2021 OFFICIAL RULES (Updated 02-26-21)
MLF Bass Pro Tour Event Format:
• Field size for each MLF Bass Pro Tour event will consist of seventy-six (76) Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour Anglers and four (4) Major League Fishing Pro Circuit qualifiers, for a total of 80 Major League Fishing Anglers.
• The competition will be comprised of three rounds over six days, preceded by two official practice days prior to the first day of competition. The first day of official practice will start 30 minutes before sunrise and end 30 minutes after sunset. The second day of official practice will begin 30 minutes before sunrise and end at 6 P.M.
• Each day of competition will have three, 2.5-hour periods with two, 15-minute lines out scheduled breaks. An exception to the 15-minute break will be under severe wind conditions and under the discretion of the MLF Tournament Director.
• Bass Pro Tour Anglers will be seeded into two groups of 40 – Group A and Group B.
• Major League Fishing will utilize a seeding system based on event finishes from previous MLF Bass Pro Tour events to determine groups.
Competition Day 1 – Qualifying Round, Group A, Day 1:
Competition Day 2 – Qualifying Round – Group B, Day 1:
Competition Day 3 – Qualifying Round – Group A, Day 2:
Competition Day 4 – Qualifying Round – Group B, Day 2:
• Qualifying Round winners of Groups A and B will not be allowed back on competition waters until their Championship Round
Competition Day 5 – Knockout Round:
Competition Day 6 – Championship Round:
MLF REDCREST Event Format:
• The field size for the Major League Fishing REDCREST (conducted in 2022) will consist of the 39 MLF Anglers who placed first through thirty ninth in the Bass Pro Tour Angler of the Year points standings after all 2021 Stages have concluded and the past REDCREST champion. Should there be a double qualifier for REDCREST, the next angler in the Bass Pro Tour Angler of the Year points standings will qualify.
• The competition will be comprised of three rounds over five days, preceded by two official practice days.
• The first day of official practice will start 30 minutes before sunrise and end 30 minutes after sunset. The second day of official practice will begin 30 minutes before sunrise and end at 6 PM
• Each day of competition will have three, 2.5-hour periods with two, 15-minute lines-out scheduled breaks.
Competition Day 1 – Qualifying Round, Day 1:
Competition Day 2 – Qualifying Round, Day 2:
The following shows seeding placement into Knockout Rounds 1 and 2
|KNOCKOUT ROUND 1||KNOCKOUT ROUND 2|
|2nd Place in Qualifying Rd||1st Place in Qualifying Rd|
|3rd Place in Qualifying Rd||4th Place in Qualifying Rd|
|6th Place in Qualifying Rd||5th Place in Qualifying Rd|
|7th Place in Qualifying Rd||8th Place in Qualifying Rd|
|10th Place in Qualifying Rd||9th Place in Qualifying Rd|
|11th Place in Qualifying Rd||12th Place in Qualifying Rd|
|14th Place in Qualifying Rd||13th Place in Qualifying Rd|
|15th Place in Qualifying Rd||16th Place in Qualifying Rd|
|18th Place in Qualifying Rd||17th Place in Qualifying Rd|
|19th Place in Qualifying Rd||20th Place in Qualifying Rd|
Competition Day 3 – Knockout Round 1
Competition Day 4 – Knockout Round 2
Championship Round - Competition Day 5
2. Participants and Eligibility
A. The following rules shall apply at all Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour Events, Including REDCREST. These rules may be modified and changed from time to time with input from the Pro
Bass Tour Anglers Association (PBTAA) Angler Representatives working with the MLF Tournament Director. All MLF Anglers will receive notice of such change or correction via text and/or e-mail.
B. MLF Events are only open to qualified Major League Anglers who have signed both League documents: 1. Major League Fishing, LLC Angler and League Agreement 2. Professional Bass Tour Anglers Association, Talent and Promotion Agreement.
