Not withstanding any of the following rules, it is expected that at all times members will only fish in an acceptable sporting manner.
1. Championships & Festivals General.
1.1 The Federation will stage the European Championships - Boat-((European Boat, European Line Class and European Species) and European Shore annually and the Game-Fishing Championship biannually. At least four months prior notice of an application by a section to act as hosts for the European Championships two years hence should be received by the General Secretary, and at least two months prior to the A.G.M. Information with estimated costs should be circulated to all member Sections. Such application must be subject to the approval of the A.G.M. and must, if necessary, be vetted by a sub-committee set up for that purpose.
1.2 It is desirable that the different Championships are held in a different country each year.
1.3 Member Sections having no national sea water may, with the full co-operation of another Section, nominate their Championship to be held in that Section’s waters, but the organisation of such events shall rest with the Section applying, which will be recognised as the Host Section.
1.4 For the European Boat and Line Class Championships which are held at the same venue within the week, one day line class and four consecutive days general boat fishing, with not less than six hours fishing per day is required for the Championships. The Line Class Championship is to be held on either the first fishing day or last fishing day of the week. The Standing Committee meeting and the A.G.M. are to be held prior to the start of the Championships. For the European Species Championship fishing shall be over two consecutive days with a minimum of six hours fishing each day. For the European Shore Championship fishing shall be over two or three consecutive days, with a minimum of ten hours and a maximum of fifteen hours fishing, split into separate fishing periods as appropriate. Any deviations must be agreed by the Standing Committee in the form of an approved dispensation.
1.5 A points system shall be used that has been approved by The Standing Committee. The angler with the highest number of points accumulated over the total available number of fishing days of the Championships shall be declared The European Champion for that year.
1.6 Members of Section Teams and Reserves must be registered by name with the Organising Committee by the closing date for entries of the Championship. One reserve angler per team will be allowed. When a member of a team is unable to fish, their name, together with the name of the reserve angler being substituted must be submitted to the Organising Committee prior to commencement of fishing. No reserves are allowed after commencement of the Championship. A Section is allowed to enter a maximum of two official Section Teams into an event, there is no restriction on the number of individuals allowed per Section however, subject to spaces being available.
1.7 Any sponsorship can only be accepted if approved by the Standing Committee.
1.8 In the interest of conservation, and if possible, all fish should be returned alive to the sea, unless required for record purposes or for consumption.
1.9 Where fish are retained they must be killed after landing and before fishing recommences for Boat angling and Gamefish events only.
1.10 There shall be a limitation of 5 fish of any species to be landed per angler per day in the European Boat Championship, however, the Organising Committee can request a waiver for specific fish, important in that area. After a fish is killed it cannot be replaced by a heavier/larger fish within that angler’s bag.
1.11 The Host Section must take out third-party insurance to cover the Section and HQ against all possible claims. The Organising Committee shall insure the event against unavoidable losses arising from cancellation of the event. It is the responsibility of the individual angler to insure themselves against losses arising from illness, breakdown or their cancellation for other reasons.
2. Officer’s participation.
2.1 All members’ fish as members, no special privileges will be extended to the holder of any office in the Federation.
3.1 All Championships and Festivals held under the auspices of the Federation shall be open to all members of the Federation who fish for sport.
3.2 Section Team events are open to two official Section Teams consisting of 2-5 members from any Member Section. These teams must be approved by the Executive Committee of the Member Section and only teams so nominated can be accepted by the Organising Committee of the host Section. For European events the Section Teams shall consist of A maximum of five anglers with the lowest results each day or session not counting, where less than five anglers represent a Section no scores are dropped. No member may compete in more than one team in any category within a Championship. A Member Section may not enter an official Section Team into the Championship unless membership fees have been paid as under clause 16.2 of the Constitution. In addition a Member Section must be represented at the Standing Committee meeting held in conjunction with the Championships to qualify for the Section’s Team entry.
3.3 All fish caught in Championships and Festivals organised by, or on behalf of the Federation shall be disposed of at the discretion of the Organising Committee.
3.4 No more than two members of any Official Section Team can be members of any other team apart from the randomly drawn Executive Team category. No member may compete in more than one team in any category within the Championship.
4. Boat limitations.
4.1 Official Section Team members shall not be allowed to fish together in the same boat on any day of the Championship. These anglers must be seeded before the boat draw.
4.2 Under no circumstances shall any Section, club or individual be allowed to reserve a boat for their own use in any Championship.
4.3 The Organising Committee shall be responsible for selecting the competitors for each boat. Competitor’s names will be drawn for named boats by public ballot, witnessed and signed by independent people, followed by a draw for boat positions in the same way or by drawing for boat positions onboard.
4.4 For reasons of disablement only, the Organising Committee may allocate a special safe boat place, provided application is made on the application form. If man and wife or adult/junior wish to fish together, this must be stated on the application form. The safe boat position rule may also be applied at the discretion of the fishing captain, but only for Senior anglers over the age of 65 and Juniors under 18 years of age.
4.5 An Angling Captain shall be selected for each boat and they shall be responsible for the liaison with the skipper of the boat and the observance of the Federation rules.
4.6 Each competitor shall have equal angling time. The qualification being that those competitors in smaller, slow boats will have no handicap in relation to competitors angling on larger and/or faster boats. In the event of a significant (minimum ½ an hour) angling time being lost, due to breakdown of boat, the anglers on that boat will be allocated points / weight proportionally to the angling time they have lost, to bring their result up to a full days angling. It will be the duty of the boat skipper and angling captain on each boat to enforce the time for “lines down” and “lines up” Boats may leave and arrive at port at staggered intervals as decided by the organising Committee.
4.7 In the event of an angler being in the process of playing a fish at the end of angling time, and provided that they have announced that a ‘fish is on’, this angler shall be allowed to attempt to land this fish. Any fish hooked after “lines up’ has been called does not count. This and/or any other cause resulting in a late arrival at the weighing-in point must be reported in writing or via a radio or telephone to the Organising Committee by the boat skipper and angling captain of the boat concerned. Non acceptance of such a report by the Organising Committee may result in the anglers from the boat concerned being disqualified. Catches should, however, wherever practicable, be officially weighed or recorded and information passed to the Organising Committee whose decision will be final.
5. Game Fishing.
5.1 For a specific EFSA Game angling event, or for anglers wishing to make a claim for a catch of a world record game fish, rules will be as laid down by the International Game Fish Association, details of which can be obtained from the H.Q. Fish Recorder or the Secretary of the member’s Section.
6.1 Ground bait and the use of rubby-dubby is permitted on all occasions during a Boat or Game competition by an individual angler or team if the event is a Game event; but may not be laid previous to a competition. This groundbait or rubby-dubby can only consist of the bait given to the individual angler or team, or any fish, mollusc or crustacean they catch during the competition period. The blood of mammals is not permitted. Ground bait and the use of rubby-dubby is not permitted in any Shore competition. For Boat competitions only; rubby-dubby for the benefit of all the anglers on a boat can only be deployed with the agreement of the majority of anglers onboard, and this must consist solely of unwanted species, bait discards and remnants returned to a common box solely for the purpose of baiting a rubby-dubby device for the benefit of all anglers on the boat.
7. General Boat Competition Rules.
7.1 A competitor taking part in any event organised by, or on behalf of the Federation in conjunction with any Section, Federation or Club, shall use only one rod and reel with running line, a second rod and reel may be assembled and ready for use but terminal tackle must NOT be attached to both rods at the same time. Terminal tackle is classed as the trace/s to which the hook/s is attached. Additional reserve rods may be carried, but these must not be assembled in anyway whatsoever.
7.2 Terminal tackle and species limitations shall be laid down by the Section’s Organising Committee but shall meet the approval of the Standing Committee. Only justifiable limits on tackle and methods will be approved.
7.3 The Committee organising the competition may prohibit the use of any type of equipment which in their opinion is likely to cause danger or discomfort to any competitor or other person. Casting is only allowed if sanctioned by the Organising/Standing Committee.
7.4 Bait Angling: a maximum of two single hooks may be used. Each hook must be a separate single hook and must be free swinging. Positioning of hooks may be spaced on the trace above or below the weight.
7.5 Length of Shock Leader: Shock leaders must not exceed 4.5 metres for up-tide angling, and the combined length of shock leader and trace shall not exceed 6.0 metres.
7.6 Hand lining is barred, as is the shooting, harpooning or lancing of a fish.
7.7 Beaching or driving of fish hooked from a boat into shallow water in order to deprive said fish of its normal ability to swim is prohibited.
7.8 Persons other than the angler are not allowed to adjust the reel drag or touch any part of the tackle during the playing of a fish, nor may they give aid other than taking hold of the leader (trace) for gaffing purpose, or in replacing or adjusting the harness or gimbal. Only one person is permitted to hold the leader/trace, but others may gaff or net.
7.9 At no time during the playing of a fish shall the rod rest on the gunwales or any part of the boat, except by special permission granted by the Organising Committee to disabled persons. Permission for dispensation must be requested on the application form.
7.10 Competitors must bait their own hooks. Assistance is allowed with the extraction of hooks.
7.11 Fighting chairs may be used but the gimbal must be free swinging. Any gimbal which allows the angler to reduce the strain or rest while fighting the fish is prohibited.
7.12 The Organising Committee for Championship events shall apply to Standing Committee for permission to disallow any species of fish other than Weavers. Weavers can not be weighed-in or recorded for points.
7.13 A foul-hooked fish is one which has not been brought to the gaff hooked in front of the rear edge of the gill cover.
7.14 A fish having one hook in its mouth and another hook in its body shall count for
the angler who has the hook which is in the mouth of the fish. Any fish having hooks from more than one angler in its mouth shall be disqualified. If two or more anglers hook a fish in front of the rear end of gill cover or gill slit, and none of the hooks are in the mouth, in this instance the fish shall be disqualified. The responsibility for adjudicating on these matters comes under the jurisdiction of the person appointed as angling captain of the boat.
7.15 In the interest of conservation, slow growing species, particularly Common Skate, should be returned to the water without undue delay, and whilst still alive, if taken in a competition such species should if possible be weighed on board and returned to the water after witnessing by at least two other anglers and the boat skipper.
7.16 As an alternative to weighing on board a points system may be applied according to measurement e.g. in the case of Skate the maximum width in a straight line from wing tip to wing tip. Any such system must be approved by the EFSA Standing Committee before being applied.
7.17 Bait: bait must be supplied by the Host Section, same kind and same amount to each competitor and only that may be used in the Championship. The only other bait allowed will be any bait caught by the competitor during the day’s angling at sea. Bait for Festivals and Section competitions are at the discretion of the Organising Committee.
7.18 The angler is totally responsible for their catch until it is brought to the scales and a receipt is received or until it is formally recorded and signed for.
7.19 Where a fish, hooked fairly, is lost in the process of being gaffed or netted, it shall be allowed to count provided it is immediately recaptured by the gaff or net handler. Any fish lost by any angler whilst attempting to lift it into the boat unaided shall not count. Recaptured fish shall not be eligible for record purposes.
7.20 In the event of a dispute as to the identity of a fish, then the angler who has caught the fish must retain the fish and bring it to the weigh –in point so that formal identification can be carried out by the event organisers.
7.21 Any deviation from these rules must be sanctioned by the Standing Committee.
7.22 Power assisted reels are only allowed when so designated.
8. Size limits.
8.1 Minimum sizes as laid down by the Government of the Country concerned must be recognised (and in the case of Cod this will be 36 centimetres).
8.2 Size limits shall be published prior to the Championship. Any physical attempt to interfere with the size of the fish (e.g. extend its length) shall lead to immediate disqualification of the competitor.
8.3 Any competitor bringing ashore a fish under the stipulated size may be disqualified from the event.
8.4 No allowance can be given for shrinkage occurring from the time of capture to the time of weigh-in or recording.
9. Boatmen and boats.
9.1 Boatmen in charge of boats that have competitors on board are barred from angling except from the catching of bait prior to the commencement of the competition.
10.1 The decision of the Organising Committee of the Section concerned with the running of any competition shall be final so far as the award of trophies and prizes is concerned.
10.2 In the event of bad weather, the Organising Committee reserve the right to award trophies and prizes on the total number of days fished.
10.3 The EFSA Award Pins and certain other trophies allocated to Championships can only be awarded to Individual (also Junior) and Life members (also Honorary Life) members of EFSA.
10.4 Championship Pins with Laurel wreath (Gold, Silver and Bronze) to be presented only to the winner, runner-up and third place in the European Boat Championship. For other Championships; Game Angling, Line Class, Species and Shore, the winner, runner-up and third place will be presented with the Pin, Game, Line Class, Species and Shore respectively.
11. General Shore Competitions.
11.1 Angling will be from a peg allocated by means of a draw, which will take place on peg 1 of each zone every day. Competitors must fish from their allotted peg number.
11.2 The start and finish of the match will be signalled by a whistle, or other audibly or visible signal.
11.3 Competitors must not cast the line into the water 30 minutes before the starting signal is given.
11.4 Competitors shall not have in use more than one rod at a time. A reserve rod is allowed, but must not have terminal tackle attached. A maximum of three single hooks is allowed. Spare baited traces are allowed.
11.5 Assistance may be given to land fish, but no one other than the competitor shall handle the rod, except for reasons of safety. Any fish which is foul hooked (behind gill cover) or hooked on more than one line is automatically disqualified and should be returned to the sea immediately where practicable. This also applies to fish landed on lost traces. The responsibility comes under the jurisdiction of the neighbouring angler.
11.6 All competitors must bait their own hooks, cast and retrieve their own tackle/trace. Assistance is allowed with the extraction of hooks.
11.7 Bait will be provided by the Organisers, sufficient for the day. Competitors are not allowed to use any bait other than that supplied. Any infringement of this Rule will result in automatic disqualification. Upon conclusion of each day’s fishing any unused bait shall be disposed of and none shall be carried over to the next day. No bait additives or extract shall be permitted.
11.8 All competitions are to be run on a catch and release basis and points awarded at 1 point per centimetre, and 5 points per fish, and recorded on the competitors scorecard by the neighbouring angler or official steward. A fish must be recorded before another fish is reeled in. Teams must have their fish recorded by an angler who is not a member of their own team. It is a condition of entry that all anglers must be prepared to act as stewards. All competitors must have their scorecard signed by their neighbouring angler and must sign the zone master sheet before leaving the zone. Failure to comply will result in disqualification for that day.
11.9 Fish may be kept in water, but any physical attempt to interfere with the size of the fish (e.g. extend their length) shall lead to disqualification of the competitor. The match organisers' decision with regard to the size of the fish at the time of recording, or in the event of any dispute not covered by these rules shall be final. A minimum size list shall be given to all competitors before the competition starts. All undersize fish must be returned alive immediately after capture where practicable.
11.10 No allowance can be given for shrinkage occurring from the time of capture to the time of recording.
11.11 No competitor shall fish along the waterline closer than five metres to another competitor, other than by mutual consent.
11.12 Any fish to be kept for culinary purposes must be over the minimum size and must have the tail removed once being humanely dispatched in full view of the angler signing for it.
11.13 No competitor shall wade into the sea beyond their knees in order to cast and will then return to the beach.
11.14 No competitor shall fish in the match area in a period commencing seven days before the start of each day's angling.
11.15 The match organisers have the right to refuse any entry.
11.16 Double drawing of Pegs is not permitted.
11.17 Any complaints must be submitted in writing to the match organiser not later than 1 hour after the end of the match; the decision of the match committee shall be final.
11.18 All competitors must return their peg to the zone official and return their angling scorecard when signing out.
11.19 Any competitors who act in a manner considered by the organisers to be against the spirit of the competition or the interests of the other anglers and fair play, may be disqualified at the sole discretion of the organisers.
11.20 Weavers, Mackerel, sandeel or launce cannot be weighed-in.
11.21 A shock leader of minimum 24kg breaking strain and 7 metres long shall be used by all competitors.
11.22 All competitors shall collect and remove their rubbish from the beach at the end of each day's fishing.
11.23 The organising Committee and EFSA shall not be held responsible for any loss, damage, accident or injury occurring during the event.11.24 The organising section shall appoint a protest committee consisting of four members of separate competing nations wherever possible and an HQ officer if present.
12. Line Class Rules.
12.1.1 All fish caught in accordance with the EFSA Record Rules shall be eligible for consideration for record status providing the fish have been caught within the area defined by longitude 30° W to 65° E and latitude 23.5° N to 80° N and including Greenland.
12.1.2 Only fish which are hooked in front of the gills/gill slit can be considered for record status. A fish which is landed or brought to the gaff/net hooked behind the gills shall be deemed as “foul hooked”.
12.2. Record Categories.
12.2.1 All Tackle Records - The heaviest fish of any species caught either from a boat or from the shore with a Rod, Reel and Line not exceeding the strength of 60kg.
12.2.2 Line Class Records - Boats The heaviest fish of a species taken on any of the following Line Classes, angling either from a boat or from the shore. (Separate acceptable Line Classes apply to each individual specie.)
12.2.3 Shore Records
12.2.5 For all the above records the average of several dry tests will be taken to record the line strength. Should this result in the line testing over the strength stated on the claim form then wet tests will be undertaken to determine the average strength. A latitude of one line class either side of the manufacturer’s stated breaking strain is allowed. That is to say that if the claim form states the line to be 6kg it can test between 2 kg and 6 kg to be given the 6 kg record. If it overtests between 6 kg and 8 kg and the fish is also a record in that class then it will be given the 8 kg record for the species. Claims with lines testing outside these limits will be rejected.
12.3. Acceptance of Records.
12. 3.1 Only those fish caught in accordance with the rules will be accepted for record consideration.
12.3.2 Claims will only be accepted if the date of the catch was not more than two months prior to the date of receipt of the claim by the European Federation of Sea Anglers
12.3.3 If a claim for a record is submitted without full particulars, a period of two months from the time of notification to this effect by EFSA will be allowed for the claimant to complete the claim to the satisfaction of EFSA.
12.3.4 To replace an existing record a fish must exceed the weight of that record by at least the following weights: - Weight Range Margin (Not less than)
12.3.5 If an angler is submitting a fish for consideration as an I.G.F.A. record the responsibility rests solely with the angler to ensure the method of capture and requirements of the I.G.F.A. are complied with.
12.4. Record Lists.
12.4.1 The Fish Recorder will compile and publish an accredited list of current records in all classes at the end of each calendar year. Copies will be available to Members Sections, and all interested anglers.
12.4.2 Provision will be made in the Record List to show where the holder is a member of EFSA by placing an asterisk before the name, if this information is available.
12.5. Tackle limitations.
12.5.1 Boat Rods: minimum length of rod tip including foregrip 130cm. (51") with the maximum butt length 70cm. both measured from the centre of the reel. A curved rod butt is to be measured in a straight line.
12.5.2 Shore Rods: no maximum length restriction, minimum as for boat rods. Fishing with Poles from the shore, the maximum length of elastic attached to the pole allowed is 0.5 metres and the line class claim should be the breaking strain of the longest length of line, whether this is the main line or that deemed to be the trace.
12.5.3 Reels: there is no size restriction but ratchet handled reels, motor or hydraulically driven or double handed types are prohibited.
12.5.4 Lines: Mono and multi-filament lines are permitted. Wire lines are also permitted, but for record purposes only. Main reel line has to be provided by the host Section, whether sponsored or not and such line must be used by all anglers. The use of any other line will lead to disqualification of the competitor.
12.5.5 Traces/Leaders: Traces or leaders may be of single or multiple strand wire, braided wire or any other material in use as a fishing lines, and may be of any breaking strain. The leader on line classes up to and including the 10kg class shall be limited to 4.5m, the combined length of the leader and double line shall not exceed 6.0m. The leader on all classes of tackle above 10kg shall be limited to 9.0m and the combined length of leader and double line shall not exceed 12m.
12.5.6 Terminal Tackle: The maximum number of hooks permitted shall be two.
12.6. Other equipment.
12.6.1 A rod belt with butt pad and shoulder harness may be used. When a harness is attached directly to the rod it must not be positioned more than 30cm ahead of the centre of the reel, provided this is not forward of the handgrip.
12.6.2 Fighting chairs may not have any mechanical device which aids the angler in fighting fish. Gimbals must be totally free swinging and must not be such that they allow the angler to rest or reduce strain whilst fighting a fish.
12.6.3 The use of a float is permitted for the sole purpose of regulating the depth of the bait or for drifting a bait.
127. Gaffs and landing nets.
12.7.1 The handle on any gaffs (fixed or flying) and/or landing net shall be such that the overall length of the gaff or net shall not be greater than 250cm. These limitations do not apply when shore angling or when the size of the boat is such as requires a longer gaff or net handle to reach the water.
12.7.2 The use of a drop net is permitted.
12.7.3 In the case of a flying or detachable gaff the attached line may not exceed 920cm the length being measured from the point of attachment.
12.8. Playing and landing a fish.
12.8.1 If a rod holder is used, the angler himself must remove the rod from the holder and must hook, fight and bring the fish to the gaff unaided by any other person.
12.8.2 No person other than the angler may touch any part of the rod, reel or running line when the fish is being played, but other persons may hold the leader and gaff the fish.
12.8.3 Where a fish hooked fairly is lost in the process of being gaffed or netted, it shall be allowed to count provided it is immediately recaptured by the gaff or net handler. Any fish lost by any angler whilst attempting to lift it into the boat unaided shall not count. Recaptured fish shall not be eligible for record purposes.
12.9. Acts causing disqualification.
12.9.1 Failure to comply with the rules concerning tackle specifications and playing of the fish.
12.9.2 Changing the rod or reel, splicing the line or removal or addition thereto of any item during the playing of the fish.
12.9.3 A rod which breaks at a point which reduces the length of the tip below the minimum requirements.
12.9.4 Hand-lining or using a hand-line or rope attached in any manner to the angler’s line or leader for the purpose of holding or lifting the fish.
12.9.5 Shooting, harpooning or lancing any fish including sharks at any stage of the catch.
12.9.6 Mutilations caused by sharks, other fish or propellers that penetrate or remove flesh (injuries caused by line or leader, scratches, old healed scars and regenerations shall not be considered as disqualifying injuries).
12.9.7 Chumming with any part or products of mammals.
12.9.8 Beaching or driving into shallow water any fish hooked from a boat in order to deprive the fish of its normal ability to swim.
12.9.9 Resting of the rod on the gunwale or the boat or any handrail, capstan etc., while playing a fish.
12.10.1 Only weighing done ashore will be accepted.
12.10.2 No estimated weights will be accepted e.g. grammes or divisions of an ounce included in the weight must actually be shown as marked divisions on the weighing device. In the case of weight indications falling between indicated marks on the scale, the mark below the indication of the actual weight shown must be read, i.e. the weight must not be up-graded to the mark above that actually indicated.
12.10.3 Checking: Weighing devices should be such that they can be checked for accuracy by a Government Agency or similar body.
12.10.4 The weighing must be confirmed by two independent witnesses.
12.11. Claim requirements.
12.11.1 The fish must have been caught and weighed in accordance with the rules.
12.11.2 Claims will not be accepted for consideration if more than two months have lapsed between capture and receipt of claim by EFSA Fish Recorder unless special circumstances apply at the discretion of the Fish Recorder.
12.11.3 The claim must be submitted on an official claim form duly completed.
Current version following changes agreed at Standing Committee meeting of 16th August 2008.
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