Tournament Rules

The Herman Lucerne 2023 Tournament Rules

Catch and Release

The Herman Lucerne Backcountry Fishing Championship is strictly a catch and release fishing tournament.


  • Fishing shall be within the boundaries of Everglades National Park.
  • Fishing in the Flamingo Marina is prohibited. The Flamingo Marina shall be defined as the area from the marina to the end of the first minimum wake area on either side of the marina Anglers choosing to fish within designated NO MOTOR ZONES (NMZ) must adhere to all Park regulations and applicable laws. (Note: the stowing of canoe’s illegally within park boundaries at NMZ entrances or elsewhere will not be tolerated as this does not adhere to current Park regulations.)

  • All team members must fish on the same boat during fishing hours.

Check-in / Check-out

Check in:

Don’s:  6:00 am Teams may not leave the parking lot of Don’s Bait and Tackle until 6:00 A.M.
Lorelei: 6:30 am Teams may not leave the parking lot or dock of the Lorelei until 6:30 A.M.

Departing before the allowed time will result in forfeiture of that day’s scoring.

Check out:

Don’s & Lorelei: scorecards to be turned in by 5:30pm

Fishing Hours

  • Saturday, September 17, 2022, 7:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.
  • Sunday, September 18, 2022, 7:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.
  • All anglers must sign in each day prior to departure from either the Lorelei or from Don’s Bait and Tackle
  • Each team shall pick up its team package, which shall include a scorecard, measuring devices, and a day marker each morning at the check in locations.
  • Each team must be prepared to show its camera memory card or cellphone photos and catch card to the tournament scorers located at the Lorelei, Islamorada or Don’s Bait and Tackle Shop in Homestead on Saturday, September 16th and Sunday, September 17th between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • All measuring devices must be returned with the catch card on Sunday, September 17th in order to enter the day’s final catches.

Eligible Species

Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Snapper, Bonefish, and Bass or Black Drum.

Tournament Awards

Tournament Grand Champion
Guide to Grand Champion
Top Guide

Awarded to the Captain whose angler(s) catches the most species of eligible fish in accordance with the same rules of the Grand Champion.

Six Top Anglers

• Male, Guided
• Male, Non-guided
• Female, Guided
• Female, Non-guided
• Junior, Guided
• Junior, Non-guided
• Youth, Guided
• Youth, Non-guided

Team Champions

  • Guided Team
  • Non-guided Team

Six Tackle Division Champions

  • Fly, Guided
  • Fly, Non-guided
  • Artificial, Guided
  • Artificial, Non-guided
  • General, Guided
  • General, Non-guided

Largest of Each Species

  • Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Snapper, and Bass or Black Drum.
  • Bonefish Exception: An award will be given to the most bonefish caught, if in the case that no one catches more than one, the award will be given to the first bonefish caught.
  • The largest eligible fish awards shall be awarded to the anglers who catch the largest eligible fish in each of the seven eligible fish divisions.(Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, Seatrout, Snapper, Bass, Black Drum)
  • There shall be no maximum lengths for this award and no tackle bonuses.
  • Any potential “largest” Tarpon should be measured in the water with the soft tape provided with that day’s tournament marker in the photograph

In all categories the number of species supersedes the total number of inches. In case of a species tie the highest total inches will determine the winner.

Award Eligibility and Scoring

Grand Champion and Top Angler Awards

  • The winner shall be the individual that accumulates the highest total inches (including tackle multiples) of eligible fish. Number of species caught supersedes total inches.
  • Only the largest fish entered in each of the eligible tackle categories shall be used in calculating the total inches for the non-tackle specific prizes.
  • Each fish entered must meet minimum size requirements in accordance with Florida State laws with the exception of bonefish. Any size bonefish will count but must stay in the water and be photographed with that day’s tournament bracelet visible in the photo, with a hand on the leader.
  • The length of an eligible fish shall be calculated to the closest l/2 inch, rounded down to the closest inch or l/2 inch.
  • Bonefish must be kept in the water, photographed under control or in a net boat side, with a hand on the leader and the tournament marker for that day in the photo, no more than 12′′ from the hook. A caught bonefish will score a flat 20 points, plus tackle multiples.
  • Tarpon must be kept in the water, photographed under control or in a net boat side, with a hand on the leader and the tournament marker for that day in the photo,  no more than 12′′ from the hook. A caught tarpon will score a flat 30 points, plus tackle multiples.
  • To be eligible for the Grand Champion award an angler must have caught at least four of the seven eligible species exceeding the minimum size.

Team Awards

  • Eligibility for Team Champion awards (guide or non-guided) requires a team to consist of at least two anglers.
  • Every member of a team must have caught at least one of the fish used to calculate the team score.

Guided vs. Non-guided Award Variations, and Top Guide Award

  • If you have a Guide/Professional on board, you must be scored in the Guided Category. A guided team or individual shall mean any team or individual who is fishing on a boat with a licensed captain or a professional angler.

Artificial and Fly Division Awards

  • A fish scored for the Artificial Division Award is caught by using an artificial lure, cast by the angler using a plug or spinning rod. A fish scored for an Artificial or Fly Division award must not have been caught while chumming or trolling by boat.
  • Artificial lures and Flies may not be “sweetened” by the addition of any natural bait, dead or alive.