C. During official practice and competition days of any Major League Fishing Events: Tour, REDCREST, Cup and Heavy Hitters – no Angler may operate a boat unless that Angler has documented proof of a minimum of $300,000 per occurrence, in boat owners liability insurance (see Anglers Talent Promotion Agreement page 2.C.) covering the MLF angler's boat being used in the event. Proof of insurance must be with the MLF angler's boat being used and must cover all passengers in that boat. Each policy must show an effective start date and expiration date. Any Angler who does not have proof of insurance with $300,000 coverage may be subject to fines, penalties or disqualification. The MLF Tournament Director will have final say. In addition to this required insurance coverage, MLF Anglers are also required to carry a $1,000,000 Professional Angler General Liability Insurance Policy. (See Anglers Talent Promotion Agreement page 2.C.).
D. Each calendar year, prior to competing in an MLF Event, all competitors must sign a W-9 and when required a Form 590 or W-8 BEN provided by MLF. If tax status or address change occurs, new forms must be submitted prior to participation in the next MLF event. (PBTAA Talent Promotion Agreement page 5,8. Federal and State Taxes).
E. To ensure effective and timely communication between Major League Fishing, Pro Bass Tour, and MLF Bass Pro Tour Anglers, each angler must provide the MLF Tournament Director and Director of Marketing & Relationship Management with his/her primary cell phone number, primary e-mail address and home phone number (if applicable). If there is a change in an
angler’s primary cell phone number or email address, it is the angler’s responsibility to make the MLF Tournament Director and Director of Marketing & Relationship Management aware of that change. If the angler does not have an e-mail address that he/she checks on a regular basis, the angler may provide an email address for a significant other or manager who is in regular contact with that angler. Anglers’ cell phones must be able to receive text messages from MLF staff.
F. Major League Fishing is the owner of all MLF sanctioned events and holds the content rights to all photos and videos (live or recorded) that are captured at any Bass Pro Tour Event, including REDCREST, both on and off the water. During MLF sanctioned events, Major League Fishing may mount a small camera in MLF angler boats. The footage collected would be used for the MLF website, social media, and/or print of both on and off the water or TV coverage.
G. All MLF Anglers are required to comply, even if the MLF Angler already has a personal camera mounted in their boat. Refusing to comply may result in a penalty. In-boat MLF Officials and camera operators will be allowed to operate these cameras. In-boat MLF Officials are not allowed to operate an angler's personal camera unless an angler specifically asks an in-boat MLF Official to take a photo or video of the MLF Angler during the competition.
H. Photos taken by an MLF Angler during an MLF Competition may be posted on social media and the Angler’s website. Anglers may shoot a video for promotional or marketing purposes and send it to sponsors/post videos on social media profiles/the Anglers website.
I. If an Angler has their own camera person or crew following them on the water, that personal photographer or team must register with MLF media for an approved MLF Credential and must notify the MLF Tournament Director prior to being on the lake. The MLF Angler’s personal photographer or team must be respectful of MLF Camera Operators, photographers and other MLF competitors. MLF anglers are not allowed to view any drone footage until eliminated from competition. MLF anglers are not allowed to arrange personal observation flights over competition waters within the 30 day off limits or the official two-day practice.
J. Personal photographers must do everything within reason not to interfere with MLF photographers, videographers and other MLF Anglers who are covering/competing in the event. At the event, MLF Angler’s personal photographers must follow the same rules as any media covering the event. Media coverage guidelines will be provided by MLF Media no later than before the start of the competition.
K. All Bass Pro Tour Anglers will be required to sign an acknowledgment indicating they have read, understand and will adhere to said rules.
A. The MLF Tournament Director oversees the interpretation and enforcement of these rules. If there is a rules infraction violation, the MLF Tournament Director along with the rule’s infraction committee will determine the angler’s penalty based on the Rules Infractions Policy (RIP). These penalties may include disqualification, loss of points and winnings, prohibition from participation in future MLF events and loss of fishing time. Any Bass Pro Tour Angler can file an appeal of a penalty with the Major League Fishing Tournament Director. In the case of an appeal, the four (4) person Appeals Board made up of the MLF tournament director, a PBTAA Board Member and the MLF League Executive Vice President and General Manager, and MLF League Vice President of Operations will determine if the appeal will be upheld or dismissed.
B. MLF Anglers are required to report any concerns about possible rule violations by another competitor. If an angler witnesses a rule violation, the angler must report that violation to his own in-boat MLF Official and the MLF Tournament Director as soon as the day of competition has ended.
