Front Line Freediving

2018 Carolina Lionfish Derby April 1st-21st

  • Sale
  • $40.00
  • Regular price $50.00

This conservation based tournament is open to both North Carolina and South Carolina divers and is designed to bring awareness to the lionfish infestation currently affecting the Atlantic Ocean. Lionfish are an invasive species with a voracious appetite, who easily out-compete native species in an already limited habitat. Spearfishing is one of the most successful ways of controlling the lionfish population; which if left unobstructed will take over our coastal reefs and have a major environmental impact to our fisheries. The goal of this tournament is to remove as many of these invasive species as possible from our waters, ensuring the health of our ocean and local fisheries. During this 21 day tournament competitors can spear for a total of up to five days; with each of their daily totals counting towards their overall score. This provides divers the option to participate when they are able through the duration of the tournament, while removing as many lionfish as possible from our waters. This is a community based event where families, friends, and businesses can come together too enjoy our coastal waters, swap dive stories, listen to great music and hopefully win some amazing prizes at our awards ceremony.

Tournament Waivers will be emailed after you have payed the entry fee. Please download, sign, and return to

Carolina Lionfish Derby Rules: 

1. Lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) eligible for entry may only be taken during the tournament hours. No previously caught or frozen lionfish will be allowed, however, please keep all lionfish on ice.

2. Six consecutive hours without a small craft warning issued by the National Weather Service constitutes a valid tournament day. All waters from Cape Lookout to Cape Fear are eligible for tournament. This will be a running tournament, tournament dates will be April 1st, 2018 through April 21st, 2018. 

3. Tournament participants must be registered by 6:00pm the night before the tournament begins. 

4. Registered participants who have not signed the legal waiver form and the Lionfish understanding of risk form will not be considered entered in the tournament regardless of whether or not registration fees were paid. 

5. Only legal means of capture in areas allowing use of those gear types will be allowed. All existing federal, state, and local laws must be followed. 

7. Non-refundable registration fees are $40 per participant. Each registrant will receive a tournament T - shirt if there are more than 50 contestants

8. Protective gloves should be worn when handling lionfish. Participants are encouraged to carry a thermos bottle on the boat containing hot, but not scalding, water or heat packs for first aid purposes. The hot water can be used on any injection site to help neutralize the venom

9. Tournament hours: Sunrise until sunset Friday 01/05/18 through Noon Saturday 01/20/18. All fish must be present at scoring station by times and date designated for prizes. Scoring station will be located at Front Line Freediving (349 Military Cutoff Rd. Suite A Wilmington, NC 28405). Scoring station will be operated only during normal shop hours.  Shop hours are Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 a.m to 6 p.m. You may also submit by video. See below for details. 

10. Only one winning entry per person will be allowed in each category. Categories will be 

  • Biggest Lion Fish ( length) 

- 1st Place

-2nd Place

  • Smallest Lion Fish ( length) 

- 1st Place

-2nd Place

  • Most Lionfish ( quantity) 

- 1st Place 

- 2nd Place

-3rd Place


11. All lionfish must be in whole condition, no missing heads or tails, however spines may be removed for safety purposes. Largest and smallest fish will be determined by total length of the fish in millimeters measuring from tip of snout to tip of tail. 

12. Submissions may be made in person at Front Line Freediving Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm or by video submission.

13. Video Submission rules: In a single video taken by cell phone show the date ( i.e. show another phone screen or newspaper, etc) then display all lionfish. The lionfish should be spread out with space between making the verification easy. All lion fish being counted should be displayed at once while a person counts each one on screen. All lionfish should remain in view of the camera at once. To submit for longest and shortest lionfish please lay the tape measure on a solid surface, then lay the lionfish on top of the tape measure ensuring the most forward point lines up with the tip of the tape measure. Then measure to the tip of the tail. This needs to be done on video following the rules above with a VERY CLEAR view of the fish and measurements. There will be a video showing the process if you have any questions. If you have questions ask before you go. 

14. All entrants agree to allow tournament officials and Front Line Freediving to take and use photos for media and promotional purposes.

15. In the event of a tie the winning team or individual will be determined by the earliest check in of its lionfish at the scoring station.

16. All cash prizes will be awarded to winning participants.

17. The Lionfish tournament is an honor system tournament with all registrants being responsible for compliance with the rules.

18. Anyone found violating tournament rules by the tournament officials will be disqualified from receiving any tournament prizes and prohibited from entry in any future tournaments

19. Decisions of the tournament officials are final.