FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE
Walmart Bass Fishing LeagueRULES AND CONTINGENCY AWARDS
2015 BFL entry fees
2015 BFL Tournament Formats
- 96 total tournaments (four per division)
- $8,000 top boater award
- $3,000 top co-angler award
- Ranger Cup bonuses
- Saturday events
- Winner determined by heaviest one-day catch
- 20 percent of field earns a check
- Every angler receives AOY points
- Entry fees: $220 for boaters and $110 for co-anglers
Super Tournaments (Qualifier)
- 24 total tournaments (one per division)
- $11,000 top boater award
- $4,500 top co-angler award
- Ranger Cup bonuses
- Saturday-Sunday events
- Full field competes Saturday, and top 20 percent competes in Sunday's final round
- Winner determined by heaviest two-day catch
- 20 percent of field earns a check
- Every angler receives points
- Entry fees: $330 for boaters and $165 for co-anglers
- Six total tournaments
- NEW FOR 2015: Top 50 boaters and co-anglers from four divisions qualify for each Regional
- Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard and $20,000 for winning boater
- Ranger Z518C with 200-hp outboard for winning co-angler
- Top six boaters and co-anglers at each Regional advance to the BFL All-American
- Thursday-Saturday events
- Full field fishes Thursday and Friday, and top 12 Saturday
- Winner determined by heaviest three-day catch
- Pays $1,000 through 10th place for boaters and $500 through 10th place for co-anglers
- Top 24 boaters and 24 co-anglers earn checks
- No entry fee
Chevy Wild Card
- Anglers who enter all five events within a division and fish at least two but do not advance to a Regional championship qualify to fish the Wild Card
- Friday and Saturday tournament: full field fishes both days
- Winner determined by heaviest two-day catch
- Top six boaters and co-anglers advance to the BFL All-American
- No entry fee
BFL All-American championship
- $120,000 top boater award
- $60,000 top co-angler award
- Ranger Cup bonuses
- Winning boater advances to the Forrest Wood Cup
- Top six boaters and co-anglers from six Regional championships and the Wild Card qualify
- Thursday, Friday and Saturday tournament: full field Thursday and Friday and top 10 Saturday
- Winner determined by the heaviest three-day catch
- Every boater earns at least $1,500, and every co-angler earns at least $750
- No entry fee
2015 Walmart BFL Contingency Awards
Chevy Angler of the Year and Co-angler of the Year: Angler of the Year
$1,000 per division
Co-angler of the Year
$500 per division
Ranger Cup – Ranger awards $2,000 to the winning boater in each qualifying tournament and super tournament if he or she meets Ranger Cup guidelines. Ranger also awards $20,000 to the winning boater and $10,000 to the winning co-angler in the All-American if they meet Ranger Cup guidelines. Anglers must be registered with Ranger and meet all Ranger Cup clothing and decal requirements to receive a Ranger Cup bonus. The decision of Ranger Boats is final in all matters regarding Ranger Cup bonus eligibility. Visit the Ranger Cup page at RangerBoats.com or call 870.453.2222 for additional information.
Evinrude Bonus – Evinrude awards $300 to the two highest-placing boaters who are owners of a 2011 or newer 90-250 HP E-TEC outboard in each qualifying tournament, super tournament and regional championship.
• Anglers must provide proof of ownership when entering, no later than tournament registration. If angler does not acknowledge that he or she is a registered owner of a 2011 or newer 90-250 HP Evinurde E-TEC outboard engine at registration, contingency will not be honored.
• Anglers must be registered owner of a 2011 or newer 90-250 HP Evinrude E-TEC outboard engine. Registered owner is defined as engine registered in angler’s name.
• Anglers must use the eligible outboard during all days of competition. No exceptions.
• Evinrude has final say on approvals for all contingency payouts.
• Visit FLWOutdoors.com or Evinrude.com for additional information.
Mercury Bonus – Mercury awards $1,000 to the winning boater in each qualifying tournament and super tournament if he or she is the original registered owner/first purchaser of a 2012 or newer 115-250 HP Mercury outboard.
• Angler must be the original registered owner/first purchaser of a 2012 or newer Mercury outboard, 115 through 250 HP only. Mercury Racing and Mercruiser engines are excluded regardless of horsepower rating.
• Angler must have the outboard registered with Mercury prior to competing. The Mercury Warranty registration phone number is 920.929.5054.
• Angler must use the outboard all days of competition during the tournament.
