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2006 Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament Opening Press Release

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament
 968 S. Oriole Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
(757) 491-5160

For Immediate Release - December 22, 2005

Several Changes Slated for Tournament in 2006

The 49th annual Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, which opens January 1, 2006 and runs throughout the year, will feature several changes in its popular Citation program. The most significant modification will be to the program's eligibility criteria. Commercial hook-and-line fishermen will be eligible to earn Citation awards when they are participating in recreational fishing trips. This changes a long-standing rule prohibiting holders of commercial hook-and-line licenses from participating in any Tournament programs. 

"This allows everyone enjoying a recreational fishing trip to participate in Tournament programs, subject to the recreational licensing requirements," stated Tournament Director Claude Bain. Qualifying catches must be made on fishing trips that are totally recreational, and Tournament rules now define commercial trips as any and all trips producing any fish for sale or barter. All persons participating in such trips in any capacity, even if they do not consider themselves as part of the crew, are not eligible to register fish caught aboard those vessels on those trips. 

Several minor changes to the minimum qualifying standards for Citations will take effect in 2006. Reflecting the continuing expansion of the fishery and increasing number of Citations, the minimum qualifying weight for sheepshead was increased from 9 pounds to 10 pounds and the length for a release was raised from 22 inches to 24 inches. The minimum weight for a Spanish mackerel Citation was lowered from 5 pounds to 4 pounds, and a Citation for the capture of true albacore (longfin tuna) was added with a 40-pound minimum. In addition, release awards will no longer be offered for wahoo, dolphin, king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, black sea bass, and spot. 

The Tournament Committee considered changes to both the flounder and spot Citation standards, but after vigorous discussions decided to leave the minimums unchanged.

The popular Junior Angler Program, which challenges children under 16 years of age to catch and release six species of saltwater fish, and the Expert and Master Angler Programs will return in 2006. To qualify as an Expert Angler a fisherman must register fish in at least six 
different species for Citation awards during the year. Master Angler requirements are 25 Citations (with a maximum of one per species per year) in at least five different species over an unlimited period of time starting with 1996. 

Anglers should remember to purchase a 2006 saltwater fishing license prior to fishing in the new year and should pay attention to all 2006 fishery regulations when they are announced. All applicable fisheries regulations must be adhered to and a saltwater fishing license is required for Tournament participation. 

Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament
2006 Citation Requirements

Species                Weight Minimum            Release Minimum

Blue Marlin            N/A                                 Any
White Marlin          N/A                                 Any
Spearfish                N/A                                 Any
Swordfish              200 lbs.                            Any
Sharks*                 N/A                                72 inches
Bluefin Tuna          100 lbs.                            60 inches
Black Drum           80 lbs.                             46 inches
Yellowfin or 
Bigeye Tuna          70 lbs.                              50 inches
Amberjack            N/A                                 50 inches
Cobia                   55 lbs.                              50 inches
Tarpon*               N/A                                  48 inches
Red Drum            N/A                                  46 inches
Striped Bass         40 lbs.                              44 inches
True Albacore      40 lbs.                              N/A
Crevalle Jack        N/A                                 40 inches
Wahoo                 35 lbs.                              N/A
Dolphin                25 lbs.                               N/A
King Mackerel     20 lbs.                               N/A
Bluefish                16 lbs.                               36 inches
False Albacore     N/A                                  32 inches
Sheepshead         10 lbs.                               24 inches
Gray Trout           9 lbs.                                 30 inches
Tautog                 9 lbs.                                 23 inches
Spadefish             9 lbs.                                 22 inches
Flounder              7 lbs.                                 26 inches
Speckled Trout    5 lbs.                                 24 inches
Black Sea Bass    5 lbs.                                 N/A
Spanish Mackerel 4 lbs.                                N/A
Gray Triggerfish    4 lbs.                                20 inches
Croaker                3 lbs.                               20 inches
(Roundhead)         1 lb., 8 oz.                        16 inches
Pompano              1 lb., 8 oz.                         16 inches
Spot                      1 lb., 2 oz.                         N/A

N/A - Not Available
Lengths for released fished are actual, measured lengths
*Estimated lengths allowed for tarpon and sharks

The Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament is a program of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission funded with revenues from Virginia's saltwater fishing license. For more information, contact Claude Bain, Virginia Saltwater Fishing Tournament, 968 S. Oriole Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23451, (757) 491-5160, (757) 491-5172 (fax), or (e-mail).

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