Rules

CHAMPIONS TOUR COMPETITION RULES & PENALTIES

When a penalty is accessed by the Boat Official, the Competitor is not allowed to fish or do anything related to fishing such as retie, change or fix a lure, reposition the boat or any graphing.  Angler is NOT allowed to go to the bathroom while serving a penalty.

The exception to this is if the boat is in danger of drifting into a solid structure such as a rock or dock, etc, in these cases the competitor may reposition the boat to the nearest open water.

PENALTY CARRY-OVER:

If an angler is assessed a penalty at the end of a period, the remaining penalty time will be served at the “start of fishing” during the next period.

LANDING FISH:

When landing a largemouth or smallmouth bass, the fish cannot touch any part of the boat at any time during the landing process such as carpet, windshield, motor, console, etc.

If the fish comes unhooked from the lure and falls to the deck or floor of the boat it will still be assessed as a violation, even if the bass is a non-keeper.

Anglers are allowed to measure fish on ruler.

Penalty – Fish Landing Violation: 2 Minutes & Competitor must stop fishing after the fish is released.

RELEASING FISH:

When releasing any fish that is Scorable, the angler’s hand must be at gunnel level or closer to the water. No flipping or tossing of fish back into the water is allowed.

Penalty – Fish Release Violation: 2 Minutes & Competitor must stop fishing after the fish is released.

LEAVING BOAT:

Competitor may not leave the boat for the purpose of fishing; all fishing and landing of fish must be done within the boat. The angler’s two feet may NOT leave the inside of the boat.

Penalty – Leaving Boat Violation: Any fish landed is not scorable and must be released & competitor must stop fishing after the fish is released & serve a 4 minute penalty.

LITTERING:

No littering of any materials in the lake is allowed including plastic baits and fishing line. If an angler directly puts any foreign matter from his or her boat in the water, it must be removed upon notification by Boat Officials. If a fish removes or breaks a lure that is NOT considered a penalty.

Penalty – Littering Violation: Angler must remove the litter from the water immediately, if he or she fails to do so, a 2 minute penalty will be given.

BREAKING OFF PENALTY:

Anglers must make a full attempt at getting their lure unhung from the private property. An angler can NOT break their line when their lure becomes snagged on any private property, such as a boat dock, boat lift, etc.

Penalty – Breaking off Violation: If a Competitor does break their line off on a piece of private property, they must stop fishing & serve a 4 minute penalty.

LATE POLICIES:

Competitors must return to the official lunch meeting location by 11:00 a.m.

Penalty – Late Violation (lunch): If a Competitor is late for the midday lunch break, the competitor will be released 5 minutes after the rest of the tournament field following the completion of lunch at 12:00 p.m.

Competitors must return to the official takeoff location within 15 minutes of fishing time being completed at the end of the second half of fishing. Fishing ends at the designated time given at the pre-tournament meeting by the Champions Tour Tournament Director.

Penalty – Late Violation: If a competitor is between 15 & 30 minutes late following the second half of fishing, a 5 lb penalty will be assessed. If a competitor is more than 30 minutes late, the competitor will have their full day’s catch disqualified.

SAFETY:

Safe boating practices are the responsibility of the Champions Tour Anglers.

It is the Champions Tour Angler’s responsibility to be aware of the weather and navigate safely in the given conditions.

All Competitors & Boat Officials are required to wear a Coast Guard approved life vest, securely fastened, at all times while the boat is being propelled by the main combustion engine.

Boats must have a kill switch attached to driver of boat when big motor is turned on.

Running lights must be on if necessary and functioning properly.

BOAT OFFICIALS:

Boat Officials are NOT allowed to help the angler in catching fish, driving boat, or giving information that would help the angler catch fish.

Boat Officials are NOT allowed on the front deck of a Competitor’s boat unless permission is granted by the Competitor.

Boat Officials WILL provide scoreboard updates to the angler, following each fish recorded in the ScoreTracker program and every five minutes.

SCORING OF FISH:

The minimum size bass will be 12 inches in length.

Immediately after a catch is made, the bass will be verified as a Legal Keeper by the Boat Official.

Boat Official MUST request that any bass looking to be less than 15” in length be put on the measuring board for length verification.

There is no limit to the number of Legal Keepers a Competitor can catch & record.

Only the Competitor will handle bass caught during competition.

Once a bass is caught, placed on the measuring board & determined as a scorable Legal Keeper, the bass will be attached to the official scale by the competitor.