• Mercury has final say on approvals for all contingency payouts and reserves the right to change or discontinue this program at any time without notice. It is the responsibility of anglers to make sure the engine is registered in their name with Mercury prior to competing. Non-registered engines will not be eligible. Note: For engines purchased from Mercury pro staff, please call the warranty line to confirm registration eligibility. Also, please check both the boat and engine registrations. The registration process may differ in regards to first-purchaser criteria.
MotorGuide Bonus – MotorGuide awards $500 to the winning boater in each qualifying tournament and super tournament if he or she is the original registered owner/first purchaser of a 2012 or newer MotorGuide trolling motor.
• Angler must be the original registered owner/first purchaser of a 2012 or newer MotorGuide trolling motor.
• Angler must have the trolling motor registered with MotorGuide prior to competing. The MotorGuide Warranty registration phone number is 920.929.5054.
• Angler must use the trolling motor all days of competition during the tournament.
• MotorGuide has final say on approvals for all contingency payouts and reserves the right to change or discontinue this program at any time without notice.
• Angler must also meet all Mercury contingency bonus guidelines to be eligible for the MotorGuide Bonus.
Typhoon Wear It to Win It – Typhoon awards $500 to the winning boater and $250 to the winning co-angler in each Walmart Bass Fishing League qualifier, super tournament, regional and the All-American if he or she meets Wear It to Win It contingency requirements. Additional awards are presented to qualified boaters and co-anglers who finish second or third in each tournament. Typhoon also awards a $50 photo and/or video bonus to qualified anglers who place in the top three at a tournament. Visit Typhoonoptics.com for details.
• 1st place = $500 boater and $250 co-angler
• 2nd place = $250 boater and $125 co-angler
• 3rd place = $100 boater and $50 co-angler
Requirements: All entrants must fulfill the stated requirements of the Typhoon Wear It To Win It (WITWI) contingency program in order to be eligible for WITWI prize payouts. Winner’s must follow the guidelines of the winner’s verification submissions. Any violation of these requirements may result in disqualification.
• BUY TYPHOON - Purchase Typhoon sunglasses at a retail store or online. Typhoon sunglasses may also be purchased during the WITWI registration process at Typhoon.com.
• REGISTER - All pros/boaters and co-anglers must register for Wear It to Win It prior to their tournament’s commencement (If you have previously registered for WITWI you are already registered for future tournaments and future seasons and do not need to register again). Be sure to register at least 10 days before your tournament so that you will receive your WITWI kit well in advance of your tournament.
• POST YOUR PHOTO - After receiving your WITWI kit, take a photo (or multiple photos) of yourself wearing: Your Typhoon sunglasses and tournament jersey with the official Typhoon logo or logo patch applied (or your own shirt with the official Typhoon logo patch applied). Log in to your Typhoon account and upload a minimum of one (1) photo following the requirements above (optional photos are appreciated but not required to meet qualification requirements). Your photo or photos will be posted on the Typhoon Wear It To Win It Facebook page and other Typhoon social media accounts. Optional photos:
• Wear your Typhoon sunglass and Typhoon cap
• Wear your Typhoon sunglass and Typhoon t-shirt
• Photos of your vehicle or boat with Typhoon logo stickers applied
• POST A REVIEW - Log on to Typhoon.com and post a review of your Typhoon sunglass. We'd love to know what you think.
• WEAR THE TYPHOON LOGO - All WITWI registered pros/boaters and co-anglers must wear a Typhoon logo in one or more of the following ways:
• Typhoon iron-on logo patch (stickers are not authorized) on your tournament jersey or shirt
• Typhoon cap (optional)
• Typhoon t-shirt (optional) CLICK HERE to download the Typhoon logo for your jersey. Three (3) Typhoon heat transfer logo patches are also included in your WITWI kit for you to iron on to your own shirt or tournament jersey.
• WEAR YOUR TYPHOON SUNGLASS - All WITWI competitors must wear their Typhoon sunglass each day of their tournament.
• COMPETE & WIN - To qualify as a WITWI winner, you must finish in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in your tournament.
• SUBMIT WINNER’S VERIFICATION TO CLAIM WITWI PAYOUT - To qualify as a WITWI winner, you must finish in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in your tournament. To verify your winning status, you must submit a photo of your award presentation with the following requirements:
• You MUST be pictured receiving the award from the tournament presenter on stage at the tournament.
• You must also be wearing either your tournament jersey with the Typhoon (iron-on or sewn-on) patch or factory printed logo, or an official Typhoon cap or an official Typhoon t-shirt. NOTE: A Typhoon sticker stuck on your shirt does not qualify.
