American Bass Anglers
American Fishing Tour Championship Rules
Lake Eufaula; Eufaula, AL – October 16-21, 2022
These rules will remain unchanged throughout the 2022 American Fishing Tour Championship. Interpretation of these rules shall be left exclusively to the tournament director.
PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY: Participation is open to current members in good standing of American Bass Anglers, Inc., who are 16 years of age or older and possess a valid state fishing license for tournament waters, and who have qualified during the 2021 ABA tournament season. Tournament officials reserve the right to refund any entry fee. Any person entering this tournament who is under 18 years of age must have the signature of their parent or legal guardian on the liability release form.
a) Pre-tournament practice; will be from safe light on October 15, 2022, through 3:00 pm October 18, 2022. During official practice, contestants may only pre-fish alone, with a member of his/her immediate family, another contestant of this tournament, a national sponsor of American Bass Anglers, or a staff member of American Bass Anglers. ANGLERS MUST BE OFF TOURNAMENT WATERS BY 3:00 pm ON October 18th.
b) Off Limits; Tournament waters will be off-limits from midnight September 25th thru safe light October 15th. No contestant may enter the tournament water for the purpose of catching or locating possible fishing locations during the off-limits period or after the mandatory rules and safety meeting, or after each day's weigh-in. During the off-limits periods, other than using publicly available information (e.g., newspaper, periodical, and internet reports), competitors cannot solicit, receive, or gather any information via phone, electronic devices, or any other means about locating or catching fish on tournament waters. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS
c) Communications: During official practice and competition days, 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. If a cell phone is used, it must be in speaker mode and the non-boater must be allowed to hear the conversation. Non-boaters are not allowed to use portable GPS units or record waypoints in any manner. Non-Boaters may not share their boater's or another boater's fishing locations with any competitor.
d) Hole Sitting; During Tournament hours, the practice of "hole-sitting" is strictly prohibited. Competitors may not follow non-competitor's boats for the purpose of a non-competitor assisting in locating fish.
e) 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. This event will be polygraphed and any angler who fails the examination will be disqualified.
REGISTRATION: Begins July 18, 2022, thru September 30, 2022, entries received between October 1, 2022, thru October 18, 2022, will be assessed a $25 late fee, no entries will be accepted after October 18, 2022
ONSITE Check-in: Onsite Check-in will be Tuesday, October 18, 2022, from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Eufaula Community Center,14 Community Dr, Eufaula, AL. 36027. Failure to register on-site will result in the removal from the tournament and forfeiture of entry fee. MANDATORY
SAFETY AND RULES BRIEFING will be at 6:30 pm October 18, 2022. Failure to attend this meeting will result in disqualification.
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 boat 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 a 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.
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 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 always be practiced, 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 a 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, a 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.
PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS: Fishing will be permitted on Lake Eufaula, and all waters contained therein; locking is not allowed. Competitors must stay on tournament waters and in sight of each other throughout the tournament day from send-off until weigh-in (Exception: Nature call). Off-limits will be all AREAS INSIDE LAKE POINT MARINA HARBOR BREAK WALL and any areas designated as off-limits by local/federal authorities. Additional off-limits areas may be designated and explained at the mandatory meeting by the tournament director.
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. The official start and weigh-in times will be announced at the pre-tournament meeting.
SCORING: Pounds and hundredths of each competitor's catch will determine tournament standings and placement. The creel limit shall be five (5) bass of the above species. At no time shall a competitor have in their possession more than the tournament limit. Culling must be done immediately. CULLING OF DEAD FISH IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Minimum lengths for this event will be 14 inches for largemouth bass and 12 inches for spotted bass (measured on a flat board).
PAIRING OF COMPETITORS: All assignments of partners will be by computer draw. Day one parings will be texted at the MANDATORY rules and safety meeting on Tuesday, October 18, 2022. Pairings for the remaining competition days will be texted and posted at the weigh-in site after each day's weigh-in and will appear on angler's daily weigh slip. Any contestant refusing to take or go with another contestant will be subject to immediate disqualification. The Tournament Director may reassign pairings prior to morning ooze-off to accommodate problems and/or emergencies.
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. Lanyard must be attached to the driver's body any time the combustion engine is in gear and driver must be in the driver's seat in full control of the boat. Fishing boats that are less than 16 feet in length or "barges" or similar craft or "stick steering boats are permitted 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. Only U.S. Coast Guard approved fuel tanks installed in the boat by the manufacturer are allowed. No "barges" or similar craft or "stick steering boats are permitted.
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.
TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT: The use of a landing net is allowed. The use of grippers to land 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 the handle to rod tip) and reel may be used at any one time. All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner.
BOAT OPERATION AND EXPENSE: Any competitor answering yes to the question: "Will you enter as boater?" will be expected to make that boat available for the duration of the tournament. Partners must discuss boat operation prior to send-off. Each partner is entitled to an equal number of hours to fish his/her selected waters. The non-boater is responsible for any damages, which may occur to the boater's boat if he/she is granted permission to operate the trolling motor. Any contestant who, in the judgment of the tournament director, operates the boat in such a manner as to unfairly handicap his/her partner shall be disqualified. It is the responsibility of the non-boater to reimburse the boater in the amount of ½ the fuel cost to defray daily expenses (this will be enforced by tournament officials). All boat operation within 200 yards of the launch facility will be by trolling motor or idle speed only.
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 one .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.
LATE PENALTY: Competitors who are not in the official checkpoint area at the appointed time shall be penalized at the rate of one (1) pound for each minute. A 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. The exact starting and check-in times will be announced at the Tournament Briefing.
TRANSFERS: There will be no transfers of tournament entry fees. Refunds, minus 10%, will be given through October 14, 2022, ONLY.
SPONSOR PRIZES AND CONTINGENCY PROGRAMS: Sponsors have the sole discretion to substitute and or eliminate prizes. 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.
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.
AWARDS: All awards will be presented on Friday after the evening meal.
WAIVER AND RELEASE: As a condition of participation in this tournament, competitors must execute a Liability Release and Assumption of Risk Form at time of onsite check in.
All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of any material in these rules is prohibited except by written permission of American Bass Anglers, Inc.
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