American Bass Anglers, Inc
American Fishing Tour 2013 Season Rules
RULE CHANGES: The following rules shall apply to American Bass Anglers, Inc. American Fishing Tour tournaments, with the following exceptions: (i) rules for special tournaments may differ from those contained herein and (ii) these rules may be changed by American Bass Anglers at any time upon notice by American Bass Anglers to its members, which notice may be published on the American Bass Anglers internet site at www.americanbassanglers.com.
1. Interpretation of these rules shall be left exclusively to the tournament director. In the event of a rule violation, the tournament director and/or American Bass Anglers, Inc. Headquarters may impose such sanctions, as deemed appropriate, including but not limited to, disqualification, forfeiture of prizes, forfeiture of entry fee and prohibition from participation in subsequent tournaments. The decision of the tournament director/ABA Headquarters shall be final in all matters. Protests for any rule infraction must be made in writing within 15 minutes of the official announcement, “the scales are now closed”.
a. Each contestant agrees to report any tournament rule infraction to the tournament director.
b. Failure to report to the tournament director any tournament rules infractions or false reporting of tournament rules infractions will be cause for being disqualified.
c. Rules infractions will result in penalties that may include
(1) Loss of weight for the day of the rules infraction.
(2) Disqualification from the event.
(3) Disqualification from future American Bass Anglers, Inc., events for a period of time up to a lifetime disqualification.
2. COMPETITOR'S CONDUCT CODE:
a. Members that participate in American Bass Anglers, Inc., events will at all times observe the Competitor's Conduct Code and all applicable tournament/conduct rules for the tournament event in which they are participating as stated here. All Contestants shall conduct themselves professionally at all times. Their actions may not reflect unfavorably on the sport of bass fishing, American Bass Anglers, Inc., its members or affiliates, officers or representatives, tournaments or sponsors.
b. All competitors will in their best efforts provide a high degree of professionalism, integrity and conservation in the sport of professional angling. Any Competitor who violates any of the Competitor's Conduct Code may be penalized which may include: fines, disqualification from events, forfeiture of winnings, and suspension or non-acceptance of entries from ABA events to include permanent suspension. American Bass Anglers, Inc. may use these actions singularly or in combination as deemed appropriate.
3. PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY:
a. Participation is open to current members of American Bass Anglers, Inc., who are 14 years of age or older. Proof of age to the satisfaction of tournament officials is the responsibility of the competitor.
b. Competitors must have a valid fishing license for the body of water the event is being held on.
c. DURING THE OFFICIAL PRACTICE AND COMPETITION DAYS OF AN American Bass Anglers, Inc., TOURNAMENT, NO COMPETITOR MAY OPERATE A BOAT UNLESS THAT CONTESTANT HAS DOCUMENTED PROOF OF A MINIMUM OF $100,000 BOATING LIABILITY INSURANCE ON THAT PARTICULAR BOAT. PROOF OF INSURANCE MUST BE WITH THE BOAT BEING USED AND MUST COVER THE COMPETITOR USING THAT BOAT. RANDOM CHECKS WILL BE CONDUCTED. EACH POLICY MUST SHOW A MINIMUM OF $100,000 LIABILITY AND VALID EXPIRATION DATE.
d. Anglers must sign the Release of Liability form at the event and if not pre-registered with headquarters must present their entry fee to the tournament director prior to the tournament. Tournament officials reserve the right to refund any membership and/or entry fee, if they shall choose for any reason not to accept the application for entrance.
e. Any person entering a tournament that is under 18 years of age must have the signature of his/her parent or legal guardian on the entry form.
By signing the official entry form contestants agree to submit to a polygraph/voice test examination should he/she be accused of any rule violation. ABA may also conduct random polygraph/voice test examination throughout the year. Any person convicted of violating tournament rules or failing to successfully pass a polygraph/voice test in this or any other tournament will not be allowed membership or entry into any American Bass Anglers, Inc., events. The administration and interpretation of the polygraph/voice test shall be solely the responsibility of the American Bass Anglers, Inc., its tournament Directors or agents, and shall be used (or not used) at their discretion. Without limiting the foregoing, the American Bass Anglers, Inc. shall have sole discretion to select the place at which such polygraph/voice test shall be administered, the individual who administers such polygraph/voice test, and the scope of the questions, which may be asked during such test. Failure to take and pass the polygraph/voice test examination, if required, will result in immediate disqualification without recourse.
Individuals who have fished two or more tournaments as a designated Professional in a Pro/Am event requiring an individual entry fee of $675 or more in the preceding six months are not eligible to fish. This rule does not apply to Amateur status anglers.
