doc_ding_logocontact: Birgie Miller
call: (239) 292-0566
fax: (239) 472-7803




“Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament
May 8, 2015 Captain’s Meeting & Auction 5-9 p.m.
May 9, 2015 Tournament 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Purse:  100% of the entry fees will go to the tournament winners
All sponsorships and gifts will go to the Charity (“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society) to support conservation efforts at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. 
Tournament Entry Fee: Pre-Registration is $500 per boat/team with up to 4 anglers.  Each additional person is $125 with a maximum of 6 anglers per boat.    Once officially registered, all entry fees are non-refundable. Deadline for Entry is April 30, 2015.
Each person on the boat must be entered in the tournament. No non-competitors are allowed on the boat during competition hours.  Licensed guides may fish as anglers.
Check-In – Team Check-in opens at 5:00 p.m. and closes at 9:00 p.m. on Friday, May 8, 2015.  All anglers are invited to attend the Captains Dinner.  CLOSED to other guests.  Only participating anglers and sponsors are included in this May 8 gathering.  Check-in table located at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, Ft. Myers Beach, FL.
The captain or a designated crewmember must check in at table to receive tournament credentials, captain's bags, t-shirts, and other tournament related materials.  Only one designated team member will attend the captains rules review meeting.  The remaining members can stay outside and enjoy food and entertainment.  Rules will be printed and placed in each Angler’s bag to review the night prior.
Please complete all angler entry forms and liability releases from all anglers prior to tournament check-in if possible, and have ready when approaching table.  Anglers without signed sheets, must be in attendance that night to officially sign.  Check-in hours may be extended at the discretion of the tournament committee.  THERE WILL BE NO TEAM REGISTRATIONS FOR THE TOURNAMENT AFTER APRIL 30, 2015
Fishing Boundaries:  This is a boat tournament.  All boats must leave from designated marker and those with possible wins must return to tournament headquarters to qualify for prizes.  Boundaries are unlimited for the area Gulf and Bays, including the Caloosahatchee River.  However there is to be NO CANAL fishing.  
Truth Verification Test:   Winning Captains WILL be required to submit and pass a truth verification test prior to being presented any prize. Failure to submit to such test automatically revokes all claims to prizes and disqualifies the Captain and crew from the tournament.  Your entry in this tournament implies expressed approval that you and all anglers and crew members will submit to a truth verification test if requested by the Rules Committee.
Fishing & Boating Laws:  Competitors must obey all local, state and federal laws while participating in this tournament, including the no wake laws in all areas.  All anglers are responsible for knowing and abiding by the rules of the tournament and by the state and federal laws governing safety and fishing in this tournament. Please ensure that all anglers have current fishing licenses.  NO jig fishing will be allowed
Boat Identification - All boats must leave from designated markers by water on the day of the tournament. No trailering. Each boat will be assigned a boat number. This boat number must be displayed to the official starter upon departure, during all fishing hours, and upon your return at check-in.  Any teams in a possible prize position MUST return to tournament headquarters by 5:00 p.m. to check in.  All other non-prize teams need only call to acknowledge they are off the water and finished with the tournament.  If any winning teams do not return to tournament headquarters after the tournament, they will not be eligible for prizes.  All teams are required to call in their catch status.  Please use boat number/team name when checking in or out via radio or cell phone.

This is a Catch & Release Tournament
·        All Fishing must be done from the boat.
·        A Tarpon will be judged caught when the angler or one of the team members touches below the leader knot (NOT the double line) and secures a photo or video with the wrist band of team number showing. 
·        If an angler is eligible for an individual award (senior, female), the tarpon must be hooked and caught by that one person.  No other person may touch the rod, reel or line until the leader is at the boat.  At that time another person may touch the leader only for the purpose of releasing the catch. 
·        While the tournament does not require measurement or weighing of the fish, it is required that the catch be a good faith estimate of 50 pounds or more.  Fish smaller than this will not be eligible. 
·        Remove the hook from the fish or cut the leader as close to the tarpon’s mouth as possible. 
·        The fish must be released alive to be counted. No points will be awarded for any boated Tarpon.
·        Maximum of 6 lines allowed in the water at one time. This includes rods being used to catch bait.
·        All fish must be caught on rod and reel and all fish must be caught from the boat.
·        Bait – Artificial and live bait will be allowed. 
·        Add-Ons - Once the tournament has started, NO items and/or people will be allowed to be transferred to any vessel in the competition.  This includes, but is not limited to, bait, equipment etc. 
·        Leader - Any size leader material may be used.   The leader may be no longer than 6 feet from the main line and/or double line. 
·        If a rod is broken while playing a fish, the fish may still be landed and counted.
·        The use of gaffs on a tarpon is not permitted. Jigging is not permitted
·        Ties will be broken by the time the 1st tarpon are caught by the team. 

