All fish entered for Length Records must be measured by anglers at the site of capture and released so that it swims away on their own and in good condition.
Fish should be revived by moving it forward in the water to ensure a healthy release. Fish caught and entered for length records are not eligible for weighing and submission for other record categories.
Rules and Equipment Regulations
All GFAA rules and equipment regulations stipulated for fishing with conventional and fly tackle in fresh and saltwater shall apply with the exceptions below. All angling and equipment regulations shall apply until the fish is measured and released alive.
A. GAFFS & NETS
1. The use of gaffs to land fish is prohibited.
2. Nets used to boat or land a fish must not exceed 8 feet (2.44 meters) in over all length. (When fishing from a bridge, pier or other high stationary structure, this length limitation does not apply.)
3. The use of knotless, rubber coated nets or other similarly designed nets that minimize slime and scale removal is strongly recommended.
B. MEASURING DEVICE
1. All fish must be measured using an official GFAA / IGFA measuring device.
2. The measuring device mat may be shortened by cutting it, but it may not be rejoined after it has been shortened.
Official Measuring Devices:
- IGFA Measure & Release Mat (This is the only mat recognised by IGFA)
- Shimano Mat
- NSW Fisheries Catch & Release Mat
The following acts will disqualify a catch:
1. Failure to comply with GFAA equipment or angling rules.
2. If the fish dies during the documentation process, or does not swim away on its accord after release
Length Record Requirements
All fish entered for Length Records are subject to the same requirements stipulated for other record categories with following additions and exceptions.
A. MEASURING REQUIREMENTS
1. Fish must be measured using an official GFAA / IGFA measuring device on a flat surface.
2. The fish’s snout must be touching the nose stop, free of lures or lifting devices.
3. With the fish lying on top of the measuring device, measurements will be taken from the most forward part of the fish’s snout to the rear center edge of the tail.
4. All measurements will be made in centimeters.
5. Fish that measure between centimeter increments shall be recorded at the lower of the two increments. For example, a fish that measures between 45 and 46 centimeters will have a recorded length of 45 centimeters.
B. MINIMUM LENGTH REQUIREMENTS FOR VACANT RECORDS
Fish entered for vacant record categories must measure within the top half of that species maximum recorded length, as shown in the eligible species list.
C. MINIMUM LENGTH REQUIREMENTS NEEDED TO DEFEAT OR TIE EXISTING RECORDS
1. To defeat an existing record, the fish must measure at least two (2) centimeters longer than the existing record
2. A catch which matches the length of an existing record or exceeds the length by less than 2 centimeters will be considered a tie. In the case of a tie claim involving more than two catches, length must be compared with the original record (first fish to be caught). Nothing measuring less than the original record (first fish to be caught) will be considered.
D. PHOTOGRAPHIC REQUIREMENTS
Photographs included with applications must contain the following information.
1. The full length of the fish on the measuring device clearly showing the position of the mouth and tail. The fish may be held in position, but must be done in a manner that does not obscure the view of the fish on the tape.
2. A close up showing the position of the fish’s nose and tail on the measuring device.
3. The angler with the fish.
4. The rod and reel used to make the catch.
General Best Handling Practices
To remove your fish from the water to document it for record purposes, anglers should use either hands or a knotless, rubberized landing net to minimize slime and scale loss. Lip gripping devices may be used to help subdue fish. However, large fish should not be hoisted vertically out of the water, as this can cause damage to jaw muscle and bone as well as to internal organs. The best method for removing fish from the water by hand is to grip the fish or the lower jaw and support the fish’s underside. Again, the point is always to hold fish horizontally and not vertically.
GFAA records require pictures, measurement and/or weighing of the catch. All of this takes time, so you should have the necessary equipment ready before landing the fish. If the documentation process takes longer than several minutes, periodically place the fish back in the water or place in a live well to allow it to breathe.
