Military Team Bass Fishing Tournament –  2020 RULES
Wheeler Lake, Decatur, Alabama Updated May 7, 2020


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 30th Annual Military Team Bass Fishing Tournament.  ABA will be practicing social distancing at all functions including registration, the 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 proper social distancing is observed and we have a smooth transition to the modified tournament procedures.  

RULES: The following tournament rules shall apply to the Military Team Bass Fishing Tournament operated by American Bass Anglers except, these rules may be changed by American Bass Anglers (ABA) which notice may be published on the ABA internet site at   Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to the Tournament Director or his/her designee at the tournament.  In the event of a rule violation, the Tournament Director may impose such sanctions, as deemed appropriate, including, without limitation, disqualification, and forfeiture of prizes, entry fee and prohibition from participation in subsequent tournaments. The decision of the Tournament Director, his/her designee, shall be final in all matters.  Rules violations must be reported to the Tournament Director on site within 15 minutes after the announcement is made “The scales are now closed”.

PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY: Participation is open to all active duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard members, their dependents 16 years of age or older (holding a valid Military ID card), National Guard, Reservists, DOD Civilians, DOD contractors and retired military.  Veterans who served and received an Honorable or General discharge and possess a DD-214 are eligible to participate.  Contractors must be under active DOD contract during the tournament week.  Identification (ID) cards will be checked during the on-site registration.  Teams will be comprised of two anglers both of which must be members in good standings of American Bass Anglers, Inc. (includes any temporary membership) who are 16 years of age or older.  Contestants between 16 and 18 years of age must have a parent or guardian signature prior to entering the tournament.  Proof of age to the satisfaction of tournament officials is the responsibility of the competitor.  Tournament officials reserve the right to refund any membership and/or entry fee, if they choose for any reason not to accept the application and/or entry fee.  

FISHING LICENSE: Competitors must have a valid Alabama fishing license for the tournament waters 

LIABILITY INSURANCE: During the official practice and competition days of any American Bass Anglers tournament, competitors may not operate a boat unless that contestant has provided ABA documented proof of a minimum of $100,000 per occurrence boating liability insurance (see Participant Release of Liability and Official Entry Forms) covering the boat being used.  Proof of insurance must also 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 and any competitor not in compliance may be disqualified.  

REGISTRATION: All registration is accomplished through the ABA national office beginning at 8:00am CST November 1, 2019.  Each team member must be a member of American Bass Anglers.  Teams desiring to register on-site must register in person prior to 12:00 noon local time, Tuesday July 7, 2020.  Registration begins November 1, 2019.   
ON-SITE CHECK IN: Mandatory on-site check-in will be from 3PM to 5PM Tuesday July 7, 2020.  One member of each team must attend the mandatory rules and safety briefing on Tuesday, July 7, 2020, at 6pm local time.  Failure to check-in or attend the safety briefing will result in forfeiture of entry fee and the team will not be entered in the tournament.

TEAM COMPOSITION: A team will be comprised of two anglers meeting the requirements as specified in the Participants and Eligibility sections. 

ENTRY FEE: Entry fee is $150 per team if registering prior to the entry deadline. After the entry deadline, July 1, 2020, a $25 late fee will be assessed.

BIG BASS POT: A big bass option pot will be available for teams to sign up for during on-site registration ONLY.   

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 should he/she be accused of any rule violation.  In the event of a protest for rule violation American Bass Anglers Inc. shall have the discretion to determine the need for a polygraph/truth verification method examination.  The American Bass Anglers, Inc. shall be responsible for selecting an independent expert to administer and interpret the results and establishing, in consultation with the expert administrator, the scope of the questions which may be asked during the polygraph/truth verification method examination.  The American Bass Anglers, Inc. shall attempt to have the location of such polygraph/truth verification method examination as close in proximity to the angler's permanent address or such other mutually convenient as possible.  The competitor shall make himself/herself available at the location selected by the American Bass Anglers, Inc. and shall cooperate in all respects with such examination.  Anglers taking a polygraph/truth verification method examination may be responsible for any and all cost incurred. 

GUIDES: 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 this event 

OFF LIMITS: There will be no official off-limit period.  Off-limit areas will consist of those designated by local, state and federal authorities, and within 50 yards of a marina gas pump.  Tournament directors may impose other off-limit areas at their discretion at the time of the pre-tournament meeting.  No contestant may be on tournament waters for the purpose of locating fish or potential fishing waters after daily weigh-ins.  The purchasing of information, the hiring of services or receiving on the water information from local anglers will not be permitted after the entry deadline (July 1, 2020). 

SAFETY/BOAT CHECK: Safe boating will be observed at all times.  Contestants understand that participating in fishing tournaments in an open boat is inherently dangerous.  Safe boating conduct will be observed at all times. 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 shut off.  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. 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 lakes that displace extremely large volumes of water which create unusually large wakes and turbulence.  Weather and water turbulence can be extremely hazardous and extreme caution should always be exercised.  Violation of either the PFD or safety-stop switch portion of this rule will result in disqualification.

