2013 WFCC Competition Rules and Regulations

This is an IWCA (International Wildfowl Carving Association) sanctioned show. The IWCA has established rules and guidelines for fish carving competitions. The World Fish Carving Championships® has adopted these rules. IWCA rules for fish carving will be followed for any questions not answered here.

Levels of Competition: Open, Intermediate, Novice, Youth

A carver can elect at anytime to move up in classification. Once a carver has voluntarily advanced to the Intermediate or Open level of competition, that carver cannot re-enter as a Novice or Intermediate carver. When a carver wins two Best of Show awards in the Novice or Intermediate levels, at any participating IWCA Show, he/she will be advanced, regardless of the time between the first and second Best of Show honors.

All carvers may enter and must include carvers who have won two Best of Show Awards from any participating IWCA Show or competition in the Intermediate level.

Open to carvers who have progressed beyond the Novice level. A carver cannot enter who has previously won two Best of Show Awards in the Intermediate level in any partici- pating IWCA show or competition.

Open to carvers who have not won two Best of Show Awards in the Novice level in any IWCA participating show or competition.

This level has categories for young carvers ages 18 and under.


DECORATIVE LIFESIZE FISH. These entries will be judged using the live fish as a model. Any fish that may be too large to carve may be carved at a reduced scale. For example, a 12-foot, 600-pound marlin, or a 6-foot, 80-pound Chinook salmon, maybe carved at an appropriate reduced scale so that the minimum size is 18 inches and no maximum size. The reduced scale carving should reflect the mature anatomy of the lifesize fish.

DECORATIVE MINIATURE FISH. These entries must be one-half lifesize or less, with a maximum subject length of eight (8) inches. Entries must be full-bodied carvings. The live fish will be used as a model for judging. Unlimited painting and texturing will be allowed.

NATURAL FINISH/INTERPRETIVE FISH CARVINGS. Significant changes to the description and wording of the rules for this division have been made to aid in clarity and understanding. These changes will not affect carvings that have been started based on rules from previous World Fish Carving Championships, but they do allow for more flexibility in the category of interpretive carving, especially concerning the use of stains and finishes. Glass eyes are still allowed in both categories for the 2013 WFCC but carved eyes are preferred. (Beginning with the 2015 WFCC the use of glass eyes in this division will be prohibited.) Driftwood may be an integral part of natural finish fish carvings in this division, but it must be stable, free from flaking, debris, insects, and splits that compromise the integrity of the piece. Also it must be re-worked so it is a creative sculpture of the artists own design. Natural unaltered driftwood that simply resembles the shape of a fish is not allowed.

A Best in the World Carving title will be selected in the Open Level of this division from the first place winners of the two categories.

(1) Interpretive Fish Category. Entries in this category should emphasize form and movement, rather than a realistic duplication of the species. Entries can be single or multiple fish, must be made of wood, and can be finished with transparent stains and finished, or be fully or partially painted. Other animals and birds may be incorporated as long as fish are the primary subject matter. Glass eyes are permitted. Entries will be judged on crafts- manship, artistry, and conveying the essence of the species.

(2) Natural Finish Realistic Fish Category. This category is for natural finish carvings that closely resemble recognizable fish. Entries can be single or multiple fish carvings using only trans- parent stains and finishes to show the natural grain of the wood. Glass eyes are permitted and separate pieces of wood may be used for fins and habitat. Details such as scales and fin rays can be included or omitted. Other animals and birds may be incorporated as long as fish are the primary subject matter. Entries will be judged on craftsmanship, artistry, and conveying the essence of the species.

FISH CARVERS INVITATIONAL. This division will be called the Fish Carvers Invitational Division, and will be added to the Open, Intermediate, and Novice levels of competition.

2013. The three categories are Decorative Lifesize Saltwater - Picasso Triggerfish; Decorative Lifesize Warmwater - Bluegill; Decorative Lifesize Coldwater - Sockeye/Kokanee.

Entries in this division can be a single fish or a group as long as the carving is comprised of the category species only.

Fish carvings that receive ribbons in the three categories of the Open Level in this division will compete with entries in the Decorative Lifesize Division of the Open Level for Best in World Decorative Lifesize. For that reason, entries in the Fish Carvers Invitational Division must be carved as decorative lifesizes and must follow the criteria and rules for that division. For a carver to enter this division, he or she must have been a member of the YFC2G on or before December 31, 2013. Membership is free and can be applied for by contacting Donna McCullogh at [email protected]. Mailed-in entries will be allowed and will be handled at the World Show by a crew from the YFC2G.


The four criteria below are all important. They all overlap and build on each other. In order for a piece to reach its fullest potential, it must succeed in all four areas simultaneously.

Craftsmanship. This refers to the technical skills involved in fish carving: sculpting, painting and finishing techniques. It covers the fish, and any habitat or accessories that may be involved in the base itself, if there is one. Good craftsmanship should be consistent throughout the entire piece.

Accuracy. This involves the correctness of a piece from a scientific perspective. Size, shape, color, pattern, location, are the concepts important here. Anything accompanying the fish must be given the same scrutiny. Accuracy involves the natural history of the whole piece, all of its components, and the appropriateness of those components together.

Essence of the Species. This involves capturing the gestalt of the species. It involves a thorough knowledge of the subject and the ability to capture an attitude in wood. Capturing the essence of the subject and giving it the spark that brings it alive is very important.

Artistry. This refers to its design and composition. This is where presentation, innovation and creativity all come into play. There should be beauty in the concept apart from the beauty of the fish itself. Line, form, content, color, mass, and movement should all be working together to create an intricate whole.

How "Best in World" Fish Carving Titles are Determined

There are three Best in World titles in the Open Level. They are awarded in each of the three divisions: Decorative Lifesize, Decorative Miniature, and Natural Finish.

Only Decorative Lifesize will have Second in World and Third in World titles. In this division, the following criteria is used: Best in World Decorative Lifesize is selected from the Best of Category winners in the Decorative Lifesize Division. Once a Best in World piece is selected, the Second Place mount in that category (if there is one), will move up to compete for Second Best in World with the other category First Places. The Best in World Decorative Miniature will be selected from the Best of Category winners in that division.

The Best in World Natural Finish/Interpretive will be selected from the Best of Category winners in that division.

World titles will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. If no carving is worthy, a World title will not be given.

How Judges' Choice Best of Show is Determined

This award will be selected from the Best in World winners. In the unlikely event there are no Best in World winners, it will be selected from the Best of Category winners in the Open Level.

Awards: $3,000.00 Total

Judges' Choice Best of Show Fish Carving:
Plaque and $1,000.00 from Sugar Pine Woodcarving Supplies.

Open Level Awards: 

Best in World Decorative Lifesize: Recognition plaque and $500.00
Second in World: Recognition plaque and $300.00
Third in World: Recognition plaque and $200.00

Best in World Decorative Miniature: Recognition plaque and $500.00
Best in World Natural Finish/Interpretive: Recognition plaque and $500.00

Best of Category winners: Ribbons
Best of Class winners: Ribbons
First, Second and Third place winners: Ribbons

Intermediate Level Awards
Best of Show, Intermediate Division: Plaque
Best of Category: Ribbon
Best of Class: Ribbon
First, Second & Third place winners: Ribbon

Novice Level Awards
Best of Show, Novice Division: Plaque
First, Second & Third place winners: Ribbon

Youth Level Awards
Best of Show, Youth Level: Ribbon and $50.00 gift certificate
2nd, Best in Show, Youth Level: Ribbon and $50.00 gift certificate
3rd, Best in Show, Youth Level: Ribbon
Each Youth Level entry will receive a participation ribbon.


1. Hours: All competition entries may be checked in between 1:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, and between 8:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, May 9, 2013. All entries must stay on exhibit until they are released at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, May 11, 2013.

2. Entry and Registration Fees: You must purchase a full reg- istration in order to enter the carving competition, except when shipping an entry and not attending (see Rule 4). The entry fee for carvings will be the same as those for the taxidermy compe- tition, $35.00 for early registration and $40.00 after April 1, 2013. The WTC Registration Form should also be used for fish carving (and taxidermy) entries.

3. IWCA Fee: The IWCA membership fee for 2013 of $10.00 must be paid at time of entry, if you have not already done so.

4. Shipped Entries: All carvings being shipped should be well packed and received by April 22, 2013. Shipped fish carving entries should be addressed to WFCC Entry, c/o Breakthrough Magazine, 2271 Old Baton Rouge Highway, Hammond, LA 70403. Extreme care will be taken when handling shipped entries, but the World Show cannot assume any responsibility for damages that may occur during shipping and/or handling, during or after the show. Carving entries will be returned in the same package in which they were received and will be shipped freight collect (COD) unless other arrangements have been made for the return of the entry. If the carver of the shipped entry is not attending the show, he is asked to have a designee who is attending the show to unpack and enter the carving for him. Any shipped carving entry or entries by a carver who is not attending the WFCC in person will be allowed to pay a special registration fee of $50.00 plus the entry fee of $35.00. This fee does not appear on our online registration blank so call 1-800-783-7266 if you are shipping an entry in order to register and pay the fees. We require carvers not attending to prepay these fees by credit card no later than April 22, 2013. Our competition committee will make sure the shipped carving is held at our carving entry desk for your designee to receive. When registering, give us the name and cell phone number of your designee. If you are unable to secure a designee to enter your carving, let us know and our competition committee will enter it for you, but we must know the level, division, and category in which the carving should be entered.

5. Critiques: Ample time will be available for critiques when judging is completed. The judges for the 2013 World Fish Carving Championships are Jeff Compton and Josh Guge.

6. Eligibility: Any fish carving entered at a previous World Show is ineligible for this and any future World Shows.

7. Liability: Carvings entered in the show are done so at the owner's risk. Every precaution will be made to protect and secure the entries.

8. Glass Cases: Glass cases or domes must be removed for judging or suffer a penalty.

9. Nameplates: Omit or cover name of carver (if present) on all carvings.

10. Criteria: These rules are to encourage wood carving. Those entries that are comprised solely of wood or those that contain as little non-wood materials as possible will have an advantage over those entries that contain authorized substitute materials providing the results are accurate and realistic.

11. Classes: Classes will be established at the judges' discretion within any category, or when there are five or more entries of the same fish species. (Example: If five or more single rainbow trout are entered in the Trout/Salmon Category, a class will be established for this species.)

12. Awards: First, Second and Third place ribbons will be awarded in all advertised categories and established classes, in all divisions. The exceptions are selections for World title awards. World titles will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. If no carving is worthy, a World title will not be given.

Youth Level Carving Rules and Divisions

Youth Level will follow the Novice Level rules.

Categories for Decorative Fish

Categories for Silhouette (Smoothie) 9-inch rainbow trout.

1. Silhouette is to be a 9-inch rainbow trout. The trout should be between a 1⁄2 and 1 inch thick.

2. No carving details are necessary. All details on the trout should be painted.

3. The trout needs to be mounted on some kind of base, as simple as a wooden dowel on a piece of driftwood.

Any rainbow trout pattern can be used for this project. The Youth Committee will provide a pattern to anyone who needs help. Contact Josh Guge at (224) 629-0581 or [email protected] for a pattern.

Awards for Youth Division

Decorative Fish. All entries will receive a participation ribbon.

Silhouette (Smoothie) Competition (9-inch rainbow trout) All entries will receive a participation ribbon.

Youth Best in Show

Best in Show will be decided on between all first place winners in every age level and category.

Information: For additional information about the 2013 World Fish Carving Championships®, contact Larry Blomquist at Breakthrough Magazine (985) 345-7266.

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©2013 Breakthrough Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Updated 02/19/13.