Derby Rules
Tournament Rules and Regulations
 1. General Information
The 2024 MDR Halibut Derby (Tournament) is a two-day fishing tournament. Marina Del Rey Anglers, Inc. (MDRA or Club) hosts the Tournament; being a conservation minded organization, the Club encourages catch and release to the maximum extent possible. This is an event designed to support the Charitable and Conservation work of MDRA and CCA CAL. We hope that everyone has a good time fishing in the event.

All participants required to have a license, must have a valid fishing license. Fishing license number is required for each angler at registration. Failure to provide a valid fishing license will be cause for disqualification.
 2. Dates, Times and Weigh-in
Fishing time starts at Sunrise, Saturday June 1st and ends at 3:30 PM on Sunday June 2nd. The Weigh-in dock at Burton Chace Park will be open:
The Weigh-in dock at Burton Chace park will be open:
  • Saturday from 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
  • Sunday from 12:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Failure to be at the dock and checked in by the above closing times, will disqualify your fish. It is the anglers’ responsibility to return to the weigh-in and be at the check in table in time. Budget enough time to travel and to tie-up & dock as needed. Judge your travel time well.

Remember maximum speed 8 knots in the outer channel, 5 knots and "No Wake" inside the harbor. You need time to tie up and transport your fish up the dock. Judge’s exceptions may be made by the Rules Committee for extenuating conditions. It is permissible to fish late on Saturday and weigh in your Saturday fish on Sunday.
One angler from each vessel must be present otherwise entire team will be disqualified
 3. Divisions
All anglers, regardless of age or sex, compete equally with each other under these rules for prizes and trophies. Based on participation, there will be recognition of the top lady angler, top youth angler, or top kayak angler, but all participants are competing in the same derby for the top prize. There are various “divisions” between types of anglers. These divisions will be set for specific qualifications, see the "Divisions" section below for information on divisions.
  4. Species & Prize Eligibility
The only species eligible for grand prizes are: California halibut, white seabass, rockfish, lingcod, sculpin, sand dabs, yellowtail, and a collection (AKA "bag") of up to 5 saltwater bass (Calico Bass, Barred Sand Bass, and Spotted Bay Bass). Halibut released alive after being weighed-in receive a 25% weight bonus added to the actual weight of the fish.ALL saltwater bass (kelp/calico bass, Barred Sand Bass, and Spotted Bay Bass) that are eligible for collective (bag) weight MUST BE RELEASED ALIVE and be able to swim away after being weighed in order to qualify.

Spotted Bay Bass that are qualifying fish will be awarded a 2x Weight Bonus

The heaviest eligible fish (adjusted for weight bonus if applicable), or a collection (bag) of saltwater bass released alive after weigh-in, would be eligible for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place grand prizes.

  5. Mutilated Fish
Any fish, determined by the tournament committee officials to be mutilated, will be disqualified. The fish must be brought to the scale in good condition.

Mutilation of a fish can be by numerous sources; sharks, other fish, props, if a fish escapes before being gaffed or boated and is recaptured by any method not outlined in angling regulations, or anything that penetrates the fish’s skin or removes flesh. The fish must come in the boat without any mutilations.

Gaff holes, line scars, old wounds, or regeneration deformities are not considered mutilation. Any fish not meeting the length requirements or deemed mutilated by the weighmaster, will not be weighed in, even for pictures.
  6. Daily Catch & Limits
Each angler may weigh-in only one of each of the following per day: halibut, white seabass, rockfish, lingcod, sculpin, yellowtail, sand dabs, or a “bag” of saltwater bass (Bag = up to 5 live bass). Live release is mandatory for a saltwater bass submission. All anglers must abide by all California Dept. of Wildlife rules and have a current fishing license as required by state law if required.
  7. Prizes
Various Prizes will be awarded based on the category. The Top Place prize for the Derby Winner is a ride on the Apollo for a 2.5-day Tuna Trip that will take place on Sept. 22-24, 2024. If the winner is unable to take this trip it can be transferred IF we receive written notification at least 7 days before departure and we provide an acknowledgement of the transfer. There is a special prize for the Top Youth Angler.
  8. Perpetual Trophies
The Club has several perpetual trophies that are the property of the club. They are retained by the club and the winners name is engraved on it for perpetuity.
  • First Place in the MDR Halibut Derby: For the winner of the derby.
  • The Bent Halibut: For the largest halibut caught by a MDRA member in the halibut derby.
  • The Rowan Henry Memorial: For the fishing club or Yacht Club in the halibut derby.
  • Dave Hamilton Perpetual Trophy:
  • For the winner of Top Youth Angler. (Plus Grant)
 9. Fishing Platform
Private Boats, Shore Anglers, Kayakers and Party Boats, etc. are all allowed. Anglers fishing from shore, on kayaks, and party boats compete equally and under the same rules as those fishing on private boats. If fishing from a private boat, all anglers aboard must be entered in the derby.
 10. Pay in Advance of Fishing
All entrants must pay for their entry in advance of the Halibut Derby via the Online web site at or at the in person to the Halibut derby chairperson. All entrants regardless of the type of fishing, except Youth, compete equally in the tournament and pay the same entry fee.
11. California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Rules
All Anglers must possess a valid saltwater fishing license w/ ocean enhancement stamp unless exempted by state rules and comply with all Department of Fish & Wildlife rules and regulations at all times during the Tournament. Please have license easily accessible.

