1. INTERPRETATION & ENFORCEMENT • Interpretation and enforcement of these rules will be left exclusively to the designated Tournament Director (TD). Decisions of the TD are final in all matters and are not subject to appeal. Each contestant and coach agrees to report any rule violation to the designated TD immediately upon discovery of the violation. Failure to report violations may be cause for disqualification (DQ). The violation of a tournament rule may result in weight loss (late penalty, dead-fish penalty and short-fish penalty), or DQ from the entire tournament. Protests are to be made in writing before final team is weighed in on tournament day.
2. PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY • Participation is open to 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade school students or have graduated in 2022. Each team member is encouraged to join and have a current TBF\SAF membership – but it is not required. Contestants must have a valid fishing license for the waters they fish. Contestants are required to follow all applicable federal, state and local regulations and laws. Any violation of such regulations and laws will result in disqualification from the tournament. Each team will consist of one or two eligible contestants and one boat captain in one vessel on stated tournament waters.
3. Safe Sports Act • If only one contestant is fishing, there must be another observer 7th grade or older inside the vessel. Tournament officials reserve the right to reject any application to fish for any reason whatsoever.
4. PURCHASING OF INFORMATION • The purchasing of, or bartering for, information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters, including but not limited to GPS waypoints (other than through commercially available sources) and the hiring of fishing guide services or a coach is not permitted by any tournament participants including contestants and boat captains within 7 days of any tournament. In addition, no fishing information may be purchased, bartered, solicited, or received from any person who entered tournament waters during the official off limits period if an off-limits period is enforced. Violation of this rule, cheating or having a competitive edge will result in a DQ.
5. DAY OF COMPETITION • Once competition is under way, contestants and coaches may not solicit and/or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except contestants and coaches confirmed in the tournament and through publicly available sources (quasi-public websites set up for the specific purpose of sharing information with individuals or a small group of individuals are not publicly available sources). Teams may not follow a non-contestant’s boat or participate in the placing of markers by non-contestants or the practice of “hole sitting” by anyone.
6. SAFETY • Each team will be issued a “boat peg / number” – you must keep this until weigh in. Safe boating must be observed at all times. Each contestant and boat captain is required to wear a fastened U.S. Coast Guard-approved and state approved CHEST TYPE PDF anytime the combustion engine is in operation from boat check until weigh-in each day of the tournament. All boats must be equipped with an emergency ignition-shutoff device that must be securely attached to the driver’s body whenever the combustion engine is in operation. All persons in a tournament boat shall remain seated in a mfg-recommended on-plane seating location when the combustion engine is in operation. Sitting on pedestal seats while the combustion engine is in operation is not permitted per LA RS 34:851.13. At the discretion of the TD, tournament days may be shortened, postponed or canceled due to unsafe weather or water conditions. Violation of safety rules will result in DQ.
7. SPORTSMANSHIP • All contestants and coaches are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, COURTESY and conservation and to conduct themselves in a manner that will be a credit to themselves, to FLW, TBF, SAF, BASS, our sponsors, the school the team is representing, the sport of fishing and efforts to promote the sport. Conduct not complying with these standards includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or any kind of mind-altering substance during registration, the pre-tournament meeting or during tournament hours extending through the weigh-in procedure.
• Abuse of, or addiction to, mind-altering substances.
• Suspension/DQ, probation or ban from any tournament or fishing organization.
• Any other words, conduct or actions reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with tournament rules
8. BOAT OPERATION • Captains must supply and drive boats for their teams. To qualify as a boat captain, the person accompanying a team must be at least 19 years old, have not guided on the tournament waters in past 30 days, or fished a tournament on tournament waters with an entry fee of more than $1000 ($2000 if team tournament) or more within the last calendar year. Any exceptions MUST be approved by the TD. The contestants may operate the trolling motor. Captains may provide assistance, including information about locating and catching fish, BUT ARE NOT PERMITTED TO FISH. The use of mobile communication devices may only be used by the boat captains. Contestants are not permitted to drive the boat when the combustion engine is in operation unless loading or unloading the boat. Once boat is loaded or unloaded on the trailer, the angler must turn off the combustion engine.
