TOURNAMENT RULES

Participation and Eligibility


Participation is open to current ABTT members who are 18 years old and older. Any person entering Arkansas Bass Team Trail event under the age of 18 years must be paired with a partner 18 years of age or older and, also, have the signature of their parent or legal guardian in the provided space on the official entry form. Anglers currently fishing MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit (formally FLW Pro Circuit,) MLF Bass Pro Tour, MLF Cup Events and B.A.S.S. Elite are not eligible to fish. ABTT reserves the right to refuse membership and participation in any and all events to any individual or team in the discretion of the Tournament Director.




Federal, State, and Local Laws


All contestants must have valid fishing license and are required to obey all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.




Teams


All ABTT tournaments are team events, with all points/awards going to the team. Anglers may not fish as individuals. A team consists of two (2) anglers. A team must enter all four (4) ABTT regular season events to qualify for the championship. Anglers may only be entered on one (1) team per event. A team may assign multiple alternate partners during the year but will not retain points earned. Teams that do not wish to participate in the Team of the Year race or the championship may use as many partners as desired. ONLY teams who fish all four events together will be eligible for AOY. Should a break- up of a team occur, all points earned will stay with the designated Captain, no exceptions. An alternate partner may not be used during the Championship.
Only in the event of military deployment or the death of a partner or a medical emergency, the Tournament Director may, after reviewing the circumstances, approve an alternate partner for the championship event. At least one (1) team member must attend the championship tournament meeting. Everyone must check-in Friday evening or Saturday morning prior to launching for the tournament.




Fishing Information


No fishing information may be purchased, bartered, solicited, or otherwise received from any person who entered official tournament waters during the established off-limits periods for all ABTT qualifying events.




Pre-Tournament Practice


All ABTT regular season events have a 5 day off-limits period which consists of the Monday-*Friday prior to the tournament. *The Friday prior to each regular season tournament will be considered an official practice day ONLY for those anglers that have pre-registered and paid entry for the event before 5 p.m. Thursday. The Thursday and Friday prior to the Championship will be considered official practice days ONLY for those teams pre-registered and paid before 5 p.m. Wednesday. During the official practice period non-competitors are not allowed to be in a competitor’s boat on the water for any reason. (only exception is immediate family) No contestant may be on designated waters for any reason during the official off-limits period (this includes “walking” the shoreline, marinas, boat docks, etc. for the purpose of locating or catching fish). If an angler plans to leave their boat in the water at a dock this must be complete by 6:00 p.m. Friday evening until takeoff the morning of the tournament. Contestants area allowed to travel by boat from another launch ramp or dock directly to the takeoff site for takeoff the morning of the tournament.

B. CRAPPIE 2021 there is no off- limits period. Official practice begins on the Monday thru Saturday prior the Sunday tournament. During official practice anglers may only fish with other contestants in the event, or with immediate family.




Registration


Two hundred (200) teams will be considered a full field for all Arkansas Bass Team Trail events and registration may be closed when 200 teams have registered for any single event. Anglers may pre-register online prior to each event. Membership & the registration fee for each event must be paid in full prior to the conclusion of on-site registration, which will run from 5-7p.m. the evening before the event. At least one member of each team must register in person at the designated site during the onsite registration hours regardless of pre-registration. Boat numbers and flights will be based on a random computerized drawing for the regular season events. Boat numbers at the Championship will be the same as the regular season, by a random drawing. Registrations and payments of any type are not accepted the morning of ANY tournament. If extenuating circumstances prevent on-site registration attendance, it is the sole responsibility of the team to appoint a representative who will be responsible for picking up the team’s boat number during on-site registration and communicating all pertinent information to the team.

  1. Crappie TOURNAMENTS: Registration will follow same guidelines as above mentioned. 6:00 P.M. MANDATORY at least one member of the team must attend registration meeting. Boat numbers and flights will be based on a random computer drawing.




Contingency Requirements


Serial numbers are required in order to receive sponsor contingency prize money and must be reported to the ABTT registration staff by take off of the first (1st) day of competition in order to be paid.
Contestants must fish ABTT events using the boat/motor indicated on the contingency form provided to the tournament staff. If there is a change in the boat or motor being used, it is the contestant’s sole responsibility to provide an updated contingency form to the tournament staff at registration. In the event that a different boat/motor than that stated on the contingency form is used, all contingency money will be forfeited, and contestants may be disqualified to include future ABTT events.




