American Bass Anglers, Inc
American Fishing Tour 2013 Season Rules
Main Change for 2013 > THE TOP 250 will be invited to the nationals as
RULE CHANGES: The following rules shall apply to
American Bass Anglers, Inc. American Fishing Tour
tournaments, with the following exceptions: (i) rules for special
tournaments may differ from those contained herein and (ii)
these rules may be changed by American Bass Anglers at any
time upon notice by American Bass Anglers to its members,
which notice may be published on the American Bass Anglers
internet site at www.americanbassanglers.com.
1. Interpretation of these rules shall be left exclusively to the
tournament director. In the event of a rule violation, the
tournament director and/or American Bass Anglers, Inc.
Headquarters may impose such sanctions, as deemed
appropriate, including but not limited to, disqualification,
forfeiture of prizes, forfeiture of entry fee and prohibition from
participation in subsequent tournaments. The decision of the
tournament director/ABA Headquarters shall be final in all
matters. Protests for any rule infraction must be made in writing
within 15 minutes of the official announcement, “the scales are
a. Each contestant agrees to report any tournament rule
infraction to the tournament director.
b. Failure to report to the tournament director any tournament
rules infractions or false reporting of tournament rules
infractions will be cause for being disqualified.
c. Rules infractions will result in penalties that may include
(1) Loss of weight for the day of the rules infraction.
(2) Disqualification from the event.
(3) Disqualification from future American Bass Anglers,
Inc., events for a period of time up to a lifetime
2. COMPETITOR'S CONDUCT CODE:
a. Members that participate in American Bass Anglers, Inc.,
events will at all times observe the Competitor's Conduct Code
and all applicable tournament/conduct rules for the tournament
event in which they are participating as stated here. All
Contestants shall conduct themselves professionally at all times.
Their actions may not reflect unfavorably on the sport of bass
fishing, American Bass Anglers, Inc., its members or affiliates,
officers or representatives, tournaments or sponsors.
b. All competitors will in their best efforts provide a high degree
of professionalism, integrity and conservation in the sport of
professional angling. Any Competitor who violates any of the
Competitor's Conduct Code may be penalized which may
include: fines, disqualification from events, forfeiture of
winnings, and suspension or non-acceptance of entries from
ABA events to include permanent suspension. American Bass
Anglers, Inc. may use these actions singularly or in combination
as deemed appropriate.
3. PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY:
a. Participation is open to current members of American Bass
Anglers, Inc., who are 14 years of age or older. Proof of age to
the satisfaction of tournament officials is the responsibility of the
b. Competitors must have a valid fishing license for the body of
water the event is being held on.
c. DURING THE OFFICIAL PRACTICE AND
COMPETITION DAYS OF AN American Bass Anglers, Inc.,
TOURNAMENT, NO COMPETITOR MAY OPERATE A
BOAT UNLESS THAT CONTESTANT HAS DOCUMENTED
PROOF OF A MINIMUM OF $100,000 BOATING
LIABILITY INSURANCE ON THAT PARTICULAR BOAT.
PROOF OF INSURANCE MUST BE WITH THE BOAT
BEING USED AND MUST COVER THE COMPETITOR
USING THAT BOAT. RANDOM CHECKS WILL BE
CONDUCTED. EACH POLICY MUST SHOW A MINIMUM
OF $100,000 LIABILITY AND VALID EXPIRATION DATE.
d. Anglers must sign the Release of Liability form at the event
and if not pre-registered with headquarters must present their
entry fee to the tournament director prior to the tournament.
Tournament officials reserve the right to refund any membership
and/or entry fee, if they shall choose for any reason not to accept
the application for entrance.
e. Any person entering a tournament that is under 18 years
of age must have the signature of his/her parent or legal
guardian on the entry form.
By signing the official entry form contestants agree to submit to
a polygraph/voice test examination should he/she be accused of
any rule violation. ABA may also conduct random
polygraph/voice test examination throughout the year. Any
person convicted of violating tournament rules or failing to
successfully pass a polygraph/voice test in this or any other
tournament will not be allowed membership or entry into any
American Bass Anglers, Inc., events. The administration and
interpretation of the polygraph/voice test shall be solely the
responsibility of the American Bass Anglers, Inc., its tournament
Directors or agents, and shall be used (or not used) at their
discretion. Without limiting the foregoing, the American Bass
Anglers, Inc. shall have sole discretion to select the place at
which such polygraph/voice test shall be administered, the
individual who administers such polygraph/voice test, and the
scope of the questions, which may be asked during such test.
