SPO 2017 Rules

Tournament Rules & Regulations


Last Minute Rule Changes May Be Instituted at the Captain’s Meeting


  1. Tournament Cap – The 2017 St. Pete Open will accept 300 public registrations. Early registration will be available and it is highly recommended that each shooter register as early as possible to ensure entry. Registration will end once 300 public entries have been receivedOnly those who have completed the approved on line Registration and Waiver forms are considered registered and may participate


  1. One tournament participant must be present from his/her boat/crew/team at the Captain’s Meeting which follows the late registration on Friday night. Attending tournament participant may pick up 5 additional shooter bags for others shooting on the same boat only. No boats are permitted to leave port prior to Captain’s Meeting. Failure to check in and claim shooter bags may result in disqualification. There will be no reimbursements for the tournament fees once paid by the participant. Sorry, no exceptions.


  1. Tournament Harvest Times: This tournament is a one day tournament only and is open for spearfishing on Saturday at 12:01 AM and is closed at the weigh-in line on Saturday at 7:30 PM. No fish may be harvested prior to Saturday (the day of the tournament) and may not be in the possession of the participant (on the boat, cooler or any other location where the participant is or has been during the tournament) and must be presented in a manner that is consistent with a fish harvested on the same day of the tournament.


  1. Both tank and free diving are permissible. In order to be eligible, fish must have been caught by the participant using a spear loaded or propelled by his/her own muscle power. Lobster may be grabbed or netted per Florida Marine Patrol and Federal regulations. No powerheads are allowed to obtain any tournament species.


Eligible fish sizes are based on Gulf of Mexico Federal Rules, all lengths are minimum required:

      1. Black Grouper – 24″ minimum overall
      2. Grouper – 20” minimum Red,  Yellowfin, and Yellowmouth. 24” Gag. 16”minimum Scamp (20” Atlantic), (NO warsaw, yellow edge, coney’s or hinds).
      3. Snapper – 16” minimum overall for Mutton, Red Snapper 16″ minimum which may be included if the season permits. 12” all other snapper overall. Gray (Mangrove)Cubera, Dog, Schoolmaster, Yellowtail.  (NO lanes, beeliners, mahogany, queen .)
      4. Pelagic – fork length minimums, Kingfish – 24”. African Pompano – 24”. Dolphin (Mahi) – (20″ Atlantic) No size limit in Gulf of Mexico. Permit – 11”. Wahoo – No size limit, Blackfin Tuna – No size limit, Almaco Jack – No size limit.  (NO bonito, Spanish macs)
      5. Hogfish – 12” minimum to fork.
      6. Cobia and Barracuda – Cobia 33” min to fork, Barracuda – min 28” overall.
      7. Spiny/Shovel Lobster – 3” minimum on carapace for spiny. No weighing of broken off parts, no holes in any part of lobster.
      8. Sheepshead – 12” minimum overall.

      All Fish underlined listed above are eligible, any fish not listed will not be counted for eligibility for tournament. One fish per above category will be weighed towards your final points score. Be sure to collect each shooters fish on a group of 1-2 stringers as practical to speed up weigh in process.


  1. All local, Florida & Federal rules, size limits, license requirements, and bag limits apply. Federal Rules supersede local or State Rules. There are no boundaries.


  1. A Group Category Ticket will be given for each group category when one species from that category is weighed, this category ticket will be added to a raffle for that category’s major Category Prize. Be sure to keep these tickets as the prize is a major prize and anyone who weights a fish in any category has an equal chance to win.


  1. Three (3) Mystery Tickets will be given to each participant at the Captains Meeting and additional Mystery Tickets CAN NOT BE purchased. Only registered tournament participants are permitted to pick prizes.


  1. Order of prize pick is governed by the above species order. One prize pick per diver, except holders of mystery tickets and group category tickets.


  1. Prize winners will be judged on largest remaining fish in each category, after previous winner’s entries are deleted


  1. Primary Trophies are awarded for 1st, 2nd & 3rd place in all eight (8) categories. Women’s, Junior’s & Freedive scoring includes all categories. The aggregate score for all divisions is 1 point per pound, with a maximum 20 points per fish. Junior is 17 or under. Women’s, Junior’s, & Freedive divisions include all species included in the tournament list. A trophy will also be presented for the diver with the largest, by weight, lionfish.