Insurance


A minimum of $100,000 liability insurance is required of all contestants utilizing their boats in any Arkansas Bass Team Trail tournament.




Safety


Safe boating must be observed at all times. Each Contestant is required to wear a fastened (fully zipped and/or all clips fastened), U.S. Coast Guard approved, personal flotation device anytime the combustion engine is in operation from boat check until weigh-in. All boats must be equipped with an emergency ignition shut-off device, which must be securely attached to the driver’s body any time the combustion engine is in operation. The driver must be seated in the driver’s seat any time the combustion engine is in operation. The driver must be seated in the driver’s seat anytime the combustion engine is engaged in gear. Tournament days may be shortened or canceled due to unsafe weather or any conditions that would be endanger the safety of the competitors at the Tournament Director’s sole and absolute discretion. Competitors are allowed to leave the boat and seek shelter in bad weather, at which time no fishing may occur.




Permitted Fishing Methods


Only artificial lures may be used with the exception of pork trailers and biodegradable soft baits. Only one fishing rod per angler may be used at any one time. Additional rods may be in the boat and ready for use; however, each cast and retrieve must be completed before another cast is attempted or rod is used. Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. Switching or sharing fish with other teams or individuals is a violation of these rules and will result in immediate disqualification. All Bass must be caught alive, in a conventional, sporting manner. When sight fishing for Bass, all fish must be hooked inside the mouth to be counted as a legal fish (this will be a polygraph question). All angling 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.

B. Crappie 2021: Trolling is permitted, but only one rod at a time per angler. Live Bait

Live bait is allowed. Maximum of two lures per rod is allowed.




Sportsmanship and Conduct


  1. : All contestants are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety, and conservation. Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification. Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non-competitors who may be on tournament waters. Any act of a competitor, which reflects unfavorable upon the ABTT’s effort to promote fisheries conservation, clean waters, and courtesy, shall be reason for disqualification. Other examples of conduct not complying with these standards include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or any mind-altering substance during tournament hours extending through the weigh-in procedure;
  2. Any previous conviction, charge, arrest, or investigation for a felony, a crime involving moral turpitude, or a crime related to, arising out of, or involving any fishing tournament or event, except with full, prior written disclosure to the Tournament Director under oath and by affidavit of all facts and circumstances surrounding such conviction, charge, arrest, or investigation at least ten (10) days before the ABTT event being entered, and thereafter subject to the Tournament Director’s sole and absolute discretion that such conviction, charge, arrest, or investigation does not result in the Contestant’s honesty, integrity, character, or qualifications to enter the event being unreasonably questionable.
  3. Actions or words which reflect unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, and fair competition;
  4. Disqualification from ABTT or other fishing organizations that resulted from rule violations that result in a Contestant’s honesty, integrity, character, and qualifications for entry into an ABTT event being questionable in the Tournament Director’s sole and absolute discretion

Upon review of the circumstances by ABTT and the Tournament Director, the Tournament Director shall have the right to refuse any application, or to deny a confirmed application, by returning the entry fee of a previously accepted application or disqualifying a Contestant. Arkansas Bass Team Trail reserves the right to place an official observer in a Contestant’s boat at any time during competition hours.




Code of Conduct


Anglers participating in any ABTT event shall observe this code of conduct and the applicable rules for the specific event in which they are participating. Anglers and family members of anglers shall, at all times, conduct themselves in a professional manner that demonstrates integrity, honor and respect toward fellow competitors, tournament staff and the general public and does not reflect unfavorably on ABTT, its members, officers or representatives, tournaments, or sponsors.
Following are examples of unacceptable behavior by competitors or family members of competitors in ABTT events that will be cause for penalties as outlined in this document.

