IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) Rules Explained

Let Go Of Your Angler


Let go of your angler

The IGFA’s Angling Regulation No.1 states: “From the time that a fish strikes or takes a bait or lure, the angler must hook, fight and land or boat the fish (or release it) without the aid of any other person, except as provided in these regulations.” Also, in the section detailing acts that will disqualify a catch, rule No.2 includes the statement that a catch will be disqualified by: “The act of persons … giving any aid other than that allowed in the rules and regulations.”

Is it therefore in breach of the IGFA rules for an angler that is fighting a fish with stand-up tackle to be steadied by someone, often by holding onto the angler’s waist, or the rod belt or harness?


This is a great question. Technically, there is nothing that prohibits someone else touching the angler. However, there is a fine line between touching an angler and providing assistance to the extent that you aid the angler in fighting a fish. For example, if an angler were about to slip or fall because of rough sea conditions and a crewman ever so briefly grabbed the angler by the shoulder to steady him or her and immediately let go, we would not consider this a breach of IGFA rules. On the other hand, if there were a situation where an angler was being held by the waist or harness so that he or she was relieved of some of the strain of the fish then we would consider this an infraction because the assistant was helping the angler physically fight the fish. Situations like this represent grey areas which the IGFA judges on a case-by-case basis.

IGFA Rule Book: Rules Explained:

Let Go Of Your Angler

Answer supplied by: Jason Schratwieser
Position: IGFA Rules

This question ran in ISSUE 91 of BlueWater magazine: MAY / JUNE 2012

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

Scroll to Top