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TOURNAMENT SERIES


1. OFFICIAL 2018 EVENT RULES:
(a) Decisions of the tournament director/committee are final and are not subject to appeal. Interpretation of these rules will be left exclusively to the tournament director/committee in his sole and absolute discretion. Each competitor agrees to report any rule violation to the tournament director immediately upon discovery of the violation. The violation of the tournament rules may result in loss of weight, the loss of weight up to a specific time during the tournament day, total loss of weight of the particular day, the ineligibility to participate in future AFS events, or any other penalty deemed appropriate by the tournament director/committee in his sole discretion. Protests must be made in writing within 15 minutes of the official closing of scales at each tournament.


2. ELIGIBILITY:
(a) All Local, State and Federal penal code laws shall apply at all times.


(b) All Local, State, Coast Guard, and Federal boating regulations shall apply at all times.


(c) This tournament series is for amateur anglers ONLY. Professional anglers are NOT eligible.  This tournament series is for aluminum bass fishing rigs only, with a horsepower restriction of 200 (unless otherwise determined by division director).  Aluminum jon boats are NOT eligible to fish the trail.  Fiberglass rigs are also NOT eligible.
· If you are unsure of your professional status, it is your responsibility to request a decision in writing from our staff prior to entering a tournament. Any contestant who enters this tournament series and is determined to be a professional will be removed from competition immediately and forfeit any entry fees or cash prizes won.


(d) For further clarification, anglers meeting any of the following criteria are NOT eligible:
· Anglers who have competed professionally in three (3) or more tournaments with an entry fee of $1,000 or greater in the last 12 months immediately preceding the tournament event.
· This includes, but is not limited to, anglers competing on the professional side in the B.A.S.S. Elite Series, B.A.S.S Opens, FLW Tour, FLW EverStart Series and PAA Series.
· Anglers who have professional career fishing tournament earnings in excess of $250,000.


(e) Each person must be a paid contestant of the tournament and abide by all tournament rules and regulations. It is the contestant’s sole responsibility to review the official rules prior to the start of the tournament. Entry into the event either online or in person represents acceptance of all tournament rules and regulations.


(f) Non-contestants are not allowed in paid contestants' boats at any time during official tournament hours. The only exception to this rule would be an official observer, tournament staff and/or a cameraman, or captain as part of a high school team (see secton (2) (i)).


(g) All bass caught by contestants will be disqualified if any contestants are found to be in violation of any tournament rules and regulations.


(h) Any contestants found to be in violation of any tournament rules and regulations will be subject to disqualification from the tournament and all future events.


(i) Contestants under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or adult with written parental permission.
        
                         AL Southeast - High School Teams: A team of individuals 16 or under can participate with a relative as a boater, as long as they abide                            by all the rules & regulations with prior notice from AFS tournament committee 

(j) Tournament officials reserve the right to refuse any entry for any reason. This is not subject to appeal.


3. REGISTRATION AND ENTRY FEE:
(a) Entry Fee is $50 (per boat) with mandatory $20 lunker pool fee (per boat) and must be paid before fishing. Registration for an event closes 30 minutes prior to tournament start, unless otherwise determined by the tournament director. There will be no late registration at the ramp and no one will be allowed to enter the tournament after the registration deadline. Pre-registration will take place online at the discretion of the tournament director.  Dates for pre-registration will be posted on the website.


(b) Refunds of entry fee(s) will be at the discretion of the Tournament director.  Payment of the entry fee will serve as agreement to abiding by all rules & regulations.


4. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES/ILLEGAL DRUGS/ETC:
(a) During tournament hours no alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs are to be consumed by tournament contestant or allowed in contestant's boa, and will result is disqualification from said event, with potential for disqualification in future events, as determined by tournament director and committee. 


5. SAFETY (THE FOLLOWING IS MANDATORY):
(a) 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 boat operator at all times while the outboard main engine is in use. However, kill switches are not required on boats that were not manufactured with one.


(b) U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets are required for each person on board and must be worn anytime the combustion engine is in operation, from boat check to weigh-in.  The driver must be seated in the driver’s seat anytime the combustion engine is engaged in gear.


(c) In the event of inclement weather, competitors are allowed to leave the boat and seek shelter, at which time no fishing may occur.


