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1. League Format

1. The field size for Pro Am League events are determined by pre-registrations and morning event registrations.

2. Normal event competition will be comprised of three rounds covering 1 total day.

3. Championship event competition will be comprised of three rounds covering 1 elimination day followed by a final competition day of three rounds. (See Championship Format)

4. Anglers will fish in three periods restricted to three different zones of a selected lake during the round day.

5. Events are categorized as rounds with each event constituting a single round of competition culminating in a day championship event.

6. Competition tiers are separated into “Cups”. A solo cup (for anglers competing by themselves), a team cup (two anglers competing as one team), and youth cup (designed for High School age youth.

2. Competition Hours

1. During all days of competition, Pro Am anglers will fish a total of 7.5 hours divided across 3 periods, with 30 minute intervals between the end of a current period and the beginning of the next period.

a. Competition schedules:

  1. Competition schedules:
    1. 45 Minutes: Launch, Interviews, and Photos (Subject to change)
    2. 15 Minutes: Enter zone for scouting (Minimum time)
    3. 2 Hours: Fishing period 1
    4. 30 Minutes: Period break and rendezvous
    5. 2 Hours: Fishing period 2
    6. 30 Minutes: Period break and rendezvous
    7. 2 Hours: Fishing period 3

2. Prior to the start of the first period, Pro Am anglers will convene at the edge of the zone that will be used for that period’s competition.

a. NOTE: In the event of the lake size not being large enough to facilitate separate zones all competitors will marshall near the first non-wake buoy marking the edge of the zone for the boat ramp used for tournament launching.

3. During period breaks no angler will be allowed to fish or try to locate bass, this includes graphing. During runs between fishing spots only navigational data will be visible on display. (Excludes the scouting time prior to period 1 start)

4. Pro Am anglers will be required to rendezvous at predetermined locations and remain there during period breaks. If for any reason, it takes longer than 30 minutes to reach the rendezvous point, the anglers must still travel the entire distance and check in before fishing the next period.

5. The tournament director/head official will select the rendezvous point to be located at a highly-centralized area that is the most accessible to the majority of the anglers.

6. At the beginning of the second and third periods, Pro Am anglers will take off so that they form a generally straight file with a slight pause between boats to afford maximum safety. (Depending on number of competitors) Anglers will depart in their order in the standings as of the completion of round one.

a. (NOTE) In the event one member of the boat is scoring higher in the standings than his/her boating companion (if during a team cup) the highest standing of the boat will be used for takeoff order. (Not applicable for single angler boats)

7. All times and schedules are subject to change based on weather, safety considerations, and ease of operation.

3. League Annual Ranking

1. Pro Am Anglers will be ranked on a cumulative points system set up on an annual cycle coinciding with the Calendar Year.

2. Points are awarded to each Pro Am Angler at the end of each round. The highest number of points at the end of the year determines his/her finishing position.

3. The angler with the highest points at the end of an event receives the highest ranking (First Place). The second highest number of points receives the second-place ranking (Second Place). The third highest points total is awarded third-place ranking (Third Place), etc.…

4. Cumulative standings will dictate which anglers qualify to fish the championship. Cut off qualification scores are announced around mid-season. At a minimum the Championship field will limited to the top 10% of all registered league anglers.

5. Bonus points are given based on total angler entries. Finishing places will be awarded bonus points at 1 place for every 10 boats registered. Totals begin at 10 points per round. First place receives 10 points, second place receives 9 points, third place receives 8 points, fourth place receives 7 points, etc.

6. Anglers placing beyond 7th place receive 0 points.

7. The point values will be structured in the following manner:

LEAGUE ROUND BONUS POINTS

PLACE                      TOTAL BONUS POINTS

1                                  10

2                                 9

3                                 8

4                                 7

5                                 6

6                                 5

7                                 4

8. The Angler finishing in first based on total points will become the League Champion at the end of the year.

4. Performance Ranking (PR)

1. Performance ranking assess the anglers ability to put score able bass into the boat. Officials are required to mark every score able and non-score able bass on their paper tracking sheet.