• All competitors who submit a WITWI Payout Claim MUST meet these requirements. No exceptions.
• The decision of Typhoon is final in all matters regarding contingency eligibility. Visit Typhoonoptics.com for complete details.
Power-Pole Captains Cash Rewards Club – Power-Pole awards $100 to the winning boater in each Walmart Bass Fishing League qualifier, super tournament, regional and the All-American if he or she meets Captains Cash Rewards Club contingency requirements.
• Captains Cash Club is open to all tournament anglers fishing any 2014 Captains Cash sanctioned event. Be sure to check the current list of sanctioned tournaments.
• Membership is $24.95 for 2014. Membership valid from October 2013 through December 2014. Purchase a Club Membership
• Registration must be completed prior to any sanctioned tournament to be eligible for contingency payments.
• Eligible contingency payment participants are registered Power-Pole owners who are registered members of the Captains Cash Club.
• Sanctioned tournaments are posted at power-pole.com
• Registered Power-Pole owners placing in first place overall only in a sanctioned event are eligible for contingency payments.
• Only 1 possible payout per tournament. A maximum of one angler per tournament will be rewarded.
• Sanctioned tournaments must have a minimum of 20 boats registered to qualify for Captains Cash Rewards payments.
• Winners must be verified through the sanctioned tournament via website, newsletter or other official organization communication along with the tournament director’s signature on claim form.
• Completed Power-Pole Captains Cash claims forms must be submitted within 30 days of the tournament win and can be obtained here.
• JL Marine employees and members of JL Marine’s employees’ immediate families are excluded from participation.
• Approval of claims and payments is at sole discretion of JL Marine Systems, Inc.
• Payment claimants must have Power-Pole registered with JL Marine Systems.
• Power-Pole Captains Cash decals must be displayed on the participant’s boat or Power-Pole anchor.
• Power-Pole Captains Cash 4-inch logo must be displayed on the upper-left shoulder of the participant’s shirt. Captains Cash logo must be worn from takeoff through weigh-in during all days of sanctioned tournaments. Logo is available in three formats. Download logos
• JL Marine reserves the right to change, modify, enhance, or terminate the Captains Cash program at any time. Refer to power-pole.com for current rules. Rules posted at power-pole.com will supersede any previously printed rules.
• It is the participant’s responsibility to know the rules of the program. Captains Cash participants must meet all requirements and submit proof that they were met.
• Power-Pole Captains Cash Rewards recipients will be responsible for paying any and all local, state, federal or other taxes on contingency earnings.
Atlas Awards – T-H Marine Supplies Inc. awards as much as $1,000 cash to the winning boater in each Walmart Bass Fishing League qualifier, super tournament and regional championship plus as much as $1,250 to the winning boater at the All-American if he or she meets Atlas Awards contingency requirements. Co-anglers can win as much as $150 in each event.
• Pro/boater membership is $19.95 and co-angler membership is $12.99 for 2014 and runs Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014. Membership can be purchased at www.thmarine.com.
• Membership registration must be done prior to any sanctioned event.
• If you sign up the evening of the pretournament meeting, the tournament director or T-H Marine rep. must sign and date for it to be valid. Payment must be postmarked by the following Monday.
• Angler must be the owner of any or all of the following T-H marine products:
• Hot Foot
• G-Force Trolling Motor Handle
• Two Way Boat Alarm
• Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate, which must be on the boat used during sanctioned event
• Loc-R-Bar storage locking system
• Troll-Tamer trolling motor stabilizer lock
• Shock-Lock super duty electronics mount
• Event must have 40 boats minimum to be a sanctioned event.
• Winners must be verified through the tournament organization via website or official publication.
• All Atlas Awards claims must be submitted within 30 days of tournament win. Form can be found at www.thmarine.com.
• Atlas Awards custom decal must be visible on the boat (windshield, outside gunnel, etc.)
• Atlas Awards logo or patch must be worn during competition and weigh-in.
• Participants must meet all rules and requirements to be eligible for Atlas Awards.
• Please allow up to 4 weeks for processing and payout. • Atlas Awards winners will be responsible for paying all taxes on contingency earnings.
• All decisions on eligibility and payment made by T-H Marine on the Atlas Awards program will be final.
Highest Finisher Awards
• If an Atlas Awards member does not win the event, TH Marine will pay the highest finishing Atlas Awards member.
• To receive highest finisher award, Atlas Awards member must own Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate.