Boat Official will “call the weight” & the competitor will immediately confirm or challenge the call. If the call is challenged by the Competitor, the Boat Official will zero the scale and re-weigh the fish a maximum of two (2) additional times until the Boat Official and Competitor agree, the Competitor must confirm the call.

Once the call is confirmed by the Competitor, the Boat Official will immediately record the weight in writing on the Boat Official’s “Daily Score Pad” & enter the weight into the Digital Scoring System.

After agreement is secured, the Competitor is permitted to physically release the fish into the water & resume fishing.

At NO time can Champions Tour Competitor put a bass in their livewell, unless they have received authorization from tournament director.

END-OF-PERIOD SCORING:

The Digital Scoring System will serve as the “Official Time Clock.”

At the end of a period, the Competitor will be clearly notified by the Boat Official when the period competition is coming to an end & when the Competitor must stop fishing.

Any bass hooked on the final cast must be “inside the boat,” visibly inside the gunnel before the time expires.

The legality or illegality of a period-end catch will be determined by the Boat Official.

TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT:

Use of nets/grippers for landing bass is prohibited.

Only artificial lures can be used.

All bass must be caught in a conventional sporting manner.

Any bass that is caught sight fishing must be hooked inside the mouth.

No rods longer than 8 ½ feet are allowed.

MECHANICAL FAULT:

It is the Competitor’s responsibility to have a working boat, motor and equipment. The Champions Tour will NOT refund any entries because of mechanical issues.

The Champions Tour and their staff are not responsible for providing a loaner boat or ensuring a Competitor has returned to the official check in point at the given time. It is the Competitors responsibility to compete at all possible times and make every effort to return to the official check in point at the given time under their own power or via another Champions competitor. Before any communication takes place with another Champions Tour competitor regarding transportation in another angler’s boat, approval must be received from the Champions Tournament director.

If a Competitor experiences mechanical failure or difficulties with their boat during a Champions Tour event, NO TIME OUT will be called.

TIES:

In case of a tie for a day’s total weight, the first tiebreaker is the total number of Legal Keeper’s caught.

The second tiebreaker is the largest fish caught.

SPORTSMANSHIP:

Contestants cannot use alcohol or drugs during the tournament.

At NO time can a competitor use cigarettes or cigars during the official tournament hours.

A Sportsmanship violation is defined as an aggressive behavior or hostile action directed at a fellow angler, Boat Official, non-competitor, or a representative of the Champions Tour.

Use of profanity directed at these individuals, will not be tolerated. Boat Officials are required to report violations.

Penalty will be determined by the Champions Tour tournament director & Competitor is subject to disqualification.

FLAGRANT VIOLATION:

A flagrant violation is any act that reflects unfavorably upon the positive efforts of Champions Tour, Champions Tour director, sponsors, spectators, fisheries conservation, & clean waters will not be tolerated.

Penalty will be determined by the Champions Tour tournament director & Competitor is subject to disqualification.

If a competitor receives an on the water violation from a Department of Natural Resources Officer, Sherriff, etc., their tournament weight prior to the issuance of the ticket will be erased and they will start over a zero fish/zero pounds when they begin fishing again.

EMERGENCIES:

Competitors shall remain with their Boat Officials in the boat at all times during the tournament, except in the event of health concern, severe storm, other weather, boating or navigational hazard.

Competitors may leave the boat to dislodge boat, but are required to return to the boat in prompt manner. A penalty will not be assessed in this situation.

COMMUNICATION:

-At NO time can a competitor inform or instruct a boat official to not answer a phone call or text message from the Champions Tour staff. If the Champions Tour staff calls or texts the phone of the Competitor or Boat Official, the Boat Official MUST pick up, reply or call back immediately following the boat ride or fish catch. If at any time the Competitor instructs the Boat Official to not answer or reply to a Champions Tour staff phone call or text message, the Boat Official MUST inform the Champions Tour Tournament director immediately. If it is determined that a Competitor has instructed a Boat Official to not communicate with Champions Tour Staff, or provide the Champions Tour Staff with in accurate location information, that Competitor will receive a 10 lb penalty and may be subject to not receiving future Champions Tour invitations.

Competitors shall be prohibited from using cell phones, pagers, text messaging or marine band radios to contact or communicate with other anglers on the water during tournament hours, other than for emergency reasons.

Any communication between anglers for the purpose of assisting another competitor returning to the “weigh in” due to a mechanical failure will first need to be approved by the tournament director.