  1. Each participant is responsible for their own safety, at a minimum it is requested that participants wear an inflatable rescue device and all safety equipment that is standard for the sport and local conditions.


  1. No boat may approach under power, without permission, within 150 feet of an anchored boat flying a diver’s down or Alpha flag.


  1. No participant may receive assistance with any fish until he/she has one hand on the boat. Participants may help each other net lobster.


  1. Weigh Scales will be open for weighing fish at 6:00 PM. Participants must have their gutted fish and lobster in the weigh-in line by 7:30 PM or they will be disqualified. Fish must be brought to the weigh-in line on ice and in a proper container. ALL FISH MUST BE PROPERLY GUTTED, CLEAN OF DIRT AND DEBRIS AND PROPERLY ICED DOWN. If any fish does not look fresh and/or the catch looks like it was taken with an explosive device, that catch and the participant will be disqualified. Fish must be weighed by at least one participant from the same boat/crew/team.


  1. All fish and lobster weighed from any one participant must be weighed at one time. No two fish of the same species will be weighed to see which is heavier. Only one fish per category, per participant can be weighed in. Tournament record fish must be re-weighed and verified before it can become a tournament record.
  1. All lionfish will be counted and weighted by members and volunteers from Reef Monitoring, Inc., with the assistance of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Lionfish Team.  .  All lionfish will be in a separate container and will not be presented at the category weigh stations.  The lionfish booth will be located under the pavilion prior to the category weigh stations. Lionfish do not have to be gutted.  Reef Monitoring will be the official recorders and have the final report as to the winning weight and numbers.  All lionfish must be presented to Reef Monitoring officials on ice and in a “fresh caught” condition.  Any warm or obviously fish not caught on tournament day will be disqualified and must be removed from the property by the shooter.  The disposal of any fish on the property or the waters surrounding the property will result in the disqualification of the shooter from the tournament. All processed lionfish will become the property of Reef Monitoring, LLC. For each lionfish donated to Reef Montoring, shooters will receive a raffle ticket.  Tickets will be drawn after the weigh in for lionfish prize (or prizes).  The more lionfish you donate, the better your chance of winning.  There is no limit to the number of lionfish that may be submitted.  All lionfish must be well iced and in edible condition as determined by Reef Monitoring to qualify for raffle tickets.


  1. It is the participant’s responsibility to VERIFY his/her catches and weights with the weigh masters recording AND pick up a Group Category Ticket for each species weighed in. Once the participant signs the weigh-in slip, he/she cannot challenge or protest his/her recorded weights. The Group Category Ticket/recording area is located at the end of the weigh-in stage. It is the shooter’s responsibility to obtain their Category tickets at this time. Category tickets will not be re-issued for lost or unclaimed tickets.


  1. In the event a boat becomes disabled, all participants catch may be brought into the weigh-in area by at least one of the participants from the same boat/crew/team. This person is responsible for weight verification & Group Category Ticket pickup.


  1. Each participant entering this tournament has given implied and expressed consent for the St. Petersburg Underwater Club to use his/her name and/or likeness to promote the efforts of the St. Petersburg Underwater Club, the St. Pete Open and/or spearfishing.


  1. Disqualification: A tournament participant can be disqualified from all aspects of this tournament and from any future St. Pete Open Tournaments for any of the following: 1) Infraction of tournament rules. 2) Rough play, unsafe or careless behavior. 3) Unsportsmanlike conduct during any of the tournament activities. 4) Failure to comply with any protest investigation 5) Failure to abide by the final decision of the Tournament Rules Committee. Immediate disqualification will be in effect if any participant is uncooperative with an investigation of potential rules violations. This may include but not limited to, at request of the tournament rules committee, submitting to a polygraph test, the presentation of dive computer data and/or GPS route information from the tournament day and prior days.  (6)  The St. Pete Underwater Club reserves the right to exclude any individual from any aspect of the St. Pete Open and/or reject the registration from any individual whom the SPUC or tournament committee considers a liability, safety hazard or distraction.


  1. Decisions and interpretations of all these rules by the Tournament Rules Committee shall be final. All rules violations and protests will be decided by a majority rule of the Tournament Rules Committee. This committee shall consist of: the current SPUC President, the current SPUC Vice-President; the current SPUC Secretary. If any member of this Tournament Rules Committee is involved in the dispute, then that member will be replaced by the current SPUC Treasurer or Last Year’s SPUC President or other SPUC past presidents.