• If the tournament field contains 40-100 boats, TH Marine will pay the highest eligible finisher within the Top 5 in the tournament standings.
• If the tournament field contains 101 or more boats, TH will pay the highest eligible finisher within the top 15 in the tournament standings.
• If the highest finisher in the sanctioned event is Atlas Awards Grand Slam qualified, TH Marine will pay a Grand Slam Bonus to the highest qualified finisher.
• If the highest finisher is not Atlas Awards Grand Slam qualified, the highest finisher will receive the designated non-Grand Slam payout for the event.
• Two qualifying products: G-Juice and G-Force Cull System.
• Co-anglers winning any sanctioned event using both qualifying products receive the Grand Slam bonus. • Co-angler must provide photo evidence of victory and products used. All awards are subject to change.
2015 BFL Rules
FLW expects strict adherence to the following rules by all contestants. Additionally, FLW suggests that co-anglers share fuel expenses with their boater partner to help offset the high cost of boat operation. FLW also recommends the use of nonpuncturing culling clips for marking fish and livewell additives like Rejuvenade and G-Juice to help promote the healthy release of bass. In the event of an emergency, please call 911 first and then notify the tournament director. The tournament director should be notified as soon as possible prior to weigh-in if you use a mobile communication device under the conditions outlined in rule 10.
2015 BFL Rules:
1. INTERPRETATION & ENFORCEMENT • These rules will remain unchanged during 2015. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules will be left exclusively to the tournament director. Decisions of the tournament director are final in all matters and are not subject to appeal. Each contestant agrees to report any rule violation to the tournament director immediately upon discovery of the violation. Failure to report violations (boater or co-angler) may be cause for disqualification. The violation of a tournament rule may result in, but is not limited to, weight loss (late penalty, dead-fish penalty and short-fish penalty), the loss of weight up to a particular time in the tournament day, the loss of weight for the entire day, the loss of the heaviest one-day catch, the loss of the heaviest bass for the day, disqualification from the entire tournament or ineligibility to participate in future FLW tournaments. Protests are to be made in writing within 30 minutes of the check-in time of the final flight of each tournament day.
2. PAYBACK & PARTICIPATION • Payback is based on the number of paid entries for each tournament. Participation is open only to members of FLW who are 16 years of age or older. Any person under the age of 18 (19 in Alabama and Nebraska) entering a tournament must also have the signature of a parent or legal guardian in the provided space on the entry form. Any person’s participation in any tournament is at the sole discretion of FLW officials. Any person who, in the judgment of the tournament director, is disabled or handicapped in such a manner as to unfairly hinder his or her boater or co-angler partner or compromise his or her safety or the safety of his or her boater or co-angler partner may not be eligible to participate. All contestants must have a valid fishing license for the waters they fish. Random checks will be conducted at each tournament. Failure to provide proof of a valid fishing license within a reasonable amount of time when requested by the tournament director will result in disqualification for that day and any preceding days in which the license was required for the tournament.
BOATER & CO-ANGLER ENTRY: Entries will be accepted by division beginning at 8 a.m. Central time on the following dates: December 8, 2014 – Hoosier, Michigan, Music City and Volunteer. December 9, 2014 – Bulldog, Cowboy, Great Lakes, Illini and Mississippi. December 10, 2014 – Bama, Buckeye, Choo Choo, Gator and Mountain. December 11, 2014 – Arkie, LBL, North Carolina, Northeast and Okie. December 12, 2014 – Ozark, Piedmont, Savannah River, Shenandoah and South Carolina. Boaters entering by the priority deadline for each tournament and providing co-anglers (with membership numbers) will be given top priority and, if accepted into the tournament, will receive a guaranteed co-angler draw. Co-anglers entering by the priority deadline for each tournament and providing boaters (with membership numbers) will be given top priority. Boater and co-angler priority and boater draw guarantees are granted when matching boater and co-angler entries (listing each other’s name and membership number) are received by the priority deadline and are contingent on both anglers competing in the tournament entered. TBF members entering by the priority deadline for each tournament will be given priority. All other entry priority will be assigned by the date and time of entry. Entries may be made either by mail, phone or on the Internet at FLWFishing.com. Do not make entry by more than one method. Each tournament will be limited to 200 boaters and 200 co-anglers. Late entries will be accepted through registration the day before a tournament when a field is not yet full and are subject to a $25 service charge. Entries received after a tournament has filled will be placed on a waiting list. Those placed on the waiting list and not accepted into the tournament will receive a full refund after the tournament and will maintain Wild Card eligibility. CONFIRMED ENTRIES ARE CONTINGENT UPON COMPLETE ENTRY FEE BEING PAID BY THE ENTRY DEADLINE DATE. Entry fees may be transferred or refunded if FLW is notified by 5 p.m. Central time the Tuesday prior to a tournament. Entry fees will not be transferred or refunded after TUESDAY. Each refunded entry fee is subject to a $10 service charge.
