FLW expects strict adherence to the following rules by all contestants. FLW also recommends the use nonpuncturing culling clips for marking fish and livewell additives like Rejuvenade to help promote the healthy release of bass. In the event of an emergency, please call 911 first and then notify the tournament director.
INTERPRETATION AND ENFORCEMENT: These rules will remain unchanged during 2014. 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 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.
PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY:
QUALIFYING EVENTS – Participation is open to students who are registered, full-time undergraduate students at a four-year college or university on the date of the tournament they are fishing or the preceding semester in the case of tournaments held during the summer session. Classes must be in session at the time of the tournament for new freshman to be considered full-time undergraduate students. Students enrolled in online-only universities are not eligible. Contestants must be members of FLW and members of a college fishing club. Anyone who has fished four or more FLW Tour events as a pro in any one season is not eligible to participate. Any person under the age of 18 (19 in Alabama and Nebraska) must also have the signature of a parent or legal guardian in the provided space on the entry form. Contestants must have in their possession a current student identification card from the college or university they are representing and 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 may result in disqualification from the tournament.
FLW has established five conferences in which collegiate teams will compete. Each conference has three qualifying events, and each event is limited to a maximum of 50 teams. Each team will consist of two contestants. If a contestant fishes multiple qualifying events with different teammates, only the first team that qualifies will advance to the Invitational. A contestant cannot qualify for the Invitational as a member of two different teams. Each team must compete in the conference in which their college or university is located (a conference map is located at CollegeFishing.com). Fishing clubs will establish their own methods to determine the number of teams and the entry priority for each team (order in which teams will be selected, No. 1 team, No. 2 team, etc.) that will apply to represent their school in each qualifying event. Entries will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. Central time December 16, 2013 for teams from school clubs represented in the 2013 FLW College Fishing National Championship. All other teams may enter beginning December 17, 2013. Entry priority will be assigned by date and time of entry. Entries may be made either by phone or on the Internet at CollegeFishing.com. Do not make entry by more than one method. The number of teams accepted from each club is determined by the total number of clubs entering each event. If 50 clubs enter, each club will be represented by one team. If fewer than 50 clubs enter, each club will be represented by at least one team, and any openings remaining will be distributed among clubs entering multiple teams. Entries received after the field has filled will be placed on a waiting list. Accepted teams will be confirmed and notified via e-mail at least 19 days prior to each tournament. If a team is unable to participate after being confirmed into a tournament, the team must notify the tournament director via e-mail at least 24 hours prior to takeoff or the club they represent may not be eligible to compete in future tournaments.
FLW COLLEGE FISHING INVITATIONALS – The top 15 teams from each of the three qualifying events in a conference (a total of 45 teams) advance to a two-day, FLW College Fishing Invitational. Contestants must be in good standing with the club and school they represented at the qualifying tournament. No substitute teammates are permitted. If one contestant on a team cannot participate, the remaining contestant can fish alone. If a team is unable to participate, the team must notify the tournament director via e-mail at least 24 hours prior to takeoff or the club they represent may not be eligible to compete in future tournaments. The full field competes on days 1. The top 15 teams based on heaviest weight from day 1 compete on day 2. The winning team is determined by the heaviest combined weight from days 1 and 2.
2015 FLW COLLEGE FISHING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – The top 10 teams from each of the five FLW College Fishing Invitationals (a total of 50 teams) compete in the three-day, 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship. Contestants must be in good standing with the club and school they represented at the qualifying tournament. No substitute teammates are permitted. If one contestant on a team cannot participate, the remaining contestant can fish alone. The full field competes on days 1 and 2. The top 10 teams based on heaviest combined weight from days 1 and 2 compete on day 3. The winning team is determined by the heaviest combined weight from days 1, 2 and 3.
FORREST WOOD CUP – The winning team in the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship qualifies for the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup. The contestant designated as BOATER at the qualifying tournament competes in the pro division and the contestant designated as CO-ANGLER at the qualifying tournament competes in the co-angler division. Contestants may not change their BOATER or CO-ANGLER status after qualifying for an Invitational.
If any team is unable to attend an Invitational, the FLW College Fishing National Championship or the Forrest Wood Cup, the next team in rank may be invited. The invitation is at the sole discretion of FLW.
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 within 12 days of any tournament. Violation of this rule may result in disqualification.
OFF-LIMITS, PRACTICE AND COMPETITION:
QUALIFYING EVENTS AND INVITATIONALS – There is no practice period or off-limits period prior to the day of the tournament. Contestants may not enter tournament waters to locate bass or potential fishing waters or sightsee after midnight on the day the tournament starts except during tournament hours. Testing equipment on tournament waters prior to takeoff is permitted only with prior approval from the tournament director. On competition days, contestants may not solicit and/or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except contestants confirmed in the tournament and through publicly available sources (quasi-public websites, blogs and/pr 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). On competition days, teams 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 top15-cut after the close of weigh-in on day 1 at Invitationals may not solicit or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except other top-15 contestants and through publicly available sources. Violation of this rule may result in disqualification.
2015 FLW COLLEGE FISHING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – Tournament waters go off-limits to all contestants nine days prior to the practice day. Tournament waters open for practice one day prior to the start of competition. During the off-limits period, practice and competition days, contestants may not solicit and/or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except contestants 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, teams 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-10 cut after the close of weigh-in on day 2 may not solicit or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except other top-10 contestants and through publicly available sources. Violation of this rule may result in disqualification.