Considerable time and care should be exercised when releasing fish. Fish should be placed in the water and held by the base of the tail. If the fish is does not swim away from your grasp on its own, gently move it forward in the water to get water flowing over the gills. For best results, move the fish in the forward direction only instead of back in forth. A fish’s gills somewhat resemble the pages of a book and are designed for water flow in only one direction. Moving the fish in a slow circle or gently towing it behind the boat will accomplish this. Dermersal species caught in waters deeper than 10m must be released by the use of a release weight.
RULES FOR TAG & RELEASE AND MEASURE & RELEASE
1. (a) No tournament shall be approved by a State Association that awards points for free release for GFAA tag species. No Tag & Release points shall be awarded in State Association-approved tournaments unless GFAA approved tags are used.
1. (b) Measure & Release is allowed for species that have been determined by the GFAA from time to time – see section titled GFAA eligible gamefish for Measure & Release and section Guidelines for Measure & Release.
(i) All GFAA Angling & Equipment regulations shall apply.
(ii) All applicable Tag & Release rules shall apply – ie items 1, 2 & 3 of the acts that disqualify a Tag & Release.
(iii) No fish can be released after measurement unless it is in a healthy and vigorous state.
(iv) The GFAA Measure & Release card is to be used to record species release information.
2. The use of the ‘billfish only’ tag is MANDATORY to be eligible to win any GFAA Trophies and Awards.
THE FOLLOWING ACTS WILL DISQUALIFY A TAG & RELEASE:
Failure to comply with GFAA angling rules and equipment regulations or tournament tag and release rules.
Failure to comply with all other regulations that disqualify a capture.
Use of a gaff (other than a jaw release device for the purpose of tagging e.g. Boga-Grip.)
GUIDELINES FOR TAG & RELEASE
- All GFAA Angling Rules and Equipment Regulations apply until the fish is tagged.
- Tagpoles must not exceed 4.57m (15ft) overall length.
- The tagpole or holding device must be in the hand when the fish is tagged.
- One or more persons, in addition to the person holding the leader, may tag or assist in tagging the fish.
- Pelagic & Shark tags: The tag needle must not protrude more than 50mm from the end of the tagpole or tag holding device, nor shall it exceed 5mm in diameter.
- Billfish only tag: The tag needle must protrude a min 45mm & no more than 76mm from the end of the tag pole or holding device, nor shall it exceed 6mm in diameter.
- A fish is considered tagged and released when the tag is secured to the fish.
GUIDELINES FOR MEASURE & RELEASE
- Only gamefish species as listed for Measure & Release are to be considered by this guideline.
- All GFAA Angling Rules & Equipment Regulation & Codes of Practice to apply until fish is caught, measured and released in a healthy and vigorous state.
- The use of knotless, rubber-coated nets or similarly designed nets that minimise slime and scale removal are to be used – the use of gaffs (other than release/jaw gaff) is prohibited.
- The fish is to be measured using an approved or recognised measuring mat. Measurements between centimetre increments shall be measured at the lower of the two increments; ie 45-46cm will be recorded as 45cm.
- Once measured, the fish is to be returned to the water as quickly as possible, and supported until it is able to swim away in a healthy and vigorous state. If the fish dies during this process, it is the skipper and angler’s responsibility to disqualify the catch.
- All measurements and data must be recorded on an approved GFAA Measure & Release card that is to be returned to the angler’s club for processing.
- Fish caught and released under these guidelines may be eligible for club or state points. (Check with your club or state for this.)
(a) Gaffs and nets
- The use of gaffs to land fish is prohibited.
- Nets used to boat or land a fish must not exceed 2.44 metres (8 feet) in overall length (when fishing from a bridge, pier or other high, stationary structure, this length limitation does not apply.
- The use of knotless, rubber-coated nets or other similarly designed nets that minimise slime and scale removal is strongly recommended.
(b) Measuring device
- All fish must be measured using an official GFAA/IGFA measuring device (IGFA mat, NSW DPI mat or Shimano mat).