C. All MLF Anglers will start from and return to the same official check point unless otherwise instructed by MLF Tournament Director (such as enacting the MLF trailering policy).
D. Before Lines-In, MLF Anglers will follow all instructions from the MLF Tournament Director and his designees.
E. Each MLF Official will notify the MLF Angler when to leave the staging area for Lines- In.
F. The MLF SCORETRACKER® Scoring System Device will serve as the "Official Clock."
G. The MLF Official will give the MLF Angler a countdown to Lines-In (beginning of competition). At the end of each period and round the MLF Official will provide the MLF Angler an official countdown to Lines-Out.
H. Regarding the final cast of the day, any bass hooked on the final cast must be "inside the boat"
— visibly inside the gunnel — before time expires to be scorable.
I. The total weight of "scorable bass" caught during the day will determine the MLF Anglers' place for that day unless otherwise instructed by the MLF Tournament Director.
J. When boating in low visibility situations (fog, heavy rain, etc.) during practice or competition, anglers must operate their boats at a safe speed and in a safe manner as determined by the MLF Tournament Director.
K. Major League Fishing reserves the right to impose boat speed limits at any time during any MLF Event. Whether or not to impose a speed limit, the area restricted by the speed limit and/or the actual speed will be determined by the MLF tournament director. MLF imposes a 5mph speed limit in all no wake zones. It is the responsibility of the MLF Angler to adhere to this speed limit. If the MLF Angler is reported to be in violation, disciplinary action may be imposed by the MLF Tournament Director. All boats used in MLF events must have a GPS unit on the console capable of displaying current miles per hour while in motion. It is the MLF Angler’s responsibility to have a working knowledge of the technology.
L. In the event of an emergency, competitors must call 911 first and then notify the MLF tournament director.
M. Competitors and MLF Officials are allowed to leave the boat and seek safe shelter in bad weather where danger may be imminent.
N. Once an MLF Angler is eliminated from competition, that MLF angler is not allowed back on the MLF event waters without the approval of MLF Tournament Director.
A. If two (or more) MLF Anglers are tied for a finishing position that determines whether that MLF Angler will advance to the next competitive round-meaning they have caught the same total on- the-record weight during that round — the following tie-breaking rules will be employed.
B. TIE-BREAKER NO. 1: The MLF Angler with the most total accumulative number of “scorable bass”
caught during the day shall be deemed the winner.
C. TIE-BREAKER NO. 2: After Tie-Breaker No. 1 is employed and two (or more) MLF Anglers are still tied, Tie-Breaker No. 2 shall be employed: The MLF Angler with the largest single bass (highest weight) caught during the day shall be deemed the winner.
D. TIE-BREAKER NO. 3: After Tie-Breaker No. 1 and 2 have been employed but two (or more) MLF Anglers are still tied, Tie-Breaker No. 3 shall be employed: The 2nd largest single bass caught during the day shall be deemed the winner. After this, should there still be a tie, the tie-breaker No. 3 procedure shall be repeated until a winner is determined.
A. PERFORMANCE RATING CALCULATION: The angler with the highest Performance Rating of the applicable round fished is awarded the tie-breaker placement. The Performance Rating is the average of TOTAL FISH and TOTAL WEIGHT percentages of the round against ONLY the other anglers in the SAME group.
• Group A - Angler 1: Scored the most fish and the most weight. 10 bass - 20 pounds.
• Group A - Angler 2: Scored 6 bass - 10 pounds.
C. TOTAL FISH PERCENTAGE: TOTAL WEIGHT PERCENTAGE:
• Group A - Angler 1: 1.000 Angler A: 1.000
• Group A - Angler 2: .600 Angler B: .500
D. PERFORMANCE RATING:
• Group A - Angler 1: 1.000
• Group A - Angler 2: .550
Bass Pro Tour Event Payout:
During each of the MLF BASS PRO TOUR Events, MLF Anglers will earn MLF REDCREST qualifying points according to individual place finish at the end of each event. The top thirty-nine (39) Bass Pro Tour Anglers in the year-end Angler of the Year points standings after all Bass Pro Tour events will advance to the 2021 MLF REDCREST (filmed in 2022) as will the 2021 REDCREST Champion provided the Champion is a current BPT angler. The 40th REDCREST qualification position will go to the 41st Bass Pro Tour Year-end Angler of the Year standings in this instance.
