RUST BUCKET CHALLENGE

Charlotte Harbor's annual "invitational" RUST BUCKET tournament 2020/2021 spans eight Months of inshore fly fishing split into four legs, the last of which targets tarpon which will close out the season and pay homage to the famous "Gold Cup" held every June in Islamorada.

This is an ALL FLY catch and release "tournament" relying on participant's integrity and respect, not only for the environment and our fishery, but for the other anglers involved. The prize for this tournament is literally a rusty bar bucket screwed to an old spare prop, bragging rights, and some hand tied flies. Simply put. If you cheat, you're a jerk. Enjoy tetanus.

EVENT SCHEDULE

Redfish- November 1st-7th
Trout- February 1st-7th
Snook- April 1st-7th
Tarpon - June 1st-7th

Why an entire week per leg? Simply put, some people can't make it out to fish due to work/life/whatever all the time on one specific day or weekend. This allows for participants to choose their time on the water at their convenience during each leg of "The Bucket". Each week was picked to allow prime time fishing based on species and migratory patterns. TEAMS OR INDIVIDUALS MAY ONLY FISH TWO DAYS DURING THE DESIGNATED WEEK. The chosen days must be submitted to the tournament chairman three days prior to the beginning of the week. 

REGISTRATION

Registration costs just $75 per team (or solo angler) for the entire tournament OR $25 per leg if a team or individual just want to target one of the species. Entry fees will garner an angler official "Rust Bucket" SWAG as well as an open invitation to the post leg parties/end of bucket BBQ bash. Bring your drinking shoes. Contact rustbucketchallenge@gmail.com to hop on board! (The tournament is limited to 15 teams at this time)

 

Anglers may enter as a team OR individual, however teams are limited to two per skiff. Each individual on a team may enter separately if they choose to fish extra days on their own, but the points scored will go only to their individual registration. Each team is expected to provide a token (old hat, playing card, birth certificate, etc.) for the days fished. This token is to be made present in each photo of a caught fish that shows the fish's total length. Seadek rulers work just fine, as will any approved measuring device. Please contact the tournament chair ahead of time if you are unsure about the measuring device or what may constitute a "token".

SCORING

1ST Leg- REDFISH (NOV 1-7)
Only redfish 18" or more may be scored for points!
Slot redfish (18"-27") 200 points
Each additional inch over slot is an extra 50 points
(measured with overall length)

2ND Leg- TROUT (FEB 1-7)
Only trout 15" or more may be scored for points!
Trout (15"-19") 100 points
Each additional inch over 19" is an extra 50 points
(measured with overall length)


**SHEEPSHEAD KICKER!!!!** FOR THE TROUT LEG, AND TROUT LEG ONLY: Any team that lands a keeper (12" or better) sheepshead on fly will DOUBLE their trout points. Sheepshead WILL NOT count for anything without first catching a trout, so keep that in mind. This is the TROUT LEG with a fun little bonus challenge.

 

3RD Leg- SNOOK (APRL 1-7)
Only snook 20" or more may be scored for points!
Snook (20"-27") are 50 Points
Slot snook (28"-33") are 200 Points
Each additional inch over 33 is an extra 50 Points
(measured with overall length)

4TH Leg- TARPON (JUNE 1-7) It's game day/s boys! This is the big show
Tarpon between (25"-39") are 200 Points!
Tarpon (40") or more are 750 Points!
**NOTE: Unlike the other fish in the tournament, Tarpon are measured from NOSE TO FORK, not LOA (length overall)

DURING FISHING, when a fish is caught and measured please text the tournament chair the photograph and team name after each catch. Pictures submitted that are time stamped before lines in or after lines out will not be accepted. At the end of each fishing day anglers and teams are expected to email the tournament chair (rustbucketchallenge@gmail.com) with photos so scores can be finalized. 

FISHING TIMES (AKA LINES IN AND OUT)
During the Redfish, Trout, and Snook legs: Lines in at 7AM and lines out at 3PM
During the Tarpon Leg: Lines in at 6AM lines out at 3PM

 

Anglers may be on the water and at spots prior to the designated "Lines in" time but may not start fishing until then. Any fish entered for points Prior to 7AM or after 3PM will be a disqualified catch.

 

**Charter captains participating in the tournament MAY NOT count fish that clients caught on a chartered trip. That would be lame.** 

 

At the end of each leg the winner will get to hold onto the "Rust Bucket" until the next leg, as well as be provided with flies tied by the other participants. (3-5 flies per person please)

Points will be totaled at the end of the series to determine the winner for the year, and then that person has to explain to their wife why they have a rusty bucket until the following November.

Fishing areas currently open to anywhere in the state. Please follow local regulations as they apply. Contact rustbucketchallenge@gmail.com for any extra info or to get involved. See you on the water!