Article I: Rules and Regulations
1.01 These Rules and Regulations are the Official Rules (“Rules”) of the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour (“Event”).
1.02 Participant(s) acknowledge and agree that they have reviewed, understand, and will abide by the Rules as posted on our official website at http://www.bigbasstour.com. Participants willingly agree to comply with the Rules for participation in the Event.
1.03 All local, state & federal laws shall apply at all times including, without limitation, the penal code.
1.04 All local, state, U.S. Coast Guard, and federal boating and fishing regulations shall apply at all times.
1.05 In the event of a discrepancy between the printed version and digital version of the Rules, the Rules posted on the official website at the time of the Event shall prevail.
Article II: Event Participation and Eligibility
2.01 Each person in the boat must be a paid contestant of the Event and abide by the Rules. Maximum of three (3) anglers per boat.
2.02 The Event is an “open” amateur event.
2.03 Participants less than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or adult with written parental permission. (Written parental permission must be provided to event staff prior to the start of the event) Participants under the age of 18 years may not fish alone in the Event.
2.04 Event officials reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone in their sole discretion.
2.05 Anyone who has failed a polygraph examination and/or been disqualified for fraudulent actions in connection with any fishing tournament is not eligible to compete.
2.06 The Event and series of events is for amateur anglers only. Professional anglers are not eligible to compete. If you are unsure of your professional status, it is your responsibility to request a decision in writing from the Event Staff prior to entering an Event. Any Participant who enters this Event or series of events, and is determined to be a professional, will be removed from competition immediately and will forfeit the Entry Fee (or entry fees) (as defined below).
2.07 Any angler meeting any one (1) or more of the following criteria is considered a “professional” and is not eligible to compete in this Event or series of events:
A. Anglers who have guided professionally for a fee (of any kind) on the host lake within the last twelve (12) months immediately preceding the Event. This includes any species of fish.
B. Anglers who have competed as a professional in three (3) or more individual tournaments with an entry fee of $1,000.00 or greater within the last twelve (12) months immediately preceding the Event. This includes, but is not limited to, anglers competing as a professional in the B.A.S.S. Opens, and/or FLW Costa Series. (This rule does not apply to co-anglers competing in B.A.S.S. Opens, and/or FLW, unless the co-angler entry fee exceeded $1,000.00 per tournament event.)
C. Anglers who have competed professionally in the Bassmaster Classic, B.A.S.S. Elite Series, Forrest Wood Cup, and/or the FLW Tour within the last five (5) years.
D. Anglers who have professional career fishing tournament earnings in the aggregate in excess of $250,000.00 with B.A.S.S., FLW, and/or the PAA.
2.08 Any Participant desiring to inquire regarding the professional status of another Participant, must do so in accordance with the Protests and Dispute Article of these Rules.
Article III: Registration and Entry Fee
3.01 Each participant shall pay an entry fee of $110.00 for a one-day entry and $160.00 for two-day entry (hereinafter “Entry Fee”) per angler to participate in the Event. The Entry Fee shall be paid (in full) prior to participation in the Event. (Lake Conroe will have a three-day entry option for $240)
3.02 Registration for the Event closes at 10 p.m. on the day prior to the beginning of the Event. There will be no late registration on Saturday and Sunday mornings of the Event. Participants may register online prior to the Event or at one of the registration days prior to the Event. Participants that register online on Saturday to fish on Sunday, but must do so by 6 PM on Saturday and must adhere to the off limits rules listed in section 6.02.
3.03 There will be no refunds of the Entry Fee unless an event is cancelled. In the event a Participant needs to cancel an entry (for any reason), the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour will move the Entry Fee for registration for a subsequent event as a courtesy on one and only one occasion. Subsequent withdrawals or removals from competition will cause the forfeiture of the Entry Fee.
3.04 If the Participant registered for the Event online, the Participant is not required to attend onsite registration prior to the Event. There is no meeting to attend prior to the Event.
3.05 If the Participant registered online and qualified to receive a free fishing rod (please check Event details), you may pick up the fishing rod at one of the registration points listed on the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour official website, or at the weigh-in site on Saturday and Sunday of the Event after 3:00 p.m. We will not distribute fishing rods during tournament hours.
3.06 Payment of the Entry Fee constitutes a representation by each Participant that he/she has read and understands the Rules and the Participant will abide by such Rules and the decisions of the Event Director and/or Event Staff.