a. Top twenty-four (24) Anglers in points standings from the first and second MLF Bass Pro Tour Events combined will advance to the MLF CHALLENGE CUP (Event currently scheduled in 2021); CUP qualifying points earned by Anglers will return to zero following first and second Events.
b. Top twenty-four (24) Anglers in points standings from the third and fourth MLF Bass Pro Tour Events combined will advance to the MLF HERITAGE CUP (Event currently scheduled in 2021); CUP qualifying points earned by all Anglers will again return to zero after third and fourth Events.
c. Top twenty-four (24) Anglers in points standings from the fifth and sixth MLF Bass Pro Tour Events combined will advance to the MLF PATRIOT CUP (Event currently scheduled in 2021); CUP qualifying points earned by all Anglers will again return to zero after fifth and sixth Events.
d. Top twenty-four (24) Anglers in points standings from the seventh MLF Bass Pro Tour Events will advance to the MLF SUMMIT CUP (Event currently scheduled in early 2022).
2022 Heavy Hitters Qualifying Terms
• Each Bass Pro Tour angler (76 anglers) will be allowed to count their single largest Bass for each of the seven 2021 Bass Pro Tour events.
• The 30 Bass Pro Tour Anglers with the heaviest total weight submitted of the biggest bass caught by each angler at each Stage of the 2021 Bass Pro Tour season (1 fish per event – 7 total fish in 2021)
• The 2022 Heavy Hitters Payout Terms will be provided prior to the 2022 season
A. A Sportsmanship Violation is defined as aggressive or hostile behavior directed at a fellow MLF Angler, MLF Official, a non-competitor or any representative of MLF, including the use of profanity directed at these individuals. Sportsmanship Violations will not be tolerated. MLF Officials are required to report any such violations to the MLF Tournament Director. Any Sportsmanship Violation Penalty will be determined by the MLF Tournament Director, PBTAA and MLF Director.
B. Flagrant Violation: A flagrant violation of any act that reflects unfavorably upon the positive efforts of MLF, MLF sponsors, spectators, fishery conservation, and clean waters – including littering – will not be tolerated. Any Flagrant Violation Penalty will be determined by the MLF Tournament Director.
C. MLF Anglers are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety, and conservation. Any violation of the standards may be deemed cause for disqualification.
D. Use of alcohol or drugs (other than drugs purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any Angler during MLF BPT competition could be subject to disciplinary action, including automatic disqualification. This decision is at the discretion of the MLF Tournament Director.
E. Maximum courtesy must be practiced always, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non-competitors who may be on tournament waters.
F. MLF Officials have the responsibility of reporting to the MLF Tournament Director or his designee an MLF Angler’s sportsmanship violation or a flagrant violation for any act that reflects unfavorably upon efforts to promote fishery conservation and/or clean waters. The MLF Tournament Director will assess the incident and determine if a penalty is warranted.
G. All competitors are bound by the laws and policies that are set forth by the various states/counties which they fish. Some regulations may differ from these rules, resulting in fines, citations or other penalties from local law enforcement and could result in event penalties. MLF Anglers are responsible for knowing all local boating and fishing regulations.
H. Disqualification, suspension or other disciplinary action imposed by other tournament-fishing organizations could also result in disqualification from MLF.
I. Substance addiction or abuse or conviction of a serious crime may be deemed cause for disqualification from an MLF event.
J. All MLF Anglers must have a valid fishing license for the waters they fish.
A. If an MLF Bass Pro Tour Angler is found to have violated the Angler Code of Conduct, the following scale of fines will be used to determine the monetary penalty:
i. First offense: A minimum fine of at least $500, or forfeiture of points and winnings for that event.
ii. Second offense: A minimum fine of at least $1,500, or forfeiture of points and winnings for that event.
iii. Third offense: A minimum fine of at least $5,000, or forfeiture of points and winnings for that event.
iv. Fourth offense: Possible suspension or ban from the MLF BPT and other levels of MLF.
