Billfish Championship

Jimmy Johnson’s National Billfish Championship


Jimmy’s 2-Day Billfish championship will feature the top anglers in the country as they hit the waters for the largest guaranteed purse in sport fish history. Teams will be fishing for a Guaranteed purse of ONE MILLION DOLLARS in this highly competitive tournament. In it’s 5 year history, this tournament has awarded almost $2,000,000 in prize money and 5 championship rings as anglers join in the Florida Keys (Key Largo – MM 104) for this grueling competition. General boat entry starts at $2,500 and $5,000.


Wednesday, March 8

4-6PM Registration
6:30PM Captain’s Meeting

Friday, March 10

7:30AM-4PM Lines In/Out
4PM-6PM Release Videos & Cards to be turned in

Saturday, March 11

7:30AM-2PM Lines In/Out
2-4PM Release Videos & Cards to be turned in
6PM All Tournaments Awards Dinner at JJ’s Big Chill


JJ’s National Billfish Championship is scored by a point system. Registered Anglers will receive 1 point for their boat for each eligible Billfish released in the tournament. All team and individual prize categories will be awarded based on the individual or team’s overall point standings. In the event of a tie, winners will be determined by the team or individual that releases their last fish first.

March 8-11, 2017

Register now


General Entry Prize Structure and Entry Fees
1st Place: $160,000
2nd Place: $75,000
3rd Place: $45,000
4th Place: $18,000
5th Place: $12,000
1st Place: $40,000
2nd Place: $24,000
3rd Place: $16,000
Early Bite/ Late Bite:
Friday: $2,500/$2,500
Saturday: $2,500/$2,500

( Must pick at least one Division to be entered in the tournament. Boats can be entered in both Divisons and any boat type can enter into either division.)

Division A: $5,000 Division B: $2,500
Optional Entry Category Prize Structure and Entry Fees
 Tier 1 Daily $125,000  1st Place: $31,250/day
 2nd Place: $18,750/day
 3rd Place: $12,500/day
Prize money in this optional daily category is awarded to the top three boats each day. This prize structure is a daily payout and is guaranteed.
 Tier 2 Daily  $250,000  1st Place: $87,500/day
 2nd Place: $37,500/day
Prize money in this optional daily category is awarded to the top two boats each day. This prize structure is a daily payout and is guaranteed.
 Leader’s Board  $75,000  1st Place: $37,500
 2nd Place: $22,500
 3rd Place: $15,000
Prize money in this optional category is awarded to the top three boats overall that are entered in this category. This prize structure is guaranteed.
 Big Fish Bonanza  $50,000  1st Place: $35,000
 2nd Place: $15,000
Prize money in this optional category is awarded to the top two boats that weigh in the heaviest eligible dolphin, wahoo, kingfish, tuna, or cobia. Prize structure is guaranteed.
 MONO A MONO  $50,000  1st Place: $35,000
 2nd Place: $15,000
Prize money in this optional category is awarded to the top two teams who make it to the final round. This is a tournament within the tournament. A random drawing will take place at the Captain's Meeting to determine who each entered boat will be competing against in the first round. The number of brackets and rounds will be determined based upon how many boats are entered. Each round will consist of whoever catches the most number of fish within that time period for that round. The winner of each bracket will move on to the next round. The prize structure is a guaranteed payout.
 Center Console  $25,000  Winner Take All  $2,500
Prize money in this optional category is guaranteed and Winner Take All. Boats must be a center console boat to enter into this category.
 Big Boat  $25,000  Winner Take All  $2,500
Prize money in this optional category is guaranteed and Winner Take All. All Boats, other then center consoles, are eligible to enter into this category.






To be eligible for the $10,000 discount on the across the board entry, teams must be entered into the General Entry Division A $5,000 category and general entry fee must be paid between June 1- June 30. The additional fees for all Optional Entries must be paid by December 31, 2016 for $10,000 discount to be applied.

BillFish Rules

1.Registration: Entry forms and fees should be mailed to CI Management at 17301 SW 93rd Avenue, Miami, Fl 33157 or emailed to [email protected] Checks are to be made payable to CI Management. Registrations at the kickoff must be paid by cash, Mastercard, Visa or American Express. Checks will not be accepted at registration. Entry fees are not refundable for any reason. For questions regarding registration, call (305) 255-3500.