9. PERMITTED FISHING METHODS • Fishing is defined as having a lure attached to a line and a rod and reel with the lure in the water. All bass must be caught alive in a conventional sporting manner. Only artificial lures may be used, with the exception of pork trailers and biodegradable soft baits. Only ONE fishing rod per contestant may be used at a time. Students must initiate and complete every cast in order for a catch to be considered legal. Trolling as a method of fishing is strictly prohibited. All bass caught while sight-fishing must be hooked inside the mouth and immediately shown to your boat captain for verification.
10. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS AND BOUNDARIES • Teams may fish anywhere on tournament waters within the boundaries that is available to the public and accessible by boat, except areas designated as “off-limits,” “no boats,” “keep out,” “restricted,” “no trespassing” or “no fishing” (or similar language or markings intended to restrict public access) by tournament, local, state or federal officials, or within 50 yards of a contestant’s previously anchored boat. A previously anchored is one held in a stable position by a line to a weight, stationary object, or by a shallow water anchor, with the trolling motor in the up position. All fishing must be conducted from the boat. Leaving the boat to land a fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters is prohibited. The use of cables, ropes, chains or any type of block & tackle system to maneuver a boat into fishing waters is strictly prohibited.
11. WEIGH IN’S • There will be only one checkpoint for weigh in’s in the afternoon. Failure to go through boat check and or failure to check in at the check-in point will result in DQ. In the event of an early departure teams must contact the TD or return their boat peg. You MUST use a League / Tournament issued weigh bag – 1lb penalty for failure to do so.
12. LATE PENALTY • Teams that are not at the designated afternoon checkpoint at the appointed time will be penalized 1 pound per minute, deducted from the total weight. Teams more than 15 minutes late will lose credit for that day’s weight. The TD will communicate and make decisions regarding extensions of time due to traffic detours, or wrecks.
13. LIVE FISH • Every effort must be made to keep bass alive through the use of a properly aerated live well. 8oz (1/2 lb.) will be deducted from the total weight for each dead bass presented for weigh-in. No dead fish are to be culled at any time (State Law).
14. SCORING • Scoring is determined by the final weight of each team’s catch during each tournament. The tournament limit is five bass (unless otherwise notified by the TD) per team unless the state or lake limit is less than five, in which case the state or lake limit prevails. Any team possessing more than 5 fish at weigh in will be DQ’ed immediately. The minimum length limit for bass is 12 “ unless the state or lake limit is more than 12”, in which case, the state or lake limit prevails. Bass that fail to measure on the weigh master’s board will be penalized by not being able to weigh that fish and a 1 lb penalty ***weigh master’s bump board will be available for check at the morning safety check against the bump board on your vessel. If you are ticketed by state wildlife officer during tournament hours, it will result in immediate DQ.*** The winning team is determined by the day’s heaviest catch for the duration of the event.
15. TIES • In the event of a tie, big bass weight will break the tie. In the event neither team weighed a big bass, then a coin flip will break the tie.
16. ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO • During all days of competition, any alcohol and tobacco logos are prohibited and may not be worn or displayed. Contestants may not smoke or use tobacco products during tournament hours, including weigh-in at any event. Students caught in violation of these rules will be DQ’ed immediately.
17. TRUTH VERIFICATION TEST • Each contestant and coach agrees to submit, by signature on the tournament entry form, to a polygraph or voice stress analysis examination and to abide by its conclusion. Failure to pass an examination will result in DQ from the tournament. Truth verification tests will be used at the sole discretion of tournament officials, and the determination of the meaning of the results will be made solely by tournament officials.
18. INSURANCE • Liability insurance with coverage in reasonable amounts is required on all boats used in High School Fishing tournaments. Proof of insurance must be with the boat being used and must cover all passengers in the boat.
19. REVISIONS • These rules are subject to revisions up to the start of the tournament. If changed, they will be posted on social media and we will do our best to notify anglers – BUT it is your responsibility to check.