B. The number of offenses in the list above refers to violations over the course of MLF angler’s
career, beginning with its effective date January 1, 2019
C. Additional penalties may be deemed appropriate by the MLF Tournament Director.
A. Fish Care and Conservation is a Major League Fishing priority. All bass must be caught in a conventional sporting manner.
B. Use of nets and grippers for landing bass is prohibited.
C. Only artificial lures can be used.
D. MLF Anglers can receive lures and lure components from other MLF Anglers up until 12:01am the first official day of practice. MLF Anglers can then only receive lures and lure components from other MLF Anglers after they have been eliminated from competition. (Lure components: blades, skirts, plastic trailers, etc…).
*Terminal tackle and fishing equipment such as hooks, swivels, weights, line, rods, reels etc…is excluded
from section D and acceptable to exchange at any time.
E. A competitor may not intentionally foul hook a bass that they have visually located. For an
verified immediately by the official before removal of any hooks that it has been hooked on the
inside of the mouth to be counted in their daily weight.
Inside of the mouth is defined as when the bass’s mouth is closed in its natural position it will cover the entry point of the hook into the bass.
F. Alabama Rigs and similar umbrella-type rigs are not allowed. Umbrella rigs are determined to be any nontraditional lure or harness using wires, lines or hooks to connect multiple teasers, including but not limited to swimbaits, grubs or spinners. The use of braid or other line to attach a single stinger hook to a lure is allowed as long as the line is no more than 2 inches in length. Traditional spinner baits with a maximum of five blades, including “twin spins” with a maximum of two arms, are acceptable so long as the arm length does not exceed 6 inches from the tie point. The use of plastic trailers, pork trailers and blades are acceptable as long as they are not connected by additional wires or harnesses. Soft plastics must be molded as a single unit and are limited to a maximum of three main bodies.
G. If a competitor breaks their line while setting the hook or retrieving a fish, they can use whatever means necessary to land that fish.
H. Trolling utilizing the outboard or trolling motor, as a means of fishing by pulling your lure is NOT allowed. Long lining/strolling is acceptable.
A. A fully trained MLF Official will accompany each MLF Angler throughout each day’s competition.
B. Each boat will be equipped with an MLF SCORETRACKER® Scoring System Device that will be linked to a central database system. The device will provide MLF Anglers with a Leaderboard that shows the status of the event leaders.
C. The duties of the MLF Official will be to weigh and record the weight of each scorable catch, update the MLF SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device, “call the game” and communicate with the base of operation. The official will continually announce updates to the angler regardless of whether the MLF angler wants the information.
D. The MLF Official will give the MLF Angler SCORETRACKER® updates every 15 minutes. MLF Officials will also give the MLF Angler SCORETRACKER® updates of any significant fish scored at any other time, known as “flash updates.”
E. The MLF Official will serve as the rule enforcer and the official scorekeeper.
F. Specific Penalty Violations will be assessed “on the spot” by the MLF Official and all other
violations will be reported to the MLF Tournament Director or his representative.
G. Rules decisions made by an MLF Officials are considered final, unless an MLF Angler chooses to submit a written protest to the MLF Tournament Director.
A. All MLF events shall utilize the MLF term “scorable bass." A scorable bass is any bass caught that meets or exceeds the minimum weight requirement for that specific round. Any bass caught that weighs less than the minimum requirement shall be deemed “non-scoreable.” The minimum weight requirement shall be determined by the MLF Tournament Director or his designees and will be announced in each event’s schedule of events (a.k.a. SOE).
B. There is no limit to the number of scorable bass an MLF Angler can catch and record during an MLF Event competition day, unless otherwise advised by the MLF tournament director.
C. Only the MLF Angler will handle bass caught during competition. Once a bass is caught, the bass will be set onto the official scale by the MLF Angler. To prevent miscalibration, the MLF angler is not allowed to clip the fish onto the gripper until the hooks are removed. In the event the hook cannot be removed without harming the fish, the angler will remove any visible line and weights
but will be allowed to weigh the fish with the embedded hook. The MLF angler must notify his official if his fish has an embedded hook.