2. Performance ranking is calculated based on the following per round: (Number of score able bass caught / total bass caught). PR will never be higher than 1.0 and will be expressed as a decimal value.

3. PR is averaged cumulatively across all fished rounds. EXAMPLE: [Round 1 PR (.80) + Round 2 PR (.75)] / 2 = Overall PR of .775.

5. Ranking Tie-Breakers

1. Should two or more Pro-Am Anglers be tied in points at the end of the year, that tie must be broken. The following tie-breaker rules will be in effect.

2. TIE-BREAKER NO.1: PERFORMANCE RANKING – The Pro Am Angler with the highest performance rating in all fished is awarded the tie breaker win. See PERFOMRANCE RANKING above.

3. TIE-BREAKER NO.2: BIG BASS – In the event of a points and PR tie the Pro Am Angler with the largest bass caught over the year will be awarded the tie-breaker win.

6. Single Event Tie-Breakers

1. If two or more Pro-Am Anglers are tied at the end of a competitive round – meaning they’ve caught the same “on the record” weight during that round, then the following tie-breaker rules will be enforced.

2. TIE-BREAKER NO. 1: The total accumulative number of score able bass caught during the round.

3. TIE-BREAKER NO. 2: The largest single Bass caught during the round.

4. TIE-BREAKER NO. 3: The 2nd largest single Bass caught during the round and so on.

7. Disqualification

1. If a Pro Am Angler is disqualified or disqualifies himself during an event, he/she only receives the points earned leading up to disqualification. The Pro Am Angler in the next position in the event standings WILL NOT move up to replace him.

8. Participation and Eligibility Standards

1. Participation in Pro Am events are open only to anglers who have registered for league competition and are in good standing with Pro Am Bass Trails.

9. Laws, Boats, Safety and Weather

1. Pro Am anglers must adhere to all federal, state, and local laws. Pro Am Boat Officials are required to contact the tournament director with any questions or concerns about an angler’s potential action that may violate a law. A Pro Am boat official must immediately report an angler’s violation of a law to the organization director. Based on the set of circumstances in connection with the violation, the director, at his discretion will issue an immediate penalty and or disqualification.

2. Boats for tournament competition will be supplied by the individual competitor unless he or she is registering as a non-boating co angler, or boat official. All boats will be fully equipped with all essentials to meet state water safety requirements or face immediate disqualification at the discretion of the director.

3. The organization director or his designee has the right to delay, shorten or cancel the start of an event because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the competitors. Competition waters may also be restricted at any time because of bad weather. Weather will be monitored at all times during the competition day and will be communicated to the Pro Am Boat Official via SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device messages, texts and phone notification.

4. In the event that dangerous conditions develop, the director will suspend the competition for all participants and instruct you to immediately take cover. If at any time you feel you are in danger, inform your Boat Official and take cover immediately then have your official contact the tournament director.

10. Sportsmanship

1. Competitors are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation. Any violation of the standards may be deemed cause for disqualification. (SEE Sportsmanship and Flagrant Sportsmanship Violations, definition and penalties, Rules 15 t and 15 u).

2. Use of alcohol or drugs (other than drugs purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any competitor during Pro Am events could be cause for automatic disqualification.

3. 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.

4. Pro Am Boat Officials have the responsibility of reporting to the tournament director an Angler’s sportsmanship violation or a flagrant violation for any act that reflects unfavorably upon efforts to promote fisheries conservation and/or clean waters.

11. Pro Am Director’s Role

1. Interpretation and enforcement of rules shall be left exclusively to the Pro Am Director and/or his assigned designees at the competition.

2. In the event of a rule violation, the Pro Am director and/or his designees may impose such sanctions as disqualification and/or prohibition from participation in subsequent Pro Am Bass Trail Competitions.

3. Subject to appeal, the decision of the Pro-Am Director and/or his designees, or a special rules committee established by the Pro Am Director shall be final in all matters.

12. Pro Am Boat Official’s Role

1. A fully trained Pro Am Boat Official will accompany each angler boat combination throughout each day’s competition.

2. Each boat will be equipped with an MLF SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device per angler that will be linked to a central database system. The device will provide Pro-Am Anglers with a leader board that shows the status of the event’s point’s leaders.

