2019 National Championship Official Rules
Eufaula, AL – April 1-7, 2019
The 2019 Ray Scott National Championship will be held on April 1-7, 2016 on Lake Walter F. George, Eufaula, AL, launching from Lakepoint State Park, 104 Old Hwy 165, Eufaula, AL 36027. Official waters will be Lake Walter F. George only. The tournament waters will be off limits beginning at sunset March 3, 2019 and remaining off limits until safe daylight, Monday, April 1, 2019
These rules are supplements to the 2018 Open Series rules (See 2018 Rules) and will remain unchanged throughout the 2019 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. 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.
1. PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY:
i.) This tournament is open only to anglers who qualified during the 2018 season from their respective Area Championships and have accepted the invitation to attend.
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. THE ENTRY CONFIRMATION DEADLINE DATE FOR THIS TOURNAMENT SHALL BE FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2019.
2. SPORTSMANSHIP/CODE OF CONDUCT: 2018 Open Series rules apply.
3. MEDIA COMMENTS, PUBLIC ATTACKS: 2018 Open Series rules apply.
4. PRACTICE AND COMPETITION: The tournament waters will be off limits beginning at sunset, March 3, 2019 and remaining off limits until safe daylight, Monday, April 1, 2019. 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 2019 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, an ABA sponsor 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 daily weigh-ins is only allowed with permission from the tournament director, in which case all rods/reels must be stowed away in rod lockers while testing. No Exceptions.
ii) During official practice and during competition, a competitor may not "SKIN DIVE" OR "SCUBA DIVE" in tournament waters.
iii.) Competitor may not buy or barter a fishing location from anyone for use during any competition day.
iv.) 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.
v.) 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.
vi.) 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 weighs 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 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 any and all cost incurred for the examination,
6. REGISTRATION and ON-SITE CHECK-IN: All competitors must confirm their entry into the Championship event not later than Friday March 1, 2019. Each competitor must register on-site and 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 Wednesday, April 3, 2019 between the hours of 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm (Central Time) at the Eufaula Community Center, 14 Community Dr, Eufaula, AL. Anglers failing to check-in for registration may be disqualified from the event.
b. MANDATORY MEETING: A mandatory safety and rules briefing for all contestants will be held Wednesday April 3, 2019, beginning at 6:00 pm (Central Time) at the Eufaula Community Center, 14 Community Dr, Eufaula, AL. Dinner will be provided starting at 5:30 pm (Central Time) followed by the meeting. Contestants are not allowed on the water for the purpose of practice or to find additional fishing locations after 3:00 pm April 3rd or after each day’s weigh-in.
7. SAFETY: 2018 Safety Rules apply
8. BOAT IDENTIFICATION: Prior to each day's start, each boat will be given a boat inspection check by a tournament official. Launch numbers will be issued for the first competition day with successive days launch numbers appearing on the angler’s weigh-in slip.
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. 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 Lake Walter F. George waters only. Any water within these boundaries posted “Off-Limits” or “No Fishing” by state or federal agencies. Additional Off Limits – Across the break wall and all areas within Lakepoint Harbor. 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 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. 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 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. 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 14in measured for largemouth bass and 12in for spotted bass, measured on a flat board. Once a competitor's catch has been 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 T-H Marine G-Juice Livewell Treatment.
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. 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.
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 two days of competition. At the conclusion of day two weigh-in, the field will be cut to the top one-half of the field who will fish day-three. On day three the announcement will be made for the top 25 boaters and top 25 co-anglers who will fish the fourth and final day. Once the cuts has been announced, information can only be received or exchanged by competitors who made the cut and are still in the competition.
iii.) Awards will be presented after the final day’s weigh-in, Sunday April 7th.
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. 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. When 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 all future tournaments conducted by ABA. Partner pairing after day one will be printed on anglers 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 fourth and final day.
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.