  1. Heated public disagreements with ABTT officials, other competitors and fans and volunteers during an event.
  2. Public attacks through media, including social media, upon the integrity of ABTT rules or officials.
  3. Public comments that an angler or family member knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation of ABTT, ABTT officials, or its sponsors.
  4. Displays of anger and displeasure for reasons related to fishing competition where members of the public, including other anglers, spectators and the media, are present.
  5. Publicly questioning or criticizing a tournament official or official decision, ruling or a penalty except through the proper channels.
  6. Abuse (physical, verbal, threatening, or slanderous) of tournament officials, volunteers, fellow competitors, or others connected with an ABTT event.
  7. Offensive or slanderous comments with racial, cultural, or sexual overtones regarding event officials, event personnel or fellow anglers.
  8. Intentionally interfering with a fellow angler’s ability to compete.

Any disqualification, suspension, or other disciplinary action imposed by any tournament or fishing organization may result in disqualification from competition and rejection of an application for participation in an ABTT tournament.




Assistance


During the official practice period and extending through the hours of competition, competitors cannot receive fishing information from anyone who has been on the tournament waters during the official off-limits period, or any non-competitors or follow a non-competitor’s boat or participate in the placing of markers by non-competitors, or participate in the practice of “hole sitting” by anyone. The use of mobile communication devices such as cellular telephones, marine radios, walkie-talkies, CBs, pagers, or any other electronic device to obtain and use fishing information from anyone during tournament hours is strictly prohibited. In the event of an emergency situation, competitors should call 911 first and then notify the Tournament Direction at (501) 844-5543.




Boat and Horsepower Regulation


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 may not exceed the horsepower limitations as set by the U.S. Coast Guard in such vessel. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower numbers on the motor or rating plate to conceal such limitations will be cause for disqualification from the tournament. No Contestant may have a platform, raised deck, or ladder which is higher than the gunnel of the boat. Standing on the fishing seats or outboard motor will not be allowed in ABTT events. No air or jet drive boats will be permitted during official practice or competition days.
Fuel may be carried only in factory-installed (built-in) fuel tanks. Optional remote engine fuel tanks must be factory or factory authorized dealer installed and be strapped or otherwise secured. 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.




Permitted Fishing Locations


Contestants may fish anywhere on tournament waters accessible by boat, except areas designated as “off limited”, “no boats”, “keep out”, “restricted”, or “no fishing” (or similar language or markings intended to restrict public access) by state or federal officials, or within 50 yards of a competitor’s boat which 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 or similar shallow water anchor with the trolling motor in the up position. The act of moving Bass from one area of the lake to another confined area of the same lake at any time, whether or not during official practice days or competition days, is not permitted.




Off-Limits Areas


Such areas established by federal, state, and local laws and areas announced at registration for each ABTT event. Contestants may not fish inside the established “off-limits” areas. Violation of the rule will result in immediate disqualification.




Trailering


In the event of severe weather or location limitations, alternate take-off and check-in instructions will be given at the registration site, at the sole discretion of the Tournament Director. In the event that contestants are allowed to launch at various boat ramps and trailer their boats to the weigh-in site, they must relaunch their boat the morning of the tournament even if they have access to a dock, houseboat, etc. All boats must leave the official check point by boat in the order designated at registration. Contestants may launch their boat at a ramp other than the designated take-off location, but all Contestants must come through the official check-in by boat. Contestants’ boats must remain the tournament waters during the event. In the event of a mechanical breakdown, there are two permitted methods of returning to the check-in. (1) by remaining in boat and being towed by water, or (2) by entering the boat of another competitor. The Contestants must return to the official check-in location by the methods set forth above by their assigned check-in time to avoid late penalty. 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. Any Contestant returning to the check-in point will be eligible to restart and resume competition under the supervision of the Tournament Director of his designated tournament official. It is the sole responsibility of Contestants to locate the Tournament Director to request a restart.




Official Checkpoints


There will be only one official checkpoint for boat inspection in the morning and one official check-in point in the afternoon. Failure to go through boat check-out in the morning or failure to officially check-in at the check-in point will result in disqualification from such event. It is the sole responsibility of each Contestant to arrive at the designated check-in location on time. Regardless of what you are told or understand, it is the angler’s responsibility to verify their provided flight card time. All fishing must cease upon check-in, or upon such other time as may be designated by the Tournament Director.