3. Each boat official will also carry a paper scoring sheet, one for each angler on the boat, that will be used to verify entries entered into the MLF SCORETRACKER©. Paper scoring sheets will be used in calculating the anglers Performance Ranking.

4. The duties of the Pro-Am Boat Official will be to weigh and record the weight of each score able catch, update the MLF SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device, “call the game” and communicate with the base of operation.

5. The Pro-Am Boat Official will serve as rules enforcer and the official scorekeeper.

6. Specific Penalty Violations will be assessed “on the spot” by the Pro-Am Boat Official and all other violations will be reported to the Pro-Am Director or his representative.

7. Rules decisions made by a Pro-Am Boat Official are considered final, unless a Pro-Am angler chooses to submit a protest to the Pro-Am Director. Upon notification of a protest the angler will stop fishing and the official will contact the director for a decision. Once a decision is rendered by the director the decision is final.

13. The Weighing of Fish

1. All Pro Am events will utilize the MLF term “Score able Bass”. The parameters (size) of a Score able Bass will be determined by the director no less than 12 hours prior to the start of any Pro-Am event.

2. Immediately after a catch is made, the Bass will be verified as Score able Bass (or non-Score able Bass) by the Pro-Am Boat Official. The Pro-Am Boat Official may request that any Bass be put on the measuring board for verification. The Pro-Am Boat Official has the final decision regarding the Bass meeting the minimum length for scoring and will announce “Score able Bass” or “non-Score able Bass”.

3. There is no limit to the number of Score able Bass a Pro-Am Angler can catch and record during Event competition day.

4. Only the Pro-Am Angler will handle Bass caught during competition. Once a Bass is caught, placed on the measuring board and determined as Score able, the Bass will be set onto the official scale by the Angler.

5. The Boat Official will hold the official scale by the handle only with both hands and position it at eye level. The Bass must be held steady, allowing the scale to be clearly read first by the Boat Official in full view of the TV camera if present.

6. The Boat Official will call the weight. If the call is challenged by the Angler, the Boat Official will zero the scale and re-weigh the Bass a maximum of two (2) additional times and then the Boat Official will make the final call, “the official weight is”. The Bass can’t be dipped into the water between re-weighs.

7. After the official weight is announced, the Angler is to remove the Bass from the scale, properly release the Bass into the water and resume Fishing.

8. The Boat Official will immediately record the weight in writing on the “Daily Score Sheet” and enter the weight into the official MLF SCORETRACKER© Electronic Scoring System.

14. End of Period Scoring

1. The MLF SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device will serve as the “Official Clock.”

2. At the ends of periods, the Pro-Am angler will be clearly notified by the Boat Official when the period competition is coming to an end and when the Angler must stop fishing.

3. Regarding the final cast of any period, any Bass hooked on the final cast must be “inside the boat,” visibly inside the gunnel before the time expires.

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

15. Tackle and Equipment

1. Use of nets and grippers for landing Bass is prohibited.

2. Only artificial lures can be used.

3. All Bass must be caught in a conventional sporting manner.

4. Any Bass caught while “visually fishing” must be hooked inside the mouth and verified by the Boat Official before being unhooked. The weight of a Bass caught by the technique of “visual fishing” can only be scored once during that day.

5. Anglers will be permitted the use of a lure retriever; however, the anglers must supply their own lure retriever.

6. PROHIBITED LURES: Only artificial lures with two or fewer hooks will be allowed to be used. Alabama / Umbrella rigs are prohibited from use due to their propensity to create additional stress on multiple fish caught.

16. Specific Pro-Am Competition Rules / Penalties

1. NO INFORMATION RULE: Pro-Am Anglers shall not pursue any action of any kind that may give that Pro-Am Angler a competitive advantage during competition. Exceptions to this will apply when an angler has identified that he/she is in another tournament to be held on the same body of water. The director will make a final decision in those matters.

2. Pro-Am Anglers may not talk to Boat Officials about any other Pro-Am Angler or tactics used during any competition day.