ON-SITE REGISTRATION AND PRETOURNAMENT MEETING: QUALIFYING EVENTS – Both contestants comprising a team must register in person at the FLW College Fishing mobile headquarters located at the designated tournament launch site at least one hour prior to takeoff. A pretournament meeting will take place 30 minutes prior to takeoff. The takeoff time, designated tournament launch site and tournament boundaries will be provided in a confirmation e-mail at least 19 days prior to each tournament.
INVITATIONALS – Both contestants comprising a team must register in person at the designated site and attend the pretournament meeting. Registration hours are 5-6 p.m. local time the day before each tournament. Contestants registering between 6-6:15 p.m. will pay a $25 late fee that will be donated to the FLW Foundation. Contestants who fail to notify the tournament director and are more than 15 minutes late for registration may forfeit their entry in the tournament and their club’s entries in future tournaments. It is mandatory that all contestants 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 team if contacted prior to the pretournament meeting. 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 by the tournament director, at the pretournament meeting may forfeit their entry in the tournament. The designated registration and pretournament meeting site will be provided along with launch site details and tournament boundaries in a confirmation e-mail at least 19 days prior to each tournament.
Takeoff order (boat number) is determined by random draw. Every team must supply its own boat. Teams advancing to Invitationals and the 2015 FLW College Fishing National Championship will receive a travel allowance. No travel allowance is paid at qualifying events. All teams must use boats and camera equipment if provided by FLW on day 3 at the FLW College Fishing National Championship.
FORREST WOOD CUP – FLW will provide a Ranger boat and Chevy tow vehicle for use by the FLW College Fishing National Championship contestant fishing in the pro division at the Forrest Wood Cup.
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 takeoff 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 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. Violation of this rule may result in disqualification.
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 school the team is representing, 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 2014 FLW College Fishing season.
Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or any kind of mind-altering substance during registration, the pretournament meeting or during 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 8.
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 or to disqualify a contestant.
Teams will supply, and drive, their own boats.
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, etc.) or to communicate with lockmasters about locking, to communicate with the tournament director, or or to post social media updates. Contestants are expected to compete every day for which they are qualified; failure to do so may result in ineligibility of the team and/or club to compete in future FLW tournaments. If a special circumstance arises that inhibits a team or contestant’s ability to compete, the tournament director may allow the team or contestant to withdraw from competition and maintain the weight caught to that point.
BOAT AND HORSEPOWER REGULATION: All boats must be propeller-driven, a minimum of 16 feet in length and have a rear deck. All boats must be equipped with wheel steering; no other steering device will be permitted. No barges or similarly cumbersome crafts 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. 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 who provide their own boat agree to submit the 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 of the team and club they represent 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. No additional marine electronics, marine/automotive batteries or generators may be installed or used in FLW supplied boats.
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 FLW camera operator, if assigned, for verification.
PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS AND BOUNDARIES: Teams may fish anywhere on tournament waters within the boundaries defined on CollegeFishing.com 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 FLW, 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 off-limits date 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. Teams 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 team using the boat presents their catch for 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 contestants remaining in their boat and being towed by water, or (2) with permission from the tournament director, by one or both contestants entering the boat of another tournament contestant. Under these two conditions the team’s catch may be counted without a penalty (except for late penalties, dead-fish penalties or other penalties pertaining to other tournament rules) provided each team’s fish are adequately marked or separated so as to provide clear distinction of each catch to the tournament director. Teams that 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 team 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 teams to locate the tournament director to request a restart. Teammates must remain together at all times and within sight of each other until check-in. The momentary condition of being out of sight of each other for restroom breaks is permitted. Violation of this rule may result in disqualification.
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.
LATE PENALTY: Teams who 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.
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.
SCORING: Scoring is determined by the pounds and ounces of each team’s catch during each 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 bass per team unless the state or lake limit is less than five, in which case the state or lake limit will prevail. Teams possessing more than the tournament limit must notify the tournament director immediately upon discovery of the infraction and reduce their catch to the tournament limit by releasing live bass. Teams 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 team’s catch must be presented in an official weigh-in bag.
QUALIFYING EVENTS – Total number of fish for the tournament will break ties. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by total number of live fish for the tournament, then the earliest entry for the tournament and then by lottery.
FLW COLLEGE FISHING INVITATIONALS – The highest finish in a qualifying event will break ties on day 1. 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. If a tie remains, it will be resolved by day-1 standings.
2015 FLW COLLEGE FISHING NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP – The heaviest one-day catch for the tournament will break ties on day 2. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by highest finish in an Invitational, then by highest finish in a qualifying event, then by total number of fish for the tournament, then by total number of live fish for the tournament and then by lottery. Ties on day 3 will be resolved by day-2 standings.
LOGO DISPLAY AND TELEVISION COVERAGE: Anglers may wear their own jersey during qualifying events and Invitationals. FLW reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to prohibit any angler’s jersey that it finds to be offensive. During the FLW College Fishing National Championship, contestants must use boats, marine electronics, camera equipment and clothing if provided by FLW. No additional marine electronics, marine/automotive batteries or generators may be installed or used in FLW supplied boats. During the FLW College Fishing National Championship, no logos, patches or decals may be worn or displayed other than FLW sponsor logos or logos representing a team’s college or university. All decisions are in FLW's sole discretion.
ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO: During all days of competition any and all 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.
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.
INSURANCE: Liability insurance with coverage in reasonable amounts is required of all contestants in FLW College Fishing tournaments. Proof of insurance must be with the boat being used and must cover all passengers in the boat. Random checks will be conducted. Failure to provide proof of insurance when requested by the tournament director may result in disqualification.
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.