebrates the incredible history and fishery of swordfish in Southern California. 

November 8-10, 2024

 Tournament Schedule

We strongly encourage all anglers, their guests, and crew members to attend the awards ceremony out of respect for the winning anglers and teams, as well as all competitors.

Tuesday, November 5, 2024
Virtual Captain’s & Rules Meeting

6 PM- 7 PM

Wednesday, November 6, 2024
Tournament Bag Pick Up

Dana Landing – San Diego, CA

Balboa Angling Club – Newport Beach, CA

(Tournament bag pick up available only during regular business hours.)

Thursday, November 7, 2024
Tournament Bag Pick Up

Dana Landing – San Diego, CA

Balboa Angling Club – Newport Beach, CA

(Tournament bag pick up available only during regular business hours.)

Friday, November 8, 2024
First Day of Fishing

Lines In
6 AM

Lines Out
5 PM

Saturday, November 9, 2024
Second & Final Day of Fishing

Lines In
6 AM

Lines Out
5 PM

*Weighing of Fish
All fish must be weighed by 10 PM (PDT)
* Please refer to the tournament rules (rule #11 – Weigh Stations) for additional information about weighing fish. 

Sunday, November 10, 2024
Awards Ceremony

1 PM – 5 PM

Dana Point Yacht Club

 

Tournament Rules 

A virtual Captain’s Meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. A team representative must be in attendance and all participants are encouraged to join. The time of the meeting and a link to the Zoom call will be provided to all registered teams and participants. 

1. GENERAL REGULATIONS

Boats and anglers must comply with IGFA International Angling Rules and all state and federal fishing regulations/licensing requirements. Failure to do so may result in disqualification. All boats must carry appropriate liability insurance.

2. FISHING DAYS & HOURS

Fishing days for the 2024 IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open are Friday, November 8, 2024, and Saturday, November 9, 2024. 

The tournament will begin with the call of “lines in” at 6:00 a.m. and continue until the call of “lines out” at 5:00 p.m. for the two fishing days of the tournament.

There are no lay days or weather days unless determined by the tournament officials. Participants fish at their own risk.

There is no time limit on landing or releasing a fish that is hooked up before lines out. Any fish that is still hooked up at lines out must report to the tournament committee. 

3.BOUNDARIES & DEPARTURE

The fishing boundary for the IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open is a 115 nautical mile radius from Newport Beach (Newport Bell Buoy). 

Boats are not required to check out with the tournament committee upon departure from their respective ports. 

Tournament boats may depart from any port. Once entering tournament boundaries during fishing hours, boats must remain within the boundaries until “lines out” unless the departure is approved by the tournament committee. 

 

 

 

 

4. ANGLING & EQUIPMENT

All IGFA International Angling Rules apply.  Please see important highlights of IGFA Angling Rules below: 

  • This is not a line class tournament.
  • The maximum line class allowed is 60 kg (130 lb)
    • Tackle will not be inspected at weigh-in; however, the Tournament Committee reserves the right to request leader and/or line samples for each weighed fish. 
  • The use of backing is permissible per IGFA rules. There is no limit to the strength or material of your backing. 
  • Mainline (top shots) must be a minimum of 5 meters (16 feet, 4 inches) in length.
  • When using mainline (top shot) heavier than 10 kg (20 lb), leaders are limited to 30 feet and are measured to the bend of the last hook. The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 40 feet. 
  • When using mainline (top shot) heavier than 10 kg (20 lb), double lines are limited to 30 feet and must be constructed of the mainline/top shot. The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 40 feet. 
  • When using mainline (top shot) 10 kg (20 lb) or lighter, leaders are limited to 15 feet and are measured to the bend of the last hook. The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 20 feet. 
  • When using mainline (top shot) 10 kg (20 lb) or lighter, double lines are limited to 15 feet and must be constructed of the mainline/top shot. The combined length of the double line and leader shall not exceed 20 feet. 
  • Fighting a fish from the rod holder is prohibited. Once the fish is hooked, the angler must remove the rod from the rod holder as quickly as possible. 
  • Resting the rod on the gunwale, covering board, or any part of the boat is prohibited. 
  • Harpoons are prohibited. 
  • Ratchet handle reels are prohibited.
  • Power- driven reels are acceptable under the following situation and configuration.
       a) Reels that have power accessories (e.g., electric drill attachments, motors or other power accessories specifically designed for a reel) that can be physically removed from the reel may be used strictly for the purpose of retrieving a deployed bait or lure at depth all the way to the boat.
       b) Power accessories may only be used to retrieve a bait or lure completely to the boat and are not permitted for adjusting the position of a bait or lure in the water column. Once a power accessory is attached to the reel, the bait or lure may no longer be legally used to catch a fish and the bait or lure must be retrieved all the way to the boat for manual redeployment before it may be legally used to hook or catch a fish. Power accessories may not be attached to the reel during the deployment of a bait or lure.
       c) Power accessories must be physically removed from the reel before the act of hooking or fighting a fish. Any fish that strikes a bait or lure being fished with a reel with power accessories still attached- whether or not under electric operation- will not be eligible for consideration.
      d) Electric reels that do not have removable electronic components that allow them to be completely manually driven are prohibited. 