2.Entry Forms: Entry forms must be filled out by all participants with appropriate fees and registration information. All anglers must sign entry forms acknowledging their agreement to the rules. IGFA Rules apply with the following exceptions listed below. Officials in the Jimmy Johnson National Billfish Championship (JJNBC) reserve the right to refuse application or entry into the tournament at their discretion with or without cause.

3.Date & Location: Tournament competition will be held on March 10 & 11 with a gifting poolside party on March 4 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - Holly,wood and registration & kick off March 8th at the Big Chill, MM 104, Key Largo, FL. The awards ceremony will be held on March 11th at the Big Chill as well.

4.Eligible Species: Sailfish, White Marlin, Blue Marlin, Dolphin, Wahoo, Kingfish, Cobia, and Spearfish.

5.Maximum Anglers: All anglers should be listed on the entry form. There is no limit on anglers. Additional crewmembers or mates may accompany the team if desired. Any teams with angler changes or substitutions should notify the committee prior to the start of fishing.

6.Maximum Lines: All boats are permitted to fish up to seven lines in the water in the tournament.

7.Tackle: All fish must be caught on rod and reel. Max test line is 20lbs. No electric reels (except kite rods and downriggers). All teams must use a non-offset circle hook in the tournament. The length of the leader may not exceed 15 feet. The combined length of the double line and the leader may not exceed 20 feet in length. Up to 2 artificial dredges are permitted in the tournament. No live or dead bait on dredges or teasers.

8.Bait & Bait Fishing: Fishing with live bait is permitted in the tournament; however, live chumming is not permitted. No dead baits (whole or chunk) may be used for chumming. Bait fishing is permitted during the day however, teams cannot be sailfishing at the same time they are bait fishing. Any bait removed from a hook must be kept in the boat. Casting repeatedly and jerking the bait off is considered chumming and may lead to disqualification.

9.Hook & Catch: All anglers must hook, fight, and catch their own fish. Once a fish is hooked, that angler must fight the fish until it is properly released, boated, or lost. Anglers may not pass rods to fellow anglers once a fish has been hooked. A fish is considered to be hooked once a strike occurs and the drag is engaged or the bail is closed. The use of a rod holder to hook a fish is allowable provided the individual that engages the drag is the same person that fights the fish until release, catch, or loss.

10.Tournament Channel: The tournament committee will operate on channel 74. Channel 68 will be used as an alternate. The tournament channel is reserved for specific announcements and the report of angler releases. All discussions among competitors should be conducted on alternate channels.

11.Boundaries: Participating boats are limited to the waters off the coast of Florida no more than 35 miles offshore. North Boundary – 25°36° West Boundary Boundary - 80° 54°. A boat may not exit the boundaries when fighting a fish. Turn on GPS Tracking on your GPS. This may be used to verify the boat stayed inside the boundaries, in the event of a protest. If your tracking is not on or available, you may be disqualified for any day there is no tracking.

12.Prize Structure: The overall tournament prize structure is based on a $1,000,000 guaranteed payout. See entry prize structure for details on prize structure breakdown.

13.Check-Out: The JJNBC will not have a land based check-out location. At the start of fishing each day, all teams must video the time and their GPS coordinates to confirm that they are within the stated boundaries for the tournament. Be sure to initialize all cameras you may use. If you have to change cameras, all new cameras need to be initialized. Video must show time, date and GPS location. Boats may not deploy any lines in the water until they are within the stated boundaries.

14.Lines-In: 7:30 am. No boats may be trailered to or from their fishing locations during the tournament.