D. The MLF Official will hold the official scale by the handle only, with both hands, and position it at eye level. The bass must be held steady allowing the scale to be clearly read first by the MLF Official and in full view of the TV camera.
E. Should the bass be less than the official minimum weight, the MLF Official shall announce the weight followed by it being deemed “non-scorable”. Should the bass meet or exceed the minimum weight, the official will proceed to call the weight in pounds and ounces.
F. The MLF Official will call the weight. If the call is challenged by the MLF Angler, the MLF Official will zero the scale and re-weigh the bass a maximum of two (2) additional times. Then the MLF Official will make the final call, “the official weight is.” The bass cannot be dipped into the water between re-weighs. The exception to this rule is the extremely rare occasion that a scale malfunction occurs and dipping the fish is necessary for the health of the fish. Any exception will be determined by the MLF Official.
G. After the official weight is announced (or after a bass is deemed non-scorable) the MLF Angler must cease all actions and remove the bass from the scale, immediately releasing the bass below the gunnel into the water, unless a photograph or DNA sample of the fish is required. MLF requires the MLF Official to take several photographs of significant fish throughout the competition round.
H. The MLF Official will immediately record the weight in writing on the MLF “Manual
SCORETRACKER® Sheet” and enter the weight into the official MLF SCORETRACKER® Scoring System Device.
I. At the end of the round, the MLF angler will sign the “Manual SCORETRACKER® Sheet.” If the MLF angler disagrees with any written weight, the angler must present video footage that indicates proof thereof to the MLF Tournament Director.
A. 250 is the maximum horsepower for all outboard motors used in official MLF BPT events. Horsepower cannot exceed the limitations set by the U.S. Coast Guard. When required, each boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard horsepower rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer and that rating plate must be an accurate representation of the engine’s horsepower. Each angler must agree to an inspection of their competition boat and outboard motor. Inspections will be performed by a factory-trained official if there is any reason for MLF Event Officials to suspect the horsepower is more than the rating. Normal engine maintenance is allowed and encouraged. However, changing or altering the standard factory parts of an engine to increase the horsepower over the 250-horsepower maximum is forbidden, and will result in disqualification.
B. Falsifying any information on entry forms, including the horsepower-rating numbers on the engine, will result in immediate disqualification from all MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING events.
C. Anglers must be mindful of their boat’s speed at all time. Posted speed limits and limits set by MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING Competition Officials must be followed, and all anglers must operate their boats in a safe manner. Violations of speed limits will result in an angler losing competition hours and may lead to disqualification.
A. Any raised platforms or decks cannot be higher than the gunnels of the boat. Standing on the outboard engine or seats while fishing is not allowed. Trolling motor mounts may be used to stand on.
B. Only manufacturer-installed gas tanks are allowed. Portable gas tanks or containers holding gasoline are not allowed on the event waters or shoreline for use by any event competitor.
C. Any boat/hull designs other than standard mass-produced units are only allowed at the discretion of MLF Tournament Director.
D. Anglers must compete from the same boat for the entirety of the season, unless approved by the MLF Tournament Director.
A. During official practice days and the competition, every boat must have all required Coast Guard safety equipment as well as a functional bilge pump.
B. MLF anglers must provide one (1) dry storage space for the MLF Official and MLF Camera operator that will accommodate an equipment bag measuring 24” x 12” x 12”
C. The MLF Anglers' SCORETRACKER ACCESS TERMINAL(S.T.A.T.) unit will be installed on the angler's boat each morning on all days of competition and removed from the anglers’ boat at the end of each day's competition. These (S.T.A.T) units are fully self-contained.
15. BOAT OPERATION AND EXPENSE:
A. During every MLF BPT Event, anglers can fish from anywhere inside the boat. MLF Officials should make every reasonable effort to stay out of the way of anglers while they are fishing or landing fish. MLF Officials and/or Camera Operators are not allowed to help competitors in any way. MLF Officials and/or Camera Operators can drive boats in cases of emergency or with permission from the MLF tournament director. Loading and unloading boats from trailers is an exception to this rule. All cost of boat operation is the responsibility of MLF Anglers. When idling in shallow areas, anglers can ask MLF Officials and/or Camera Operators to move their position in the boat if the MLF Official and/or Camera Operator can place his/her feet in the bottom of the boat.
