We recently experienced a double-hook-up on marlin during a tournament. The fish were all over the place and during the cockpit chaos the butt section of one angler’s rod hit the shoulder of the other angler as they passed each other. Somehow, we managed to tag and release both fish, but I wasn’t sure if I needed to disqualify one of them due to the rod touching someone other than the angler?
Although the IGFA rules state that the act of anyone other than the angler touching the rod, reel or line would disqualify the catch, the situation you described would not prevent this catch from qualifying under IGFA rules. The intent of this angling rule is to prevent anyone assisting the angler in fighting the fish. In no way is the accidental brushing of the rod/reel against someone while moving in the cockpit assisting the angler in fighting the fish. However, situations such as having someone other than the angler adjust the drag, hook the fish or undo a tip-wrapped rod definitely assists the angler and so would result in a disqualification.
IGFA Rule Book: Rules Explained:
Accidentally Bumping Angler’s Rod
Answer supplied by: Jack Vitek
Position: IGFA World Records Coordinator
This question ran in ISSUE 130 of BlueWater magazine: APR / MAY 2018