Captain Mel Redfish and Trout Tournament Official Rules

It’s pretty simple.   It is pretty easy to go by these.   The Classic is “All Amateur” and “All Lure”

Boundary:  Lines may only be “cast” in Pinellas, Manatee and Hillsborough County Waters.   Anglers may launch from locations inside other counties but “on their honor” can only actually attempt to catch fish in Pinellas, Manatee or Hillsborough County waters.  Adding Manatee County for 2018 makes this an “All Tampa Bay” event.

Tournament Lure Sponsors – You will receive a supply of lures from these companies.    You can buy and use other lures from these companies.    But only these companies.  If you use lures from another non affiliated company you will be disqualified.   The lure sponsors:

MirrOLure, 12 Fathom, Silly Willy/ The Joe Jig / The Edje!   Nekkid Ball Jigz,  Predator Eye Jigheads.

12 Fathom is the soft bait sponsor.    Mirrolure is the hard bait sponsor.   The other companies are jighead sponsors.    Mirrolure “Paul Brown” lures were deemed to be soft plastic therefore ineligible for the event.   These are your tournament lures.

Divisions“Open”, “Kayak” and “Junior”, “Ladies” and “Fly”.   The entry fee is $30 for all divisions.    Bonus Species (flounder) is a $5 buy in.  “The Overall Pool” is a $10 buy in.    Everyone paying the $10 goes against everyone else in all divisions that paid the $10.

The Tournament Target Species: 

“Longest” Trout & Redfish

Per Division: Winners for the “longest” trout, redfish and combined trout/redfish
1st, 2nd, 3rd place per species per division.   1st, 2nd, 3rd place combined total inches per division.    “Junior” division: 1st and 2nd place per species and combined total inches.
Grand Prize Category is the combined Total Inches for one Trout & Redfish

If required, you must have a valid Florida Fishing License

All Boats & Kayaks must meet all USCG and Marine Patrol safety equipment supplies.

Participants must obey all local and state manatee protection zones and speed limits.

No Live or Dead Baits can be used – designated Artificial Lures Only.   No scent may be added to your lures.   “Chumming” with live bait will also disqualify an angler.

The tournament is for fun and to benefit charity.  We expect people to go by the “Honor System” but people caught not using the designated lures will be disqualified.  You may not add any natural bait to the lure or extra attractant.

The contest is for the non-professional anglers.  Pros can participate but are ineligible to win prizes.

Your first camera photo should have all your lures and your measuring device.  Your assigned number should be on your measuring board and in all of your photos.   Your assigned number will be given to you at Check In the night before the tournament.

Your second photo should be your measuring stick shown at “first light”

Subsequent photos will be of your catch on the supplied measuring stick.

The longest redfish can win.  The longest trout can win.  The Grand Prize in every division is the “Longest Combined Inches” of your longest redfish and longest trout.

The Assigned Number needs to be in every photo.   The fish should be placed with the “head” of the fish at the “zero” section of the ruler and the photograph of the fish without tail pinch, “Natural Lay” for the tournament measurement.   Tournament judges will determine the length by what they see in the photos.  This cannot be disputed.   If you bring out a dead fish to say “this is how big it was” you will be completely disqualified from the entire event.

Only one rod at a time may be used, participants must hook, fight and secure the fish.   Only assistance applies to kids in the Junior division.

Only one photo per angler and per category may be entered,

All fish must be caught and released on the day of event “after 1st safe light” and the angler must get his camera to the weigh-in station by 2:30PM.

Participants are not locked into one division.   For instance:   A woman can participate in four divisions (five is she is under age 15).    A “Junior” also can select any division, exception:   He cannot compete in “Ladies”.  A Junior who is female could select any of the five divisions.   Participants in the Fly division can do it by powerboat, kayak or any way they wish.

In the event of a tie, photo turned in 1st will win the tiebreaker.

Tournament Director and judges have the final say on any catch or dispute that may arise.   Violation of the rules may warrant a disqualification.   A disqualified participant will not get their entry fee refunded.

ALL disputes or challenges must be filed the day of the tournament by 4:00pm & include a $100.00 Challenge fee. If the challenge is not upheld the fee is forfeited, if challenge is upheld the fee will be refunded.

