Competition Rules


1.Competitions will be arranged by the committee on an annual basis, of which due notice will be given. A competition must have a minimum of two competing boats.


1a. To participate in a member’s only competition, the membership subscription must be paid.


2. All competitions are governed by the rules of the Angling Trust.


3. Boat competitions. Competitors in all competitions may use one or two rods, with a maximum total of three hooks. A pennel rig counts as two hooks. Slip tracing is allowed in all competitions. Hand lines are not allowed.

Beach competitions. Competitors may have two rods made up with tackle and baited, but only one line in the water at any one time. A fishing trace can only have a maximum of three hooks. In specially designated competitions two rods may be used, but with a maximum total of three hooks. A pennel rig counts as two hooks. Slip tracing is allowed in all competitions.

Beach and Boat

A treble hook counts as one hook but no more than one treble hook and two single hooks may be used in a trace, with the exception of plug type spinning lures, which are permissible when used alone. All baits, feathers/and or lures may be used unless stated otherwise by the committee.


4. No fish shall be weighed in of less length than the sizes specified in the Schedule. Any amendments in sizes must be approved by the Committee. Boat catches for weighing in shall be delivered by competitors in duly labelled rigid containers. Beach catches for weighing in will only be accepted if duly labelled. The labels shall bear the competitor's number only but no indication as to his name. Strung fish will not be accepted. No bags shall be accepted for weighing in after one hour and fifteen minutes after the close of the competition unless otherwise stated. No weighed bags shall be handed back to the competitor until the weigh-in has been completed.


5. In Boat Festivals and Boat Competitions, no competitor may fish without a fellow competitor. Competitors may be accompanied by a Boatman. The Boatman or a fellow competitor may bait hooks, net, gaff or hand in and unhook the fish attached to the tackle in use by a competitor but otherwise only the competitor himself shall handle the rod, line or tackle. Only competitors fishing on the same days are allowed in boats in addition to the Boatman. In boat competitions, boats shall leave either the Harbour entrance or Neptune Jetty, unless permission is given to launch elsewhere, one hour before competition starting time.

Fishing limits for boats are: - The Easterly Limit: - An imaginary line drawn from the shore at Westgate to the SE Margate Buoy then to the Tongue Towers and continuing north until it intersects with an imaginary line running west to the northerly limit of the Knock John Tower.

The Westerly Limit: An imaginary line drawn along the Whitstable Street to the Columbine Buoy then to the Red Sands Towers continuing north until it intersects with an imaginary line running east to the Knock John Tower.

These limits will apply to all competitions fished from Heme Bay with the exception of the N.D.F. Beach competition limits are within an area from the Street on the Tankerton beach eastwards to the third breakwater east of Coldharbour Sluice. The Pier and New Sea Wall are included if within the fishing boundary for any Beach Competition. In the event of rough weather the committee may declare the wall off limits. Any Boat competition (excepting festivals) cancelled will be fished on reserve dates as shown on the fixture list. The Neptune slipway is off limits in all competitions.


6. In competition from the Pier or Beach, the competitor himself must cast the line and land the fish. He may, however, accept assistance in landing the fish, by means of a net or gaff only, and in taking fish off the hooks. A competitor fishing from the Pier and not having the use of a landing net or gaff, may hand-line in the fish, provided that before he commences to do so, some part of the fish is out of the water and in the immediate vicinity of the Pier, and also that it can be lifted clear and not pulled through the water towards the competitor. A competitor may cast for another angler who is deemed incapable of casting for Him/Herself due to physical disability provided that such an arrangement is requested from the Committee, prior to commencement of any Competition.


7. In all competitions, if there is a tie for heaviest weight, the award shall go to the competitor whose catch contains the greatest number or in the greatest number class to the competitor with the heaviest weight. In all other classes the award shall go to the competitor whose total catch in all classes is the heaviest weight.