A. MLF Officials are required to have knowledge of SCORETRACKER® operation. SCORETRACKER® operation will be explained in the Boat with MLF Official Training before the events, and in briefings before each competition.
B. MLF Anglers and MLF Officials are to be honest and timely with catch and weight reports. Any competitor who, in the judgment of the MLF tournament director, advises MLF Officials to neglect or falsely report catches or weights will be penalized.
C. MLF Officials will carry GPS systems and cell phones during the events to communicate with MLF event officials and other boats on the water.
D. MLF Official will bring a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device as part of his equipment bag to each event.
E. MLF Officials are not allowed to text information to anyone other than MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING media and event officials, unless in an emergency.
F. MLF Officials can assist an angler with his personal camera if the angler requests help and the Boat Official is comfortable doing so. Major League Fishing Cameras and GoPro-style POV cameras always take priority over angler’s personal cameras, in terms of placement and access to batteries/chargers.
A. Competition waters shall be established by MLF Competition Officials for each day of the event. Each competitor must obtain this information from MLF Competition Officials.
Any areas within these boundaries that are obviously labeled “Off-Limits” or “No Fishing,” will be off-limits to anglers and will be announced at the Event Briefing. Only areas open to public fishing will be considered event waters. Off-limits boundaries set by authorities or event officials should be treated as a wall, meaning anglers cannot cast over that boundary while fishing. Out of Zone areas are determined by the boats location therefore an angler may cast into an Out of Zone location.
B. All angling must be done from inside the boat. When fishing in states where landowners have the legal authority to claim private property, private property areas must be posted or they will be considered event waters, unless anglers are instructed otherwise by MLF Competition Officials. If forced to leave a private area on event waters, an angler must report the incident to the MLF tournament director as soon as possible. Any water to which a competitor is denied access automatically becomes off-limits to all competitors. Inside the boat is defined as at least one part of the angler’s foot inside the boat. The trolling motor mount will also be considered part of the boat.
C. Before the event check-in, any questionable areas must be brought to the attention of the MLF Tournament Director. Such areas will be considered and will be announced in the briefing for all
to hear. The MLF Tournament Director has the right to restrict or modify competition waters based on any new information or conversations with local authorities.
D. Anglers are not allowed to cut, remove, displace, or alter any type of structure on private property (dry land) at any time during an MLF event. Anglers can move structures to include sawing of logs or other obstructions in the water if the local laws permit it. No angler may place any object in the water or on dry land that could put another boater or angler in danger.
A. During the event days, MLF Anglers cannot leave the boat to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. If the boat becomes lodged while attempting to gain access into fishable water, the MLF angler can leave the boat without penalty to attempt to dislodge. If the angler does dislodge the boat (by pushing) into the area they were attempting to enter, they must immediately exit this area. The MLF angler can continue to attempt access into such area however if access is accomplished it must be done so while the angler was inside the boat.
B. Competitors can leave the boat to retrieve a lure or a rod without penalty. All fishing by that competitor must cease until the competitor is back in the boat.
C. Boats must remain in event waters during event days. Competitors must leave from and return to official checkpoints. Anglers can exit the boat for any reason other than fishing and Rule No. 18 Subsection A without penalty. Anglers can purchase baits and tackle from retail outlets during competition.
A. Competition standings and final winners shall be determined by the pound-and-ounce weight of each competitor’s catch during the competition days of the event. Only largemouth, smallmouth, mean mouth, or spotted bass will be weighed and counted.
A. MLF Officials and MLF Camera Operators will be assigned to each angler the evening prior to competition. MLF Officials and anglers pairing will be done so by automated randomizer. It shall be the responsibility of each MLF Official to contact their assigned angler via call or text on the evening prior to competition. The MLF official will also confirm with the angler all necessary information, such as staging location, take off position, etc. The MLF Tournament Director or his designee may reassign MLF Officials at any time.
A. There may be events in states that have laws requiring income taxes to be withheld on cash awards to non-residents. If that is the case, the taxes will be automatically deducted from the angler’s winnings prior to the awards being presented.