(d) In the event of equipment failure or emergency, the tournament director must be notified as soon as it is safe to do so. There are then two permitted methods of returning to check-in: (1) by both anglers remaining in their boat and being towed by water, or (2) with permission from the tournament director, by one or both anglers entering the boat of another tournament contestant. Under these two conditions both contestants’ catches may be counted without a penalty (except for late penalties, dead-fish penalties or other penalties pertaining to other tournament rules) provided each team’s fish are adequately marked so as to provide clear distinction to the tournament director. Contestants who elect to return to check-in by any means other than those cited will forfeit their day’s catch to that point in time of the tournament day. Abandoning a boat and leaving it adrift without proper tie-off or anchoring after a mechanical failure may result in disqualification of that day’s weight.


(e) No boat shall have a motor of higher horsepower than the approved Coast Guard maximum, and no boats with higher than 200 horsepower will be permitted to fish AFS tournaments in 2018, unless otherwise determined by state tournament director.


(f) Every boat must have all required safety equipment. It must also have a functional bilge pump and adequate livewell space, properly aerated and integrated into the boat hull, to adequately maintain a live limit catch of bass.

(g)  Some form of liability insurance is required for all boats, at the discretion of tournament director.  $100,000 Liability insurance will be minimum requirement for Northeast Division.


6. PERMITTED FISHING AREAS/METHODS/ETC:
(a) Fish must be caught on the tournament lake during official tournament hours deemed by tournament director.


(b) Only artificial lures may be used with the exception of Berkley Gulp products and pork rind trailers. 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 with the combustion engine 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.  No Alabama rigs, or any other umbrella rigs will be allowed in AFS tournaments.  Defer to state/lake regulations for rules not discussed here.


(c) Limit fish length is determined by the lakes rules & regulations for a legal limit size of bass.


(d) Contestants may leave from any launch site on tournament day at any time, but must be present at launch site for morning meeting, livewell check, and registration. Official start time will be determined by the Tournament Director.


(e) No one may leave his or her boat to fish or land a fish.


(f) Contestants are limited to use of a primary boat only. No canoes, rafts, or flotation apparatuses.


(g) Pre-tournament practice officially ends at 8:00pm 2 nights prior to a scheduled tournament or at the discretion of the tournament director.  The day before a scheduled tournament is off-limits to all anglers unless otherwise discussed by tournament director.


(h) No electronic tracking devices (implanted microchips) may be used to locate fish for tournament purposes (depth-finders and graph charts are the only exception.)


(i) Contestants may fish anywhere on tournament waters accessible by boat, except areas designated as “off-limits” or “no fishing” 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 with the trolling motor in the up position), or within 50 yards of a non-anchored competitor’s boat unless otherwise agreed upon by the other tournament angler. The act of moving bass from one area of the lake to another area of the same lake at any time is not permitted, regardless of whether or not it is during official practice or competition days. Locking through to another body of water is not permitted at anytime time during tournament hours.


(j) OFF-LIMIT areas will be established and announced at the briefing meeting for each AFS event. Contestants may not fish inside the established “off-limits” area. Violation of the rule will result in immediate disqualification. Contestants’ boats must remain in the tournament waters during the event.  Off-limits areas will be based on lake rules for specific season.


7. WEIGH-IN - SPORTSMANSHIP AND CONSERVATION:
(a) Sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and bass conservation are required from every participant.


(b) All bass weighed in will be released back into the lake alive if possible.


(c) Trailering a bass to weigh-in site during tournament hours is not permissible.


(d) For conservation reasons, all bass brought to official weigh-in station must be in a weigh-in bag with adequate water. If a contestant does not have a weigh bag one will be provided by tournament staff.


(e) Bass must be weighed in by the contestant(s) who originally caught the bass and it must be in said contestant's actual physical possession at the weigh-in line.


(f) Any artificially weighted or preserved bass will result in immediate disqualification and the contestant may be subject to prosecution under federal law.


(g) Any questionable fish may be subject to inspection by a marine biologist or similarly qualified expert.


(h) Only largemouth and smallmouth will be weighed in. Specific lake minimums and/or slot requirements must be followed and it is the responsibility of the contestant to abide by all local, state, and federal rules for the host event lake(s).


(i) Tournament officials have the right to inspect a contestant’s livewell prior to registration and/or tournament start time.


(j) Any contestant found to be in possession of any illegal substance will be disqualified.


(k) Any contestant attempting to manipulate the outcome of a tournament(s) or defraud the Aluminum Fishing Series (AFS) will be disqualified.


8. DECISIONS:
(a) All protests must be registered in writing with the Tournament Director within fifteen (15) minutes from when the last boat weighs their limit of bass (15 mins from the end of weigh-in, as designated by tournament director).


(b) The interpretation and enforcement of these rules will be the sole responsibility of the Tournament Director/Committee. Decisions of the Tournament Director, and Tournament Staff are final in all matters, and are not subject to appeal.  In the event of a discrepancy between print or digital version of the rules, the official rules listed on the AFS website at the time of the event will prevail.

9. TOURNAMENT POINTS/TEAM OF THE YEAR:
(a) Points based on a 20-30 teams registered, with following:
          1st place - 100 points
          2nd place - 98 points
          3rd place - 96 points
          4th place - 94 points
          ......
          30th place - 42 points
          Do Not Weigh (DNW) - 30 Points
          Lunker - 2 points  (1 for Smallmouth, 1 for Largemouth) - in the event 1 species is caught, team is awarded both points

(b) Points based on a 0-20 teams registered, with following:
          1st place - 100 points
          2nd place - 98 points
          3rd place - 96 points
          4th place - 94 points
          ......
          20th place - 62 points
          Do Not Weigh (DNW) - 50 Points
          Lunker - 2 points (1 for Smallmouth, 1 for Largemouth) - in the event 1 species is caught, team is awarded both points

(c) The interpretation and enforcement of these points will be the sole discretion of the Tournament Director. Decisions of the Tournament Director, and Tournament Staff are final in all matters, and are not subject to appeal.  

(d) PARTNER SUBSITUTIONS
Substitutions are not allowed for team members.  However, if a partner is unable to compete in a tournament, an angler can fish SOLO once per tournament year to obtain team points, but must notify the division director upon registration.  Fishing solo, that angler must abide by all legal limit restrictions.

(e) TEAM OF THE YEAR TIE-BREAKERS (where applicable)
In the event that teams are tied for Team of the Year, the following will be used as tie-breakers in the same order:
          - Total CUMULATIVE number of LIVE fish caught in all 3 team opens
          - Total CUMULATIVE weight in all 3 team opens
          - Largest limit of fish from all 3 team opens
          - Largest LIVE bass caught in any of the 3 team opens

10. PENALTY POINTS:
(a) DEAD FISH PENALTY
          Northeast NH - For each legal dead bass presented to weigh-in, the competitor shall be penalized 8 ounces (0.5 lbs) to be deducted from his                                           daily score.  Culling dead fish is NOT permitted.

          Southeast AL - You may weigh one dead fish as a part of your five-fish total; an 8 ounce (0.5 lbs) penalty will be assessed to your total weight                                        for the day. No dead fish will be weighed for big fish.


          Northeast MA – Weighing a dead fish is NOT permitted.


(b) If a short fish is weighed, boat/team will be penalized by disqualification of biggst fish (along with short fish).  Courtesy measure must be requested when weigh-in bag is placed in tub.

(c) The tournament director and his designated appointees shall have sole authority for accessing penalty points.

(d) Any contestant who possesses more than the tournament limit at any time will have his/her catch for the day disqualified. Bass presented for weigh-in that fail to measure the prescribed length limit, will result in loss of that fish and a half–pound penalty to the weight of the remaining fish.

(e) Competitors who are not in the official checkpoint area as described by the tournament director at the appointed time shall be penalized at a rate of 1 pound per minute to be deducted from the total weight of his daily catch, including any weight to be counted toward a “lunker award”, for each one (1) minute he/she is late.  Any competitor more than 15 minutes late shall lose all credit for the days catch.  Tournament director decision on late penalty is final.

11. OTHER:
(a) In case of a tie, the following tie breakers will be used in order:
          The individual/team with the largest number of legal LIVE fish weighed in during competition
          The individual/team with the largest LIVE weighed bass

(b) In the unlikely event that the tournament remains tied after these tie breakers are employed, then the winner will be determined by a means decided on by the tournament director/committee and/or majority member vote.


(c) All State Fish and Game Laws / rules will apply (interstate waters / restricted season).


d) Bass must not be stringent at any time during the tournament.


e)  Any rules not outlined will defer to BASS Nation blanket rules, and enforced by tournament directors and committee.