Sport Fish Restoration

Tournament Rules

Bass Lures

A downloadable version of the rules is available in PDF file format

  1. Inclement Weather Plan In the event of unfavorable weather on the day of the event, the tournament will continue as scheduled during rain only. In the event of lightning or thunder, all boats will be secured and participants asked to return to the nearest safest location. It is the responsibility of the Tournament Coordinator to determine whether or not the event should be called or wait until the weather clears. If the event is called, the winning weights will be determined by the fish that were caught up until that point in the day. Cancelling the event may occur if unforeseen dangerous natural events or unexpected problems occur that may impede the tournament.
  2. All student anglers and boat captains must wear a US Coast Guard approved Personal Floatation Device (PFD) the entire time they are aboard the boat and out on the water. Anglers will be disqualified if found to have removed their PFD.
  3. In addition to tournament limits, all SC freshwater fishing laws must be adhered to.
  4. All participants 16 years of age and older must have a valid South Carolina Recreational Freshwater Fishing License.
  5. Nets are allowed.
  6. Use of cell phones by student anglers is prohibited during the tournament. Captains may use cell phones to communicate emergencies only. All boats are required to have a cell phone and must provide the Tournament Coordinator the number of that cell phone in case of an emergency or to notify of bad weather conditions. Any use of a cell phone or any other communication devices to exchange fishing information is prohibited and will result in immediate disqualification. In the event of an emergency, all boat captains should call 911 first and then notify tournament officials.
  7. No livewell culling systems may be used that pass through the fish's operculum or gill flap. Culling systems that attach via the fish's lip are allowed.
  8. Student anglers are encouraged to wear school uniform shirts which may include outside sponsor logos.
  9. Pre-fishing on Friday, the day before the tournament, is allowed from dawn until 5:00pm.
  10. No coach, boat captain or student angler shall be permitted to use tobacco products during the competition or at the weigh-in. Alcohol is prohibited.
  11. The use of tobacco products during the tournament or weigh in is prohibited by student anglers and their boat captains.
  12. At the discretion of tournament officials, any participant can be disqualified for any unethical or unsportsmanlike behavior.
  13. A middle school may enter a maximum of 4 participants (or a lesser even number of anglers). A high school may enter a maximum of 4 participants (or a lesser even number of anglers). Each school is responsible for bringing 1 boat per 2 anglers. Only two students in each boat. The total weight of the 5 fish limited to that boat will count for the cumulative weight for the two-man team of that boat. Each middle or high school can register up to four additional student anglers to use as substitutions. Only these anglers added as substitute anglers during registration will be allowed to take the place of existing anglers in the instance that these anglers can no longer compete. All substitutions must be finalized at the conclusion of the Coaches' Meeting on Friday, March 18, 2016.
  14. The total weight for each of the 5 fish limited to a middle school two man team's boat will count towards the overall school team total for the tournament in the middle school
    category. The total weight for each of the 5 fish limited to a high school two man team's boat will count towards the overall school team total for the tournament in the high school category. Individual weights will be recorded for the top fish designated by each boat. The biggest fish award will be given at the tournament to an angler in the middle school category and the high school category. In addition to first, second and third place awards for schools, there will also be a first, second and third place award given to a two-man team in the middle school category and the high school category. Scholarships will be awarded for the two-man team with the heaviest weight in the 15-18 age category.
  15. Anglers may assist one another in netting fish. Boat captains may also assist in netting fish, but are not allowed to assist tying lures or handling fish or gear.
  16. All participants must be back at the boat landing no later than 2:00pm. There will be a one pound deduction every minute a participant is late getting back to the landing up to 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, no weight will be allowed for that boat's participants. Boat captains are responsible for making sure the boat is back to the dock by 2:00pm and at the weigh in no later than 3:45pm. Boat captains are responsible for notifying the Tournament Coordinator in advance of the 2:00pm closing time of any problems that may have occurred.
  17. In the event of a tie, the following will be used in order to break the tie: schools with all two of their two man teams weighing in a full 5 bass limit will automatically place higher; schools weighing in with dead fish will be automatically placed lower; and taking the tied teams and the school team that landed the larger fish will automatically be placed higher.
  18. For the top ranked two-man team in the high school category, ties will be broken, if the poundage is equal, in the following manner: First criteria will be the largest fish; second criteria will be the number of fish. Any fish found to be altered or in poor condition (mashed, mangled or mauled) will not be counted at the discretion of tournament officials.