The tournament directors reserve the right to limit the total number of participants and may deny entry based on previous issues regarding inappropriate actions by the entrant.  All rules of the event must be followed; failure to do so will result in disqualification.

Total participants:  For planning and scheduling, there is a limit to the number of people we can allow to sign up for the tournament: This will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and when the categories fill no more participants will be accepted.  Don’t wait to sign up or you’ll have to wait until next year!

*Cash Payouts depend on the total number of paid entrants.   A portion of angler entry fees will go to the selected charity.

*Final cash prize amounts will be announced and awarded at the weigh in

It is the sole responsibility of the entrants to have sufficient liability insurance to cover themselves and their guests if any. The tournament organizers are in no way liable for any injuries sustained by participants in this event.

                Pre-Event Registration

The night prior to the event.   Show up, pay if you haven’t paid before:  Get your “assigned number” and your tournament materials.  Fat Cat Tavern 5PM to 8PM.  If you cannot make it there contact the tournament director to make arrangements.

Tournament Schedule

Launch Location & Tournament Fishing Area – Participants may launch wherever they wish but they must fish in “Pinellas or Hillsborough and now, new for 2018 Manatee County waters.

Start Fishing – 1st “Safe Light”

Weigh In – 1 to 3PM at the Fat Cat Tavern.   Participants “must be in line” at 2:30PM in order to be eligible for a prize.

All digital photo cards must be received by no later than 2:30pm.   Arriving after 2:30pm, entrants will not be eligible for prizes.

Divisions – Junior – Open

Participants ages (14 & Under) will be fishing in the Junior division, Entry Fee – $ 30.00 Prizes & Trophies Awarded (No Cash)

Participants ages (15 and Up) will be fishing in the Open Division, Entry Fee – $ 30.00 or the No Motor, Fly or Ladies divisions for $30.    Cash Prizes & Trophies Awarded.

Divisions-  “No Motor” Or, the “Kayak Division” which is wade, paddlecraft, from land or bridges.   $30.00, competing only against other entered in that division.   Anyone “non-motorized” can select to compete in the “Open Division”.  You are only eligible to fish in one division.

Cash & Prizes

General Division: (15 yrs. & Older) – Entry Fee – $30.00

Grand Prize – Combined Total Length One Trout & One Redfish

1st Place – Cash & Trophy

2nd Place – Cash

3rd Place- Prize

Longest Trout – 1st Place – Cash    Trophy

2nd Place – Cash

3rd Place – Prize

Longest Redfish – 1st Place – $ Cash & Trophy

2nd Place – $ Cash

3rd Place- Prize
No Motor Division:  – Entry Fee $30.00

Grand Prize – Combined Total Length One Trout & One Redfish

1st Place – Cash    Trophy

2nd Place – Cash

3rd Place – Prize

Longest Trout – 1st Place – Cash    Trophy

2nd Place – Cash

3rd Place – Prize

Longest Redfish – 1st Place – Cash & Trophy

2nd Place – Cash

3rd Place – Prize

Junior Division: (14 yrs. & Under.) – Entry Fee – $30.00

Grand Prize – Combined Total Length One Trout & One Redfish

1st Place – Prizes & Trophy

2nd Place – Prizes

Longest Trout – 1st Place – Prizes / Trophy

2nd Place – Prizes

Longest Redfish – 1st Place – Prizes / Trophy

2nd Place – Prizes

If required all participants must have in their possession a valid Florida fishing license as required by FWC and must at all times follow all federal, state and local laws and must handle all fish in such a way as to reduce injury to the maximum extent possible.

Participants may sign up online at and pay thru secure PayPal Link or may download entry form, sign and send with payment to tournament director Neil Taylor


All Entry Fees Are Absolutely Non- Refundable!      

Participants must attend the captains meeting – Goody Bags will be distributed with measuring devices and photo code chip

All Entries Must BE Paid & Releases Signed – No Exceptions!

Severe/Inclement Weather: In the event that event coordinators due to weather must cancel the tournament, this event will be rescheduled for a date in the future.

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