WILD CARD ELIGIBILITY: Contestants who pay an entry fee prior to the tournament for all five tournaments in a division, fish at least two tournaments in the same division and do not qualify for regional competition in any division are eligible to compete in the Wild Card. To maintain Wild Card eligibility, entry fees may not be transferred or refunded (except for waiting list anglers not accepted into a tournament). Boater and co-angler pairing priority will be based on date and time of entry.
PAYMENT SCHEDULE: Boater entry fees are $220 per one-day tournament and $330 per two-day super tournament. Co-angler entry fees are $110 per one-day tournament and $165 per two-day super tournament. Entry fees are due upon entry.
3. POINT STANDINGS • 250 points are awarded to the winner of each tournament, 249 to 2nd, 248 to 3rd, etc., and 375 points are awarded to the winner of each super tournament, 374 to 2nd, 373 to 3rd, etc. Every angler participating in a tournament receives a minimum of 20 points, and every angler participating in a super tournament receives a minimum of 30 points. Anglers must earn weight credit to receive points (above the minimum) for their finish. The top 50 boaters and co-anglers from the final point standings in each division (ties resolved by total weight, then total number of fish, then total number of live fish) qualify for a 2015 regional championship and receive priority entry into the 2016 Rayovac FLW Series. If a top-50 angler is unable to attend a regional championship, the next person in the point standings may be invited. The top six boaters and co-anglers at each regional championship qualify for the 2016 All-American. The winning boater at the 2016 All-American qualifies for the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup.
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 is not permitted after the entry deadline for each qualifying tournament and super tournament or the start of the off-limits for each regional championship and the All-American: September 28, 2015 for the Lake Sinclair regional, September 28, 2015 for the Potomac River regional, October 5, 2015 for the Kentucky Lake regional, October 5, 2015 for the Lake Wateree regional, October 12, 2015 for the Neely Henry Lake regional, October 12, 2015 for the Lake of the Ozarks regional and June 8, 2015 for the 2015 All-American on Kentucky Lake. The sharing of tournament winnings with noncontestants in exchange for information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters is strictly prohibited and will be cause for disqualification from the entire tournament. The purchasing of, or bartering for, fishing locations from another contestant is strictly prohibited and will be cause for both contestants to be disqualified from the entire tournament.
5. OFF-LIMITS, PRACTICE AND COMPETITION • There is no practice period or off-limits period prior to the pretournament meeting for each qualifying tournament and super tournament. Contestants may not enter tournament waters to locate bass or potential fishing waters or sightsee after the start of the pretournament meeting except during tournament hours. Testing equipment on tournament waters after the start of the pretournament meeting is permitted only with prior approval from the tournament director. Once competition is under way, contestants may not solicit and/or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except boaters and co-anglers confirmed in the tournament and through publicly available sources (quasi-public websites, blogs and/or social media pages set up for the specific purpose of sharing information with individuals or a small group of individuals are not publicly available sources). During competition days, boaters may not follow a noncontestant’s boat or participate in the placing of markers by noncontestants or the practice of “hole sitting” by anyone. Anglers eliminated after each round of competition are considered noncontestants. Contestants in the top 20 percent cut after the close of weigh-in on day 1 in super tournaments may not solicit or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except other top 20 percent contestants and through publicly available sources. In multiday tournaments, co-anglers who share a boater partner’s fishing locations with another contestant will be disqualified along with the contestant requesting and/or using the information. Off-limits dates for each regional championship and the All-American are:
- September 28-October 2, 2015 for the Lake Sinclair regional
- September 28-October 2, 2015 for the Potomac River regional
- October 5-9, 2015 for the Kentucky Lake regional
- October 5-9, 2015 for the Lake Wateree regional
- October 12-16, 2015 for the Neely Henry Lake regional
- October 12-16, 2015 for the Lake of the Ozarks regional
- June 8-16, 2015 for the 2015 All-American on Kentucky Lake
During the regional off-limits period, no contestant may be on tournament waters unless prior approval is received from the tournament director to compete in an FLW tournament on the waters, and no person may be on tournament waters to locate fish or gain fishing information on a contestant’s behalf. After the regional off-limits period, contestants may practice alone, with an immediate family member (mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, grandparent, grandchild or spouse) or with another contestant in the regional. At no time during regional practice or on tournament days shall a contestant consult with a noncontestant on or off tournament waters. Flights over tournament waters, including drones, are not permitted beginning with the start of the regional off-limits period, extending through practice and competition days.