15.Check-In: Lines are out of the water at 4pm on Friday and 2pm on Saturday. Boats with release cards and SD cards to turn in or fish to be weighed must do so by 6:00pm on Friday and 4:00pm on Saturday. There will be two ocean side checkpoint locations for teams to turn in your SD cards and release cards, Ocean Reef Marina and Mariners Club Marina. Big Chill Contender Barge will be host to another check-in location.There will be 2 weigh in docks, one will be at the Big Chill Contender Barge and one will be at Ocean Reef Marina. Online dropbox upload check in is available on Friday. Final Check-in locations will be announced at the captain’s meeting as well as dropbox shared details. Check-in locations will be based on the location of where most boats are docked for the tournament. If you are using online dropbox check-in to upload your video and release cards, this will only be available on Friday and you must provide visual evidence to the committee that you are tied up at the dock and you have started your upload prior to 6:00PM on Friday. This must be done by taking a picture of your boat tied up in the slip and a picture of your computer screen showing your upload has started. These pictures must be texted to your committee representative prior to 6:00pm on Friday. Committee representatives’ information will be provided at registration. If the tournament committee does not receive these two photos by cut-off, your fish will not count. If you are in contention, it is advisable to turn in your SD cards to a check in point to insure the committee received them on time. It is each boats responsibility to get your videos and release cards in on time. All SD cards and release cards must be brought in on the boat in which they were caught. You may not pass SD and release cards to another vessel to bring in for you. They may be brought in by car by an angler or crewmember on the vessel they were caught. In the event of a boat mechanical break down, you must still be in on time.

16.Weather: In the event that weather conditions arise deemed unsafe for the average registered boat, by the tournament officials, the tournament schedule may be altered to accommodate the best weather & fishing conditions available to participating teams. Any schedule adjustment due to inclement weather will be made at the sole discretion of the tournament committee. Best effort will be made to achieve a two-day fishing format on the scheduled weekend of the tournament. In the circumstance, as determined by the committee, where 2 days of fishing may be unachievable, the tournament may be reduced to a one-day format. Captains, anglers, and all other members of registered boats must determine in their own judgment whether to fish under the given conditions based on factors including but not limited to the seaworthiness of their boat and their own seamanship.

17.Competition Day: The schedule calls for hours of fishing from 7:30am to 4:00 pm on Day 1 & 7:30am to 2:00pm on day 2. Best effort will be made to ensure the full fishing schedule is met for each day of competition. At least 4 hours of tournament fishing must occur on any given day in order for the points from that day to be factored into the overall score & standings for each team. Should inclement weather or any other force majeure condition occur that limits the tournament to only 1 day of fishing, the daily calcutta money allocated for the cancelled day will be returned to the teams that are registered for the affected calcutta. All other general prize and calcutta money will be paid according to standard procedure based on the standings from the single day of fishing.

18.Protests: All protests must be submitted in writing along with $500 cash or check to the tournament officials within four hours of the conclusion of the day of fishing. Protests should be made based on first hand eyewitness information. Video confirmation would be helpful to back up your protest. All decisions of the tournament officials regarding protests are final.

19.Polygraph: By entering the tournament, all captains, anglers, and occupants of their boats voluntarily consent to submit to a polygraph examination as deemed necessary by tournament officials. All decisions of the polygraph examiner will be final. Participants chosen to be polygraphed may not have consumed drugs or alcohol prior to the polygraph exam. Any captain, angler, or occupant of a registered boat who refuses to take a polygraph or provides untruthful answers as determined by the examiner, will be subject to disqualification from the tournament without further notice. Such a disqualification will eliminate payment or provision of any prize money, awards, and/or refund of entrance fees.

20.Tournament Discretion: The tournament director reserves the right to implement his or her discretion at any time during the tournament as it may apply to the rules or any other circumstance that should arise during the course of the event.

21.Release: All registered captains, anglers, and occupants of their boats consent that tournament officials may use, without payment or restriction, any photographs or video in which he or she appears for any purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to resale, advertising, and promotional material.

22.Hold Harmless: It is expressly understood that all registered participants and non-registered occupants of their boats enter into the Jimmy Johnson National Billfish Championship voluntarily and at their own risk. Further, each registered and non-registered participant on behalf of other family members and/or executors agrees to release and hold harmless CI Foundation, CI Management, tournament officials, sponsors, and all other persons connected directly or indirectly with operation of said tournament from any liability for libel, slander, loss, damage, negligence, harm, injury, or death suffered by any participant, entrant, sportfishermen, their companions, boat captains, mates, crew members, vessels or their equipment during the tournament.