Validating the Catch
Reporting - To qualify for points each release must be called in to the Scorekeeper immediately and be acknowledged. Numbers to call are in the captain’s bags.
In order for your fish to count in tournament standings, each boat must call in their catch, time of catch and send a photo or video to the scorekeeper with the wrist band showing.  Teams who may be in a winning position, must be back at Doc Ford’s FMB with their photos/video no later than 5:30 p.m.
Photographing your catch -  While touching the leader, a teammate must photograph or videotape the leader touch and the tarpon.  The time the fish is caught must be called in or texted as well. The wristband, which will be provided at the captains meeting, must be visible in the photo.
Digital cameras must be provided by the Angler and/or Guide.  These cameras can also be from cell phones.
A photograph on the digital camera’s screen, of the leader touch and fish caught, must be sent via cell phone or shown to the scorekeeper at the end of the tournament.  If the photo is taken by a smartphone, then the photo can be sent directly via email or text to the scorekeeper. 
Fishing hours:  
6:30 a.m. (approximately) Boats will be called in order of their registration numbers given during Captain’s Meeting, which will be based upon date of official entry. 
STARTING LOCATION:  On the day of the tournament (May 9) tournament boats will meet at Marker “2” (red) which is near the Sanibel causeway CSpan bridge (Gulf Side) to check in with the official tournament  boat (Diversified Yacht Services Boat) for scheduled departures.  Boats will be called in order.  Any teams NOT arriving to the tournament boat BEFORE 7:30 a.m. will not be eligible for prizes. 
7:00 a.m. to 4:00 pm.  Lines in the water at 7:00 a.m.
Each line must be removed from the water by 4:00 p.m. unless your hook-up time prior to 4:00 p.m. has been registered with the tournament official either by radio or cell phone and acknowledged.  The deadline for final post check-in will be 5:30 p.m. sharp.
Numbers to call on tournament day will be announced at the meeting and captains will be given laminated cards with the numbers.   For safety reasons it is IMPORTANT that ALL captains check in at the end of the tournament either by boat, radio or phone, letting the tournament know you are off the water.
This is an honor system tournament with each angler being responsible for his/her own performance. Any person witnessing a rules violation has a right to file a protest, but there will be a $250 cash deposit for any protest.  If the protest is upheld by the committee, then the money will be returned.  If not, the amount is forfeited and goes directly to the charity.  All protests must be submitted in written form to the tournament rules committee by 5:30 pm on the day of fishing that the proposed infraction occurred.
Once the awards presentation begins, all results of the tournament are considered fair and final. All decisions made by the Tournament Rules Committee with regards to protest or truth verification examinations are final.
Weather - There is no weather committee. Determination to fish is at the sole discretion of the captain and crew, who assume all liability for their decisions.
The Tournament Rules Committee reserves the right to call the tournament for any weather related or safety related issue. Five teams entered in the tournament will be contacted by the tournament committee to get their input on the weather and majority decision will rule.  If Saturday May 9 is determined “not fishable”, the tournament may be held Sunday, May 10, 2015.  Entry fees are not refundable.
     Junior Division: Anglers 15 years old and younger will compete in the junior angler division. Prizes will be awarded, but no cash prizes. NO EXCEPTIONS.  Anglers 16 years and older will compete in the adult division.
     Female Anglers: Female anglers will compete in the regular tournament above with no separate cash prizes. However, a prize and special recognition will be given to the non-professional female angler with the most catches.
    Senior Anglers (Age 60+):  Senior anglers (male & female) will compete in the regular tournament above with no separate cash prizes. However, a prize and special recognition will be given to the non-professional senior angler with the most catches.
    Non-Professional Team:  Any team with NO professional angler or guide will compete in the regular tournament above. However, a prize and special recognition will be given to the amateur team (one with NO professional angler on its team) with the most catches.
Awards – 100% payback on entrance fees  = Grand Champion – 45%  
2nd Place - 25% 3rd Place – 15%  4th Place - 10%   5th Place – 5%
Awards:  All cash and merchandise awards will be made to the tournament entrant(s) and a valid SSN is required to receive awards.  Anglers must be present at awards ceremony to receive awards.                                                      

 Rules updated:  April 28, 2015