Bass Pro Shops 150 Series Rules
American Bass Anglers
Effective January 1, 2019
Entry Fees - $200 per team
The following rules shall apply to the 2019 Bass Pro Shops 150 Series tournaments operated by American Bass Anglers. These rules may be changed at any time. Rule changes will be effective immediately upon notice by ABA to its members; which notice may be published on the ABA web site atwww.americanbassanglers.com/150 Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to the Tournament Director or his/her designee at a tournament. The decision of the tournament director will be final in all matters. Each competitor agrees to immediately report to the Tournament Director any violation or infraction of any Tournament Rules. Failure to report violations or suggestions to another competitor that they violated these rules will be cause for disqualification. All protests must be reported to the Tournament Director on site and in writing within 15 minutes after the announcement “the scales are closed”.
1. PARTICIPATION, REGISTRATION AND ELIGIBILITY:
i.) This tournament is open only to current members of ABA who are 14 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.) Excluded participation; –
a. Contestants who currently compete or have competed as a Pro in a B.A.S.S. Elite or FLW Tour event within the last 12 months are excluded from participation.
b. Guides and anglers who have guided on tournament waters within the last 30-days.
iii.) Competitors may not buy or barter fishing locations from any person, including the hiring of guides, within 30 days prior to the event for use during any competition day.
iv.) During official practice and competition days, competitors may not operate a boat unless that contestant has current 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.
v.) A properly completed and signed official entry form and entry fee must be received by ABA HQ prior to the event deadline date, or at the official on-site registration. Entry deadline date for each event will be 5pm CST Wednesday prior to the event. Entries received after the entry deadline date will be assessed a $25.00 late fee. Entry fees will only be refunded and/or transferred if notification is made to ABA Tournament Department prior to WEDNESDAY 5pm CST, prior to the scheduled event, NO EXCEPTION. There will be a $20.00 processing fee per tournament for all refunds.
2. PRACTICE, COMMUNICATIONS, POLYGRAPH AND OFF LIMITS:
i. Off Limits;
a) One-day Tournaments: No off limits
b) Two-day Championship: Off limits will begin at safe light on September 16 thru safe light on September 21, 2019, Official practice will be from safe light on September 21 thru 3PM CST September 26, 2019.
ii. Practice/Assistance – During the official practice period, contestants may only pre-fish alone, with a member of his/her immediate family, another registered 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. Contestants are not allowed to practice after the start of the tournament briefings.
iii. 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 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. Failure to grant such access will result in immediate disqualification.
iv. 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.
v. Polygraph: By his/her signature on the official entry form, each competitor agrees to submit to a polygraph examination/truth verification method as determined by ABA and abide by its conclusion. The Tournament Director will have the discretion to determine the need for a polygraph/truth verification examination. ABA will arrange for an independent expert to administer and interpret the results and establish the scope of the questions to be asked during the examination. 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 3 below. Anglers who are accused of a rule’s violation will be responsible for all cost incurred for taking a polygraph/truth verification method examination, anglers who fail the examination or refuse to acknowledge payment will be disqualified.
3. Penalties: In the event of a rule(s) violation, ABA will impose such sanctions, as deemed appropriate, including, but are not limited to the following:
i. Loss of fish in question.
ii. Loss of catch for the day
iii. Disqualification from the tournament in question
iv. Disqualification from future ABA events, which may be from a specific number of events, a specific period, or may be a lifetime disqualification.
v. Any different or additional penalties determined by the Tournament Director including but not limited to monetary fines, probation.
4. Federal, State and Local Laws: All teams must have a valid fishing license for tournament waters and are required to obey all federal, state and local laws and regulations.
5. Teams: A team consists of two (2) anglers one of which must be over the age of 18. At time of registration one of team member must be declared Captain for the 2019 season.
6. On-Site Check in and Meeting and Launch Position:
Onsite check-in will be from 3 pm to 6:30 pm local time the afternoon before each event at the designated Bass Pro Shop. It is mandatory that each team member register in person at the designated site during onsite registration.