23.Signature: By signing the entry form and/or registering online, the captain and/or owner agrees that all anglers and occupants of their boat will abide by all tournament rules.


24.Scoring: Billfish Points - Registered anglers will receive 1 point for each eligible billfish released in the tournament. All team and individual prize categories will be awarded based on the individual or team’s overall point standings. In the event of a tie, winners will be determined by the team or individual that releases their last fish first.
25. Big Fish Bonanza - Dolphin, Wahoo, Kingfish Cobia & Tuna (Blackfin and Yellowfin) Points- These species must weigh a minimum of 10 pounds to be eligible in the tournament. Each boat may weigh in a maximum of 1 fish per species. Each fish meeting weight requirements will be given a score of one point per pound. These points will not be included with points awarded for billfish releases when determining the top team standings. See optional entry prize structure for details on the Big Fish Bonanza category. Mutilated fish will be disqualified. All decisions of the weighmaster are final. All weigh ins will be done at The Big Chill - MM104. Boats must check in at the scale on the weigh in dock at The Big Chill Pool Dock before 6pm on Friday Day 1 and 4pm on Saturday Day 2 to be eligible to be weighed and qualify in the tournament.

26.Billfish Release Criteria: All billfish must be properly released in order for the points to be scored to the registered angler and his or her team. The requirements for a release are as follows:

(1) The double line and leader must leave the tip of the rod once a strike occurs.

(2) At the conclusion of the fight the fish must be brought close enough to the boat for a mate or crewmember to touch the leader, not the double line.

(3) In a continuous sequence, video footage must clearly identify the fish as well as the leader touch by a crew member.

(4) Evidence on video of the leader being cut at the time of release.

(5) The proper color card and confirmation # must be displayed on video to mark the completion of a catch.

27.Video Requirement: Every billfish released in the tournament must be verified by video footage clearly identifying the release. Each team is responsible for providing their own video camera and the appropriate media to record video footage that documents the releases on their boat. Video media will not be provided to teams by the tournament committee. Acceptable video formats are SD cards only. The first video clip to be shot by all teams should be of time, date and GPS location at the start of fishing. If you fill your first video and need to switch to a 2nd video during fishing please contact the radio room for an establishing shot to begin your video.

28.Continuous Video Sequence: To ensure the authenticity of the releases, each team will be required to maintain a continuous video sequence from the time video evidence of the fish is established up to the time the leader touch is verified on video. If a break in the footage should occur, the team must reestablish video evidence of the fish again with a continuous video sequence up to the leader touch. It is not necessary to keep the camera rolling while waiting for a confirmation # and color card verification from the committee. Anglers should remove buffs or face protection, briefly, so the committee can establish the angler. Angler’s face should be visible with color card at end of the fight.

29.Break Image: Once a release has occurred, the captain must contact the radio room for a confirmation # and instructions on which color card to shoot before footage of a subsequent release begins. If a team is hooked up to multiple fish, a crewmember should state that on camera with video evidence to support it. If both fish are brought boat side at the same time the break image can be made once both fish are properly released and confirmation numbers are received.

30.Release & Catch Verification: All billfish releases must be reported to the tournament committee immediately following the release. Individuals calling in a release must include the boat number and angler name in their report. A release will be official once the radio controller responds to the respective angler with a confirmation number. That confirmation number should be recorded on the registered angler’s release card. Any boat unable to contact the committee should contact another boat for a relay. A tournament cell phone # will also be provided to teams at the Captain’s meeting. Boats that intend to fish in areas with poor cell phone coverage are still responsible for maintaining communication with the tournament committee on all releases.

31.Winnings: All winners are required to provide their social security number prior to receiving any awards. Awards and prize money will be withheld as required by law if a social security number is not presented to the committee.

Tournament information is subject to change. Should any changes be made, all registered boats and participants will be notified via email and all information will be made final at the Captains Meeting prior to tournament fishing commencing.


Event Produced by CI Management Group. © Jimmy Johnson's Quest for the Ring Championship Fishing Week. All rights reserved.

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