6. REGISTRATION AND PRETOURNAMENT MEETING • Each contestant must register in person at the designated site, send a person who is 16 years of age or older to represent them at the site, register online at FLWFishing.com between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time the day before the tournament or call FLW between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central time the day before the tournament. Noncontestants can represent one person; contestants can represent themselves and one other person; and the tournament director can represent more than one person. Every contestant or a representative must attend the pretournament meeting to record flights, takeoff time, check-in time, off-limits areas, size and creel limits, and any other relevant tournament rule information. Every contestant or a representative must also attend the boater/co-angler draw immediately following the pretournament meeting to receive the contestant’s boat number, meet the contestant’s boater or co-angler, and record the boater or co-angler’s lodging information, phone number and exact location for the contestant and boater or co-angler to meet prior to takeoff. Registration hours are 4-6 p.m. local time the day before each tournament. Contestants or their representatives registering between 6-6:15 p.m. will pay a $25 late fee that will be donated to the FLW Foundation. Contestants or their representatives who fail to notify the tournament director and are more than 15 minutes late for registration may forfeit their entry fee and not be entered in the tournament. It is mandatory that all contestants or their representatives attend the pretournament meeting that will be held at 6:30 p.m. local time the day before each tournament. The tournament director can represent more than one person. Being late for the pretournament meeting will result in a $25 late fee that will be donated to the FLW Foundation. Contestants not present or represented for pairings may forfeit their entry fee and not be entered in the tournament.
7. PAIRINGS • Boaters and co-anglers will be paired by random draw and will receive a text message with their boat number, flight time and boater or co-angler’s name and phone number. All contestants must contact their assigned boater or co-angler following the pretournament meeting. Partners should advise each other of their respective lodging and phone numbers and establish a meeting time and place for the following morning’s takeoff. The tournament director, at his sole discretion, may reassign partners prior to takeoff. If more boaters than co-anglers are entered in a tournament, excess boaters will be paired together. If the number of co-anglers exceeds the number of boaters, excess co-anglers may choose to change to boater status or have their entry transferred or refunded with no service charge. The selection of co-anglers in this situation will be determined by date and time of entry.
8. SAFETY • Safe boating must be observed at all times. Each contestant is required to wear a fastened U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device 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. A driver must be seated behind the steering wheel and in full control of the boat whenever it is on plane or the combustion engine is in operation and in gear. At the discretion of the tournament director, tournament days may be shortened, postponed or canceled due to unsafe weather or water conditions. Competitors may leave their boat and seek shelter in bad weather or when danger is eminent. They must, however, stay within sight of each other.
9. SPORTSMANSHIP • All contestants 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, FLW’s sponsors, the sport of fishing and FLW’s efforts to promote the sport. Conduct not complying with these standards includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Violation of, or failure to comply with, any of the rules for the 2015 Bass Fishing League.
• Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or any kind of mind-altering substance during registration or tournament hours extending through the weigh-in procedure.
• Abuse of, or addiction to, mind-altering substances.
• Conviction of a felony within the past 36 months.
• Suspension/disqualification, 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, or which fail to comply with the standards set forth in the first sentence of paragraph 9.
In case of any conduct not complying with the standards outlined above, FLW shall have the right to refuse an application to compete, to deny a confirmed application to compete by returning the entry fee, to disqualify a contestant or impose any penalty outlined in paragraph 1.
