NFA Match Rules

Fishing image by Antonio Oquias from

The NFA, or the National Federation of Anglers, in England, holds fishing matches with a specific set of strict rules. In cooperation with the Angling Trust Organisation, the NFA promotes managing fisheries as well as fighting against invasive fish species and illegal fishing practices.

The NFA and Angling Trust Organization hold matches and competitions ranging from course competitions, sea competitions and game competitions. The match rules are copyrighted by the National Federation of Anglers.


The times for the match, including starting times and finishing times, have to be advertised at the headquarters of the match as well as on all the brochures and literature. Five hours remains the recommended length of time for any National Federation of Anglers match.


Every NFA match has to have staked out and numbered pegs that indicate the designated fishing areas for the match. Each competitor in the match draws a number and then proceeds to the appropriate pegged off area. The ideal area for the distance between the pegs stands at 20 yards. Each competitor can fish within one meter on either side of his or her peg. The competitor's fishing line may not cross over into another fisher's peg area.


Every competitor must keep any caught fish in a regulation keep net. Competitors should take every measure to keep the fish alive during the duration of the match. The match competitor has the responsibility of safely returning the fish back to the water after it has been weighed.


Each match competitor should have only one rod and one fishing line in the water at a time. Any bait falling under the appropriate match rules can be used except for fish, dead or alive, frog spinning bait or artificial fishing lures. No match competitor should have fish of any kind in his or her possession prior to the match. Judges reserve the right to search the match competitors' fishing gear.

Competitor Movement/Interaction

A competitor must catch his or her own fish. Match competitors do not have the right to exchange equipment of any kind during the duration of the match. A match competitor cannot leave his or her designated peg at any point of the match and return at a later time. The competitor can enter the water up to his or her knees during the match. Every match competitor must remain at the designated peg until his or her fish has been weighed by an official.

Breaking the Rules

Any match competitor found to be in contradiction with any of the NFA rules can be asked to leave the match.