Rules for Tournaments

1. Rule changes:

These rules have been updated as of 1/17/2014 and the changes will remain en effect for the Tournament year of 2014. Interpretation of these rules will be left exclusively to the tournament director. Decisions of the tournament director are final in all matters and are not subject to appeal. Protests must be made in writing within 30 minutes of the official check-in time of the final flight of each tournament day. All decisions and rulings of the Tournament Director and/or the Board of Directors are final.

2. Participation

A) Participation is open only to chapter members of The Bass Federation of South Carolina who are 16 years of age or older. Any person entering a tournament under the age of majority must also have the signature of their parent or legal guardian in the provided space on the entry form. All contestants must have in their possession a valid fishing license, dues paid for FLW Outdoors, TBF National, TBF of SC, and be a member of an affiliated TBF of SC club.
B) A boater whose entry is received in-house at TBF of SC by the entry deadline and provides a co-angler with his/her entry (whose entry is received in-house at TBF of SC by the priority entry deadline) will receive entry priority and, if accepted into the tournament, will be drawn with a co-angler provided there are enough co-anglers entered. If there is a shortage of co-anglers, those boaters will be picked at random to fish alone, but not more than once in a tournament season, if possible. Those that fish alone will be given the highest boat numbers. A co-angler whose entry is received in-house at TBF of SC by the priority entry deadline and provides a boater with his/her entry (whose entry is received in-house at TBF of SC by the priority entry deadline) will receive entry priority. All others will be taken in order of entry (first-come, first-served). Boat numbers are given (except those fishing alone) by order entry is received based on postmark.
C) Entries are to be made by mail or paypal. Please mail to TBF of SC, PO Box 2616, Lexington, South Carolina 29071. No Exceptions.

D) Each tournament will have a total field of no more than 300 contestants (unless state law mandates a smaller number of contestants). Entries received after the field has filled will be placed on a waiting list. Those placed on the waiting list and not accepted into the tournament will have their entry returned and will maintain eligibility.
E) A completed entry form, accompanied by the entry fee, must be postmarked no later than the Saturday before each tournament. The specific date will be posted on this website under the Tournament Schedule tab. Late entries will not be accepted for tournaments with a full field. Late entries must be accompanied by a $25 non-refundable service charge and submitted no later than 8 p.m. local time the Tuesday before the tournament. No entries will be accepted after Tuesday. Entry fees may be transferred or refunded provided TBF of SC is notified by 5 p.m. Central time Thursday, prior to Saturday’s tournament; entry fees will not be transferred or refunded after Thursday. There will be a $30.00 service charge for each refund of an entry fee. No exceptions.

F) Boat numbers will be selected by order entry is received.

3. Pre-tournament practice

There will be no official off limits period, but anglers must be off tournament waters by 6pm the day before the tournament. No contestant may be on tournament waters for the purpose of locating bass or potential fishing waters during this time. The purchasing of information or the hiring of services will not be permitted after the entry deadline for each qualifying tournament.

4. Registration and pre-tournament meeting

Each contestant must be at the designated tournament site, at least, one hour before safe light the morning of the tournament. Partners should be contacted in the week previous, and meeting plans arranged. We will not have the time to search for your partner the morning of the tournament. Also see Participation above for times and registration procedures.

5. Pairings

Partners will be paired by draw. The draw is done by computer program and placed upon this website under the pairings tab or sent out via email. Phone numbers are included so each Angler can advise their partners of their respective lodging and and establish a meeting time and place for the following morning’s takeoff. The tournament director, at his sole discretion, may reassign partners prior to the morning takeoff. If the number of co-anglers exceeds the number of boaters, excess co-anglers may choose to change to boater status or have their entry transferred or refunded with no service charge and still maintain eligibility. The selection of co-anglers in this situation will be determined by date and time of entry beginning with those co-anglers who entered the tournament individually. An observer may be placed with approval of the Tournament Director. He will enter big fish pot only, and fish from the back of the boat.

6. Safety

A) Safe boating must be observed at all times. Each contestant is required to wear a 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 that must be securely attached to the driver’s body whenever the combustion engine is in operation. At the discretion of the tournament director, tournament days may be shortened, postponed or canceled due to unsafe weather or water conditions.
B) It is also strongly suggested that all boaters wear some form of face protection or wind deflection device, such as Fish Hedz, for the safety of you and your co-angler partner.

7. Sportsmanship

A) All contestants are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy and conservation and to conduct themselves in a manner that will be a credit to themselves, to FLW Outdoors, TBF, TBF of SC, the sport of fishing and our sponsors.
Examples of conduct not complying with those standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Violation of, or failure to comply with, any of the official rules for the 2011 TBF of SC Tournament trail or By-Laws
  2. Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or any kind of mind-altering substance during registration, the pre-tournament meeting or during tournament hours extending through the weigh-in procedure.
  3. Abuse of, or addiction to, mind-altering substances.
  4. Conviction of a felony within the past 36 months.
  5. Suspension/disqualification from any tournament or fishing organization.
  6. Any other words, conduct or actions reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with tournament rules, or which fail to comply with the standards set forth in the first sentence of paragraph 7.