Mandatory Meeting: A mandatory Rules and Safety meeting will be held at 7pm following on-site registration. All team are required to attend, failure to attend will result in disqualification.
Launch Position: Boat launch position will be determined by date and time of registration.
7. Insurance: During official practice and competition days, competitors may not operate a boat unless that contestant has current 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.
8. 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.
i. Safe boating conduct must be observed at all times by all teams. During the official practice and competition, each team member must wear a US Coast Guard-approved chest-type life preserver. This life preserver must be worn at any time 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 result in immediate 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 compromise the safety of anglers.
iii. In the event of an emergency, teams should call 911 immediately and then call tournament director.
iv. Teams are allowed to leave the boat and seek safe shelter in bad weather when danger may be imminent, at which time all fishing must cease.
9. Permitted Fishing Methods: Only artificial lures may be used with the exception of pork trailers and biodegradable soft baits. Only one fishing rod per angler may be used at any one time. Additional rods may be in the boat and ready for use; however, each cast and retrieve must be completed before another cast is attempted or rod is used. Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. Switching or sharing fish with other teams or individuals will result in immediate disqualification. All bass must be caught alive in a conventional and sporting manner. When sight fishing, all fish must be hooked inside the mouth to be counted as a legal fish (this will be a polygraph question). All angling must be conducted from the boat. At no time may a Contestant leave the boat to land a fish, or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters.
10. Sportsmanship and Conduct: All teams are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation. Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles will be deemed cause for disqualification. Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non‐competitors who may be on tournament waters. Any act of an angler, which reflects unfavorably upon Bass Pro Shops or ABA's effort to promote safety, fisheries conservation, clean waters, and courtesy, shall be reason for disqualification. The following conduct will not be permitted and cause for disqualification:
i. Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs of any kind during tournament hours.
ii. Any previous conviction, charge, arrest, or investigation for a felony, a crime involving moral turpitude, or a crime related to, arising out of, or involving any fishing tournament or event.
iii. Actions or words which reflect unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, and fair competition;
iv. Disqualification from ABA or other fishing organizations that resulted from rule violations that result in the questioning of angler’s honesty, integrity and character.
v. Upon review of any questionable circumstances by ABA and the Tournament Director, the Tournament Director shall have the right to refuse any application and/or deny a confirmed application. ABA reserves the right to place an official observer in a Contestant's boat at any time during competition hours.
11. Media Comments, Public Attacks: The favorable public reputation of Bass Pro Shops or ABA as a sanctioning organization in the sport of fishing, the integrity of its officials and reputation of its media properties are valuable assets and tangible benefits for Bass Pro Shops and 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 or fellow anglers. Anglers are encouraged to express themselves and have the right to question the 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, tournament officials or sponsors shall be considered conduct unbecoming a professional and will result in disciplinary action.
12. Boat Regulations: Maximum horsepower for the Bass Pro Shop 150 Series events cannot exceed 150hp. Each boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard horsepower-rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer and the horsepower of the outboard engine cannot exceed the rating specified on this plate nor the horsepower maximum set by ABA. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower-rating numbers on the engine is cause for immediate disqualification. All boats must be equipped with an ignition-kill switch and the device must be attached to the driver's body any time the combustion engine is in gear. Any time the combustion engine is operating and in gear, there must be a driver in the driver's seat in full control of the boat. External fuel tanks (add on) are not permitted. Fishing boats less than 16 feet in length may not be used. Barges, cumbersome craft or boats without steering wheel are not permitted. Contestants may not use boats equipped with "stick steering" during official practice or during tournament hours.
13. Permitted Fishing Locations: Tournament waters and off-limits areas shall be established by the Tournament Director for each tournament. Specifically, any water within 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.
14. Official Checkpoints: There will be only one official check-out point for boat inspection in the morning and one official check‐in point in the afternoon. Failure to go through boat check‐out in the morning or failure to officially check‐in in the afternoon will result in disqualification from such event. It is the sole responsibility of each team to arrive at the designated check‐in location on time. Regardless of what you are told or understand, it is the angler's responsibility to verify their flight time. All fishing must cease upon check‐in.