3. Should a Pro-Am Angler receive information that potentially gives him a competitive advantage, such as locations: baits, topography, conditions, etc., including unsolicited information, he is required to share that information with the Pro-Am Directory or his designated representatives. The Director or his designated representatives shall determine whether this information should be subsequently shared with any or all other Pro-Am Anglers.

4. GPS STORED WAYPOINTS: Waypoints may only be marked during competition periods only. Waypoint creation in between periods constitutes a graphing violation. (See Graphing Violation)

5. OFF LIMITS: Lake is off limits except for when Pro-Am Anglers are competing in the actual Pro Am event, or pre-cleared by the Director due to participation in another tournament event. (Penalty – Pro Am Director: Illegal Scouting, Disqualification)

6. ASSESSING PENALTIES: If the Boat Official calls a penalty on the Angler, he/she must immediately stop all activities including fishing. The Angler is not allowed to drop shallow water anchors or operate the trolling motor unless the boat is in immediate danger of being damaged and the Boat Official gives the Angler permission to do so. ALL other activities of any kind are not allowed and additional penalty time will be added for a penalty compliance violation for each occurrence. If a penalty results from a Bass Landing Violation the Bass must immediately be measured and released or measured, weighed and released. The Boat Official is required to manually record the weight of the Bass before he starts the penalty clock on the SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device. Boat Officials are not allowed to enter the penalty on the SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device before the weight is first manually recorded. The Angler must not request that Boat Official start the penalty clock before the weight is first manually entered. The Angler must sit down on the deck and is not allowed to do ANYTHING during his penalty time with the exception of talking to the camera operator, if present, about his fishing day up to that point or what it is that he is going to do next. (Penalty – Official: Penalty Compliance Violation, 1 Minute Additional Penalty)

7. PENALTY CARRY-OVER: If an Angler is assessed a penalty at the end of Period One or Period Two, the penalty time spent will be at the “Start of Fishing” in the next period. If an Angler is penalized at the conclusion of Period Three then the penalty is null and void. The beginning ride around time cannot be used for penalty time.

8. LINES-IN RULE: During the countdown to begin fishing in any period and at the end of a Penalty, the Pro-Am Angler cannot cast his lure before the Boat Official says “Lines In.” (Penalty – Official: Lines-In Violation, 2 Minutes at Start of Period)

9. LINES-OUT RULE: If the Boat Official has called “End of Period, Lines Out” or “End of Round, Lines Out” the Pro-Am Angler cannot make another cast. (Penalty – Official: Lines-Out Violation, 2 Minutes Carry-Over Penalty)

10. ENCROACHMENT RULE: There is no official buoy distance rule. However, at no time is a Pro Am Angler allowed to interfere with another Pro-Am Angler’s line. If a Pro Am Angler casts close to another Pro Am Angler and hooks into his line, the casting Angler will be penalized. (Penalty – Official: Hooking other’s line, 2 Min., stop fishing when line untangled)

11. LANDING BASS: While landing Bass, the Bass cannot touch the carpet or any other part of the boat inside the gunnel at any time during the process. If the Bass comes unhooked from the bait and falls to the carpet or hits any other part of the inside of the boat it will be assessed as a violation. Excepted from this rule will be laying the Bass on the measuring board or on the carpet to remove a deep set hook, “only after it has been properly landed without it touching the carpet”. Pro Am anglers should first ask the Boat Official if the Angler can lay the Bass on the carpet. If a Bass comes off of the measuring board while measuring or off the scale while weighing the Bass it will not be assessed as a penalty. Additionally, Pro-Am Anglers are not allowed to cradle Bass or allow Bass that he/she is landing to touch his/her body. A Pro-Am Angler cannot allow a Bass to touch any part of the body other than the hands or forearms. A slight touch will not be penalized. If the Angler brings the Bass to the body deliberately to secure control of the Bass or the Bass hits the Angler more than slightly, then it will be a penalty. From a rules standpoint, the body is to be treated the same as the carpet. (Penalty – Official: Bass Landing violation, 2 Minutes immediate, stop Fishing)