10. BOAT OPERATION • Boaters will fish from the front deck of the boat only. Co-anglers will fish from the back deck or seating area of the boat only. Boaters will have complete control of boat operation and waters to be fished. For safety concerns in rough water or swift current, in the event of an outboard or trolling motor breakdown or during an emergency, co-anglers may operate the trolling motor or the outboard but may not fish anytime from the front deck. Boaters may not request that the co-angler not fish. Any boater that, in the judgment of the tournament director, operates the boat in such a manner that unfairly handicaps his/her co-angler and any co-angler who unfairly handicaps his/her boater may be disqualified for that day. Boaters paired with boaters will receive equal time in the front of the boat to operate the trolling motor and equal time, including travel, to fish their selected waters. The use of mobile communication devices, including but not limited to, cell phones, marine radios, walkie-talkies, CBs, etc., during tournament hours is strictly prohibited except in an emergency, severe weather, breakdowns or to communicate with lockmasters about locking, to communicate with the tournament director or to communicate with FLW editors or producers. Co-anglers are not allowed to record GPS waypoints or use any type of handheld GPS during any competition day. Contestants are expected to compete every day for which they are qualified; failure to do so may result in ineligibility to compete in future FLW tournaments. If a special circumstance arises that inhibits a contestant’s ability to compete, the tournament director may allow the contestant to withdraw from competition and maintain the weight caught to that point. Depending on the need to maintain an equal number of boaters and co-anglers (i.e. day 2 at super tournaments and day 3 at regionals and the All-American), the next highest contestant in the tournament standings may be invited to continue competition.
11. BOAT AND HORSEPOWER REGULATION • All boats must be propeller-driven, a minimum of 16 feet in length and have a rear deck (with a seat if requested). All boats must be equipped with wheel steering; no other steering device will be permitted. No barges or similarly cumbersome craft will be permitted. Each boat must have all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment. Boats must contain a properly aerated livewell space to maintain alive a limit catch of bass by both contestants. Maximum horsepower for all outboards used in tournament competition will be 250 horsepower, not to exceed the horsepower capacity set forth on the “Maximum Capacities” placard described below. Each boat must have a clearly legible “Maximum Capacities” (or comparably titled) placard that includes a maximum horsepower rating affixed to the boat by the manufacturer. The horsepower of the outboard engine must not exceed the maximum horsepower capacity specified on this placard or the 250-horsepower maximum set by FLW. By signing the entry form, contestants agree to submit their boat and/or motor to an inspection by FLW personnel. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower numbers on the motor or rating placard will be cause for disqualification from the tournament and may result in ineligibility to compete in future FLW tournaments. Fishing platforms must be factory-installed equipment. No portable platforms may be used in tournament competition. Fuel may be carried only in factory-installed (built-in) fuel tanks. Any additional fuel used during the tournament day must be purchased from a retail facility open to the public and pumped through a hose with a nozzle. The use of generators, other than solar or wind-powered generators, is prohibited in contestant boats during tournament hours on all competition days.
12. PERMITTED FISHING METHODS • Fishing is defined as having a lure attached to a line and a rod and reel with the rod in hand. All bass must be caught alive in a conventional sporting manner. All lures must adhere to state regulations. Only artificial lures may be used, with the exception of pork trailers and biodegradable soft baits. Alabama rigs and similar umbrella-type rigs are limited to a maximum of five wires with a maximum of five spinners, five lures and three hooks (single or treble) unless state regulations are more restrictive, in which case state regulations prevail. Only ONE fishing rod may be used at a time. Trolling as a method of fishing is strictly prohibited. Trolling is defined as operating the combustion engine to extend a cast or lengthen a retrieve. All bass caught while sight-fishing must be hooked inside the mouth and immediately shown to your boater or co-angler for verification.
13. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS • Contestants may fish anywhere on tournament waters available to the public and accessible by boat except areas posted or otherwise 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 FLW, commercial property owners and/or local, state or federal officials, or within 50 yards of a contestant’s boat that was first anchored. An anchored boat is a boat held in a stable position by a line attached to a weight or by a Power-Pole, Talon or similar shallow water anchor with the trolling motor in the up position. All fishing 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. The cutting of trees, bushes and/or logs after the start of the pretournament meeting and/or the removal of official local, state or federal barricades at any time to make an area more accessible by boat is strictly prohibited and may result in disqualification from the tournament. The use of cables, ropes, chains or any type of block and tackle system to maneuver a boat into fishing waters is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification from the tournament. Contestants must leave and return to the check-in by boat. The boat must remain in the tournament waters during the tournament day. No tournament boat may be loaded on a trailer before the weigh-in except with the permission of the tournament director. In the event of equipment failure or emergency the tournament director must be notified as soon as it is safe to do so. There are then two permitted methods of returning to the check-in: (1) by both paired anglers remaining in their boat and being towed by water, or (2) with permission from the tournament director, by one or both paired anglers entering the boat of another tournament contestant. Under these two conditions both contestants’ catches may be counted without a penalty (except for late penalties, dead-fish penalties or other penalties pertaining to other tournament rules) provided that the co-angler’s fish are adequately marked so as to provide clear distinction of the boater’s catch and the co-angler’s catch to the tournament director. Contestants who elect to return to the check-in by any other means than cited above will forfeit their day’s catch to that point in time of the tournament day. Abandoning a boat and leaving it adrift without proper tie-off or anchoring after a mechanical failure may result in disqualification of that day’s weight. Any contestant returning to the check-in point will be eligible to restart and resume competition under the supervision of the tournament director or his designated tournament official. It is the sole responsibility of contestants to locate the tournament director to request a restart. Partners must remain together at all times and within sight of each other until the weigh-in verification is signed. The momentary condition of being out of sight of each other for restroom breaks is permitted.