15. SCORING: Tournament standings, auxiliary awards and final winners shall be determined by the pounds-and-hundredths weight of each team’s catch during the competition days. Only Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted or Redeye bass will be weighed. The limit for each team shall be five (5) of the above species and varieties. Upon catching a 6th fish the team must immediately cull to the tournament limit. In the event tournament officials observe a team with more than the allowable limit in their position (in live-well) or if angler presents more that the allowable limit at weigh-in, tournament officials will cull down to the prescribed limit beginning with the largest fish. The official length for bass shall be determined by the Tournament Director and announced at the Mandatory Tournament Briefing. Only bass as described above which measure the official length or more on the longest straight line, shall be weighed. Bass presented for weigh-in, which fail to measure the minimum official length, shall result in a penalty of 1 pound for each short bass and that bass will not be weighed. Once a team’s catch is presented to a tournament official, that team may not add additional fish to the catch. Any bass that appears to have been mangled, mashed, mauled or otherwise altered will be weighed and credited only at the discretion of tournament officials. Bass must not be placed on a stringer at any time during the tournament. Culling tags or clips are allowed. In the event of a mechanical failure (boat is inoperable) teams may have their catch of the day weighed and counted by one of the following methods ONLY: 1) Boat is towed to the weigh-in site by another boat; 2) One team member may take their catch and board another competitors’ boat only for a ride to weigh-in. A team must not allow any bass caught by them to be counted on the score of another team. In such a case, both teams will be disqualified from this tournament and from all future tournaments conducted by ABA. Mechanical failures do not extend established weigh-in times.
16. Catch and Release: CULLING OF DEAD BASS IS PROHIBITED. A penalty of .5 pounds for each dead fish will be assessed and deducted from the total day’s 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 or his/her designees shall have sole authority to assess dead fish penalties and for assessing penalty weight. For fish care ABA only recommends the use of T-H Marine’s G-Juice for live-well treatment and G-Force Conservation Cull System with clips.
17. Late Penalty: Teams who are not at the official check‐in point at the appointed time will be assessed a one (1) pound per minute penalty and the penalty weight will be deducted from their total weight including any weight to be counted toward a Big Bass award. Any Contestant more than 15 minutes late will forfeit that day's catch.
18. Ties: In the event of a tie for first place, the Tournament Director shall designate, depending on time and safety conditions, a fish‐off period to be held within 24 hours of the closing of the scales. If an angler/team declines to compete in the fish off, the other team involved will be awarded first place. Should a tie still exist following a fish‐off period, the heaviest bass of the fish-off will be awarded 1st place. All other ties for cash prizes will be split equally among the teams involved and duplicate points awarded to each team.
19. Polygraph: Each contestant participating in the Bass Pro Shop 150 Series events agrees to submit to a polygraph examination should it be deemed necessary at a time and location determined by the Tournament Director following the competition. Failure to pass the examination will result in immediate disqualification.
20. Protest and Reporting Procedure: All protests must be submitted in writing within fifteen (15) minutes after the announcement “Scales are closed”, to the Tournament Director or designated tournament official. The protestor also agrees that if there is a question with regards to verifying the protest charge, he or she may be subject to a polygraph exam and agrees to testify in a court of law if necessary.
21. 150 Series Championship: The top 20 teams by place of finish at any one-day event will qualify for the 150 Series Championship. Special rules may be necessary for the 150 Series Championship and will be posted prior to the event.
22. Taxes: Contestants will be required to sign a W9 tax form prior to receiving any monies or prizes. Where and when state laws require income, taxes be paid on cash awards to non-residents, the taxes may 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.
23. Waiver and Release: As a condition of participation in each tournament, competitors must execute a Liability Release, Indemnification and Assumption of Risk Form at each on-site registration.
ABA and Sponsors reserve the right to make changes to the rules, payout schedule, boat model/motor and bonus programs at any time without prior notice. Any changes will first be posted on the ABA web site.