Failure to take and pass the polygraph/voice test examination, if
required, will result in immediate disqualification without
Individuals who have fished two or more tournaments as a
designated Professional in a Pro/Am event requiring an
individual entry fee of $675 or more in the preceding six months
American Bass Anglers, Inc
American Fishing Tour 2013 Season Rules
Page | 2
are not eligible to fish. This rule does not apply to Amateur
Individuals who are serving as a licensed guide or are paid for
guiding on tournament waters within the previous 30 day period
are not eligible to compete in American Bass Anglers, Inc.,
events on that lake(s).
7. PRE-TOURNAMENT PRACTICE/OFF-LIMITS:
There will be no official practice period (Except for National
Championship or special events) prior to the pre-tournament
meeting. No contestant may enter the tournament water for the
purpose of catching or locating possible fishing locations after
day one weigh-in in multiple day tournaments. Off-limits areas
not covered in Rule 17, will be designated and explained at pretournament
meeting by the tournament director.
It is recommended that contestants pre-register through National
headquarters. Contestant desiring to register at the ramp must do
so in person during the official registration period. Registration
period is defined as 1 and ½ hours preceding 5am local time
during daylight savings time and 6am local time during standard
time or the time established by the local tournament director.
Once the Safety and Rules briefing begins no tournament entries
can be accepted. Failure to attend the pre-tournament meeting of
any American Bass Anglers, Inc., tournament will result in
forfeiture of entry fee and disqualification from the tournament
9. ENTRY FEE:
Entry fee for Divisional Qualifying events will be $70.00 which
includes big bass. Entry Fee for Divisional Championships will
be $140.00, which includes big bass. The entry fee for the
National Championship is $150.00 and does not include big
bass. Observers at National Championship will have an option
pot of $100.00.
10. LATE FEE:
All mail in entries must be postmarked or called-in to
headquarters with a charge card 10 days prior to the scheduled
tournament. Divisional Qualifying Events and Divisional
Championship entries not meeting this deadline will be subject
to a $5.00 late fee (see Rule 24 for National Championship Late
Fee). All pre-registrations must be sent to the Athens office only,
except where noted on schedule. New or renewing members
signing up at the tournament, active duty military members, life
members, visiting directors, assistant director for that division,
and 2010 frequent fishermen anglers are not subject to the late
fee for Divisional Qualifying Events and Divisional
Championship tournaments ONLY.
a. Contestants understand that participating in fishing
tournaments in an open boat is inherently dangerous. Safe
boating conduct will be observed at all times.
b. During the official practice and competition, each competitor
is required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved chest-type life
preserver (PFD). This preserver must be worn any time the
combustion engine is in gear. This preserver must be strapped,
snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition
until the combustion engine is no longer in gear.
c. The boat operator must have a safety-stop switch attached to
his/her person when the combustion engine is in gear. During
practice and tournament hours extreme caution must be
exercised by boat operator during bad weather.
d. In addition, extreme caution must be exercised and boat
operator must be aware that there could be large cruisers and/or
barges operating on tournament waters that displace extremely
large volumes of water, which create unusually large wakes and
e. Weather and water turbulence can be extremely hazardous and
extreme caution should be exercised at all times. Violation of
either the PFD or safety-stop switch portion of this rule will
result in disqualification.
a. All contestants are expected to follow high standards of
sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation.
b. All contestants must adhere to all State, Federal and local laws
governing water activities. Any infraction of these fundamental
sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification.
c. No alcoholic beverages or other stimulants or depressants,
shall be allowed in the boats during the official practice or
competition days, or when in the weigh-in area.
Any alteration of fish or paperwork will constitute a violation of
rules and members may be disqualified and/or suspended from
fishing future event.
d. Each contestant must keep the waters clean and bring trash
back to the dock for disposal.
e. Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony
not specifically exempted by ABA or other crimes involving
immoral turpitude, or other conduct reflecting unfavorable upon
efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition, and
compliance with tournament rules shall be grounds for rejecting
applications for membership, participation and for
f. Any disqualification or suspension from, or other disciplinary
action regarding any tournament or fishing organization, shall be
grounds for rejecting any application for membership,
participation and for disqualification.
13. TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT:
Only artificial lures may be used. No "live bait" or "prepared
bait" will be permitted during official practice and competition,
with the exception of pork strips, rinds, etc. Only one rod and
reel combination may be used at one time. No fly rods or rods
over 8 feet are allowed. Trolling as a method of fishing is
prohibited. All bass must be caught live and in a conventional
sporting manner. All angling must be done from the boat and
anglers must stay on tournament waters during tournament
hours. Anglers are not permitted to leave the boat to land a fish
or leave the boat to gain access to secluded waters. Competitors
must leave and return to official checkpoint by boat. Both
American Bass Anglers, Inc
American Fishing Tour 2013 Season Rules
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competitors must remain in boat at all times except in case of
dire emergency. In such an emergency, competitors may be
removed from their boat to: 1) a boat operated by another
competitor, 2) a rescue boat designated by the tournament
director. MECHANICAL BREAKDOWN; In the event of a
mechanical break down one or both anglers may board another
competitors boat only and ride to the weigh-in with their catch
(if one angler brings both catches to weigh-in, fish must be
clearly marked). In the event boater is alone he may have
another competitor only bring his catch to weigh-in. Mechanical
Breakdown does not extend tournament time.
