Fishing Rules, Special, Monthly and Annual Tournaments

 All Nantucket Anglers’ Club Members, their families an guests fishing Nantucket Angler’s Club tournaments. Also, to all junior anglers under sixteen (16) living on Nantucket who weigh in game fish as part of the Nantucket Anglers’ Club weigh in policy for Junior anglers.

Welcome to our club web site and review of our fishing programs. Most of our tournaments are run under IGFA rules. Currently there are only two tournaments where we allow exceptions to IGFA rules. These are the annual shark tournament whereby anglers can register in advance for using tackle heavier than IGFA 130 pound test. This is to accommodate those boats and anglers rigged for commercial tuna fishing. The second exception is the fall club challenge tournament for bluefish where wire line is allowed.

Over the years the two major complaints filed by anglers competing in tournaments are about illegal use of wire line or someone else hooking and fighting a fish for a junior or novice angler that is later weighed in. IGFA rules are very strict and there is no interpretation other than the fish must be caught by one person. “From the time a fish strikes or takes a bait or lure, the angler must hook, fight and land or boat the fish without the aid of any other person, …”

This report has been prepared to give a standard that out committee members, anglers, and guests may use when reviewing the needs and requirements for the various tournaments. Actual dates of tournaments will vary from year to year such as the annual “Cranny” Cranston Tournament which is held on Columbus Day Weekend. Tournament eligibility also varies wi ht some being invitational, some member/guest, and some members only. At this point in time the club primarily recognizes heaviest fish in three divisions: male, female and junior. The junior division is broken up into two age groups when fishing in the IGFA junior angler World Championship qualifying event, the annual Nantucket Billfish tournament. There are also three age specific awards for junior anglers.

Generally a monthly gift certificate and an annual plaques are awarded in all species found in Nantucket Waters. The three divisions also distinguish between beach and boat fish and beach and boat fly rod fish. There is a tally board of monthly and club records in the clubhouse.

Species eligible for prizes include:


  • Crappie
  • Pickerel
  • Sunfish
  • White Perch
  • Yellow Perch
Salt Water

  • Albacore or Long Fin Tuna
  • Big Eye Tuna
  • Black or Sea Bass
  • Blue Fin Tuna
  • Blue Marlin
  • Blue Shark
  • Bluefish
  • Bonita
  • Cod
  • Dolphin (fish) a.k.a. Dorado (Spanish) or Mahi Mahi (Hawaiian)
Salt Water

  • False Albacore
  • Haddock
  • Mako Shark
  • Pollack or Boston Bluefish
  • Scup
  • Spanish Mackerel
  • Striped Bass
  • Summer Flounder or Fluke
  • Swordfish
  • Weakfish
  • White Marlin
  • Winter Flounder
  • Yellow Fin Tuna
Fish not recognized due to their scarcity include:

  • Cobia
  • Conger Eel
  • Jack Crevalle
  • Porbeagle Shark
  • Reef Fish
  • Sailfish
  • Spear Fish
  • Thresher Shark
    • April/May – First Fish (bass and bluefish)
    • 6 Hour Pickerel Tournament
    • Adult & Child Perch Tournament
    • May Vern Hilts Pond Clean Up and Tournament
    • Happy Hookers Pond Tournament
    • June – NAC vs. MV Tournament
    • July – Bottom Feeders Tournament
      • East vs. West Tournament
      • Kids Pond Tournament
      • Bass & Blue Tournament
    • August:
      • Shark Tournament
      • Bob Fletcher Beach and Boat Tournament
      • Kid’s Everybody Wins Pond Tournament
  • FALL
    • September:  Annual Inshore Classic
      • Kathy Kelliher Pond Tournament
    • October: “Cranny” Cranston Beach Bluefish Tournament
    • November: Last Gasp Striper Tournament

In addition to the various tournaments the club annually recognizes the man, woman and junior amassing the most points in all species during the calendar year. The annual adult awards are named for Captain Jack Dooley and Esther Barlow. Juniors are recognized in three age groups: 6 and under, 7 to 11 and 12 to 15. These awards are listed as Kelliher/Smith, Kelliher/bachman and Kelliher/Pew and were started by former president Dan Kelliher and honor three former club presidents. Plaques are awarded annually in July recognizing anglers that caught the heaviest fish in each species the previous calendar year. There are some prized, generally for large pelagic fish that are awarded on the basis of a year ending that coincides with the last day of the annual billfish tournament. These include the Captain Jack Briard heaviest tuna weighed in by any angler, the Bob Goodwin award for a junior weighing in or releasing a white marlin, blue marlin or swordfish, and the Captain Pete Guild award for a first lifetime billfish. There are over thirty awards just for the billfish tournament. These are listed separately under Billfish Tournament, which also lists all of the awards dedicated to past presidents or notable anglers. Non-member junior anglers under 16 can weigh in a fish anytime. However all anglers, male, female, junior or guest, must be registered for each special tournament and have paid any applicable fees prior to tournament start. Also, spouses, children and in-situ guests must be registered on the annual membership application to be eligible for monthly and annual tournaments. The tournament rules, entry fees, forms and dates may change over time and those listed here are for reference only. Also check at the club for the official tournament rules.