The club may be checking licenses. You can expect DFW to be on hand and ask all who come to the docks with fish.
12. Sport fishing / Hooks
We require use of IGFA recognized & approved fishing techniques with one exception; we allow the use of a treble hook as the trap hook on the halibut rig. The trap hook must be embedded into the tail of the bait. To ensure the maximum number of live releases, we highly encourage the use of circle hooks.
13. Fishing Zone - please also see map below
Fishing is limited to Santa Monica Bay and a portion of the Palos Verdes Peninsula with the exception of MLPA areas closed to fishing. The northern boundary for this Tournament is the most easterly point of the Point Dume SMR, Lat: 33 Deg. 57.060 Min, Long: 118 Deg. 47.26 Min. (Commonly called the Point Dume north end of the Santa Monica Bay fishing closure).

The southern boundary is the most easterly point of the Point Vicente SMCA No Take Zone, Lat: 33 Deg. 44.80 Min., Long: 118 Deg. 28.930 Min. (Commonly called the Palos Verdes MLPA south end of the Santa Monica Bay fishing closure). See Page 6 of Doc for Map.
14. Ties
If there is a tie based on these rules, the individual who weighed such qualifying fish first, or collective bag of fish, will be deemed the winner. The identified winner will receive the designated prize, and the second will be awarded the next position in the tournament. This rule will follow in the event of multiple tie-breaking decisions.
15. Weighing In / Scale
All fish weighed-in must be weighed on the official Halibut Derby weigh station scale.
16. Postponement
The Tournament will run at the dates specified regardless of weather or sea conditions. However, in the event the National Weather Service issues a small craft advisory or a gale or storm warning for Santa Monica Bay and for both days, the tournament may be cancelled or rescheduled. If cancelled altogether, a drawing will be held to determine grand prizes and the cash jackpot. No entry fees will be refunded for any reason, including weather.
17. Inspection
Any fish weighed-in shall be subject to identification, markings, and any other inspections the judges & scientists deem appropriate including organ removal.
18. Disqualifications
The judges may disqualify any angler or fish for violation of the Tournament Rules and Regulations including but not limited to un-sportsmanlike actions of the Angler. The decision of the judges shall be final.

Our 2024 Judges will be Myles Blatt, Chris Arechaederra, Tonie Bangos, Wayne Rosenberg, and/or another club director as appointed by the Halibut Derby Chairman (Myles Blatt).
19. Polygraph
By entering the tournament, all participants, to include, but not limited to, captains, anglers, spectators, minors, 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 and are not eligible to be protested.

Participants chosen to be polygraphed may not have consumed drugs or alcohol prior to the polygraph exam. If there are any captains, angler, or occupants of a registered boat refusing to take a polygraph or if they provide untruthful answers as determined by the examiner, the entire team 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. All decisions, from tournament committee officials, of disqualifications based on polygraph issues are final and are not eligible to be protested.
20. Winnings
It’s the responsibility of the winners to claim and use their awards in a timely manner. The Club will not be responsible for the availability, delivery, or utilization of prizes once they have been awarded. Any unclaimed prizes not picked up within three months following the Tournament dates shall become the property of the Club. Winners may have to pay for transportation to use a prize. Winners are responsible for any applicable income taxes that may apply.
21. Photos & Release of Liability
All entrants grant the Club the right to use their likeness and photos for its publicity purposes. All Boat Owners and other entrants, by entering this Tournament, agree to hold the Club, its officers, directors, and members free and clear of all liability and damages to persons and property in connection with all activities in connection thereto. Boat Owners, by entering this Tournament, agree to assume all liability and damages related to those persons on their boat
Fishing Range
Optional Calcuttas
For the purpose of these rules, a “Calcutta” is a side jackpot. All Additional Calcutta’s will be conducted separate of all entry fees. You must be entered into the base entry of the tournament in order to enter into any optional Additional Calcutta categories available during the tournament.

Entrants are eligible to weigh one fish, or collective bag of fish, for each category for the entire tournament. In the event of a tie, the Additional Calcutta will be split evenly between the winners.

All Calcutta entries are subject to review and final determination by the Halibut Derby Committee. All prizes may be subject to IRS withholding. IRS regulations require winnings to be reported by MDR Anglers Inc., and winnings may be taxed. Winnings will be distributed by MDR Anglers Inc. within 1 week from tournament. In order to receive prize money, entrant must complete a verification of winnings form provided by MDR Anglers Inc.

The category will be paid out according to the prize structure of “winner takes all” and is won based on the rules of each Additional Calcutta as listed on the prize structure and below throughout the official competition days. The categories listed below as additional Calcutta categories are each calculated based on number of boats entered. If a boat enters into one of the below categories, they are eligible to win additional Calcutta prizes based on the prize structure listed. Each of these categories are paid out based on boat entry and are not part of any guaranteed categories.

Each category will be paid out 75% of the total amount paid into the category. For all Additional Calcutta categories, in the event that a species is not caught, or a fish does not qualify to be weighed in for teams entered within any of the below categories, should the tournament not be able to allocate the dollars, 75% of the entry money will be refunded to each of the teams entered in the applicable category.
$50 / $100 / $300 / $500 OPTIONAL CALCUTTA JACKPOTS