Tournament 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.

2. Eligibility: This event is open to both certified 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.

3. Junior Division: Divers under the age of 18 are invited and encouraged to compete in the tournament. There will be an award for the top three junior shooters. All junior shooters, if not freediving, must be certified divers and must have a release signed by their legal guardian. Every effort should be made to ensure that an adult properly supervises all junior shooters. They are the future of the sport and we should mentor them to the best of our abilities.

4. Registration: There are four ways that you can register for this event, online, by mail, or in person at either the pre-party or the Captains meeting. When registering by mail or in person please fill out the registration and waiver forms completely. Mail in registrations must be postmarked no later than September 14th 2018 in order to receive the early registration discount.

5. Late Registration: You can register at the Captains meeting on September 28th 2018. The Captains meeting will be held at the Tarpon Bay Grill. If you are dropping off registration forms for people on your boat please make sure that they are filled out completely prior to your arrival.

6. Diver Check in: There is a mandatory diver check in and Captains meeting on Friday, September 28th 2018. At least one member of each boat must attend this meeting. If coming by boat, pull up to the Tarpon Bay Grill and 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.

7. Captains Meeting: This is mandatory and will begin at 8:30 PM. A member of each boat must attend this meeting. Failure to attend the meeting will result in disqualification.

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 registration and the waiver forms. Electronic confirmation will be sent to the email provided on the participant registration.

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 12 PM on Sunday afternoon.

10. Weigh in: The weigh-in will take place on Sunday, September 30th 2018 at the Tarpon Bay Grill starting at 11:00am. All participants from each boat must be in the weigh in line no later than 12:00pm.

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 and participants must be in the weigh-in line by 12:00 PM. 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 participant 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 12pm Sunday.

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


Quantity Allowed

Minimum Size



16″ Scamp, 20″ Red, 24″ Gag

Black Grouper 1 24″ Overall


14″ to Fork



12″ Overall

Snapper 1 10″ Gray (mangrove), 12″ Cubera and 18” Mutton Overall   


AJ, 34″ to fork

Cobia, 33″ to fork


Carapace larger than 3”



No size restrictions.

* 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. See Rule #15 and #16 regarding lobster and lionfish.

13. Points System: Each competitor 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. A diver will receive one (1) point per pound and five (5) points per fish weighed. There is a limited point value per fish of twenty (20) points for weight and five (5) points awarded for the fish itself, for a maximum of twenty-five (25) totals points per fish awarded. Ties will be broken by dividing the competitors total fish weight by the number of fish weighed in. The second tiebreaker will be whoever weighed in the earliest.  The individual portion of this competition is a challenge among and between all participants, regardless of if they enter the Team Calcutta (see #14) or not.

14. Best Boat Nearshore (30 miles or less)/Unlimited Calcutta: The SSC is both an individual and team competition. Individual entry for every diver participating in the tournament is required.  Entry into the team competition is optional. Each team must register all participants on their boat, all must be entered in the tournament as individuals. Each boat entering the Nearshore/Unlimited category must declare their selected category by the end of the Captains meeting.  For each Team Calcutta, there will be a minimum $1,000 payout for the team with the highest point score – which is a single stringer from the team. This is an aggregate stringer of the single highest point fish in each category weighed by registered team members (in short, individual divers submit an aggregate stringer as noted above of what they harvest, whereas the team Calcutta represents a team stringer comprised of the best fish in each category).  Entry into the best boat Calcutta is $300 for the unlimited category and $200 for the nearshore (30 miles or less) category. Lobster and Lionfish will not count in the point total, but in the event of a tie between teams, the team with the largest lobster will win. For the purposes of the team portion of the event, a “team” must be comprised of at least 1 diver, but as stated above, every person on the “team” boat that is harvesting fish must be registered as an individual.  **Remember, the best boat Nearshore/Unlimited Calcutta is not required. Each team category pays to the top points stringer for that category. There are no “places” paid in the Calcutta category.

15. Lobster: Lobster will not count towards the aggregate total. Lobster will only be scored to determine the overall winner in the lobster category.  Lobster must be whole, alive, and in-tact (if not alive, they must be in fresh condition).

16. Lion Fish: We are requesting that you spear as many lionfish as possible. Please keep all lionfish intact and do not gut them. All lionfish will be collected and donated for research if you are not keeping them. There will be a lionfish prize for largest, smallest, and most. Lionfish will not be included in the aggregate total score.  This competition is individual shooters only, not teams.

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

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

18. 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 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.

19. 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.

20. Awards and Prizes: Trophies and prizes will be awarded on Sunday.

Trophies will be awarded for the following:  Top individual shooter, Female, Freediver, Junior (also awarded prize combo)

The top three (3) competitors, based on total aggregate score as individuals

  • 1st place $500
  • 2nd place $250
  • 3rd place $100

Cash payout for top 3 fish by weight in each category of:

Black Grouper, Other grouper, snapper, sheepshead, hogfish, aj/cobia

  • 1st place $500
  • 2nd place $250
  • 3rd place $100

Largest Lobster by weight $300

Lionfish (sponsored by ZooKeeper) individual shooter only, not a team competition

  • Largest $150
  • Most $150
  • Smallest $150

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 SRQVETS charity. If you cheat, you are a bad person and you are taking from those who served to protect us.

21. Useful information:

Make checks payable to: Suncoast Spearfishing Challenge, Inc., PO BOX 110426, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211, 941-405-9689

Event location: Tarpon Bay Grill & Tiki Bar, 7150 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

September 30th 2018 Weigh in and Awards Ceremony

Weigh in line opens at 11AM and your entire team must be in line by 12:00PM. The weigh in line location will be clarified at the captains meeting. If you plan to arrive by boat to the weigh in, allow for the no-wake zone as you approach the venue. Inappropriate wake/speed/behavior will result in disqualification. Leave early enough to be on time.