3.07 Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or other crimes including those involving moral turpitude, or other conduct reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with Event Rules, shall be grounds for rejecting any application for registration and/or for disqualification, suspension from the Event, and/or other disciplinary action.
Article IV: Interpretation and Discipline
4.01 Participants agree to abide by the Rules and any decisions of the Event Director and/or Event Staff.
4.02 Interpretation and enforcement of the Rules shall be left to the sole and exclusive discretion of the Event Director and/or his/her designee at the Event. In the event a Participant(s) violates any rule set forth in the Rules or, at the discretion of the Event Director, other rule not specifically codified herein, the Event Director may impose a penalty and/or sanction on the Participant (including but not limited to any other participant competing from the same boat). Such penalties and sanctions may include disqualification from the Event and future events. Penalties and sanctions for violation of any rule set forth in the Rules or, at the discretion of the Event Director, other rule not specifically codified herein may include, but are not limited to, 1) reduction of competition hours; 2) loss of one or more fish; 3) loss of catch of the day; 4) disqualification from the Event; 5) disqualification from future events which may include a specific number of events, a specific time period, or a lifetime disqualification; 6) loss of Entry Fee; 7) forfeiture of Event winnings and/or prizes; and 8) any other penalty determined by the Event Director or his/her designee and/or the Event Staff.
4.03 Each Participant agrees to report to the Event Director immediately any violation or infraction of the Rules. Failure to report violations, suggestions that another Participant violated these Rules, or false verification of weigh-in forms, may be cause for disqualification.
Article V: Safety
5.01 Participants are aware he/she/they are participating in a physical activity in the sport of fishing that may be dangerous and can cause injury. These activities may involve severe cardiovascular stress and possible violent contact. Participants understand and acknowledge the activities involve certain risks including, but not limited to, death, serious neck and spinal injuries resulting in complete or partial paralysis, brain damage, and/or serious injury to virtually all bones, joints, muscles and internal organs, and property damage. Although particular Rules, equipment, and personal discipline may reduce the risks associated with participating in the Event, the risk of serious injury does exist and cannot be completely eliminated.
5.02 During Event hours no alcoholic beverages or drugs (other than those purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) are to be consumed by Participants or allowed in Participants’ boat until the final hourly weigh-in is complete and/or polygraph examinations are complete.
5.03 All boats must be equipped with some type of emergency ignition cut-off device (kill switch) on any remote steered outboard while main engine is in use. Ignition cut-off device (kill switch) must operate properly, which means when the kill switch is activated the outboard main engine must stop running immediately. The ignition cut-off device (kill switch) must be attached to the boat operator at all times while the outboard main engine is in use.
5.04 U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets are required for each person on board a boat during official practice and competition. Life jackets must be worn and strapped, snapped, or zippered securely, and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is out of gear or shut off. Participants shall check inflatable life vest indicators daily during the Event. Any Participant in violation of this rule will receive one (1) warning and may be prohibited from weighing bass during that respective weigh-in hour. (Any subsequent violation of this rule will result in the participant(s) being disqualified for the remainder of that day of competition)
5.05 If Participants observe any significant hazard, condition or activity during his/her presence or participation in the Event, Participants shall remove himself/herself from participation and bring it to the attention of a representative of the Event immediately.
5.06 Safe boat conduct must be observed at all times by Participants.
5.07 No boat shall have a motor of higher horsepower than approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and/or the lake authority.
5.08 No firearms will be allowed in Participant’s boat during Event hours.
Article VI: Permitted Fishing Areas, Practice, Off Limits, and Hours
6.01 All fish must be caught on and within the official designated Event waters during official Event hours. Participants may fish anywhere on Event waters accessible to the public by boat, except areas designated as “off limits” or “no fishing” by private ownership or local, state and federal officials. Jumping dikes, landmasses or any other object, natural or manmade to enter an area is prohibited.
6.02 The Event off limits time begins at 6:00 p.m. the day prior to the Event. Participants must be off the water on or before 6:00 p.m. on the Friday prior to the Event and may not begin fishing until the official Event start time on the following Saturday, which will be announced via text message the morning of the Event. The Event lake is off limits to fishing after 3:00 p.m. on the Saturday of the Event. Participants may return to their respective launch site by boat, but are not allowed to fish or use electronics for the purposes of finding fish after the off limits time.
