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Ray Scott Weekend Bass Series
2014 National Championship
Official Rules

Decatur, Alabama – November 9-15, 2014
The 2014 Weekend Bass Series National Championship will be held on November 9-15, 2014 on Wheeler Lake at Decatur Alabama, launching from Ingalls Harbor, 701 Market St. NW, Decatur, AL. Official waters will be Wheeler Lake. Locking will not be allowed.
These rules supplement the 2014 Series rules and will remain unchanged throughout the 2014 Weekend Bass Series National Championship Tournament. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to the tournament director. In the event of a rule violation, ABA may impose such sanctions, as deemed appropriate, including, without limitation, disqualification, and forfeiture of prizes, and prohibition from participation in subsequent tournaments. The decision of ABA shall be final in all matters. Rules violations must be reported to the tournament director on site within 15 minutes of the official announcement - scales are closed.

Penalties for rules violations may include the following:

i.) Loss of one or more fish in question.
ii.) Loss of catch for the day
iii.) Disqualification from the tournament in question
iv.) Disqualification from future ABA events.
v.) Any different or additional penalties determined by the Tournament Director including but not limited to monetary forfeiture, probation and/or loss of Angler of Year points.

1. PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY:
i.) This tournament is open only to current members of ABA who are 16 years of age or older, possess a valid fishing license for tournament waters, and who qualified from their respective Regional Championships and have accepted the invitation to attend.
ii.) During the official practice and competition days of the Weekend Bass Series National Championship, no competitor may operate a boat unless that contestant has documented proof of a minimum of $100,000 per occurrence boating liability insurance (see Participant Release of Liability on the Official Entry Form) covering the boat being used in the tournament. Proof of insurance must be with the boat being used and must cover the competitors using that boat. Winners of the event will be ask to present their proof of insurance prior to receiving any award. Random checks will also be conducted and any competitor who does not have proof of in-force insurance with $100,000 coverage may be disqualified.
iii.) A properly completed and signed official entry form must be received by the ABA tournament department prior to the official entry deadline. THE ENTRY CONFERMATION DEADLINE DATE FOR THIS TOURNAMENT SHALL BE MONDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2014.

2. SPORTSMANSHIP/CODE OF CONDUCT: Anglers participating in ABA sanctioned event shall observe this code of conduct and the applicable rules for the specific event in which he/she is participating. Anglers shall, at all times, conduct themselves in a manner becoming ABA anglers and their actions will not reflect unfavorably on ABA, its members, officers or representatives, tournaments or sponsors. To this end, anglers shall use their best efforts to demonstrate professionalism and integrity in support of the sport of bass fishing. Any angler who violates any of the provisions of the Angler Code of Conduct will be subject to fines, forfeiture of tournament winnings, probation, suspension from competing in ABA sanctioned events, permanently banned from competition, or any combination thereof deemed appropriate by ABA. Competitors are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation.
i.) The use, possession or consumption of illegal drugs, or under the influence of illegal drugs by any competitor during official practice, tournament hours or during pre and post tournament activities will be cause for automatic disqualification from this and all future tournaments. (Exception; medication prescribed to the angler by a licensed physician). Anglers under the influence of, or testing positive for, illegal drugs will be automatically disqualified from current and all future ABA tournaments. The consumption or possession of alcohol during tournament hours is prohibited. Tournament hours are defined as check-out in the morning through weighing of fish in the afternoon.
ii.) Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling near non-competitors. Any act of a competitor which reflects unfavorably upon efforts to promote water safety, fisheries conservation, clean waters and courtesy, will be reason for disqualification.
iii.) All competitors are bound by the prevailing statutes and regulations of the state within which the tournament is being held.
iv.) Chemical substance addiction or abuse, crimes involving moral turpitude, conviction of a felony not specifically exempted by ABA, or other conduct reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with tournament rules shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation and/or for disqualification. Any disqualification, suspension from or disciplinary action imposed by fishing organization will be grounds for rejecting any application for participation in a tournament and/or disqualification from a tournament after circumstances are reviewed by the Tournament Director.

3. MEDIA COMMENTS, PUBLIC ATTACKS:
The favorable public reputation of ABA as a sanctioning organization in the sport of fishing, the integrity of its officials, and the reputation of its media properties are valuable assets and tangible benefits for ABA. Accordingly, it is an obligation of competitors to refrain from comments to the news media that unreasonably attack or disparage the integrity of tournaments, tournament officials, sponsors, fellow members, fellow anglers or the ABA organization. Competitors are encouraged to express themselves and have the right to question rules officials. Responsible expressions of legitimate disagreement with ABA policies are encouraged as opposed to attacks upon the integrity of the rules or officials. However, public comments that an angler knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation of ABA, ABA officials or sponsors shall be considered conduct unbecoming a professional and will result in disciplinary action.

4. PRACTICE AND COMPETITION: The tournament waters will be off limits beginning at 5pm, October 26, 2014 and remaining off limits until the first official practice day which begins at safe daylight, Sunday, November 9, 2014. Championship contestants cannot solicit, receive, or gather any information via phone, electronic communication devices (to include GPS Units or Chips) or any other means about locating or catching fish on Championship waters throughout the off limits and competition period, unless that information comes from another contestant in the 2014 Championship, or publicly-available information (e.g. newspaper and Internet reports). NO EXCEPTIONS. During official practice an angler may not practice with anyone that has been on the tournament waters during the off limits period. Angler may only practice alone, with a family member, another registered competitor, or a member of the ABA staff. Once the competition begins, contestants are expected to compete every day for which they are qualified. Failure to do so may result in ineligibility to compete in future ABA tournaments.
i.) Testing of engines after the weigh-in is only allowed with permission from the tournament director and all rods/reels must be stowed away in rod lockers while testing. No Exceptions. During the official practice and during the tournament, a competitor may not "SKIN DIVE" OR "SCUBA DIVE" in the tournament waters.
ii.) Competitor may not buy or barter a fishing location from anyone for use during any competition day.
iii.) During the official competition days of the tournament, a competitor may not use a CB radio, a VHF marine-band radio, a cellular phone, or any other type of communication device for the purpose of locating or catching fish. If so equipped, competitors may listen to the marine-band weather information.
iv.) A designated tournament official must be granted access to the competitor's boat at any time during competition. Failure to grant such access may result in immediate disqualification.
v.) Each competitor agrees to report to the tournament director any violation or infraction of any Tournament Rules. Failure to report violations, or suggestions to another competitor that they violate these Rules, or false verification of weigh-in forms will be cause for disqualification.

5. POLYGRAPH: By his/her signature on the official tournament entry form, each competitor agrees to submit to a polygraph examination/truth verification method or any other type examination as determined by ABA, and abide by its conclusion in order to receive awards, or should he/she be accused of any rule violation. ABA shall have the sole discretion to determine the need for a polygraph/truth verification method examination. ABA shall be responsible for selecting an independent expert to administer and interpret the results and establishing, in consultation with the expert administrator, the scope of the questions which may be asked during the polygraph/truth verification method examination. ABA shall attempt to have the location of such polygraph/truth verification method examination as close in proximity to the angler's permanent address or such other mutually convenient as possible. The competitor shall make himself/herself available at the location selected by the tournament director and shall cooperate in all respects with such examination. In the event of a rules violation, anglers taking a polygraph/truth verification method examination will be responsible for any and all cost incurred should they fail to pass the examination.

6. REGISTRATION AT EVENT: Each competitor must register in person at the time and place designated. The use of the ABA Freedom Pass is not allowed for the championship tournament. Anglers must personally check-in.
a. ON-SITE REGISTRATION is Sunday, November 9, 2014 between the hours of 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm (central time) at Ingalls Harbor Pavilion, 701 Market Street, NW, Decatur, AL. Late registration: Anglers unable to make the on-site registration on Sunday must check-in no later than 12:00 noon, Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at the host hotel. Anglers failing to check-in for registration may be disqualified from the event.
b. MANDATORY MEETING: A mandatory meeting to include; rules, safety briefing and partner pairing will be Tuesday, November 9, 2014, beginning at 4:00 pm (Central time) at Ingalls Harbor Pavilion, 701 Market Street, NW, Decatur, AL. Dinner will be provided starting at 4:00 pm (Central time) followed by meeting. Contestants are not allowed back on the water for the purpose of practice or to find additional fishing locations after each days weigh-in.

7. SAFETY:
a. Safe boating conduct must be observed at all times by competitors. During the official practice and competition, each competitor must wear a US Coast Guard-approved chest-type life preserver. This preserver must be worn at all times the combustion engine is in gear. This preserver must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine no longer in gear. Violation of this rule shall be reason for disqualification. This is a big water lake therefore anglers must use extreme caution and realize the possibility of high winds and turbulent water may exist at any time during the event.
b. Tournament officials have the right to delay, shorten or cancel the start of an official tournament day because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the competitors. Tournament waters may also be restricted at any time because of bad weather.
c. ABA reserves the right to impose boat speed limits during any or all tournaments. Whether or not to impose a speed limit, the area covered by the speed limit and/or the actual speed limit imposed shall be left exclusively to the discretion of the tournament director.
d. IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, COMPETITORS SHOULD CALL 911 FIRST AND THEN NOTIFY TOURNAMENT OFFICIALS.
e. COMPETITORS. ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE BOAT AND SEEK SAFE SHELTER IN BAD WEATHER WHERE DANGER MAY BE IMMINENT, AT WHICH TIME ALL FISHING MUST CEASE.

8. BOAT IDENTIFICATION: Prior to each day's start, each boat will be given an inspection check by a tournament official. Each boat will be given a number, which must remain with the boat until turned in each day at the check-in. This number must be displayed upon the request of tournament officials, and turned in to the officials at each check-in.

9. BOAT OPERATION AND EXPENSE: This is a boater/co-angler event therefore boaters will fish from the front deck, co-anglers from the rear deck, no exceptions. Co-anglers are only allowed to operate the boat in emergency situations during competition hours and during loading and unloading from trailers with boater’s consent. Any boater, who, in the judgment of the officials, operates the boat in such a manner that unfairly handicaps their co-angler partner, will be disqualified. At no time may the boater competitor request the co-angler competitor to not fish. In view of the large expense involved in operating and maintaining a tournament bass boat, it is recommended that the co-angler partner share at a minimum one half the cost of gas and oil or $50.00, whichever is less.

10. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS: Tournament waters shall be Wheeler Lake only. Any water within these boundaries posted “Off-Limits” or “No Fishing” by state or federal agencies as well as the live-bass-release area established by the tournament director will be OFF-LIMITS and will be announced at the tournament briefing. Only that water open to all public fishing will be considered tournament waters. All angling must be done from the boat.

11. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT: There shall be only one official point for check-out in the morning and check-in in the afternoon, these points shall be designated at the tournament briefing. Competitors must leave from and return to official checkpoints by boat. At the time of check-out, all competitors and their boats shall be in full conformity with all rules set forth by the Tournament Director. At check-in, all boats shall identify themselves by means of the numbers described in Rule 8 and proceed immediately to the designated weigh-in area. Partners must stay together through the weigh-in process if both are weighing bass. Once bass are bagged for weigh-in, anglers that are not weighing bass are not required to accompany their partner through the weigh-in process.

12. SCORING: Tournament standings, auxiliary awards and final winners shall be determined by the pounds-and-hundredths weight of each competitor's catch during the competition days of the tournament. Only Largemouth, Smallmouth or Spotted bass will be weighed. The limit for boaters shall be 5 and 3 for co-anglers of the above species and varieties per day. At no time shall a competitor have in their possession more than the tournament limit. Tournament officials may conduct checks for violations of this provision, and in the event a competitor has in his/her possession more than the above-described limits, Tournament officials shall cull down to the limit described, beginning with the largest bass. The official length for bass shall be 12in for Largemouth and Spotted Bass and 18in for Smallmouth. Once a competitor's catch is measured, counted and verified by a tournament official, that competitor may not return to the boat until their catch has been weighed and recorded. Bass must not be placed on a stringer at any time during the tournament. Culling tags or clips are allowed.

13. CATCH AND RELEASE: CULLING OF DEAD BASS IS PROHIBITED. A penalty of one (1) pound will be deducted from the total weight for each short fish and a penalty of eight (8) ounces (.50 pounds) will be deducted from the total weight for each dead fish. In the event the anglers' big fish is dead a penalty of eight (8) ounces (.50 pounds) will be deducted from the big fish total weight. The Tournament Director or his/her designees shall have sole authority for assessing penalty weight. For fish care, ABA only recommends the use of TH Marine G-JUICE U2 Pro Formula.

14. LATE PENALTY: Competitors who are not in the official checkpoint area as described in Rule 11 above at the appointed time shall be penalized at the rate of one pound per minute late to be deducted from the total weight of their catch that day, including any weight to be counted toward a “big bass award”. Any competitor more than 15 minutes late shall lose all credit for that day's catch. After the tournament begins, fishing the tournament waters is prohibited except during tournament hours. Exact starting and check-in times will be announced at the tournament briefing. It is the angler's responsibility to confirm check-in times each day on the daily pairings.

15. AWARDS QUALIFICATIONS:
i.) Final place of finish will be based on the total accumulated weight an angler weighs during the competition days they were eligible to fish.
ii.) All anglers will fish the first three days of competition. At the conclusion of day three weigh-in, the field will be cut to the top 25 boaters and top 25 co-anglers who will fish the fourth and final day. Once the cut has been announced, information can only be received or exchanged by competitors who made the cut and are still in the competition.

16. TIEBREAKERS: Ties will be broken using the following criteria:
i.) Largest number of legal fished weighed.
ii.) Largest number of legal live fish weighed.
iii.) Largest bass weighed
iv.) If the tie is not broken by applying the foregoing procedures, place monies may be split evenly. Merchandise prizes will be awarded as determined by tournament officials. Standings will reflect ties starting at place closest to first.
A fish-off will be implemented if there is a tie for first place.

17. PAIRING OF COMPETITORS: Pairing of competitors will be by random computer draw. Two competitors (one boater and one co-angler) will be assigned to each boat. Announcement of your first-day fishing partner shall be made at the tournament briefing, which must be attended by each competitor. It shall be the responsibility of each partner to appear at a mutually agreed upon location with sufficient time remaining to check-out at the official checkpoint and start on time. The tournament director, at his/her sole discretion, may reassign partners prior to the morning take-off. Competitors check-out at the beginning of the day, they must stay together and within sight of each other and each other's catch throughout the day until the weigh-in is completed except in case of dire emergency (see Rule 7). A competitor must not allow any bass caught by him/her to be counted on the score of another competitor. In such a case, both competitors shall be disqualified from this tournament and from all future tournaments conducted by ABA. Partner pairing for subsequent days will be announced and posted at the weigh-in location for the second and third days of competition. At the conclusion of day three weigh-in, the top 25 boaters and top 25 co-anglers will be required to attend a separate meeting to discuss procedures and partner assignment for the fourth and final day.

18. CONTINGENCY PROGRAMS: These are sponsor based programs developed to reward competitors based on a predefined set of criteria. Participation in Contingency programs is at the anglers' discretion. Should an angler elect not to participate in an ABA contingency program, the angler will be excluded from any benefits such as prize purse or qualification for supplemental tournament competitions associated with the respective contingency program

19. TAXES: Where and when state laws require income taxes be paid on cash awards to non-residents, the taxes will be automatically deducted prior to the awards being presented to the winners. Anglers are responsible for all applicable taxes and rules on both cash and merchandise awards.

20. WAIVER AND RELEASE: As a condition of participation in each tournament, each competitor must execute a waiver and release of liability and a name and likeness release.

 


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