Scoring


Will be determined by the official weight of each angler’s catch during the tournament. Only Largemouth, Spotted, Red Eye, or Smallmouth Bass (collectively, “Bass”) are accepted species. The limit will be five Bass per team. Any Contestant who possesses more than the tournament limit, unless actively culling, will have their catch for that day disqualified. Culling must be done immediately. The minimum official length limit for all species for ABTT events will be 12” unless the lake limit is more than 12”, in which case, the lake limit will prevail. Bass presented for weigh-in, which fail to measure the prescribed length limit, will result in loss of that particular fish and a one-pound penalty to the weight of the remaining fish. Each Contestant’s catch must be presented in an official weigh-in bag and verified by the signature of at least one team member. Bass will be measured with mouth closed, tail compressed, and swiped to achieve overall greatest length. A measuring board will be provided at check-in and will serve as the official measuring standard for all ABTT events. It is the contestant’s responsibility to ensure all fish presented for weight-in are of legal length according solely to the ABTT official measuring board.

B. Crappie 2021: (7) Fish limit (all alive). Length limit determined by lake laws. Anglers bringing in more than the 7 fish limit will be disqualified.




Live Fish


Every effort must be made to keep bass alive through the use of a properly aerated livewell. The use of chemical livewell additives which promote the healthy return of bass to their natural habitat are recommended. A half pound (0.5) penalty will be deducted for each dead Bass presented for weigh-in. Culling of dead bass is prohibited. If the Big Bass is weighed in deceased (.5 pound) penalty will be assessed to the Big Bass weight. If for any reason a team decides to weigh in early, the entire catch will be weighed, and fishing will cease.




Late Penalty


Contestants who are not at the official check-in point at the appointed time will be assessed a ONE (1) pound per minute penalty from their total weight including any weight to be counted toward a big Bass award. Any Contestant more than 15 minutes late will forfeit that day’s catch.

B. Crappie 2021: Same as Above




Closing of the Scales


Scales will close 30 minutes after the last flight is due in. Due to certain weigh-in locations this time may be lengthened or shortened at the Tournament Director’s sole and absolute discretion. Any change to the above stated official scale closing time will be announced during registration, during boat check-out, or during weigh-in. It is the angler’s responsibility to verify the official scale closing time and to be in the weigh-in line by such time.




Ties


In the event of a tie for first place, the Tournament Director shall designate, depending on time and safety conditions, a fish-off period to be held within 24 hours of the closing of the scales. If an angler/team declines to compete in the fish off, the other team involved will be awarded first place. Should a tie still exist following a fish-off period, the highest ranked team in the Team-of-the-Year standings will be awarded 1st place. Should a tie exist following a fish-off period at the first event of the year, the tie will be broken by a coin toss. All other ties for cash prizes will be split equally among the teams involved.




Championship Qualifiers


All teams who enter all four (4) regular season events will automatically qualify for the ABTT Championship event. The Championship is NOT an entry fee free event. Entry fee will be $300. One day Event.




Polygraph


Polygraph exams will be administered on-site at each event. The first-place team and a team randomly selected will automatically be tested. Each contestant who fishes an ABTT event also agrees to submit to a polygraph examination should it be deemed necessary at a time and location determined by the Tournament Director following the competition. Failure to pass the examination will result in disqualification.




Protest and Reporting Procedure


All protests must be submitted in writing along with a $100 cash deposit within fifteen (15) minutes of the last flight check-in to the tournament director or designated tournament official. The protestor also agrees that if there is a question with regards to verifying the protest charge, he or she may be subject to a polygraph exam and agree to testify in a court of law if necessary. If the Tournament Director, or polygraph, upholds the protest, the cash deposit shall be returned to the contestant submitting the protest.




Team of the Year


Points will be awarded as follows: Total Entries= Total Points: Winning team receives the exact number of points as the number of entries. Example: 200 Entries – Winning team receives 300 points, 2nd place receives 299 points, 3rd place receives 298 points, etc. All teams that participate and do not weigh in a Bass will receive one point less that the last place team that weighed fish at the event.




Media Coverage


Contestants are required to comply with all requests (included but not limited to: video, still camera, access to boat and access to fishing area) made by ABTT film crew for the purpose of gathering media coverage throughout ABTT events. Failure to coordinate with and accommodate the ABTT film will be considered grounds for disqualification.