All saltwater anglers are eligible except:
- Captains, mates of for-hire vessels, or shore guides while under charter
- Anyone who is also fishing commercially during a trip
- Anyone who has been convicted of violating fishery laws or regulations, or who has been the subject of an administrative permit sanction within 5 years of the derby year.
Also note that:
- Only fish meeting eligible weights or lengths are eligible for awards.
- Anglers age 15 and under are eligible for the junior derby category.
- Anglers age 16 and older must have a valid recreational saltwater fishing permit.