12. RELEASING BASS: When releasing any Bass that is Score able or non-Score able, the Pro-Am Angler’s hand must be at gunnel level or closer to the water. No flipping or tossing of a Bass. (Penalty – Official: Bass release violation, 2 Minutes immediate, stop Fishing)

13. BROKE OFF BASS: Breaking off a hooked Bass while fighting and landing it will result in a penalty. If a hooked fish does not reveal itself as something other than a Bass then the fish will be judged to be a Bass. A break-off on the initial hook set will not result in a broke off Bass penalty. (Penalty – Official: Breaking off hooked Bass, 2 Minutes immediate stop Fishing)

14. SECOND LINE: Pro-Am Anglers are prohibited from having a second line in the water during all Pro-Am rounds (Penalty – Official: Second Line Usage, 2 Minutes immediate stop Fishing)

15. LEAVING BOAT TO FISH: Pro-Am Anglers may not leave the boat for the purpose of Fishing. Leaving the boat to assist in landing a hooked Bass, as an act of Fishing, will result in a penalty. Although penalized, if a Pro-Am Angler retrieves a Score able Bass, the Bass will count. Leaving the boat for non-Fishing reasons is allowed without a penalty. (Penalty – Official: Leaving Boat to Land Bass, 4 Minutes immediate stop fishing)

16. OUT OF BOUNDS: On some bodies of water, Pro Am Anglers will compete in pre-determined zones each day. The boat must be positioned inside the zone boundaries. Fishing outside of the boundaries is allowed as long as the boat position remains inside the boundaries. Any boat position outside the zone will result in a penalty. (Penalty – Official: Boat out of Bounds, 5 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)

17. GRAPHING: Graphing between periods in order to locate Bass is not allowed. Penalty will be called when the Pro Am Angler marks a waypoint between periods. (Penalty – Official: Graphing between Periods, 5 Minutes at start of next period)

18. PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE: Each Pro-Am Angler must wear a Coast Guard-approved chest-type life preserver. Pro-Am Angler’s life preserver must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition any time the combustion engine is in gear. The Pro-Am Boat Official’s life preserver must be on before the boat is put on plane. Camera Operators are not required to wear the life preserver, but one must be on board for them at all times. (Penalty – Official: Safe-boat conduct Penalty, 3 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)

19. KILL SWITCH: The Pro-Am Angler or other appointed driver must have his boat’s kill switch connected any time the combustion engine is in gear. (Penalty – Official: Kill-switch connection, 5 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)

20. SPORTSMANSHIP: A Sportsmanship Violation is defined as aggressive or hostile behavior directed at a fellow Pro-Am Angler, Boat Official, a non-competitor or any representative of the Pro-Am, including the use of profanity directed at these individuals, will not be tolerated. ALL Boat Officials are required to report violations. (Sportsmanship Violation, Penalty will be determined by the Pro-Am Director)

21. FLAGRANT VIOLATION: A flagrant violation for any act that reflects unfavorably upon the positive efforts of the Pro-Am, Pro-Am sponsors, spectators, fisheries conservation, and clean waters will not be tolerated. (Flagrant Sportsmanship Violation, Penalty determined by Pro-Am Director)

22. At the end of the period, Pro Am Anglers will be allotted extra minutes of Fishing, with the total number of minutes equaling the duration of the TIME OUT. Pro-Am reserves the right to alter the day’s competitive time schedule should a TIME OUT occur.

23. PROHIBITED LURES: Only artificial lures with two or fewer hooks will be allowed to be used. Alabama / Umbrella rigs are prohibited from use due to their propensity to create additional stress on multiple fish caught.

24. SPOT LOCK / POWER POLE / TALON USE: Use of power poles, talons, and spot lock trolling motors is allowed during regulation play. These positioning systems are not allowed to be engaged during a penalty unless not doing so would place the boat in danger of receiving damage. If the positioning system is engaged while landing a fish and is active once the fish is landed then the system may remain engaged during penalty time.

These rules are subject to consistent review and update by the Pro Am Director only. In the event of a change resulting in review all anglers will be notified in advance via social media, email, and sms alert as to the change.