14. CHECKPOINTS • There will be only one checkpoint for boat check in the morning and one check-in point in the afternoon. Failure to go through boat check and checkout in the morning or failure to check in at the check-in point will result in disqualification. All fishing must cease upon check-in.
15. LATE PENALTY • Contestants who are not at the check-in area at the appointed time will be penalized 1 pound per minute, deducted from the total weight, including any weight to be counted toward the Big Bass Award. Any contestant more than 15 minutes late will lose credit for that day’s weight.
16. LIVE FISH • Every effort must be made to keep bass alive through the use of a properly aerated livewell. Four ounces will be deducted from the total weight for each dead bass presented for weigh-in.
17. SCORING • Scoring is determined by the pounds and ounces of each contestant’s catch during each qualifying tournament. Only largemouth, spotted, redeye or smallmouth bass are accepted species. No regurgitated forage or other foreign matter may be placed in a bass. The daily limit will be five unless the state or lake limit is less than five, in which case the state or lake limit will prevail. Boaters and/or co-anglers possessing more than the tournament limit must notify the tournament director immediately upon discovery of the infraction and reduce his/her catch to the tournament limit by releasing live bass. Anglers possessing more than the tournament limit will be penalized 2 pounds for each bass over the limit. The minimum length limit for bass will be 12 inches unless the state or lake limit is more than 12 inches, in which case, the state or lake limit will prevail. Bass presented for weigh-in that fail to measure the prescribed length limit will be penalized at the rate of 1 pound for each short bass presented. Each contestant’s catch must be presented in an official weigh-in bag and verified by the signature of their boater or co-angler. Failure to have a verified boater or co-angler signature may result in disqualification of that day’s catch. On day 2 in super tournaments, the top 20 percent of boaters and co-anglers based on weight from day 1 compete, and the winners are determined by the heaviest combined weight from days 1 and 2. On day 3 of regional championships, the top 12 boaters and co-anglers based on the combined weight from days 1 and 2 compete, and the winners are determined by the heaviest combined weight from days 1, 2 and 3. On day 3 of the All-American, the top 10 boaters and co-anglers based on the combined weight from days 1 and 2 compete, and the winners are determined by the heaviest combined weight from days 1, 2 and 3.
18. TIES • Ties in one-day tournaments will be resolved by combining and dividing the awards equally among the tied contestants (trophy recipient determined by lottery). Point standings will break ties on day 1 of two-day super tournaments. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by total number of fish for the tournament, then by total number of live fish for the tournament and then by lottery. The heaviest one-day catch for the tournament will break ties on day 2 of super tournaments. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by point standings, then by total number of fish for the tournament, then by total number of live fish for the tournament, then by day 1 standings. The heaviest one-day catch for the tournament will break ties on day 2 and 3 of regional championships. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by total points earned in the division from which each contestant qualified, then by total number of fish for the tournament, then by total number of live fish for the tournament, then by highest finish in the super tournament and then by lottery. The heaviest one-day catch for the tournament will break ties on day 2 and 3 at the All-American. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by regional finish, then by total points earned in the division from which each contestant qualified, then by total number of fish for the tournament, then by total number of live fish for the tournament and then by lottery.
19. LOGO DISPLAY AND MEDIA COVERAGE • Smoking is not allowed in the weigh-in line during all days of competition. Logo restrictions apply for the televised All-American and will be provided to qualifying anglers.
20. TRUTH VERIFICATION TEST • Each contestant 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 disqualification from the tournament. Truth verification tests will be used at FLW’s sole discretion, and the determination of the meaning of the results will be made solely by FLW.
21. INSURANCE • Liability insurance with coverage in reasonable amounts is required of all boater contestants in BFL tournaments.
22. CAPTIONS • The captions at the beginning of each paragraph are intended to facilitate convenience in referring to the various rules. The captions are not part of the substance of the paragraph and should not be used in construction of any paragraph or of this overall set of rules.