5. TOURNAMENT SPECIFIC RULES

  • Any type of live, dead or artificial bait can be used. 
  • A maximum of four anglers per team/boat, per day, are permitted.
  • A participating team must consist of at least two anglers to be eligible for the tournament categories. 
  • A maximum of four lines (with hooks) are permitted at any one time. An unlimited number of hookless baits or teasers are allowed.

6. SCORING OF RELEASED & WEIGHED FISH

Released Fish

  • Any swordfish released during the tournament will count for 150 points.
  • Any surface-caught swordfish that is released will count for 300 points. 
  • The full length of the leader and double line (if used), as well as a mainline sample of at least 5 meters must be provided for any released fish.
  • Video documentation showing the release of the swordfish must be provided.

Weighed Fish 

  • The minimum size for weighing a swordfish is 100 pounds. Fish weighing under 100 pounds will not qualify for the tournament, but the angler/team will not be docked points.
  • A weighed swordfish caught via deep-drop will receive one point per pound. For example, a 200-pound swordfish caught via deep drop would receive 200 points. 
  • A weighed swordfish caught on the surface will receive two points per pound. For example, a 200-pound swordfish caught on the surface would receive 400 points. 
  • The full length of the leader and double line (if used), as well as a mainline sample of at least 5 meters must be provided for any released fish.

For scoring purposes, weights will be rounded down to the nearest whole number. Additional points (as outlined below) will be applied from the whole number. For example, a fish weighing 200.5 pounds will be counted as 200 points (prior to any additional points added, as outlined below). 

7. CATCH DOCUMENTATION

The following steps must be taken by the angler/team to document each catch/release:

    1. REPORTING: Teams must report all hook-ups and captures/releases to Tournament Control via VHF channel 65 or via cell phone at 310-948-1011. The alternate VHF channel is 71. Information required is the team name, angler name, time of hook-up, time of capture or release, and grid number. Hook-ups and captures/releases can also be reported to one of the following committee boats: Royal Slam, Half Moon, Joker. 
      1. All hook-ups and captures will be updated live via CatchStat. 
    2. TACKLE: The full length of the leader and double line (if used), as well as a mainline sample of at least 5 meters (16.5 feet) must be provided for any weighed or released fish.
    3. VIDEOS & PHOTOGRAPHS: All weighed fish must be photographed at the time of weigh-in.  Whenever possible, include a photograph with the fish on the scale. For released fish, it is required to provide video documentation of the fish being released. 
    4. DAILY CATCH CARD: Anglers are required to submit a completed and signed “tournament catch card” for each fish that is weighed or released. The tournament will provide the catch cards. 

8. RELEASE RULES & DOCUMENTATION

A swordfish is considered released when: a) the swivel between the mainline or double line and leader hits the rod tip, b) the mate grabs the leader or, c) the wind-on leader comes through the rod tip. 

Anglers/teams reporting a release must provide video footage confirming the species, and showing that one of the actions listed above occurred. 

Please release the fish in good condition by either removing the hooks or cutting the leader as close to the hooks as possible. 

9. CATEGORIES & AWARDS

ANGLER CATEGORY (based on total points, including weighed and released fish)

  • First Place Angler
  • Second Place Angler
  • Third Place Angler

TOP JUNIOR ANGLER CATEGORY (based on total points, including weighed and released fish, for anglers ages 16 and under)

BIGGEST FISH CATEGORY (based on the weight of the fish)

TOP TEAM CATEGORY (based on total team points, including weighed and released fish)

  • First Place Team
  • Second Place Team
  • Third Place Team

In case of a tie, the winner will be determined by which team reached the number of points first.

10. WEIGH STATIONS

Fish can be weighed on any land based; certified scale that has been certified by California Division of Measurement Standards within the last 12 months. The tournament also has designated three separate weigh stations (see below) throughout the range of the tournament boundaries. If using one of these three weigh stations, teams must make prior arrangements if they plan on arriving after the weigh station’s normal business hours.  Catches made on Friday, September 29, 2023, need not be weighed that same day; however, all catches must be weighed by 10:00 p.m. (PDT) on Saturday, September 30, 2023.

