IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) Rules Explained

What Do You Do When You Run Out Of Line?

QUESTION:

What Do You Do When You Run Out Of Line?

If an angler is playing a fish and is about to be spooled, can they jump overboard and continue to fight the fish – assuming that when they re-enter the boat, nobody touches the tackle or line? This situation might occur when multiple anglers hook powerful fish that then head in opposite directions – such as when trolling for sailfish with light-tackle.

Also, if an angler is playing a fish and is about to be spooled, can they clip-on another outfit to the first, then dump the spooled outfit into the water and continue playing the fish with the additional line on the second outfit? Again, this would assume that the angler does not allow anyone to touch either outfit and that they do not put their rod in a rodholder or rest the outfit on the gunwale or the like. This scenario is sometimes used by anglers chasing huge tuna from party boats where there is no opportunity to chase a hooked fish.

ANSWER:

There are no IGFA rules that prohibit someone from getting out of a boat to continue fighting a fish. In fact, this is somewhat common for shallow-water fish such as bonefish. However, the angler must re-enter the boat (if necessary) without anyone touching rod, reel or line, which could prove very difficult when fishing offshore and/or for big-game species.

The second situation would not be compliant, as IGFA rules state that the following are illegal:
a. changing the rod or reel while the fish is being played; and
b. splicing, removing or adding to the line while the fish is being played.

IGFA Rule Book: Rules Explained:

What Do You Do When You Run Out Of Line?

Scroll to Top