L-R: Observer-Lyle Tessier, Team Pole Dancer: Capt. Zach Gerzeny, Capt. Wayne Nichols, Richard Hallman measure a lemon shark at 9 foot plus, prior to release.

 Competition Resource Center for Teams and Observers

Personal Message from Event Founders - the Shark Brothers:
As the Creators of this pioneering tournament format and Producers and Directors of the event, it is our goal and responsibility to make sure everyone involved has a safe, fair, competitive, exciting and fun experience. Communication is key to making that happen, and that's why we strongly encourage you to contact us, prior to the event, to discuss the competition's format and answer any questions you may have. Our Teams, Observers and Sharks are the stars of the show so this is your chance to prove to the world that we're all the best in the shark-release fishing biz. 

Cheers & Tight Lines,
Sean Paxton and Brooks Paxton II

We've designed this resource center so you can find just about everything in one place that you'll need to prepare as a Team Member or Observer.
It includes important documents and details related to dates and locations, rule highlights, team equipment and observer kit info, discounts on lodging and marina slips, the free weekend festival and tournament production and event staff personnel.



Team Entry Form
Competition Rules
Shark ID Guide
Observer Application
Observer Program Manual
FWC Rules & Regulations


Provided as a Summary and not a Substitute for Complete Review of Rules or Observer Manual

 The most important requirement for Teams and Observers is to familiarize themselves with the Tournament Rules and Observer Manual in advance of the event weekend. We've broken each of them down into two basic sections.

Tournament Rules Section 1:
Format, Safety & Sportsmanship

 Tournament Rules Section 2:
Scoring, Catch & Release Procedure (The Pit Stop), Bait & Equipment


Observer Program Manual Section 1:
Observer Guidelines

 Observer Program Manual Section 2:
Rules Scoring, Catch & Release Procedure (The Pit Stop)

While Section 1 is also important, Section 2 is where the rubber meets the road in this competition for Teams and Observers. This is not only where the USC stands out as a tournament industry leader, but it's also the foundation upon which not only your competitive success, but the event's conservation, best practices methodology and scientific takeaways are all built.

"The Pit Stop"
In Section 2 of the Rules and Observer Program Manual, we refer to the USC catch & release prodcedure and related protocols as "The Pit Stop" because most of us are familiar with other highly competitive sports like NASCAR where pit times are a critical competitive element requiring a finely tuned balance of:

Preparation Teamwork Safety - Speed

In the end, points and scoring will be the deciding factor, but the Catch & Release Procedure or Pit Stop is the key to earning as many of those valuable points as possible. Borrowed from our own experience and certain research techniques, these best practice methods will serve you well during competition. That's why we strongly encourage all Teams and Observers to place a special focus on, and spend a little extra time getting familiar with, Section 2 of the rules prior to the event and the May 4th meeting. 

The video episode segment below features Teammates, Capt. Bucky Dennis, Capt. Jimmy Willis and Observer, Jim Lugiewicz demonstrating the Pit Stop with a bull shark "Bucky's Baby" in Boca Grande Pass before passing the animal off to the Mote Center for Shark Research Team for satellite tagging. The Mote Team was: Dr. Robert Hueter, Jack Morris, Nick Whitney and John Tyminski.

Summary of Required Team Equipment List:
Conventional Tackle (no spinning reels for sharks), Non-Stainless Steel/Inline Circle Hooks, 80# Minimum Mainline, Tail Rope, Blunt-Tip Gaff

Provided Equipment for Required  Use in Tournament
In-Water Measuring Device, Aftco Tail Snare (Tailer), Conventional Tagging Pole, Tag Needles, Tags, Official Score Card

Provided Observer Kit Contents for Use in Tournament
Capture Data Sheet, Copy of Tournament & FWC Rules, Laminated Species ID Guide, Observer Program Manual

Detailed Weekend Intinerary, Meeting Places & Times, Discounts, Event & Staff Info

Competition and Event Hours May 4th, 5th and 6th

Friday May 4th: 4pm - 7pm
Mandatory Team & Observer Registration and Meeting
Laishley Park Community Meeting Room
If all Teams and Observers review the rules and related information ahead of time, we are prepared to wrap this meeting up as close to 6pm as possible. We've got a big kickoff party planned that we don't want you to miss.

Friday 6pm - 10pm
Free Public Kickoff Party Featuring Double-Feature Movie Night Under the Stars


Competition Days: Saturday & Sunday, May 5th & 6th

5:30am - 6:45am
Boat Prep & Checks at Laishley Park Municipal Marina on the East Side by Dock Pavillions
Observer Meeting (6am) in Laishley Park Community Room

Shotgun Start Just Outside the Southbound 41 Bridge adjacent to Laishley Municipal Marina

Competition Days End with 4pm Team Check-In at Laishley Park Municipal Marina on the East Side by Dock Pavillions (same area as morning boat check)

4:15pm - 5pm
Observer Check-In on Terrace Outside Laishley Park Community Room


Standings & Awards Ceremonies May 5th and 6th

5pm on Saturday May 5th
Standings Ceremony and Bonus Prizes Presented on Festival Main Stage at Laishley Crab House

Saturday Night 6pm - 10pm
Festival Continues With Free Street Party and Free Live Concert
View More Weekend Kickoff Party and Festival Information

5pm on Sunday May 6th
Winner Announcments and Closing Ceremony on Festival Main Stage at Laishley Crabhouse

2012 Team Roster
Deadline for Team Entries and Payment is 4pm on May 4th.
Current Team Roster (updated as entries are processed)

Special Slip Fee Discount Information for All Competing Teams
Laishley Park Municipal Marina is Extending a Special Rate.
Contact Marina Directly to Reserve a Slip.
Be Sure to Identify Yourself as a Competing Team in the USC.
Marina Website: LaishleyMarina.com Phone Contact: 941-575-0142

Special Host Lodging Discount For Anyone Using Reservation Code: "Shark"
Punta Gorda Waterfront Hotel & Suites is Welcoming all USC Participants With $59/Night Rate
View Details and Contact Information

Mote Center for Shark Research Personnel

Dr. Bob Hueter
Director - Mote Center for Shark Research

Jack Morris
Senior Biologist - Mote Center for Shark Research

John P. Tyminski
Afiliate Researcher - Mote Center for Shark Researche

USC Tournmament Production & Event Staff

Sean Paxton & Brooks Paxton II
USC Creators, Executive Producers, Directors, Hosts

Joe Bamford
Live Broadcast Producer, Editor, Technical Advisor

Tom Leobold
Live Broadcast Switcher, Technical Advisor

Brad Clore
Live Broadcast Camera Operator

James Morgese
Live Broadcast Camera Operator

Curt Bowen
Offshore & Festival Camera Operator

Zach Miller
Tournament Competition Coordinator

Anthony Micolo
Observer Program Coordinator

Chris Kiszka
Security and Crowd Control

Brenden Winters
Tournament & Event Production Logistics