Individuals who are serving as a licensed guide or are paid for guiding on tournament waters within the previous 30 day period are not eligible to compete in American Bass Anglers, Inc., events on that lake(s).
7. PRE-TOURNAMENT PRACTICE/OFF-LIMITS:
There will be no official practice period (Except for National Championship or special events) prior to the pre-tournament meeting. No contestant may enter the tournament water for the purpose of catching or locating possible fishing locations after day one weigh-in in multiple day tournaments. Off-limits areas not covered in Rule 17, will be designated and explained at pre-tournament meeting by the tournament director.
It is recommended that contestants pre-register through National headquarters. Contestant desiring to register at the ramp must do so in person during the official registration period. Registration period is defined as 1 and ½ hours preceding 5am local time during daylight savings time and 6am local time during standard time or the time established by the local tournament director. Once the Safety and Rules briefing begins no tournament entries can be accepted. Failure to attend the pre-tournament meeting of any American Bass Anglers, Inc., tournament will result in forfeiture of entry fee and disqualification from the tournament in question.
9. ENTRY FEE:
Entry fee for Divisional Qualifying events will be $70.00 which includes big bass. Entry Fee for Divisional Championships will be $140.00, which includes big bass. The entry fee for the National Championship is $150.00 and does not include big bass. Observers at National Championship will have an option pot of $100.00.
10. LATE FEE:
All mail in entries must be postmarked or called-in to headquarters with a charge card 10 days prior to the scheduled tournament. Divisional Qualifying Events and Divisional Championship entries not meeting this deadline will be subject to a $5.00 late fee (see Rule 24 for National Championship Late Fee). All pre-registrations must be sent to the Athens office only, except where noted on schedule. New or renewing members signing up at the tournament, active duty military members, life members, visiting directors, assistant director for that division, and 2010 frequent fishermen anglers are not subject to the late fee for Divisional Qualifying Events and Divisional Championship tournaments ONLY.
a. Contestants understand that participating in fishing tournaments in an open boat is inherently dangerous. Safe boating conduct will be observed at all times.
b. During the official practice and competition, each competitor is required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved chest-type life preserver (PFD). This preserver must be worn any time the combustion engine is in gear. This preserver must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is no longer in gear.
c. The boat operator must have a safety-stop switch attached to his/her person when the combustion engine is in gear. During practice and tournament hours extreme caution must be exercised by boat operator during bad weather.
d. In addition, extreme caution must be exercised and boat operator must be aware that there could be large cruisers and/or barges operating on tournament waters that displace extremely large volumes of water, which create unusually large wakes and turbulence.
e. Weather and water turbulence can be extremely hazardous and extreme caution should be exercised at all times. Violation of either the PFD or safety-stop switch portion of this rule will result in disqualification.
a. All contestants are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation.
b. All contestants must adhere to all State, Federal and local laws governing water activities. Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification.
c. No alcoholic beverages or other stimulants or depressants, shall be allowed in the boats during the official practice or competition days, or when in the weigh-in area.
Any alteration of fish or paperwork will constitute a violation of rules and members may be disqualified and/or suspended from fishing future event.
d. Each contestant must keep the waters clean and bring trash back to the dock for disposal.
e. Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony not specifically exempted by ABA or other crimes involving immoral turpitude, or other conduct reflecting unfavorable upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition, and compliance with tournament rules shall be grounds for rejecting applications for membership, participation and for disqualification.
f. Any disqualification or suspension from, or other disciplinary action regarding any tournament or fishing organization, shall be grounds for rejecting any application for membership, participation and for disqualification.
13. TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT:
Only artificial lures may be used. No "live bait" or "prepared bait" will be permitted during official practice and competition, with the exception of pork strips, rinds, etc. Only one rod and reel combination may be used at one time. No fly rods or rods over 8 feet are allowed. Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner. All angling must be done from the boat and anglers must stay on tournament waters during tournament hours. Anglers are not permitted to leave the boat to land a fish or leave the boat to gain access to secluded waters. Competitors must leave and return to official checkpoint by boat. Both competitors must remain in boat at all times except in case of dire emergency. In such an emergency, competitors may be removed from their boat to: 1) a boat operated by another competitor, 2) a rescue boat designated by the tournament director. MECHANICAL BREAKDOWN; In the event of a mechanical break down one or both anglers may board another competitors boat only and ride to the weigh-in with their catch (if one angler brings both catches to weigh-in, fish must be clearly marked). In the event boater is alone he may have another competitor only bring his catch to weigh-in. Mechanical Breakdown does not extend tournament time.
14. HORSEPOWER REGULATION:
MAXIMUM HORSEPOWER FOR ALL OUTBOARD MOTORBOATS USED IN OFFICIAL TOURNAMENT PRACTICE AND IN TOURNAMENT COMPETITION WILL BE 250 HP. Horsepower cannot exceed the limitations set by the U.S. Coast Guard. It is required that all boats have a U.S. Coast Guard or Manufacturer's horsepower-rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer. The horsepower of the outboard engine must not exceed the rating specified on this plate nor the horsepower maximum set by American Bass Anglers, Inc. Each competitor agrees to submit, by their signature on the official entry form, the boat and outboard motor used in the tournament, to an inspection by factory-trained personnel, if there is any reason to suspect the horsepower is in excess of the rating. Changing or altering standard factory parts of your engine to increase the horsepower over the factory horsepower rating is forbidden, and will result in disqualification. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower-rating numbers on the engine also would be cause for immediate disqualification from American Bass Anglers, Inc., tournaments.
15. BOAT AND MOTOR:
ALL BOATS MUST BE EQUIPPED WITH SOME TYPE OF IGNITION STOP SWITCH. This ignition-kill device must be attached to the driver's body any time the combustion engine is in gear. Also any time the combustion engine is operating and in gear, there must by a driver in the driver's seat in full control of the boat. Fishing boats that are 16 feet or more in length may be used. No barges, cumbersome craft or boats without steering wheel will be permitted. Contestants may not use boats equipped with "stick steering" during official practice or during tournament hours. Each boat must also have a properly aerated or re-circulating live-well to maintain a live limit catch of bass by both contestants. Boaters are required to provide a back fishing seat for co-anglers.
16. BOAT OPERATION:
Any competitor answering yes to the question: "Will you enter as a boater?" will be expected to make that boat available for the tournament. Partners must discuss sharing time for his/her selected waters prior to ooze-off. Each partner is entitled to an equal number of hours to fish his/her selected waters during divisional and national qualifying events. Any contestant who, in the judgment of the tournament director, operates the boat in such a manner as to unfairly handicap their partner shall be disqualified. It is the responsibility of the co-angler to reimburse the boater in an amount mutually agreed. It is suggested that reimbursement be ½ of fuel cost to defray daily expenses. (Based on current fuel prices and running time, cost could be from $30.00 to $50.00). Co-anglers not paying their share as prescribed here and at the time of the event shall be cause for being disqualified. This penalty is not limited to the same event but may also result in entries not being accepted into future American Bass Anglers, Inc., events.
17. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS:
Tournament Director for each tournament shall establish Tournament waters at the tournament briefing and define any known OFF-LIMITS areas including locking from established tournament waters. Fishing on tournament waters is not permitted: within 50 yards of a marina gas pump. Any water within tournament boundaries posted Off-Limits or No Fishing by state or federal agencies will be OFF-LIMITS.
18. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT:
There will be only one official point for check-out in the morning and check-in in the afternoon, as designated by the tournament director. Competitors not at the checkpoint at the designated time will be penalized at the rate of 1 pound per minute, deducted from their total weight for the day. Any competitor more than 15 minutes late for send-off or check-in will be disqualified for the day. Official start and weigh-in times will be announced at the pre-tournament meeting. Our best effort will be given to allow at least 8 hours fishing time. In the case of adverse weather conditions, the tournament director will open weigh-in at 12 noon for safety.
The total weight of each competitors catch will determine tournament standings and placement. Only largemouth, spotted, red eye or smallmouth bass will be weighed. The creel limit shall be five (5) unless the prevailing state/lake limit is less. (The tournament director may impose a creel limit of less than five fish if they deem weather and/or local conditions warrant the reduction.) At no time shall a competitor have in his/her possession more than the tournament limit. Culling must be done immediately upon catching a sixth fish. CULLING OF DEAD FISH IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Minimum length will be 12 inches (measured on a flat board) unless the prevailing state/lake rule is larger. In most cases the state's longest length limit will be used. A penalty of 1 pound will be deducted from the total weight for each short fish and a penalty of eight (8) ounces or (.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 or (.50) pounds will be deducted from the big fish total weight. A contestant that presents more fish than the tournament limit will be disqualified immediately. Mangled, mashed, mauled or otherwise altered fish will be weighed only at the discretion of the tournament director. No regurgitated baitfish will be weighed. Fish will not be put on a stringer at any time. All fish presented at the weigh-in become the property of American Bass Anglers, Inc. All live fish will be returned to the tournament waters and the tournament director will dispose of any dead fish.
Assignments of partners will be by open draw. All angling must be accomplished from the boat. Competitors must stay on tournament waters and in sight of each other throughout the tournament day from send-off until weigh-in (Exception: Nature call). Any contestant refusing to take or go with another contestant in his/her boat will be subject to immediate disqualification. Tournament directors have no responsibility for finding lost partners. Each contestant is to meet his/her partner at least 30 minutes prior to take-off. The tournament director may reassign pairings prior to morning ooze-off to accommodate problems or emergencies. With prior approval from AMERICAN BASS ANGLERS, INC., headquarters, the tournament director may allow paired boaters to fish alone.
In case of a tie, ties will be broken using the following criteria:
• Largest number of legal fish weighed
• Largest number of legal live fish weighed
If the tie is not broken by applying the foregoing procedures, place monies will be combined and split evenly, and place points will be awarded accordingly.
Merchandize prizes will be awarded as determined by the tournament director. Standings will reflect ties starting at place closest to first. The tournament director may decide to break first place ties with a fish-off.
Entry fees may be transferred or refunded only if proper notification is made to American Bass Anglers, Inc., headquarters or tournament director by 12 noon on the Friday preceding the tournament. Refunds will be assessed a 10% service charge however, there is no fee for transfers. Refunds for National Championship will only be accepted up to 10 days prior to official practice.
23. POINT SYSTEM:
One-day divisional qualifying tournaments are worth 200 points. Maximum points are awarded for a minimum of 20 contestants. For tournaments with less than 20 contestants, 1 point per person short of the minimum will be deducted from the total points available. Points will be awarded in 1 point decrements depending on place of finish. No contestant weighing a fish in the tournament will receive less than 75 points regardless of place of finish. All contestants not weighing fish will receive 50 show points. A contestant may fish multiple one-day tournaments for point accumulation, but only the best four places of finish will be counted. The 2-day Divisional Championships are worth 400 points. Maximum points are awarded for a minimum of 20 contestants. Points will be awarded in 2 point decrements depending on place of finish. For tournaments with less than 20 contestants, 2 points per person short of minimum will be deducted from the total points available. No contestant weighing a fish in the tournament will receive less than 150 points, and 100 points will be awarded to those not weighing fish. A contestant may fish multiple 2-day Divisional Championships, however only their best two-day finish will be counted. Contestants who are more than 15 minutes late for weigh-in, will not be allowed to weigh their fish, but will receive show points for the event. Contestants must have fished at least four (4) one day tournaments to be eligible to compete in the 2-day Divisional Championship. A perfect score is 1200 points: 4 one-day tournaments at 200 points each = 800 plus and 1 two-day Divisional Championship at 400 points.
24. National Championship:
a. Contestants must have met the minimum requirements of qualification which is the successful completion of four (4) one-day tournaments and one two-day tournament.
b. After all two day events are completed, the top 250 national point holders will be invited to compete in the National Championship as a boater and be guaranteed boater status. In the event one or more of the top 250 do not accept the invitation, the remaining slots will be filled from a list of qualified anglers beginning with number 251 from the national points list. All true non-boaters who meet qualifications will be invited to the Championship and be linked with top boater point’s leaders. Those anglers not invited as boaters but desire to attend the Championship will have the opportunity to enter as a non-boater. The top boaters’ by points will be linked with participating non-boater. Anglers invited to participate as a boater that are not linked with a non-boater, must provide an observer for all competition days. Boaters are encouraged to register with a divisional non-boater to insure both anglers have a slot. The top 250 points qualifiers (boaters) plus qualified non-boaters will be notified of their boater/non-boater status on September 25, 2013. Headquarters will not provide observers.
d. The Championship lake will be off limits approximately 15 days prior to the first official practice day.
ALL TOURNAMENT INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE PUBLISHED ON THE ABA WEB SITE NLT SEPTEMBER 1, 2013.
25. Angler of the Year (AOY):
The top point holder from each Divisional Championship (by points) who meets the AOY point’s requirement (points from 4 one day and 1 two day within a Division, points may not be transferred between Divisions) will be invited to complete in the Angler of the Year Final Round. To compete in the AOY Championship anglers must be registered for the National Championship. SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON THE AOY COMPETITION WILL BE PUBLISHED ON THE ABA WEB SITE NLT AUGUST 1, 2013