14. HORSEPOWER REGULATION:
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. It is required that all boats have a U.S. Coast
Guard or Manufacturer's horsepower-rating plate attached to the
boat by the manufacturer. The horsepower of the outboard
engine must not exceed the rating specified on this plate nor the
horsepower maximum set by American Bass Anglers, Inc. Each
competitor agrees to submit, by their signature on the official
entry form, the boat and outboard motor used in the tournament,
to an inspection by factory-trained personnel, if there is any
reason to suspect the horsepower is in excess of the rating.
Changing or altering standard factory parts of your engine to
increase the horsepower over the factory horsepower rating is
forbidden, and will result in disqualification. Falsifying
information on entry forms or altering the horsepower-rating
numbers on the engine also would be cause for immediate
disqualification from American Bass Anglers, Inc., tournaments.
15. BOAT AND MOTOR:
ALL BOATS MUST BE EQUIPPED WITH SOME TYPE OF
IGNITION STOP SWITCH. This ignition-kill device must be
attached to the driver's body any time the combustion engine is
in gear. Also any time the combustion engine is operating and in
gear, there must by a driver in the driver's seat in full control of
the boat. Fishing boats that are 16 feet or more in length may be
used. No barges, cumbersome craft or boats without steering
wheel will be permitted. Contestants may not use boats equipped
with "stick steering" during official practice or during
tournament hours. Each boat must also have a properly aerated
or re-circulating live-well to maintain a live limit catch of bass
by both contestants. Boaters are required to provide a back
fishing seat for co-anglers.
16. BOAT OPERATION:
Any competitor answering yes to the question: "Will you enter
as a boater?" will be expected to make that boat available for the
tournament. Partners must discuss sharing time for his/her
selected waters prior to ooze-off. Each partner is entitled to an
equal number of hours to fish his/her selected waters during
divisional and national qualifying events. Any contestant who, in
the judgment of the tournament director, operates the boat in
such a manner as to unfairly handicap their partner shall be
disqualified. It is the responsibility of the co-angler to reimburse
the boater in an amount mutually agreed. It is suggested that
reimbursement be ½ of fuel cost to defray daily expenses.
(Based on current fuel prices and running time, cost could be
from $30.00 to $50.00). Co-anglers not paying their share as
prescribed here and at the time of the event shall be cause for
being disqualified. This penalty is not limited to the same event
but may also result in entries not being accepted into future
American Bass Anglers, Inc., events.
17. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS:
Tournament Director for each tournament shall establish
Tournament waters at the tournament briefing and define any
known OFF-LIMITS areas including locking from established
tournament waters. Fishing on tournament waters is not
permitted: within 50 yards of a marina gas pump. Any water
within tournament boundaries posted Off-Limits or No Fishing
by state or federal agencies will be OFF-LIMITS.
18. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT:
There will be only one official point for check-out in the
morning and check-in in the afternoon, as designated by the
tournament director. Competitors not at the checkpoint at the
designated time will be penalized at the rate of 1 pound per
minute, deducted from their total weight for the day. Any
competitor more than 15 minutes late for send-off or check-in
will be disqualified for the day. Official start and weigh-in times
will be announced at the pre-tournament meeting. Our best effort
will be given to allow at least 8 hours fishing time. In the case of
adverse weather conditions, the tournament director will open
weigh-in at 12 noon for safety.
The total weight of each competitors catch will determine
tournament standings and placement. Only largemouth, spotted,
red eye or smallmouth bass will be weighed. The creel limit
shall be five (5) unless the prevailing state/lake limit is less. (The
tournament director may impose a creel limit of less than five
fish if they deem weather and/or local conditions warrant the
reduction.) At no time shall a competitor have in his/her
possession more than the tournament limit. Culling must be done
immediately upon catching a sixth fish. CULLING OF DEAD
FISH IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Minimum length will be 12
inches (measured on a flat board) unless the prevailing state/lake
rule is larger. In most cases the state's longest length limit will be
used. A penalty of 1 pound will be deducted from the total
weight for each short fish and a penalty of eight (8) ounces or
(.50) pounds will be deducted from the total weight for each
dead fish. In the event the anglers' big fish is dead a penalty of
eight (8) ounces or (.50) pounds will be deducted from the big
fish total weight. A contestant that presents more fish than the
tournament limit will be disqualified immediately. Mangled,
mashed, mauled or otherwise altered fish will be weighed only at
the discretion of the tournament director. No regurgitated
baitfish will be weighed. Fish will not be put on a stringer at any
time. All fish presented at the weigh-in become the property of
American Bass Anglers, Inc. All live fish will be returned to the
tournament waters and the tournament director will dispose of
any dead fish.
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American Fishing Tour 2013 Season Rules
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Assignments of partners will be by open draw. All angling must
be accomplished from the boat. 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). Any contestant refusing to take or go with another
contestant in his/her boat will be subject to immediate
disqualification. Tournament directors have no responsibility for
finding lost partners. Each contestant is to meet his/her partner at
least 30 minutes prior to take-off. The tournament director may
reassign pairings prior to morning ooze-off to accommodate
problems or emergencies. With prior approval from
AMERICAN BASS ANGLERS, INC., headquarters, the
tournament director may allow paired boaters to fish alone.
In case of a tie, ties will be broken using the following criteria:
· Largest number of legal fish weighed
· Largest number of legal live fish weighed
If the tie is not broken by applying the foregoing procedures,
place monies will be combined and split evenly, and place points
will be awarded accordingly.
Merchandize prizes will be awarded as determined by the
tournament director. Standings will reflect ties starting at place
closest to first. The tournament director may decide to break first
place ties with a fish-off.
Entry fees may be transferred or refunded only if proper
notification is made to American Bass Anglers, Inc.,
headquarters or tournament director by 12 noon on the Friday
preceding the tournament. Refunds will be assessed a 10%
service charge however, there is no fee for transfers. Refunds for
National Championship will only be accepted up to 10 days
prior to official practice.
23. POINT SYSTEM:
One-day divisional qualifying tournaments are worth 200 points.
Maximum points are awarded for a minimum of 20 contestants.
For tournaments with less than 20 contestants, 1 point per person
short of the minimum will be deducted from the total points
available. Points will be awarded in 1 point decrements
depending on place of finish. No contestant weighing a fish in
the tournament will receive less than 75 points regardless of
place of finish. All contestants not weighing fish will receive 50
show points. A contestant may fish multiple one-day
tournaments for point accumulation, but only the best four
places of finish will be counted. The 2-day Divisional
Championships are worth 400 points. Maximum points are
awarded for a minimum of 20 contestants. Points will be
awarded in 2 point decrements depending on place of finish. For
tournaments with less than 20 contestants, 2 points per person
short of minimum will be deducted from the total points
available. No contestant weighing a fish in the tournament will
receive less than 150 points, and 100 points will be awarded to
those not weighing fish. A contestant may fish multiple 2-day
Divisional Championships, however only their best two-day
finish will be counted. Contestants who are more than 15
minutes late for weigh-in, will not be allowed to weigh their fish,
but will receive show points for the event. Contestants must have
fished at least four (4) one day tournaments to be eligible to
compete in the 2-day Divisional Championship. A perfect score
is 1200 points: 4 one-day tournaments at 200 points each = 800
plus and 1 two-day Divisional Championship at 400 points.
24. National Championship:
a. Contestants must have met the minimum requirements of
qualification which is the successful completion of four (4) oneday
tournaments and one two-day tournament within a single
b. After all two day events are completed, the top 250 national
point holders will be invited to compete in the National
Championship as a boater and be guaranteed boater status. In
the event one or more of the top 250 do not accept the invitation,
the remaining slots will be filled from a list of qualified anglers
beginning with number 251 from the national points list. All
true non-boaters who meet qualifications will be invited to the
Championship and be linked with top boater point’s leaders.
Those anglers not invited as boaters but desire to attend the
Championship will have the opportunity to enter as a non-boater.
The top boaters’ by points will be linked with participating nonboater.
Anglers invited to participate as a boater that are not
linked with a non-boater, must provide an observer for all
competition days. Boaters are encouraged to register with a
divisional non-boater to insure both anglers have a slot. The top
250 points qualifiers (boaters) plus qualified non-boaters will be
notified of their boater/non-boater status on September 25, 2013.
Headquarters will not provide observers.
d. The Championship lake will be off limits approximately 15
days prior to the first official practice day.
ALL TOURNAMENT INFORMATION PERTAINING TO
THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE PUBLISHED
ON THE ABA WEB SITE NLT SEPTEMBER 1, 2013.
25. Angler of the Year (AOY):
The top point holder from each Divisional Championship (by
points) who meets the AOY point’s requirement (points from 4
one day and 1 two day within a Division, points may not be
transferred between Divisions) will be invited to complete in the
Angler of the Year Final Round. To compete in the AOY
Championship anglers must be registered for the National
Championship. SPECIFIC INFORMATION ON THE AOY
COMPETITION WILL BE PUBLISHED ON THE ABA WEB
SITE NLT AUGUST 1, 2013