6.03 There is no formal launch site for the Event. Participants may leave from any launch site on the Event day at any time; however, the Participant may not begin casting until the Event has officially started. Official start times will be determined by the Event Director and Participants will be notified when to commence fishing via text message the morning of the Event. (In the event the participant does not receive the official text message, the participant may commence fishing at the official start time as verified by cellular phone time)
6.04 No fishing shall occur within fifty (50) yards of a marina gas pump.
6.05 No one may leave his or her boat to fish or land a fish.
6.06 Participants are limited to use of a primary motorized boat only. No canoes, kayaks, rafts, or flotation apparatuses.
6.07 No fishing is allowed within twenty-five (25) yards of a non-anchored boat or fifty (50) yards of an anchored boat without that boat's permission.
6.08 No Participant may buy, barter or hold a fishing location from any other Participant or Non-Participant for use during any Event day.
6.09 Participants must be in line at the bump tanks before the end of the respective hour for their fish weight to be tallied and counted in the results of the Event.
6.10 From time to time, the immediate areas where the Event “live releases” fish daily may be made off-limits to fishing and Participants. Participants will be notified via text message of such location.
Article VII: Methods, Tackle and Equipment
7.01 All bass must be caught on artificial bait by casting only, no foul hooking of bedding fish. A foul hooked “bedding” fish is defined as a fish that does not have at least one hook in its mouth, and it must be released. No trolling with big motor. Participants may use only one rod at any one time. Other rods may be in the boat for substitute purposes.
7.02 No electronic tracking devices (implanted microchips) may be used to locate fish for Event purposes (depth-finders, sound mimicking devices (such as Hydrowave) and graph charts are the only exception).
Article VIII: Sportsmanship
8.01 Sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and bass conservation are required from every Participant. Participants shall demonstrate professionalism and integrity in support of the sport of fishing. This includes any and all social media content that may be shared now or in the future. Any Participant found compromising the integrity of the sport and/or the Event may be subject to disciplinary action and/or disqualification.
8.02 The favorable public reputation of the Event, the sport of fishing, the Event Director, the Event Staff, sponsors, partners and officials is of paramount importance. Accordingly, Participants shall refrain from making unreasonable attacks, accusations, and comments that disparage the integrity of the Event, the sport of fishing, the Event Director, the Event Staff, sponsors, partners and officials. This includes but is not limited to the Participants social media accounts and digital sites.
8.03 Participants shall act in a courteous manner at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non-participants who may be on Event waters.
8.04 Any Participants attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Event or defraud the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour will be disqualified and may be subject to prosecution.
Article IX: Weigh-in, Points, and Penalties
9.01 All bass weighed-in will become the property of the Event and will be released back into the lake alive, if possible.
9.02 Trailering a bass to a weigh-in site during Event hours is permissible. Any Participant, whether trailering or not, shall be required to bring their boat and respective partner or partners, if any, with them to the official weigh-in site for a boat inspection when weighing bass in any respective hour.
9.03 Hourly weigh-ins shall be at 8:00-9:00 a.m., 9:00-10:00 a.m., 10:00-11:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m., 12:00-1:00 p.m., 1:00-2:00 p.m., and 2:00-3:00 p.m.
9.04 For reasons of conservation, all bass brought to the official weigh-in station must be in a weigh bag with adequate water. If a Participant does not have a weigh bag, one will be provided by Event Staff. Bass must be alive to be weighed-in.
9.05 No Participant may weigh more than one (1) bass per official Event hour. Bass entered as a part of big bass of the hour does not carry forward from hour to hour. Participant’s biggest bass is registered into the final overall standings.
9.06 Bass must be weighed-in by the Participant who originally caught the bass and it must be in said Participant's actual physical possession in the weigh-in line. (The only exception to this rule would be if one of the tournament particpants is disabled, in this case we will allow another Participant to bring the fish to the scales for the disabled angler.)
9.07 Any artificially weighted bass will be disqualified and the Participants may be subject to prosecution and shall be disqualified from all future Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour events. Any questionable fish will be subject to inspection by a marine biologist or similarly qualified expert.
9.08 Only largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky spotted bass will be weighed-in. Specific lake minimums and/or slot requirements must be followed and it is the responsibility of the Participant to abide by all local, state, and federal Rules for the Event lake(s).
