Ray Scott 2021 National Championship Official Rules
Chickamauga TN April 11-18, 2021
Entry Fee – Boaters $310, Co-Anglers $155
In support of Federal and State Governments COVID 19 restrictions, normal tournament procedures are being modified to ensure the health and safety of all anglers, our crew and families attending the tournament. If you have a fever, flu like symptoms or have been tested positive for the COVID-19 virus we ask that you not attend. ABA requires all anglers to wear face mask at all functions and will be practicing social distancing (minimum of 6ft distance between anglers) at registration, Tuesday meal and meeting and all weigh-ins. Normal times for all function will be expanded and weigh-ins will be longer so please be patient. ABA crew members will be on site to direct you at all venues to ensure social distancing is observed, and we have a smooth transition to the modified tournament procedures.
These rules are supplements to the 2020 Bass Pro Shops Open Series rules which will remain unchanged throughout the 2021 Ray Scott Championship. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to the tournament director. The decision of ABA shall be final in all matters.
1. PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY:
i.) This tournament is open only to anglers who qualified during the 2020 season from their respective Area Championships and have been notified of their eligibility.
ii.) During the official practice and competition days of the Ray Scott 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.
iii.) A properly completed and signed official entry form must be received by the ABA tournament department prior to the official entry deadline.
2. REGISTRATION and ON-SITE CHECK-IN:
i.) REGISTRATION: Registration begins November 16, 2020 thru March 19, 2021, entries received after March 19th will be assessed a $25 late fee. Late registrations will be accepted by calling ABA Headquarters thru April 2, 2021.
ii.) ON-SITE REGISTRATION is Tuesday, April 13, 2021 between the hours of 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm (Eastern Time) at the designated location. Each competitor must check in on-site and in person at the time and place designated. The use of the ABA Freedom Pass is not accepted for the Championship. Failure to check-in on site will result in disqualification.
iii.) MANDATORY MEETING: A mandatory safety and rules briefing for all contestants will be held Tuesday April 13, 2021, beginning at 6:00 pm (Eastern Time) at Place designated, (depending on COVID requirements). Briefing may be moved to Wednesday April 14th at launch site. Contestants are not allowed on the water for the purpose of practice or to find additional fishing locations after 3:00 pm April 13th or after each day’s weigh-in.
3. PRACTICE/COMPETITION/OFF LIMITS:
i.) OFF LIMITS: The tournament waters will be off limits beginning at sunset, Sunday March 21, 2021, until safe daylight, Saturday, April 10, 2021.
ii.) OFFICIAL PRACTICE: Official practice will be from safe daylight Saturday April 10th through 3:pm (Eastern Time) April 13th.
iii.) COMPETITION DAYS:
i. April 14 through April 15 – all anglers compete.
ii. April 16th the top one-half of the field will compete
iii. April 17th the top 25 anglers will compete.
iv. Once the cuts have been announced, information can only be received or exchanged by competitors who made the cut and are still in the competition.
4. SPORTSMANSHIP/CODE OF CONDUCT: Anglers participating in Bass Pro Shops/ABA sanctioned events shall observe this code of conduct and the applicable rules for the specific event in which he/she is participating. Anglers shall, always, conduct themselves in a manner becoming ABA anglers and their actions will not reflect unfavorably on Bass Pro Shops, 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 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 by a licensed physician). 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 always, especially about 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 any fishing organization will be grounds for rejecting applications for participation in a tournament and/or disqualification from a tournament after circumstances are reviewed by the Tournament Director.
5. MEDIA COMMENTS, PUBLIC ATTACKS: MEDIA COMMENTS, PUBLIC ATTACKS:
The favorable public reputation of Bass Pro Shops and 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. 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 Bass Pro Shops and 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 Bass Pro Shops or ABA, their officials or sponsors shall be considered conduct unbecoming a professional and will result in disciplinary action.
6. 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 examination and number of places to receive the examination. Failure to pass the polygraph/truth verification examination will result in disqualification, and angler(s) will be responsible for all cost incurred for the examination,
7. SAFETY: SAFETY: Safety is paramount, and anglers must recognize that; fishing from an open boat in itself is inherently dangerous, and as a result Bass Pro Shops and American Bass Anglers seeks to limit those hazards with reasonable safety rules.
i.) Safe boat conduct and speed limits must be observed always by competitors. During official practice and competition, competitors must wear a US Coast Guard-approved chest-type life preserver and must always be worn while the combustion engine is in gear. This life preserver must also be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is no longer in gear. Violation of this rule shall be reason for disqualification. “Fanny Pack” preservers are not allowed. In the event a boat is being towed, all anglers in the towed boat must wear a life preserver.
ii.) Tournament officials may delay, shorten, restrict tournament waters or cancel the start of an official tournament day because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the competitors.
iii.) ABA reserves the right to impose boat speed limits during any or all tournaments. The decision to impose a speed limit, the area covered by the speed limit and/or the actual speed limit shall be left exclusively to the discretion of the tournament director.
iv.) In the event of an emergency, competitors should call 911 immediately and then notify tournament officials. Competitors may leave the boat and seek safe shelter in bad weather when danger may be imminent, at which time all fishing must cease.
8. BOAT IDENTIFICATION/INSPECTION: Prior to each day's start, each boat will be inspected and checked by a tournament official. Boaters will be given their launch numbered by text or by a card, it is the boater’s responsibility to ensure they are check-out and 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 request the co-angler to not fish. Given the significant 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 Chickamauga Lake waters only, No Locking. Any water within these boundaries posted “Off-Limits” or “No Fishing” by state or federal agencies. Additional Off Limits – An area 100 yards on each side and in front of Dayton Boat Ramp. Only that water open to all public fishing will be considered tournament waters.
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 using their launch number and proceed immediately to the designated weigh-in area. Partners must stay together through the weigh-in process if both are weighing bass.
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. Daily creel limit will be five (5) legal fish for boaters and three (3) legal fish for co-anglers of the above species and varieties. At no time shall a competitor have in their possession more than the tournament limit during tournament hours. The official length shall be 15in for largemouth bass and spotted bass and 18in for Smallmouth, or as directed by the tournament director measured on a flat board.
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. For fish care, ABA recommends the use of T-H Marine G-Juice Livewell Treatment.
14. LATE PENALTY/RULES VIOLATION:
i.) Late Penalties: Competitors who are not in the official checkpoint area as described in Rule 11 above at the appointed time will be penalized one pound for every minute, they are late. Late penalties will also be deducted from any “big bass award”. Any competitor more than 15 minutes late shall lose all credit for that day's catch. 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.
ii.) Rules Violations: All rules violations must be reported to the tournament director on site within 15 minutes of the official announcement – “scales are closed”. 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. 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
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.
15. AWARDS QUALIFICATIONS:
i.) The final places of finish will be based on the total accumulated weight an angler weighs during the competition days they were eligible to fish.
ii.) Awards will be presented after the final day’s weigh-in, Saturday April 17th.
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. Announcement of your first-day fishing partner shall be made at the tournament briefing. The tournament director, at his/her sole discretion, may reassign partners prior to the morning take-off. When competitor’s 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). Partner pairing after day one will be printed on angler’s weigh slip 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 final day, location will be announced by the tournament director.
18. CONTINGENCY PROGRAMS: There are sponsor based programs developed to reward competitors based on a predefined set of criteria. Participation in Contingency programs is at the anglers' discretion.
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.