Tournament Rules

2021 Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge Rules


1. Safety:Safety is a paramount consideration in this event. Since this is a recreational event we ask that no competitors exceed the recreational diving limit of 130 feet, or the maximum depth your training allows. Do not push your training limits or violate any safe practices.  No fish is worth an injury or worse.

2.Eligibility:This event is open to both certified scuba divers as well as freedivers. All divers under the age of 18 MUST have a release form signed by their legal guardian. All competitors must have a valid Florida Saltwater fishing license. If asked, you must be able to present this at the weigh in.  We have no mechanism to verify your level of certification, training, or experience.  This will be the responsibility of the captain of each boat to make sure safe practices are in place.

3.Junior Division: While we encourage everyone to engage the next generation of divers in the junior category, with the shift to a team format there will be no junior division.

4.Registration: Registration for this event can be accomplished via the online event registration via EventBrite only.

5.Late Registration: Deadline to register for this event is at the end of the Mandatory Captains Meeting, 9pm on Friday September 17.  The deadline to register and get a tournament shirt for each team member is 9pm Friday September 10 (Kickoff party at ScubaQuest Sarasota).

6.Diver Check in:There is a mandatory diver check in and Captains meeting on Friday, September 17th. At least one member of each boat must attend this meeting.  If coming by boat, pull up to the Marina Jack fuel dock, come inside, someone will point you in the right direction. Any updates, rule changes or new information will be given out at the Captains meeting.  Liability waivers for all team members are due by the conclusion of this meeting.

7.Captains Meeting:This is mandatory and will begin at 8:00 PM. A member of each boat must attend this meeting. Failure to attend the meeting will result in disqualification.  Location: Marina Jacks, Sarasota.

8.Entry:No diver is officially entered into the tournament until the tournament director has received all properly filled out paperwork and all fees are paid. This includes both the team registration and the waiver forms for all team members.

9.Spearfishing Time:Participants are permitted to leave the dock once the Captains meeting has concluded. Spearfishing will be allowed from completion of the Captains Meeting, until the weigh in line closes at 1 PM on Sunday, September 19.

10.Weigh in:The weigh-in will take place on Sunday, September 19 at Marina Jack starting at 11:00am. All participants from each boat must be in the weigh in line no later than 1pm.

11. Fish information:All competitors must abide by local, state, and federal laws during the duration of the tournament. Any last minute fishery closures will be put out during the Captains meeting. All fish must be taken legally and landed by the diver weighing the fish. Powerheads and rebreathers are not authorized for use. All fish that are presented to be weighed must be iced, gutted, and have an appearance of freshness. No mutilated fish will be weighed. Fish presented that are shorter than Local, State, or Federal regulations will result in the team being disqualified. Fish that do not appear to be well iced and/or look fresh will be disqualified. All fish must be harvested from the boat on record, and all members must be in the weigh in line by 1pm Sunday.

12. Eligible Fish:Species, Quantity and Minimum Size that will be allowed.


Quantity Allowed

Minimum Size



16″ Scamp, 20″ Red, 24″ Gag/Black



10″ Gray (mangrove), 12″ Cubera and 18” Mutton Overall



14″ to Fork



12″ Overall



12″ overall  


Cobia, AP, AJ, Pompano, Permit **see FWC for all current minimum size requirements for the Gulf of Mexico

* Minimum size based on Gulf Coast requirements. If participating outside of the Gulf of Mexico please refer to your Local/State/Federal regulations to ensure compliance.

13. Points System:Each team must choose which fish to weigh-in. The officials will not weigh your fish individually for you to determine which fish you will turn in. This is a team event, and one fish from each category above can be weighed.  Cumulative weight = points total. Call it overall weight, call it overall points.  They are the same either way.

14. Disqualification:The following criteria are grounds for automatic disqualification:

Arriving late to the weigh-in.  Fish sharing between teams. Cheating of any kind.  Attempting to weigh-in fish that are under the minimum size required by Local/State/Federal laws.

15. Protest:A diver may file a protest with the tournament director or designated representative. Any and all protests must be filed within ten minutes after the completion of the weigh-in. The protest committee will issue a decision in a timely manner, and all decisions will be final. There is a $100 cash challenge fee. If your protest is upheld you will get your money back. If your protest is not upheld the money will be donated to the charity.

16. Eligibility:Commercial, Recreational, and Professional tournament anglers are eligible to enter. Anyone with a fishery violation within the last 5 years is not eligible to enter any division of the tournament.

17. Awards and Prizes:Recognition of the top teams will be noted at the weigh in ceremony on Sunday, September 19th, at the close of the weigh in process.  Checks will be mailed to winning team captains within 2 weeks of the conclusion of the weigh in ceremony.

1st place team – team with the most pounds/points

2nd place team – team with the 2nd most pounds/points

3rd place team – team with the 3rd most pounds/points

This tournament is established and run by volunteers from the Suncoast Underwater Club and Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge.  All proceeds from donors and entry fees will go directly to the tournament winning teams above or to this year’s charity, Operation Second Chance, Sarasota Branch.

This is a gender neutral event.  We will not be celebrating your gender, sex, or how you identify therein.  We aim to be inclusive.  There will be no awards based on these criteria.

There is not a prize table for this tournament.  It is a cash prize tournament with rules established to level the playing field between individuals and among teams.  100% of proceeds go to the charity.  If you cheat, you are a bad person and you are taking from those who served to protect us.

There will be no prizes other than noted above.  There will be no certificates of participation.  There will, however, be hugs available during the weigh in ceremony from the tournament director upon request.

18. Assumed risk/liability: By registering as a captain of a team or participating on a team, each person participating in this tournament agrees to hold the Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge, Suncoast Underwater Club, all sponsors, volunteers, and everyone else harmless for any liability.  Diving is an inherently dangerous sport and you are responsible for yourself and your team members.  Be safe!

19. Donations:  If you are interested in donating to this tournament or to this very active and worthy non-profit, please let us know via the contact page.