IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) Rules Explained

Can A Fish Be Struck From The Rodholder?


Can a fish be struck from the rodholder?

When targeting large marlin on heavy-tackle, it is customary for the angler to feed and hook the fish while the rod is still in the gunnel rodholder. Once the drag is engaged and the angler feels that the fish is hooked, the angler then transfers the rod from the rodholder to the fighting chair, where they continue fighting the fish. I know the IGFA has rules against fighting a fish from a rodholder, but would the hook-up actions mentioned above result in a disqualification?


No, hooking the fish with the rod in the rodholder would not disqualify the catch – but that has not always been the case. Several years ago, the IGFA changed their rules to state the following: “If a rod holder is used, once the fish is hooked, the angler must remove the rod from the rod holder as quickly as possible.” This rule change was specifically designed to better accommodate big-game, heavy-tackle anglers who are using large, cumbersome tackle.

IGFA Rule Book: Rules Explained:

Can A Fish Be Struck From The Rodholder?

Answer supplied by: Jack Vitek
Position: IGFA World Records Coordinator

This question ran in ISSUE 121 of BlueWater magazine: JAN / FEB 2017

For the complete feature, including all photos and information captions, you can purchase back-issues here

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