Teams must use official tournament weight slips when weighing their catch.  All weight slips, catch cards and photographs or video recordings must be submitted to the Tournament Director by 6 AM (PDT) on Sunday, November 10, 2024.  This documentation may be submitted by text or email to: Jack Vitek (786-863-3321 or [email protected]).

SAN DIEGO – The Marlin Club
619-222-8677

NEWPORT BEACH – Balboa Angling Club
949-673-6316

CATALINA – Avalon Green Pier
Avalon Harbor Department – VHF Channel 12

IGFA Representative at Avalon Green Pier – VHF Channel 65

11. PROTESTS

All protests must be submitted in writing (either by text or email) to the Tournament Director Jack Vitek (786-863-3321 or [email protected]) by 9 p.m. (PTD) on the date of the infraction. All decisions by the Tournament Director are final.

Video Evidence:

General Instructions & Suggestions

  • Be sure to possess the appropriate cables, adapters, cards, readers, etc. to allow the tournament officials to download your evidence if needed.
  • Designate a qualified team member familiar with your camera operation to bring the evidence (and Daily Report Form) to the tournament officials.
  • Have two cameras recording during the fight. Back up is never a bad idea.
  • Be sure to have batteries fully charged and extra batteries, SD cards, etc. on hand.
  • Recordings should be cued up for tournament official review.
  • Be familiar with your equipment.
  • Test your equipment prior to the Tournament start.
  • Designate someone to record the release evidence, be familiar with the equipment and the tournament rules.
  • Do not store the equipment in an air-conditioned environment to avoid fogging.
  • Underwater video (i.e. use of a GoPro or other underwater device) is the best way to positively identify your billfish species.
  • Be sure you have captured all the evidence necessary for qualification prior to submission.

 Tournament Registration

The entry fee schedule for the 2024 IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open is listed below. Entry fee includes a robust team bag/bucket filled with high-quality product, and entry to the awards ceremony at the exclusive Dana Point Yacht Club including free food and beverage. Anglers/Teams are responsible for chartering or providing their own boats for the tournament.

Please click the button below to register your team on CatchStat. For any questions on registration, please contact IGFA at 954-927-2628 or email [email protected].

Awards Ceremony – Guest Tickets

Guest tickets to the awards ceremony are available for purchase for non-tournament anglers. TICKETS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE AT THE DOOR.

Please check back later for more information!

 

Scoring for the 2024 IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open is provided by CatchStat.  Started in 2005 CatchStat has provided live-scoring to over 200 tournaments around the world. 

Second Annual IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open Recap

The IGFA hosted the second annual IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open last month in beautiful Southern California from November 11-13, 2022. Over the two days of fishing, a total of four fish were weighed with several other fish hooked, but not landed. This year a total of 20 teams participated in the tournament, ranging from San Diego to the Channel Islands.

Team Bounty Hunter won First Place Team with a total of 352 points, coming from two catches weighing 149 pounds and 203 pounds, both caught by angler Guy James Sacco II. Sacco’s 203-pound broadbill also earned him second place in the Biggest Fish Category.  

Team F/V Lucas J took the Second Place Team category with a total of 215 points derived from a single fish caught by angler Jeff Richardson. This impressive swordfish also earned Richardson first place in the Biggest Fish Category.

The Third Place Team award went to Chumani with a total of 197 points that they earned from a single fish caught by angler Keith McDonald, which also earned him third place in the Biggest Fish Category.   

As part of the IGFA’s commitment to research and conservation, a member from Barbara Block’s lab at Stanford University was on-site at the Balboa Angling Club to remove the lateral rectus muscles from the harvested fish to learn more about how these incredible animals regulate their brain and eye temperatures when pursuing prey in deep, cold water.  

The winning anglers and teams were celebrated on Sunday, November 13, 2022, at the beautiful San Juan Hills Golf Club.

The IGFA congratulates all the winning anglers and teams, and thanks to the generosity of our sponsors and everyone who participated in this event.

We look forward to seeing you all next year!

 

 

 

Online Auction

The IGFA will host its Tournament Series online auction to coincide with the 2024 IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open. Angling enthusiasts from around the world can bid on world-class fishing trips, tackle, artwork, and more! All proceeds from the IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open and the online auction go directly to support the IGFA’s conservation programs. 

For information on how to donate to the online auction, please contact IGFA Events Coordinator Rachel Sylvester at [email protected] or 954-924-4222. 

 

 

 

Thank You to Our Tournament Sponsors!

For information on how to sponsor the IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open and/or the IGFA Tournament Series Auction, please contact IGFA Marketing Director Jack Vitek at [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IGFA SoCal Swordfish Open

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