IGFA rules state that “resting the rod in a rodholder, on the gunwale of the boat, or any other object while playing the fish” is illegal. However, can an angler kneel on the deck of the boat and rest his/her arms, but not the rod, on the transom?
Even though the angler is technically not resting the rod itself, this act would be considered illegal. The intent of this rule is that the angler, and not another object, bear the strain of the fish.
How is this different from using a harness or fighting chair?
Whether in a stand-up or bucket (chair) harness, the angler bears the entire burden of the fish.
IGFA Rule Book: Rules Explained: