2021 Official Rules
Top 150 SOLO
Effective January 1, 2021
Entry Fees: $600 per event
Full Field: 150 Boats
Registration: Registration opens at 8am central time October 26, 2020
The following rules shall apply to all Top 150 Solo tournaments operated by American Bass Anglers during the 2021 season. These rules may be changed by American Bass Anglers (ABA) at any time upon notification to its members, which will be published on the ABA web site at www.americanbassanglers.com. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules will be left exclusively to the Tournament Director.
1. SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Due to governmental requirements on preventive measures of COVID-19 and, until further notice – SOCIAL DISTANCING AND FACE COVERINGS WILL BE REQUIRED AT ALL ABA FUNCTIONS INCLUDING ON-SITE REGISTRATION, MORNING RULES MEETING, DURING WEIGH-INS AND AWARDS PRESENTATIONS.
2. RULES VIOLATION:
In the event of a rule violation, ABA may impose such sanctions, as deemed appropriate, including, without limitation, loss of one or more fish in question, loss of anglers catch for the day, disqualification from the event, forfeiture of prizes and/or entry fee, probation for up to 6 months, and prohibition from participation in subsequent tournaments. The decision of the ABA shall be final in all matters. Each competitor agrees to report to the Tournament Director any violation or infraction of any Tournament Rules. Failure to report violations, false reporting, or suggestions to another competitor of an un-reported violation of these rules will be cause for disqualification. Rules violations must be reported to the Tournament Director on site in writing within 15 minutes after the announcement, "The scales are closed."
3. PARTICIPATION, REGISTRATION, AND ELIGIBILITY:
i.) This tournament is open only to current members of ABA who are 18 years of age or older. Proof of age to the satisfaction of tournament officials is the responsibility of the potential competitor. ABA may, at any time, decline to accept tournament entries for any reason.
ii.) Competitors may not buy, barter, or pool fishing locations from any person, including the hiring of guides, within 30 days prior to the event for use during any competition day.
iii.) During official practice and competition days, competitors are required to have documented proof of a minimum of $100,000 boating liability insurance covering the boat being used. A copy of proof of insurance must be with the boat being used and must cover the competitors using that boat. Random checks may be conducted at tournament registration and/or at tournament weigh-in. Any competitor not in compliance will be disqualified.
iv.) A properly completed and signed official entry form with entry fee must be received by January 25, 2021.
a. Package Entry: Payment for all three events within a division is $1,800.00
b. Deposits: Anglers may secure their position by paying a non-refundable deposit of $900.00 (three events) in a division. The remaining balance of entry fee is due on or before January 25, 2021, no exceptions.
c. Waiting List: If an event has more than 150 entries, a waiting list will be available. Open positions for an event will be filled from this list beginning January 26, 2021. Anglers not getting a position will have their entry fee returned.
4. 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.
5. PRACTICE, COMMUNICATIONS, POLYGRAPH, AND OFF LIMITS:
a. Off Limits – There is no off-limits; however, official practice days will be Monday through Thursday prior to the event.
b. Practice/Assistance – During official practice for an event, contestants may only pre-fish alone, with a member of his/her immediate family, another contestant of the tournament, a sponsor of American Bass Anglers, or a member of American Bass Anglers staff. Contestants may not receive assistance from anyone other than another contestant for the purpose of locating or catching fish during competition days. Buying or bartering for fishing locations is prohibited. During practice and event, competitors may not "SKIN DIVE" OR "SCUBA DIVE" in the tournament waters. Contestants are not allowed to practice after 5PM Thursday prior to the event.
c. Communications: During official competition day(s), a competitor may not use a CB radio, a VHF marine-band radio, a cellular phone, texting, or any other type of communication device for the purpose of locating or catching fish. Competitors are permitted to transmit by radio or telephone only in the event of an emergency. A designated tournament official must be granted access to the competitor's boat and cell phone at any time during competition.
d. Hole Sitting; During Tournament hours, the practice of "hole-sitting" is strictly prohibited in all events. Competitors may not follow non competitor's boats for the purpose of a non-competitor assisting in locating fish.
e. Polygraph: Each event will have a truth verification examination. By his/her signature on the official entry form, each competitor agrees to submit to a truth verification examination method as determined by ABA and abide by its conclusion. In the event a competitor refuses to take or fails to pass the examination, he/she will be disqualified from the event in question and other disciplinary action taken as deemed appropriate in accordance with Rule 2 above.
6. ONSITE SIGN IN:
a. On-site: Each angler must register in person at the designated place during official on-site registration hours, 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm (local time), the day prior to the event. Failure to sign-in on-site will result in disqualification, forfeit of entry fee, and removal from the event.
b. Mandatory meeting: The pre-tournament Safety and Rules meeting is mandatory for all competitors and will be conducted on the water at safe light the first day of the event. All anglers must be in their boat.
c. Launch position: Launch positions will be determined by computer draw and texted after on-site check-in is completed.
7. SAFETY: Safety is paramount, and anglers must recognize that; fishing from an open boat is inherently dangerous; and as a result, American Bass Anglers seeks to limit those hazards with reasonable safety rules.
a. Safe boating conduct and speed limits must always be observed 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.
b. 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.
c. 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.
d. 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. SPORTSMANSHIP/CODE OF CONDUCT: Anglers participating in 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 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.
a. 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 to the angler 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.
b. Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, 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.
c. All competitors are bound by the prevailing statutes and regulations of the state within which the tournament is being held and all participants are required to have the appropriate state fishing license.
d. 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.
9. TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT: The use of a landing net is allowed. The use of grippers in landing bass is prohibited. Only artificial lures may be used. No "live bait" or "prepared bait" will be permitted during official practice and competition, except for pork strips or rinds. Only one casting, spin casting or spinning rod (8-foot maximum length from butt of handle to rod tip) and reel may be used at any one time. All bass must be caught alive and in a conventional sporting manner. When visually fishing for bedding bass, bass must be hooked inside the mouth.
10. HORSEPOWER REGULATIONS: 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 or the manufacturer's rating plate or the maximum horsepower set by ABA. In the event there is reason to suspect the horsepower requirement is exceeded, the competitor agrees to submit their boat and outboard motor used in the tournament to an inspection by factory-trained personnel. Changing or altering standard factory parts of a competitor's engine to increase the horsepower over the factory horsepower rating is forbidden and will result in disqualification.
11. BOAT AND MOTOR: During official practice and competition, all boats must be equipped with an operational and approved type of ignition kill switch and single lanyard. The lanyard must be attached to the driver's body any time the combustion engine is in gear, and the driver must be in the driver's seat in full control of the boat. All boats must have a properly aerated live-well capable of sustaining a limit of fish. Fishing boats less than 16 feet in length may not be used. Any raised platforms or decks cannot be higher than the gunnels of the boat. Fishing while standing on the outboard motor or boat seats is not allowed. An electric trolling motor may be used for slow maneuvering; however, trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. All bladder tanks and any other type of auxiliary gas tanks that are not installed by the boat manufacturer are prohibited. Boats that do not have factory-installed gas tanks are restricted to a maximum of 18 gallons of gasoline in tanks, properly secured or strapped, and meet U.S. Coast Guard regulations. No portable gas tanks or containers capable of holding gasoline can be placed anywhere on tournament waters or shoreline for use by any tournament competitor. No "barges" or similar craft or "stick steering boats are permitted. Determination of acceptable fishing boats and properly aeriated live-well will be left exclusively to the Tournament director.
12. BASIC BOAT EQUIPMENT: During official practice and competition, every boat must have all required US Coast Guard safety equipment. During competition, every boat must have live-well space, properly aerated, to adequately maintain bass alive. Tournament officials shall have the sole responsibility for determining whether aeration and capacity is proper and adequate.
13. BOAT IDENTIFICATION: 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.
14. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS: Tournament waters and off-limits areas shall be established by the Tournament Director for each tournament. Specifically, any water within tournament waters posted "Off-Limits" or "No Fishing" by state or federal agencies will be OFF-LIMITS and 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. No fishing within 50 yards of any other competitor's boat anchored or not.
15. COMPETITORS MUST REMAIN IN BOAT: Competitors must leave from and return to the official checkpoints by boat and must not depart the boat to land fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. Boats must remain in tournament waters during tournament hours. Trailering boats during tournament hours is prohibited.
16. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT: There will be only one "official point" for check-out in the morning and check-in in the afternoon and will be designated at the tournament briefing. At the time of check-out, all boats must be in full conformity with all rules set forth by American Bass Anglers. At check-in, all boats shall identify themselves by means of the numbers described in Rule 13, and all fishing must cease.
17. 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, Spotted, or Redeye bass will be weighed. The creel limit shall be 5 bass of the above species and varieties per day unless otherwise established by the tournament director. The official length for bass shall be established by State regulations or by the Tournament Director. Culling must be performed immediately upon catching a sixth fish. In the event tournament officials observe more than the allowable limit is in the boat or at weigh-in, tournament officials will cull beginning with the largest fish. Only bass measuring the official length or more on the longest straight line will be weighed. Short fish will accrue a penalty of 1 pound and will not be weighed. Any bass that appears to have been mangled, mashed, mauled, or otherwise altered will be weighed only at the discretion of tournament officials. Once a competitor's catch is verified by tournament officials, no additional fish may be added to the catch. Placing bass on a stringer is prohibited; however, culling tags or clips may be used. In the event of a mechanical failure (boat is inoperable) anglers may have their catch counted by one of the following methods ONLY: 1) Boat is towed to the weigh-in site by another boat; 2) Boater secures his boat to an object (pier/bank) and board another tournament competitors' boat only for a ride to weigh-in. Competitors must not allow any bass caught by them to be counted on the score of another competitor. Mechanical failures do not extend established weigh-in times.
18. CATCH AND RELEASE: CULLING OF DEAD BASS IS PROHIBITED. A penalty of one .5 pounds per dead fish will be assessed and deducted from the day's total weight. In the event the anglers' big fish is dead, a penalty of.5 pounds will be deducted from the big fish total weight. The Tournament Director will have sole authority for assessing dead fish penalties. For fish care, ABA recommends only the use of T-H Marine G-JUICE live well treatment and G-Force Conservation Cull System with clips that do not puncture.
19. LATE PENALTY: Competitors who are not in the official checkpoint area as described in Rule 16 at the appointed time shall be penalized at the rate of one (1) pound for each minute. Late penalty will be deducted from the total weight of their catch that day, including any weight to be counted toward a "big bass award." No weight will be awarded if the net weight after penalties is zero or less. Any competitor more than 15 minutes late will lose all credit for that day's catch. Exact starting and check-in times will be announced at the Tournament Briefing.
20. POINTS SYSTEM AND QUALIFICATIONS: Points will be awarded based on place of finish and cannot be combined or transferred. Any angler disqualified from an event will not receive points for that event.
a. Divisional Events – These events are worth 250 points to first place anglers. Points will be awarded in 1-point decreasing increments. Contestants not weighing fish will receive 50 points.
b. Ray Scott Championship –Qualifying for the Ray Scott Championship will be as follows.
i.) The winner of an event will get an automatic berth in the Ray Scott Championship provided he/she has fished all three events within a division.
ii.) Angler of the Year – The top points holder within a division at the end of the season will qualify for the Ray Scott Championship provided he/she has fished all three events within a division
iii.) Qualifying anglers must register for the Championship by the established deadline date (NO EXCEPTIONS)
21. TIEBREAKERS: Ties will be broken using the following criteria:
a. The largest number of legal fished weighed.
b. The largest number of legal live fish weighed.
c. Most Accumulative weight for the year
d. If the tie is not broken by applying the foregoing procedures, place monies will be split evenly, and place points will be awarded accordingly. Other ties will be awarded duplicate points and monies divided. Event winners' tiebreaker may result in a fish-off.
22. ABA MEMBERS SHIELD & LOGO: ABA encourages (not mandatory) the wearing of the ABA Logo and Top 150 Solo logo. The suggested placement for the ABA logo is centered on the left chest, the top of the patch should hit top center of the left collarbone.
23. PATCHES AND/OR SIGNAGE: ABA encourages the use of patches, logos, and other signage to promote the angler's sponsors. ABA may, however, restrict the use of patches, logos, signage, etc., that promote or advertise products which are in competition with the products or services of official tour sponsors or which are, in ABA's sole judgment, in poor taste. In addition, if ABA provides any ancillary clothing or products (such as life vests) bearing the logos of ABA or the official sponsors of ABA, each competitor shall wear such clothing or utilize such products in a manner prescribed by ABA.
24. AWARDS: All anglers are required to execute a Fed Tax Form W9 prior to receiving any awards, including cash/check and prizes.
25. TAXES: Where and when state laws require, income tax may be automatically deducted prior to any awards being presented. Anglers are responsible for all applicable taxes for both cash and merchandise awards.
26. WAIVER AND RELEASE: As a condition of participation in each tournament, competitors must execute a waiver (Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk) and a name and likeness release.
All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of any material in these rules is prohibited except by written permission of American Bass Anglers, Inc.