B) In case of any conduct not complying with the standards, TBF of SC officials 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 to disqualify a contestant.

8. Boat operation

A) Boaters will fish from the front deck of the boat only. Co-anglers will fish from the back deck of the boat only. Boaters will have complete control of boat operation and waters to be fished. Any boater who, in the judgment of the tournament director, operates the boat in a manner that unfairly handicaps their co-angler partner will be disqualified for that day. In multi-day tournaments, co-anglers who share their boater partner’s fishing locations with other competitors will be disqualified along with the person utilizing this information.

B) During tournament hours contestants may not obtain or receive assistance from non-competitors, follow a non-competitor’s boat or participate in the practice of “hole sitting” or the placing of markers by anyone.
C) The use of mobile communication devices, including, but not limited to, cellular phones, marine radios, walkie-talkies, CBs, etc., during tournament hours is strictly prohibited except in an emergency (severe weather, etc.) or to communicate with lockmasters.

D) Contestants are expected to compete every day for which they are qualified; failure to do so may result in ineligibility to compete in future TBF of SC events.
9. Boat and horsepower regulations

A) All boats must be propeller driven.
B) All boats must be a minimum of 17 feet in length and have a rear deck.
C) All boats must be equipped with wheel steering; no other steering device will be permitted.
D) No barges or similar cumbersome crafts will be permitted.
E) Each boat must have all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment.
F) Boats must contain a properly aerated live well space to maintain, alive, a limit catch of bass by both contestants.
G) Maximum horsepower for all outboards used in tournament competition will be 250 horsepower, not to exceed the horsepower capacity set forth on the “Maximum Capacities” placard described below.
H) Each boat must have a clearly legible “Maximum Capacities” (or comparably titled) placard that includes a maximum horsepower rating affixed to the boat by the manufacturer.
I) The horsepower of the outboard engine must not exceed the maximum horsepower capacity specified on this placard or the 250 horsepower maximum set by TBF of SC.
J) By signing the entry form, each contestant agrees to submit his/her boat and/or motor to an inspection by TBF personnel. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower numbers on the motor or rating placard will be cause for disqualification from the tournament and may result in ineligibility to compete in future TBF events.
K) Fishing platforms must be factory-installed equipment. No portable platforms may be used in tournament competition.
L) Fuel may be carried only in factory-installed (built-in) fuel tanks. Any additional fuel used during the tournament day must be purchased from a retail facility open to the public.

M) All anglers entering a TBF of SC tournament as a boater must present satisfactory documentation showing proof of ownership of the boat they are competing in, proof of insurance listing that angler as owner or an operator of the boat in question, or a current insurance policy that states, specifically, that operators other than the owner are covered fully under this policy. Judgment of the Tournament Director and/or Tournament Committee will decide the angler’s eligibility.

10. Permitted fishing methods

A) All bass must be caught alive in a conventional sporting manner.
B) Only artificial lures may be used, with the exception of pork trailers.
C) Only one fishing rod may be used at a time.
D) Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited.

E) When angling for bedding bass, all bass must be hooked in the mouth.


11. Permitted fishing locations

A) Contestants may fish anywhere on tournament waters available to the public and accessible by boat, except areas designated as “off limits” or “no fishing” by local, state, or federal officials or within 50 yards of a competitor’s boat that was first to arrive at the location.
B) 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.
C) Contestants must leave and return to the official checkpoint by boat.
D) The boat must remain in the tournament waters during the tournament day.
E) No tournament boat may be loaded on the trailer before the weigh-in except with the permission of the tournament director.
F) In the event of equipment failure or an emergency, there will be only two permitted methods of returning to the official check-in:

  1. By both partners remaining in their boat and being towed by water, or
  2. By both partners entering the boat of another tournament contestant.

G) Under these two conditions, the contestants’ catches may be counted without a penalty (except for late penalties, dead-fish penalties or other penalties pertaining to other tournament rules). Contestants who elect to return to the official check-in by any other means than cited above will forfeit their day’s catch to that point in time of the tournament day.

H) Any contestant returning to the check-in point will be eligible to restart and resume competition under the supervision of the tournament director or his designated tournament official. It is the sole responsibility of contestants to locate the tournament director to request a restart.
I) Partners must remain together at all times and within sight of each other until the weigh-in slip is signed in order for their catch for that day to be counted. The momentary condition of being out of sight of each other for restroom breaks is permitted. If a contestant must violate any part of this rule due to an emergency or for any other reason their catch for that day will not be counted.

12. Official checkpoints

There will be one official checkpoint for boat check in the morning and one official check-in point in the afternoon. Failure to go through boat check and checkout in the morning or failure to check in at the check-in point will result in disqualification. All fishing must cease upon check-in. Our best effort will be given to allowing for at least eight hours of fishing time. In the case of adverse fishing conditions, the Tournament Director may open weigh-in at 12:00 noon for safety.

13. Late penalty

Contestants who are not at the official check-in area at the appointed time will be penalized 1 pound per minute deducted from the total weight including any weight to be counted toward a big bass award. Any contestant more than 15 minutes late will lose credit for that day’s weight.

14. Live fish

Every effort must be made to keep bass alive through the use of a properly aerated live well. TBF of SC recommends the use of live well additives that promote the healthy return of bass to their natural habitat.

One Half (1/2) pound or (0.5 tenths) will be deducted from the total weight for each dead bass presented for weigh-in.

15. Scoring

A) The pounds and ounces of each contestant’s catch will determine scoring during the tournament. Points are awarded as follows: 150 points for first place with 2 points less for each successive place. There will be a minimum of 50 points awarded for anglers with no fish.
B) Only largemouth, spotted, redeye and smallmouth bass are accepted species.
C) The limit will be five unless the state or lake limit is less than five; in which case the state or lake limit will prevail. Contestants possessing more than the tournament limit will have his/her catch for that day disqualified.
D) The official length limit for bass is 12 inches unless the state or lake limit is more than 12 inches; in which case the state or lake limit will prevail. A contestant presenting a short fish at weigh in will be penalized that fish plus the angler’s largest fish.

E) Each contestant’s catch must be presented in an official weigh-in bag and verified by the signature of his/her partner.
F) The official measuring board will be a Golden Rule.
G) Each contestant must cull after the fifth fish is caught ON THE WATER. If a contestant is caught with six fish in his livewell, that belongs to him, during tournament hours, that contestant will be disqualified.

H) There will be a courtesy board provided by TBF, at a specific location, for angler’s to check a fish. After passing that point, those fish are your catch for the day.

16. Ties

In case of ties, positions will be resolved by number of fish weighed in, then Big Fish. The tournament director may decide to break a first-place tie with a fish-off.

17. Logo usage and television coverage

A) During the BFL All-American anglers must use boats and PFDs provided by sponsors of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League.
B) On the final day anglers must wear shirts and rain suits provided by sponsors of the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League.
C) During the Wal-Mart BFL All-American and any other televised tournaments, no logos, patches, or decals other than the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League logo or logos of Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League sponsors may be worn or displayed.
D) During the Wal-Mart BFL All-American, competitors may not fish while using tobacco products. Smoking is not allowed in weigh-in lines in all tournaments.

18. Polygraph

Each contestant agrees to submit, by his or her signature on the official tournament entry form, to a polygraph examination and abide by its conclusion. Failure to pass the examination will result in disqualification. Polygraphs will be used at TBF’s sole discretion and the determination of the meaning of the results will be made solely by TBF.

19. Insurance

Any participant in a TBF of SC tournament must have a reasonable amount in boat liability insurance in their name on board with them and be able to present it to the Tournament Director during any random checks.

20. Launching

A) Boaters and Co-Anglers are to meet in the parking area of the ramp before the launch of the partners boat or at a pre-arranged location. Co-Anglers should help their boater partner in any way possible the morning of the tournament.
B) After the launch of the boat, Boaters should proceed to the Co-Anglers pick up location. Co-Anglers should park their Boaters tow vehicle and proceed to their meeting point immediately.
C) After both parties have boarded, the boat will proceed to the check boat awaiting them at the specified area given to you at check-in. When you reach this boat, you are to have your livewell lids open, your livewells full of water with the aerators running. When you ease up along side the check boat, demonstrate your kill switch and you will receive a weigh in/launch number. This is to be kept with you at all times. You cannot launch or weigh without it.
D) After checkout, proceed to the staging area and begin lining up for ease off. Ask the boaters around you for their numbers, and arrange yourselves accordingly.
E) There will be a launch boat at the head of the staging area to direct ease-off/launch procedures from this point on. There will be a specific geographic location that you will be allowed to go on plane.
F) Once your boat is launched, you CANNOT operate above idle NO WAKE speed! If this rule is broken, you will be immediately disqualified.
G) Once we start launch, we will neither wait nor will we stop. If you miss your number call, pull to the side. You are now the last boat in the flight. If you take off out of sequence, you are disqualified immediately.

21. Weigh In

A) When you come in, you will be off plane at the same location you were allowed to go on plane. By off plane at that point we mean at idle speed when you pass that landmark.
B) We will weigh in fifteen boats at a time. When we call boats 1-15, you are to put your boat on the trailer and pull up and out of the way. Begin immediately to get your fish together and bagged. We provide official bags for everyone to weigh in.
C) When we call for boats 1-15 to bring their fish to the scales, we will also call for boats 15-30 to trailer their boats and begin getting their fish ready. Whether you caught fish or not, we expect everyone to check-in. We need to know everyone returned safely.

22. Sharing of Expenses

Co-anglers are expected to share the days expenses in a reasonable amount with their boater partner. Failure to do so could result in loss of weight and points for the day. If a co-angler feels they have been asked for an unfair amount, they have the right to appeal.

Once again, other than emergencies, there will be no excuses for being late. We will allow plenty of time for you to get to the scales. We want you to use it wisely. Again, once we start we will not stop or wait for anyone. After last call for fish for your group, we will move on and all people having not weighed will be given a zero for the day.



Any Questions Please Contact:

Jimmy Vining (803) 580-0222