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Published: October 3, 2012

Tougher Fish-Handling Rules Added

by Major League Fishing Communications

TULSA, Okla. – When sports fans tune in to Outdoor Channel in January to view the second Jack Link’s Major League Fishing® event, they will see something fundamentally different in the way anglers bring fish into the boat. By Major League Fishing rule, bass are no longer allowed to hit the deck of the boat.

“There won’t be a lot of fish hitting the carpet. Because when fish hit the carpet, anglers get penalized,” Major League Fishing Commissioner Don Rucks said. “That’s actually one of two significant new rules for us that are aimed at protecting the fish our anglers catch.”

The new fish-handling rules are:

  • Anglers will be penalized with two minutes of inactivity if they allow a fish to touch the carpet of their boats.
  • When releasing fish back into the water, anglers’ hands must be no higher than the boat’s gunnel above the water surface. Failure to properly release a fish will result in two minutes of inactivity.

“It is not anyone’s first instinct to keep a bass suspended in the air after a catch. But, frankly, we’re asking our anglers to play at a higher level. And conservation is something we’d like to stress. If you keep fish from hitting the deck and if you gently put them back into their environment, they’re healthier,” Rucks said.

“But I have to add that, even though our anglers were in full agreement with the rule change, we had to dish out a few penalties.”

The Jack Link’s Major League Fishing Summit Cup, presented by General Tire, was filmed August 27 through September 1 on Chautauqua Lake in Western New York. The event will air in its entirety on Outdoor Channel, America’s leader in outdoor TV, beginning January 2013. The Summit Cup’s Championship Round will also be broadcast on NBC February 9 at 1 p.m. An extended time, web-based pay-per-view version – Extended Cast – will follow shortly after the television broadcasts.

The Chautauqua Lake event again utilized the innovative format that allows anglers to compete with no limit on the number of legal fish they can weigh. Competitors were not allowed to begin competition with stored, user-generated GPS waypoints. Anglers were equipped with real-time leader boards in their boats, which showed where they ranked in the standings at all times. Anglers had no prior practice on Chautauqua Lake and were informed of the venue just two days prior to the start of competition.

About Jack Link’s Major League Fishing
Major League Fishing is a partnership of 24 of the world’s most talented, influential professional bass anglers and Outdoor Channel. Jack Link’s is the organization’s title sponsor. For more information about the new game, with new rules and no limits, visit Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook.

About Outdoor Channel
Taking viewers across America and around the world on unparalleled adventures since 1993, Outdoor Channel is America’s leader in outdoor TV. Dedicated to the outdoor lifestyle and conservation, the independent cable network is a division of Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: OUTD) and provides a complete spectrum of riveting hunting, fishing, shooting and adventure entertainment. Outdoor Channel reaches 38 million U.S. households – the largest outdoor TV footprint in the country – and is available in more than 45 countries internationally. Outdoor Channel can be viewed in HD and is accessible by broadband, mobile platforms. For program times and other information, visit Follow us on Twitter and on Facebook, and download our iPhone and iPad app.

About Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc.
Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: OUTD) owns and operates Outdoor Channel, America’s leader in outdoor TV, and Winnercomm Inc., an Emmy Award winning production and interactive company. Outdoor Channel offers programming that captures the excitement of hunting, fishing, shooting, adventure and the Western lifestyle and can be viewed on multiple platforms including high definition, video-on-demand, as well as on a dynamic broadband website. Winnercomm Inc. is one of America's leading and highest quality producers of live sporting events and sports series for cable and broadcast television. Outdoor Channel Holdings, Inc. also owns and operates the SkyCam and CableCam aerial camera systems which provide dramatic overhead camera angles for major sports events, including college and NFL football. For more information, visit