Rules & Registration

35th Annual Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament – Rules

For dockage reservations at Pirate’s Cove Marina call 252-473-3906 and to reserve a home for Tournament Week contact Pirate’s Cove Realty at 252-473-6800.

Special accommodations for social distancing can be made by contacting Heather Maxwell at 252-305-3610. In addition, on line scorecards will be made available for the 35th Annual; information on accessing on line forms will be distributed at registration and reviewed at the Captain’s Meeting.

1. Registration – will be held on Saturday, August 10, 2024 from 5:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at Pirate’s Cove Pavilion. The Captains Meeting will be at 7:00 P.M. A representative from each team should attend the Captains Meeting as each team is responsible for knowing the rules including any clarifications made during the Captain’s Meeting. All boats must be registered and all entry fees paid in order for teams to qualify for prizes and trophies. The Entry Fee is $750 and all proceeds benefit the Interfaith Community Outreach- Cancer Program. Teams may also enter the Billfish Jackpot and/or the Top Dolphin Jackpot for $500 – 85 to the team weighing the heaviest dolphin, respectively. 15% of the Jackpot fees go to the ICO. If no dolphin are weighed all proceeds go to the ICO – No Refunds on the Jackpots unless the tournament is cancelled! Substitute boats are permissible due to breakdown of original boat; any substitute boat must be registered with the Tournament Director prior to fishing. Note: If weather creates a situation where fishing is questionable teams may register on Sunday morning between 5AM and 7AM under the Pavilion.

2. Fishing Day – This is a one day tournament on Sunday, August 11, Fishing hours are from 8:30 A.M. to 3:00 PM. No lines or teasers in the water prior to Lines In. Any fish hooked and reported prior to Lines Out may be played until released.

3. Tackle & Etiquette – All I.G.F.A. rules apply with the exception that ANY registered angler, captain or mate may hook a billfish… You may make one pass of the rod in the cockpit and two passes from the bridge. The Top Lady Angler Award shall be presented to the angler with the most points who has hooked her own fish. This is a trolling tournament; unconventional non-trolling techniques are strictly prohibited. The use of omni directional sonar is prohibited.

4. Boundaries –All fish must be hooked within tournament boundaries which is 75 nautical miles from the Oregon Inlet Sea Buoy; fish can then be played outside boundaries until released. Boats may fish out of Hatteras Inlet as well as Oregon Inlet.

5. Releases – In order to qualify a billfish as a release one of the following conditions must be met: the leader is touched by a team member or the swivel or connection between the double line and the leader (if double line is used, the connection between the double line and the LEADER qualifies) touches the rod tip or the connection between the leader and the main line/double line passes through the rod tip.

6. Anglers & Crew –There is no limit to the number of eligible anglers per boat, however all anglers must be registered with Tournament Control prior to fishing. A maximum of six angler bags and six official T-shirts will be presented per boat. Professional crew members may hook and pass the rod.  Each team is limited to two professional mates and one professional or non pro captain driving the boat. The pro captain may not be substituted for an additional mate. A fish hooked by a professional must be handed off to an eligible angler in a timely manner.  A Professional is a person who has been compensated (whether full or part time) as a mate or Captain aboard a Sportfishing boat in the past 12 months. Contact the Tournament Director with questions regarding eligibility.

7. Reporting Catch – All billfish releases must be reported to Radio Control on VHF Radio channel 78. Radio Control will respond with the time of release. If Radio Control cannot be raised confirmation of the GPS time including fractions of a second should be made with another registered tournament boat; boat name should be noted on the scorecard.

8. Points System – All billfish, must be released to earn points. Release points are 100 each for White Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish and Spearfish. And 150 Points for Blue Marlin.

9. Scoring – All scorecards must include the species, time of release, angler name and special designation (Top Lady eligible or Jr Angler). The Captain must sign the scorecard. If the angler hooks her own fish this must be noted on the scorecard in order for the points to qualify for the Top Angler award. Junior Anglers are 15 and under as of lines in. Scorecards must be turned in to scoring/weigh station by 7:00 PM on Sunday, August 11.

10. Weighing Fish & Polygraph Testing – Any fish weighed will be entered on a scorecard by the Weighmaster. If anyone wants a fish reweighed it must be done while the fish is still hanging. The Tournament Scales will close at 7:00 PM. The Captain of the Top Boat registered in the Billfish Jackpot must report to the Pirate’s Cove Pavilion before 7PM for polygraph testing. You must speak with the Tournament Director in order to propose a substitute for testing and this person must be sober.

11. Meatfish – A trophy will be awarded to the heaviest Dolphin, Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna. If two or more entries have the same weight then the largest combination of length and girth shall determine the winner. In the event that this is also a tie, the earlier time of weigh in shall determine the winner. Meatfish may be transported to the scales over land by car.

12. Trophy Awards – Trophies will be awarded to the Top Junior and Top Lady Angler. Total points for the Top Lady Angler will be calculated on fish she hooked herself and must be noted on the scorecard. Juniors may accept a pass. Ties will be broken by time of release. Six angler trophies will be presented to the top five boats.

13. Protest – Any protest must be submitted to the Tournament Director in writing by 7:00 PM on Sunday, August 11. The decision of the Rules Committee is final.

14. Prize Money – The Billfish and Top Dolphin Jackpot Prizes will be mailed within two weeks of receipt of W-9 forms designating prize money payees.

15. Cancellation Policy – If weather and/or other conditions exist where no registered boats can fish, the entry fee minus 15% management fee will be refunded, at the team’s request, by mail within four weeks to the designated Team Contact.

16. Pre-Registration – Will take place on Friday, August 9 from 5:00 PM to 7:00PM. Only teams that have registered their boat and all anglers and have paid all their entry fees may come to pre-registration. All fees must be received by the tournament by 5:00PM on Thursday, August 8. There will also be a “preregistered” line at Saturday registration to expedite the teams that have registered their boat and anglers.

16. Hold Harmless Agreement – All participants, vessel owners and pro hoc owners consent and agree that the federal and state courts for Dare County, North Carolina, shall serve as the sole venue for any and all litigation arising out of participation in the Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament. In no way shall any participant distressed by any ruling of the tournament recover from the Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament, Tournament Control, Inc., Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament, Inc. or its officers, employees, volunteers or sponsors any sum exceeding his/her registration fee. It is expressly understood that all participants participate at their own risk and hereby release, discharge and hold harmless Tournament Control, Inc., Pirate’s Cove Billfish Tournament, Inc. and its officers, directors, volunteers, sponsors and employees from liability for loss, damage, costs, harm, injury, damage or death suffered by any participant, crew member, observer, vessel or equipment which may occur during this tournament including, but not limited to, any fishing activity, meeting, meal, ceremony or other tournament related event or activity occurring between August 7 and August 21, 2024. The rules and release shall also be binding on my heirs, executors, administrator or assigns. By paying the entry fees, my team and I acknowledge that we have read the rules and release and are bound by the same.


To register for the 35th annual Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies Only Billfish Tournament, click here to download the PDF entry form, or click here for the online entry form. For the online AKL Angler registration form click here, or to download the PDF form click here.

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Contact Us
Heather Maxwell
Pirates Cove Billfish Tournaments Tournament Director