SPORTSMANSHIP: Competitors in ABA tournaments are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation.  Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification. 

i.) Use of alcohol or drugs (other than those purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any competitor during the official practice or during the tournament will not be tolerated and shall be cause for automatic disqualification from this and all future ABA tournaments.   No alcoholic beverages other stimulants or depressants or otherwise, shall be allowed in the boats during the official practice or competition days, or in the weigh-in area.
ii.) 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 a competitor which reflects unfavorably upon efforts to promote fisheries conservation, clean waters and courtesy, shall be reason for disqualification. 
iii.) All competitors are bound by the prevailing statutes and regulations of the state of Georgia. 
iv.) Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or other crimes involving moral turpitude, 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 after circumstances are reviewed by the Tournament Director.  Any disqualification suspension from, or other disciplinary action regarding any tournament or fishing organization shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation in an ABA tournament and/or disqualification from an ABA tournament after circumstances are reviewed by the Tournament Director.

MEDIA COMMENTS, PUBLIC ATTACKS: The favorable public reputation 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 of 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 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 ABA, ABA officials or sponsor shall be considered conduct unbecoming a professional and will result in disciplinary action. 

TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT: (Updated) Only artificial lures may be used except for 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. 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 and 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.

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.  When required, each boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard 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 ABA.  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. Normal maintenance of engines is allowed.  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.   Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower-rating numbers on the engine is also cause for immediate disqualification from ABA tournaments.  Posted speed limits must be observed and all boats must be operated in a safe manner. 

BOAT AND MOTOR: For the safety of all competitors, during competition all boats must be equipped with an approved type of operable ignition kill switch and lanyard.  Only one manufactured lanyard may be used and 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.  Fishing boats that are less than 16 feet in length may not be used.  Any raised platforms or decks cannot be higher than the gunnels of the boat. Anglers fishing while standing on the outboard motor or on boat seats are not permitted.  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.  No “barges”, “stick Steering” or similar craft will be permitted.   

BASIC BOAT EQUIPMENT: During competition every boat must have all required US Coast Guard safety equipment as well as a functional bilge pump.  During competition every boat must have live-well space, properly aerated, to adequately maintain alive a limit of bass.  ABA recommends live-wells are maintained at full level and aerators/re-circulators on manual.  Tournament officials shall have the sole responsibility for determining whether aeration and capacity is proper and adequate. 

BOAT IDENTIFICATION: Prior to each day’s start, each boat will be inspected by a tournament official.  Each day, each boat will be given a number, which must remain with the boat until turned in each day at the check-in.  This number must be displayed upon the request of tournament officials, and turned in to the officials at each check-in. 

PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS: Contestants may fish anywhere accessible by boat, except off-limit areas designated by federal, state or local officials, within 50 yards of a marina gas pump or off-limit areas briefed by the tournament director during the mandatory rules and safety briefing.  Contestants must leave and return to the official checkpoint by boat and the boat must remain in tournament waters during tournament hours.  In the case of a breakdown or emergency contestants may: 1) Be towed in by another boat, 2) a member of the team may enter another contestant’s boat with their fish and ride back to the checkpoint.

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.  At the time of check-out, all competitors and their boats must be in full conformity with all rules set forth by the Tournament Director.  At check-in, all boats shall identify themselves by means of the numbers described herein and proceed immediately to the designated weigh-in area.  Angler’s not weighing bass may trailer their boat. 

TOURNAMENT HOURS: Official start and weigh-in times for each flight will be announced at the pre-tournament briefing.  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.

SCORING: Final standings, auxiliary awards and final winners shall be determined by total weigh for the event. he pound-and-hundredth weight of each teams catch.  Only Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted, Redeye or Shoal bass will be weighed.  The limit per team shall be 5 of the above species and varieties per day, unless otherwise specified by tournament officials.  At no time shall a competitor have in their possession more than the tournament limit.  The official length will be 12 inches for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass measured on a flat board.  Bass presented for weigh-in which fail to measure the official length, will result in a penalty of 1 pound deducted from their total weight for each such bass.  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 however, culling tags or clips may be used.  ABA weigh-in bags will be used.  

CATCH AND RELEASE: CULLING OF DEAD BASS IS PROHIBITED. A penalty of 1 pound will be deducted from the total weight for each short fish and a penalty of 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 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 live well treatment and G-Force Conservation Cull System with clips that do not puncture.  

TIES: In case of a tie, combining awards and dividing them equally among the tied contestants shall resolve positions.  Big bass weight will be used to break the ties for trophy positions.  The tournament director may decide to break first place ties with a fish-off. 

TRANSFERS/REFUNDS: Entry fees may only be refunded through 5:00pm CST July 1, 2020, minus a $20.00 processing fee.  No entries will be transferred.  


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© 2018 American Bass Anglers MBAA Since 1975 - All Rights Reserved American Bass Anglers, Inc Logos and other data within this website is the property of American Bass Anglers, Inc and may not be copied or reproduced without express permission of American Bass Anglers, Inc. American Bass Anglers, Inc PO Box 475 Athens, AL 35612 email: call us 256-232-0406. This web site is provided by ABA and resides on a server with 99.99% up time.

© 2018 American Bass Anglers MBAA Since 1975 - All Rights Reserved American Bass Anglers, Inc Logos and other data within this website is the property of American Bass Anglers, Inc and may not be copied or reproduced without express permission of American Bass Anglers, Inc. American Bass Anglers, Inc PO Box 475 Athens, AL 35612 email: call us 256-232-0406. This web site is provided by ABA and resides on a server with 99.99% up time.