9.09 No Participant may have more than three (3) bass (per Participant) in his/her possession at any time during official Event hours. When the Event officially concludes each day, all bass shall be released back into the water.
9.10 In the event of a tie for the overall big bass, the winner will be the Participant that weighs-in his/her fish first.
9.11 Every effort must be made to keep bass alive including proper livewell aeration, treatment and temperature management.
9.12 Any alteration of length or weight of bass is prohibited and the Participant will be banned from any future Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour events and may be subject to prosecution.
Article X: Communications
10.01 Participant’s entry into an Event via mail, facsimile, online or onsite represents your express consent to receive email, phone, and text message communication from the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour and any of its successors, directors, members, officers, agents, contractors, affiliates, employees, sponsoring agencies, sponsors, advertisers before, during, and after an Event. Participants who remain in the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour database after an Event understand and acknowledge that they will receive ongoing Event and event series updates. In order to discontinue communication, it is Participant’s responsibility to notify the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour in writing to opt out of the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour’s mail, email, text message, and other databases.
10.02 Text and Mobile App updates and Event communication is an added value service provided by the Event. The Event and the Event Staff cannot guarantee delivery of any text messages or communications. It is the Participant’s responsibility to manually enter themselves into the text system. Some carriers/providers block text messaging services and it is the Participant’s sole responsibility to check with his/her respective provider to determine text delivery services. If Participant is unable to receive text messages, please contact your provider prior to the Event or you may utilize the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour live leaderboard.
10.03 Cell phones and other communication devices may NOT be used for the purposes of locating or finding fish and/or communicating with other Participants or Non-Participants regarding such.
Article XI: Polygraph Examination
11.01 Participant agrees to submit for a third-party administered polygraph examination and agrees to provide truthful and honest responses as to be determined by the third-party polygraph examiner.
11.02 Refusing to take a polygraph examination for any reason will result in immediate disqualification.
11.03 Any Participant taking medication should notify the polygraph examiner prior to examination.
11.04 Any Participant determined by the polygraph examination and/or other Event Officials to be intoxicated and/or under the influence of any type of illegal drug(s) at the time said Participant is required to take the polygraph examination or in violation of the Rules, will be disqualified from this Event and all future Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour events.
11.05 Participants acknowledge and agree that Event may disclose the results of the polygraph exam. Whether disclosure occurs is at the sole discretion of the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour.
11.06 By his/her signature on the Event entry form and/or other required documents or entering the Event online, each Participant agrees to submit for a third-party administered polygraph examination. Each participant shall abide by the conclusion reached by the third-party administrator administering the polygraph examination and, specifically, whether the Participant provided honest and truthful responses.
11.07 At the sole discretion of the Event Director or his/her designee, random third-party administered polygraph examinations may be administered on site during the Event.
Article XII: Boat Inspection
12.01 All Participants, by entering this Event, hereby agree to allow their boat to be boarded and inspected by Event Officials at any time prior to, during, or following the Event, to include, but not limited to, their boat registration, U.S. Coast Guard horsepower rating plate, live-well, rod boxes, closed storage compartments, tackle boxes, life jackets, personal floatation devices, and safety equipment.
12.02 The Event cooperates with local law enforcement, park rangers and fish/wildlife officers during the Event. If any Participant is found to be in violation of local, state or federal law during Event hours, he/she/they will immediately be disqualified and unable to compete in future tournaments.
Article XIII: Protests and Disputes
13.01 All protests or disputes relating to any matter involving the Rules and/or the Event must be registered in writing with the Event Director within fifteen (15) minutes of the designated weigh-in and prior to delivery of any prizes or winnings. Protests made after the deadline will be disregarded and the protesting team or Participant may be subject to disqualification.
13.02 Any protest filed by a Participant shall be heard by the Event Staff. After reviewing the protest submitted, the Event Director shall inform the protesting Participant of the Event Staff’s decision. The Event Staff’s decision is final and not subject to further appeal.
13.03 The interpretation and enforcement of the Rules will be the sole responsibility of the Event Director and, if protested, the Event Staff.
Article XIX: Miscellaneous
14.01 The headings, captions, titles, and numbering system are inserted only as a matter of convenience and may under no circumstances be considered in interpreting the provisions of this Agreement.
14.02 The Rules shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas in all respects, including matters of construction, interpretation, validity, and enforcement.