  19. After the weigh in, all fish must be released immediately. All fish that are put in the live well must be kept alive. Dead fish at the landing will have a 1/4 pound deduction and cannot count as the large fish for that angler or two man team. Dead fish may not be culled.
  20. Each boat must have a bump board or way to measure the length of the fish. No fish fewer than 14 inches may be kept. Make sure your ruler is accurate. There will be no courtesy measurements conducted at the weigh in. Bags brought to the landing are final (culling of fish based on measurements should be handed on the water, not at the landing). Fish brought to the scales at weigh in that are less than 14 inches will automatically disqualify an angler pair's total bag from being weighed. Possession of undersized fish is in violation of state law. The standard rule of measurement will be the Gator Grip Golden Rule Fish Ruler at the weigh in.
  21. There will be a five fish black bass limit per two man team per boat. Black bass includes largemouth, smallmouth, spotted and/or redeye bass. Fish may be culled if a team has 5 fish in the live well. No more than 5 fish can be in the live well at any one time. All fish must be kept alive. Penalty will be 1/4 pound per each dead fish at the landing. If a two man team is caught with more than the 5 fish limit in their livewell by tournament officials, the fish will be culled starting with the largest fish until they are down to the
    stated limit of 5 fish. Bags brought to the landing are final (culling of fish based on measurements should be handed on the water, not at the landing).
  22. Participants must only use the gear that is in the boat when the boat leaves the dock at the start of the day. Permitted methods of fishing will be the use of artificial lures only, no live bait of any sort. Each angler aboard shall have no more than 3 rods on deck at one time. Only one fishing rod may be in use at any one time by an angler. Bass may be landed by use of conventional hook and line only. No snagging of fish allowed. No live bait or trolling allowed.
  23. Every boat must have an adult captain, age 21 years old or older, for driving purposes and only that captain can drive when the outboard motor is in use. Student anglers may operate the trolling motor when the outboard motor is not in use.
  24. Boats provided by volunteers must be a minimum of 16 feet in length, have front and rear casting decks, a front mounted trolling motor, an aerated live well capable of keeping alive the two man teams five bass limit. Boats must also have console steering (no tiller), an operable ignition safety kill switch and all safety equipment as required by the United States Coast Guard. Boats participating in this tournament must have current boat registration. All boats must be subject to a safety check prior to the launch.
  25. Anytime the gasoline engine is in use, boat captains must be seated in the driver's seat and anglers should be seated in the appropriate locations aboard the vessel.
  26. Boat captains must operate boats in a safe manner abiding all boating laws when carrying student anglers to fishing locations. Student anglers make the decisions on what areas to fish on the lake and what direction to go. Boat captains cannot make suggestions on areas to fish. Boat captains can however assist in netting fish.
  27. Boats shall not exceed the maximum horsepower capacity on the boat's maximum horsepower rating affixed to the boat by the manufacturer or a maximum of 250hp. The maximum capacity rating must be legible.
  28. Participants must stay completely in the boat unless they are using an authorized restroom facility or due to some other emergency or malfunction. If an emergency or malfunction occurs, the boat must contact the Tournament Coordinator prior to leaving the boat. In the event of a needed restroom break, the boat captain needs to contact tournament officials. Student anglers may leave and return to the boat at the official checkpoint designated by tournament officials. While one angler is momentarily out of the boat, all fishing will cease for the angler's partner until both anglers are back in the boat.
  29. Any transfer of fish from one live well to a different live well in another boat due to malfunction must be made in the presence of the Tournament Coordinator at the landing or SCDNR law enforcement officer after contact has been made to the tournament officials.
  30. On the day of the tournament, schools will be limited to putting into the water a maximum of 2 boats. No additional boats contacting coaches or other competitors from a school can be put into the water. Contestants may not obtain fishing patterns or locations from non-competitors, follow a non-competitor's boat or participate in the practice of “hole-sitting,” a practice wherein a non-competitor sits on a fishing spot, holding it for a contestant. In addition, non-competitors may not place markers for contestants. All of these acts are prohibited and will result in the immediate disqualification of the boat.
  31. Only the designated boat captain and the two angler team assigned to that boat may be aboard the boat during competition.
  32. At the time of launch from the landing, all student anglers and their boats must comply with all the rules applied by tournament officials. At check-in back at the landing, boat captains shall report their tournament boat identification number and anglers must present their limit and report the number of fish and if any fish are dead. Once the two man team's catch has been verified, boats will be trailored and convoy to the weigh in with fish remaining in the livewell. Boat captains must check-in even if they don't have any fish to ensure the safe return of all anglers.
  33. At the weigh in location, each two man team must carry their limit to the stage and scales.