A ‘safety line’ is allowed to be connected to an angler’s outfit. But can a ‘safety line’ also be connected to the angler themselves? For example, can a loose rope (that takes no strain) be tied from the gamechair to a seat harness – or from a cleat to the angler’s belt? Or, can an angler be tied into a boat? This would provide assurance for anglers when using heavy tackle – as some are often scared of being pulled off their feet, or out of the chair and dragged over the transom into the water.
Last season, an angler was fishing stand-up 60kg tackle for giant black marlin off Cairns. After a brutal 30 min fight, the angler was having difficulty standing up so the crew tied him to the ladder leading up to the flybridge. The angler supposedly took full strain of the line on his arms and back – but was held in place by ropes around his waist connecting him firmly to the boat so that he could maintain his stance and fight the fish. He eventually landed the ‘1000lb-plus’ marlin and tagged it.
A safety line can be attached to the angler’s rod, but harnesses may not be attached to the fighting chair or any other part of the boat. Although not explicitly specified in our rules, this would also exclude tying the angler to any portion of the boat because this would remove some or all of the strain from the fish.
IGFA Rule Book: Rules Explained: