50th Annual Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament June 3-7, 2024

Official Rules

Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament


  1. a. OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS: Lorelei, Islamorada
    b. Anglers must sign starting ledger at headquarters each morning.
    c. Failure to sign in before departure is a 150 point penalty. Failure to sign and turn in score sheet by 5:00 P.M. daily will result in a 150 point penalty. Departure will be staggered by teams with one team leaving at 5:45 A.M. and remaining teams leaving in two-minute intervals thereafter, beginning at 6:00 A.M. All boats must depart from and return to Tournament Headquarters. No trailering to different launch sites is permitted.
    d. Anglers cannot leave headquarters earlier than 5:45 A.M.
    e. Clock at headquarters will be official time piece for departure and stopping time each day.
    f. Any boat without properly functioning running lights will be prohibited from leaving the dock until 6:30 A.M.
  2. Fishing may begin immediately. 6/01
  3. Fishing will end at 3:00 P.M., i.e., lines out at 3:00 P.M. EXCEPTIONS: A fish hooked before 3:00 P.M. will be accepted regardless of time required to release the fish.
  4. All anglers must report back to headquarters by 5:00 P.M. Signed score sheets must be turned in by 5:00 P.M. daily. The Anglers Tournament Committee will waive this rule in case of breakdown or unusual circumstance.



  1. Only one-handed rods and single-action reels designed specifically for fly casting will be eligible. The butt may not extend
    more than four inches below the reel seat. The rod may not be altered after a fish is hooked.
  2. The leaders shall not exceed 15 feet. It shall contain not less than 15 inches of Tournament approved tippet material. The shock tippet, consisting of nonmetallic or metallic material and an overall length not exceeding 12 inches including knots, must be tied directly to approved tippet.
  3. Lures must be single hook construction only and the hook must not exceed 2.75 inches overall.



  1. Only fly casting will be permitted. Only artificial lures may be used. Tippet will be 12-pound manufacturer’s stated test, furnished at no charge.
  2. Angler, unaided, must cast, set the hook, fight and bring the fish to where the leader can be taken. Any other person touching the reel, rod or line will disqualify entry. At no time during the Tournament can a guide cast or retrieve. An accidental touch to the fly line, in an attempt to touch the leader, does not disqualify a release.
  3. Shooting or harpooning, lancing or handling a fish will disqualify the entry.
  4. TROLLING IS NOT PERMITTED. No fly can be stripped out or fed out into a current, i.e., fly must be stripped in only.
  5. ELECTRONIC FISH FINDERS ARE NOT ALLOWED. If a boat has one, it must be turned off. Depth finders are not considered fish finders in this Tournament.
  6. No Angler or Guide may scout for fish using aircraft.
  7. All entries must be approved by Tournament Committee.
  8. Anglers Tournament Committee reserves the right to inspect tackle and test line at any time. Committee’s decision is final.
  9. Each angler must be accompanied by a skiff or backcountry fishing guide, known as a guide for hire, licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  10. Anglers Meeting attendance is mandatory. Both Angler and Guide may vote but must be present to vote.



  1. Motors must be disengaged at time of release.
  2. At the discretion of the guide, motors may be used to fight a fish.
  3. At the discretion of the guide, motors may be used to return to position after fighting a fish.
  4. Motors cannot be used to intercept fish before casting.
  5. Electric motors may not be used at any time for any purpose.
  6. Traditional courtesy on the water and gentlemanly conduct should be observed at all times.
  7. A release occurs only when the guide grabs the line below the knot connecting the fly line to the butt section.
  8. Sportsmanship will be the key to making a decision not covered by the rules.


12-pound tippet – 1,000 points • You must use the current year tippet material supplied by tournament

In case of disagreements, the Anglers Tournament Committee decision will be final. All complaints must be submitted in writing by 5:00 P.M. to the Anglers Tournament Committee on the day of the complaint.

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