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Safety First!


This is a recreational event, we do this for fun. The primary goal is to enjoy each other’s company. Do not push your training limits or violate safe practices. The Southern Open maximum recommended diving depth for this year’s event is 130 feet.


The 2024 Southern Open Derby features the FSDA State of Florida Spearfishing Championship, Diver of the Day Competition, Largest Fish Competition, Lionfish Eradication and Conservation Competition



Captain’s meeting on Friday July 12th, 2024, 7:00 PM (Sunset Cove NPR)


  • Shoot fish on Saturday July 13th, 2024 Sun-up -> Sundown

  • - Attended cooler with fish must be in weigh-in line by 12pm on July 14th

  • Awards presentation on Sunday July 14th Following Weigh-in

  • - Rain Dates July 19th-21st, 2023, same schedule of events


Sunset Cove 4927 US-19, New Port Richey, FL 34652

  • There are boat slips available for a marine arrival; Located at the end of the Gulf Harbors north channel:

  • Reservations can be made by email to with the customer name, boat length, beam, and draft; you will then receive a slip assignment.


    Pre book for $25 no power or $35 w/ power

  • Pay day of event for $45



SCUBA or Freediving. Rebreathers are prohibited. No power-heads may be used.

Weigh-in Time:


The weigh-in line will open at 11am and close at 12pm on July 14th

 NO Exceptions


Any fish presented not gutted will be forfeited!​

Please allow 25 minutes if traveling on boat through the channel due to NO WAKE



— Early Registration $75 per diver until 5PM July 1st, 2024

— Late Registration $100 per diver July 2nd, 2024 until the captain’s meeting July 12th, 2024

— $20 FSDA dues for FSDA Non-Members where applicable,

FSDA membership, where applicable, required for tournament entry.

ALL Divers under age of 18: Must submit a written waiver signed by parent or guardian in addition to online registration

NO REFUNDS WILL BE ISSUED FOR ANY REASON A lottery for prizes will be announced if both dates are canceled


Updates: Tournament updates and notifications will be by entry eMail address & social media



Fish must be conservatively harvested and must be freshly iced when presented at weigh-in (GUTTED). Each fish or competition entry must be brought to the boat or shoreline by individual effort. Divers will make every reasonable effort not to interfere or assist with another diver’s catch. All fish will be returned to the presenting diver/shooter after weighing or counting

Gulf of Mexico recreational rules apply to ALL shooters, no matter where fish are harvested!



Each diver may turn in as many fish as allowed for each category, per stringer. Diver must declare their largest fish in each category to be weighed separately. One point per qualified pound will count toward the individual diver’s aggregate score, up to twenty pounds per fish maximum and five points per fish. Exception: Lionfish—5 points per fish, 3 fish maximum (15 points) to the aggregate score--largest LionFish by weight is declared at Reef Monitoring Weigh Station. Bay Scallops will be weighed at Junior Diver Table and an award for largest will be given. Scallops do not count toward other scoring

Examples: A 19.54 lb hogfish is worth 24.54 points and a 21 lb hogfish is worth an even 25 points.

Individual honors Diver of the Day:


Points will be totaled during and up to the end of weigh in and are considered final at that time. Trophies are given to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place highest aggregate score shooters.

Largest Fish:


A trophy will be awarded to the contestant with the largest fish, by weight for the tournament in each category (by weight), Lionfish will be an award for the highest total aggregate




1) Pelagic ( limit 1 each species, 2 per category)

  • Cobia (36” to fork max 2 per boat)

  • Kingfish (24” to fork)

  • Permit (22” to fork max 2 per boat)

  • African Pompano (24” to fork max 2 per boat)

  • Barracuda (28” overall)

  • Jack Crevalle (16" to the fork) 

  • Almaco Jack (12" to the fork)

  • Yellow Jack (16" to the fork)


2) Grouper ( limit 2 per stringer, any combo of listed species)

  • Black (24” overall)

  • Scamp (16” overall)

  • Rock Hind/Strawberry ("12 overall)


3) Snapper (Limit 5 per stringer, any combo of the listed species)

  • Cubera and mangrove (12” overall Cubera Max 2 over 30” per boat)

  • Mutton (18” overall)

  • Red Snapper (16” total length) TBD

  • Yellowtail and Dog (12" overall)

  • Lane (8" Overall)


4) Hogfish (Limit 3 per stringer) (16” to fork)


5) Smaller fish (Limit 5 per stringer, any combo of listed)

  • Porgy (12” overall)

  • Sheepshead (12” overall)

  • Grunt (12" overall)


   6) Lionfish (Limit 8 per stringer, no size Limits)

  • First Place trophy will be awarded to the shooter with the highest aggregate weight.

  • 5 points per fish for the first 3, 1 point per lionfish after for a maximum score of 20 will be added to aggregate score excluding weight.

  • Lionfish MUST be de-spined but not gutted.


Lionfish can be donated for a separate raffle (Must be all lionfish weighed to be eligible)




  • 3 Combined Wild Card (Fill any Category, 5pts per fish not counted towards weight)

  • Not to be counted towards largest fish category






A tie for largest fish within a group or final score will be broken on the basis of whoever has the next largest fish weight. If there still is a tie, then the honors go to the shooter who weighed in first.



If a diver submits a short fish per tournament rules to the weigh-in, the diver will lose that fish AND their largest fish for the day, no questions asked. Divers are personally responsible for understanding and operating within all state and federal regulations. In the event a diver is found to be in violation of state/federal law, the result will be disqualification for the individual tournament. If a species is closed in Federal waters, then the species will not be allowed in the tournament.



Prize Table picks will be distributed in descending order of total aggregate score from first place until all designated prizes have awarded. Random raffles will be interspersed in the distribution at least once every 10 picks. 



The purposes for this Tournament are to establish, maintain, and administer spearhunting and diving activities and events which will raise funds for educational, research, environmental and civic projects conducted by the Sponsors and from time to time in partnership with other nonprofit organizations, educational and research institutions and conservation organizations to: protect the sustainability of marine fisheries, help alleviate or correct problems caused by over utilization or mismanagement of marine resources, provide more reliable scientific analysis of marine fisheries, increase the general public's knowledge of and awareness of fishery populations, reduce or alleviate environmental damage, and, where necessary, promote reasonable and effective private, recreational, commercial and governmental fisheries management policies through direct participation, and fundraising, education, involvement, activism.

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