- The measuring device mat may be shortened by cutting it, but it may not be rejoined after it has been shortened.
THE FOLLOWING ACTS WILL DISQUALIFY A CATCH:
1. Failure to comply with equipment or angling regulations.
2. The act of persons other than the angler touching any part of the rod, reel or line (including the double line), either bodily or with any device during the playing of the fish, or in giving any aid other than that allowed in the rules and regulations. If any obstacle to the passage of the line through the rod guides has to be removed from the line, then the obstacle (whether berley, floatline, rubber band or other material) shall be held and cut free. Under no circumstances should the line be held or touched by anyone other than the angler during this process. Holding or touching an angler in a manner that assists them in fighting the fish or takes pressure off the angler. Touching or briefly holding the angler to prevent them from falling does not constitute a disqualification.
3. Resting the rod in a rodholder, on the gunwale of the boat or any other object while playing the fish.
4. Handlining or using a handline or rope attached in any manner to the angler’s line or leader for the purpose of holding or lifting the fish.
5. Shooting, harpooning or lancing any fish (including sharks) at any stage of the catch.
6. Berleying with or using as bait the flesh, blood, skin or any other part of mammals other than hair or pork rind used in lures designed for trolling or casting.
7. Using a boat or device to beach or drive a fish into shallow water in order to deprive the fish of its normal ability to swim.
8. Changing the rod or reel while the fish is being played.
9. Splicing, removing or adding to the line while the fish is being played.
10. Intentionally foul-hooking a fish.
11. Catching a fish in a manner that the double line never leaves the rod tip.
12. Using a size or kind of bait that is illegal to possess.
13. Attaching the angler’s line or leader to part of the boat or other object for the purpose of holding or lifting the fish.
14. If a fish escapes before gaffing or netting and is recaptured by any method other than as outlined in the angling rules.
15. The act of any person touching any part of the leader when striking or hooking a fish.
16. Holding or touching an angler in a manner that assists them in fighting the fish or takes pressure off the angler. Touching or briefly holding the angler to prevent them from falling does not constitute a disqualification.
THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS WILL DISQUALIFY A CATCH:
1. When a rod breaks (while the fish is being played) in a manner that reduces the length of the tip below minimum dimensions or severely impairs its angling characteristics
2. Mutilation to the fish, prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh. (Injuries caused by leader or line, scratches, old healed scars or regeneration deformities are not considered to be disqualifying injuries.) Any mutilation of the fish must be shown in a photograph and fully explained in a separate report accompanying the record application.
3. When a fish is hooked or entangled on more than one line.
- From the time a fish strikes or takes a bait or lure, the angler must hook, fight and land or boat the fish without the aid of any other person, except as provided for in these regulations. (CLARIFICATION to ANGLING RULE 1.) If the mate is letting out a bait or lure and the reel is in free spool, the rod can be put back in the cover board or handed to the angler. Under no circumstances can any drag be put on the reel. This situation is legal. The rationale is that the hook has not been set with the reel out of gear. When retrieving a bait or lure the fish would be disqualified immediately if the rod is put back into the cover board or transferred to another person as the reel is in gear and the hook has been set.
- If a rodholder is used and a fish takes the bait or lure, the angler must remove the rod from the holder as quickly as possible.
- In the event of a multiple strike on separate lines being fished by a single angler, only the first fish fought will be considered for an Australian record.
- If a double line is used, the intent of the regulations is that the fish is to be fought on the single line for most of the time that it takes to land the fish.
- The harness may be replaced or adjusted by a person other than the angler.
- Use of a rod belt or waist gimbal is permitted.
- When angling from a boat, once the leader is brought within the grasp of the mate, or the end of the leader is wound to the rod tip, more than one person is permitted to hold the leader.
- One or more gaffers may be used in addition to persons holding the leader. The gaff handle must be in hand when the fish is gaffed.
- The Angling Rules and Equipment Regulations shall apply until a fish is weighed.
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