8. No competitor shall win more than one class in Festivals, other than those designated as "Special Classes".


9. All protests must be lodged with the Secretary or a member of the Committee before the conclusion of the weighing in on each day of a competition. The protest shall be taken down at once in writing and signed by the competitor protesting, a fellow competitor as a witness of the incident and by the Officer to whom protest is made. The latter shall forthwith place it before the Committee.


10. Every competitor who has not been previously disqualified must weigh in his catch daily, or if he has caught nothing to report to the Secretary. Failure to comply with this rule without adequate cause on any one or more days, may, at the discretion of the Committee, lead to the disqualification for the whole Festival.


11. Sharks are excluded from all Club Competitions, including Annual Club and Specimen Awards. Only four mackerel per competitor or team of two anglers can be weighed in on any one day’s competition.


12. Skate are excluded in flat or round fish classes in the Festivals.


13. No competitor shall be allowed to fish before the entrance fee has been paid or before the starting time stated or signal given. Beach (In extreme cases a members may phone 07757 669182 and leave a message prior to the start time. Monies due must be paid at the weigh-in.) 


14. Members wishing to be considered for team selection to represent the Association must notify the Secretary at least SEVEN DAYS before the event is due to take place.


15. Any competitor putting unwanted fish in another competitor’s container at the end of the weigh-in or failing to remove his catch from the premises or disposing of his fish or gutting them in the vicinity of the New Sea Wall will be disqualified and refused entry to the next Club Competition.


16. Any member identified as exceeding the speed limit within the harbour will face disciplinary action by the committee.


17. Any member found dumping or disposing of fish in a manner detrimental to the sport of angling will be excluded from membership and banned from all competitions.


18. A junior shall fish and compete as a junior for the year if he or she is less than 16 years of age at the date of either joining or paying their subscription after January 1st.


19. Hooked Fish. The deliberate foul hooking of fish is not permitted; however, accidental foul hooked fish are allowed. In the event of fish being hooked by two or more competitors or caught on lost traces, they shall not be eligible for weighing in.


20. Casting. Anglers wishing to use 'power casting* styles should use a minimum of 50lb. breaking strain shock leader. Furthermore, it is recommended that the breaking strain of shock leader should be a minimum shock leader of l0lbs. per oz. of weight being used. In the interests of safety competitors are advised that any form of dangerous casting is prohibited. Anglers are permitted to cast immediately after landing a fish; however, the retrieval of this cast is not permitted until the angler’s catch is recorded by the steward, or adjacent angler on the official bag label (if issued).


21. Boat Safety. All Competitors, in all competitions, shall only be allowed to fish if the following criteria are met:

(a) Life jackets or buoyancy aid or flotation suit for each competitor is carried.

(b) Working V.H.F. radio, in-date flares and compass are on board.

Random checks will be made by the Boat Safety Officer.


22. No Stingray will be accepted at weigh-ins. Instead, if a beach or boat angler catches a sizeable Stingray then they will be credited with 151bs. weight providing that that fish is seen and witnessed by another angler on the beach, or by anglers in another competing boat. This will enable the fish to be put back alive. Stingrays are excluded from Fish of the Month, Club Specimen and Annual awards.


23. The Committee reserves the right to alter the venue within Herne Bay beach limits if exceptional circumstances prevail for beach competitions only. Times of fishing cannot be altered.


24. Any angler found driving his car along any promenade or sea wall, which has restricted access, will be disqualified from that competition. The only exception being, the Sea Wall at Reculver where designated vehicles may ferry competitors and tackle to their peg.


25. All minor Cup Competitions are 'Open' but only members can win the cup or trophy.


26. No gill or similar type nets may be taken afloat during the hours of any boat competition.


27. For the purpose of record fish claims. All fish must remain in the Clubhouse (in freezer) until formerly identified. Also a photo must be taken to assist in the accurate identification of said fish.


28. Mini Species: The rules apply as in rule 27. In addition, no prize is given for a club record. It is the captor’s responsibility to ensure the correct identification of the said species.  


Last update – June 2014