Junior and Young Adult Anglers

  • A Youth Angler is an angler who has not reached their eleventh birthday as of September 15, 2023
  • A Junior Angler is an angler who has not reached their eighteenth birthday as of September 15, 2023

Bonus Inches for Fly and Artificial

  • The largest fish for an eligible species caught on artificial will be scored at 1.25 times the total length.
  • The largest fish for an eligible species caught on fly will be scored at 1.50 times the total length.
  • Artificial and Fly multipliers do not apply to scoring for “Largest Fish” awards for each species.

Ultimate Tie Breaker

In the event of a tie after all other tie breakers have been applied for an award, the team/individual that caught the last eligible fish FIRST shall be the winner.

Line Test and Leader

  • The maximum line test/tippet allowed shall be 12-lb. test.
  • Line test shall be determined by the line manufacturers stated line test.
  • The leader, including double line, shall not exceed the length of the angler’s rod.
  • For anglers fishing with a fly rod, the leader and tippet length shall comply with IGFA rules.

Hooks and Rods

  • Anglers fishing with bait or fishing with a fly rod must only use single hooks.
  • Each angler may only use or work one fishing rod at a time. IGFA Rules
  • An angler must hook, fight and bring the fish to the boat unaid- ed by any other person. Gaffing shall not be allowed.
  • All IGFA rules shall apply except leader length and gaffing as specifically stated herein. It is the responsibility of each angler to know, understand and abide by the IGFA and these rules.


  • Anglers must provide a digital camera with memory card or cellphone.
  • Each fish entered on a scorecard must be photographed with the camera or cellphone at the time the fish is caught.
  • The photograph must clearly show the head of the fish against the end of the measuring device and clearly show the entire fish and the total length of the fish, without obstruction of hands or fingers.
  • Tails may be pinched according to Florida state regulations.
    For fish larger than the measuring device, the photograph must clearly show the total length of the fish on the tournament tape measure. All photos must include the official tournament marker provided.

Tournament Marker

  • Tournament Markers will be given to anglers each morning at check in for specified tournament day.
  • Day 1 Tournament Marker: Red + White” 2023 HLM Backcountry” Silicone Wristband Day 2 Tournament Marker: Dark Green “2023 HLM Backcountry” Silicone Wristband
  • It is our strong recommendation that you slip the Wristband on the Tournament Ruler (90 degree end where you place the fish’s head) to ensure the marker is in the photo. If the appropriate marker is not in the photo your fish will not count.
  • Bonefish/Largest Tarpon: All Anglers and Guides will receive a Wristband. Make sure one of you is wearing one in the event you want to score a species you cannot take out of the water such as a Bonefish (per tournament rules) or Large Tarpon (per FWC rules).


  • A registered angler may protest any other registered angler’s catch by filing a written protest to the tournament committee by 5:00 P.M. of the day of the protested catch.
  • The judge’s committee will settle any protest and their decision will be final.


Each team shall be responsible for accurately and completely filling out and signing the team’s scorecard each day and timely returning the scorecard and tournament photos to the tournament score keepers. Failure to comply with any rule or regulation of the tournament, or law, rule or regulation of Everglades National Park, may cause the disqualification of an angler or the angler’s catch.


In consideration of the tournament’s acceptance of an angler entry, each registered angler specifically agrees and consents to voluntarily submit to a polygraph examination or examinations, to be conducted by a polygraph examiner selected by the tournament committee, at any time until all prizewinners and awards are determined and announced. The method and conduct of all polygraph examinations, and the interpretation of the results thereof, shall be in the sole judgment of the poly- graph examiner appointed by the tournament committee and whose opinion shall be final. If any registered angler refuses to submit to a polygraph examination or if any registered angler or occupant gives a response which, in the sole opinion of the polygraph examiner is not accurate or untruthful, then all registered anglers on the boat shall be immediately disqualified without further notice. Any registered angler so disqualified shall not be entitled to any prize, award, or entry fee refund.


All anglers will fish at their own discretion and at their own risk. If bad weather causes the cancellation of one of the two days of fishing, the tournament will become a one-day tournament. The judges’ committee shall be responsible for making the decision.


All anglers will fish at their own risk. All anglers agree to indemnify and hold harmless all members of the Tournament Committee, Directors, Sponsors and their agents and employees from any and all liability, loss or damage they may suffer as a result of this fishing tournament.

Captains/Anglers Meeting

  • All captains/anglers or their representatives shall attend the Captain’s Meeting and Kick-off dinner on Friday September 15, 2023 from 5:00 – 8:00 pm at the Islander Resort.

Cell Phones/Radio Contact

The use of cellular phones or radio communication with non-registered anglers, for fishing information, during tournament fishing hours is strictly prohibited.


  • No one other than a registered angler shall be allowed in a boat, other than a licensed captain or competition committee member or designee.
  • Guides and or professional anglers may not compete as anglers in the Herman Lucerne Backcountry Championships. A professional shall be defined as: 1) any individual who has accepted compensation as a guide or captain at any time during the two years preceding the start of this competition; or, 2) an individual who receives a substantial amount of his/her annual income from tournament fishing. The rules committee’s decision as to whether or not an individual is a professional shall be final.
  • Any boat with a professional aboard shall be entered into the guided division(s).
  • Every angler must have a current Florida fishing license, unless exempt by Florida law, or fish on a vessel whose captain has a current boat fishing license.
  • The members of a team may not separate during tournament fishing hours (i.e., all team members must fish on the same boat).
  • The tournament committee reserves the right to refuse the registration of any angler. Tournament results will be posted after the awards dinner by 9 p.m.
    Any challenges to the calculations should be made within one hour of posting.