IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) Rules Explained

How Long To Pick Up The Rod?


Removing from rodholder

I often fish offshore with a limited crew, and something recently made me question my techniques for when we hook-up. When we get a strike, I (as the captain) accelerate the boat to ensure a solid hook-set. During this time, my crew try to quickly clear the other lines before taking the outfit connected to the fish out of the rodholder to begin the fight. In some cases, this process can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Is this situation legal by IGFA rules?


The IGFA’s International Angling Rules state that “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.” The intent behind this rule is that the fish, in theory, is being played by the boat while it is in the rodholder, therefore giving the angler an unfair advantage over the fish. That said, there is no set time limit placed on how quickly the angler must remove the rod from the holder.

However, the IGFA has historically not considered “as quickly as possible” to mean that the rod can be removed after the lines have been cleared. So, to answer the question directly – the situation described above would not be IGFA-legal as the angler does not remove the rod from the rodholder as quickly as possible.

IGFA Rule Book: Rules Explained:

How Long To Pick Up The Rod?

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

This question ran in ISSUE 129 of BlueWater magazine: FEB / MAR 2018

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

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