B. Participants are responsible for all applicable taxes, execution of all tax forms, and rules on both cash and merchandise awards.
A. As a condition of participation in each event, Anglers and MLF Officials must execute a waiver and release of liability and a name and likeness release.
A. THE NO INFORMATION RULE WILL BE GOVERNED BY A RULE INFRACTION VERIFICATION TEST. (Penalty – Official: Receiving/Sharing Information, determined by the MLF Tournament Director)
B. Once the MLF schedule has been released, Bass Pro Tour Anglers may not receive waypoints from anyone. Bass Pro Tour Anglers are not allowed to work as a team against other MLF competitors. Bass Pro Tour Anglers may not solicit nor intentionally or purposely be provided pertinent information pertaining to the specific event waters.
***Pertinent information is described as, but not limited to, baits, locations, fish patterns, studying or examining posted competition photographs or videos etc. Incidental observations such as baits, or competitors’ locations are not a violation of this rule.
C. Bass Pro Tour Anglers may not view livestreaming during an event, except during activations approved by the MLF Tournament Director.
D. Bass Pro Tour Anglers are not allowed to study or investigate any published photographs pertaining to the specific event, until eliminated. Bass Pro Tour Anglers are allowed to post their personal videos and photographs that are placed into their CANTO file.
E. Bass Pro Tour Anglers are allowed to research public information such as maps, internet search- engines, print material, etc. However, Bass Pro Tour Anglers are prohibited from receiving research assistance from ANY individual on a personal basis.
F. There will normally be a 30-day off-limits period leading up to 12:01 am the morning of the first day of official practice. During the official off-limits period a Bass Pro Tour Angler cannot be on the event water, gather any information, or intentionally, purposely, or knowingly, receive any information from any source that is not publicly available. MLF Big 5 off limit exemptions will be at the discretion of the MLF Tournament Director.
G. Prior to the off-limit period, a Bass Pro Tour Angler may pre-fish the scheduled event waters by themselves or with anyone of their choosing, excluding fishing guides. The Bass Pro Tour Angler is responsible for verbally informing such individuals of Rule No. 23 Subsection B and confirm this individual adheres to this rule.
H. During the official two-day practice period, a Bass Pro Tour Angler cannot be on the water with anyone without prior approval from the MLF Tournament Director.
I. Bass Pro Tour Anglers are allowed to talk to other MLF Anglers about MLF event waters up until the first day of official practice.
A. If the MLF Official calls a penalty on the MLF Angler, the angler must immediately stop all activities, including fishing. The MLF Angler is allowed to drop his shallow water anchors or engage their trolling motor assist. ALL other activities of any kind are not allowed, and additional penalty time will be added for a penalty compliance violation for each occurrence.
B. If a penalty results from a Fish Landing Violation the bass must be immediately weighed and released. The MLF Official is required to manually record the weight of the bass before he starts the penalty clock on the SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device.
C. MLF Officials are not allowed to enter the penalty on the SCORETRACKER® Scoring System Device before the weight is first manually recorded. The MLF Angler must not request the MLF Official to start the penalty clock before the weight is first manually entered.
D. The MLF Angler must sit down on the front deck and is not allowed to do ANYTHING during his penalty time except for talking to the camera operator about his fishing day up to that point or what it is that he is going to do next.
(Penalty – Official: Penalty Compliance Violation, 1 Minute Additional Penalty)
A. If an MLF Angler is assessed a penalty at the end of the day, the penalty time spent will be at the “start of fishing” on the angler’s next day of competition. The beginning ride around time cannot be used for penalty time.
A. During the countdown to begin fishing and at the end of a Penalty, the MLF Angler cannot cast
his lure before the MLF Official says “Lines In.”
(Penalty – Official: Lines-In Violation, 2 Minutes at Start of Period)
A. When the MLF Official has called "Lines Out, End of Period One” or "Lines Out, End of Round,”
the MLF Angler cannot make another cast.
(Penalty – Official: Lines-Out Violation, 2 Minutes Carry-Over Penalty)
B. At the end of the round, each MLF angler is required to immediately return directly to the boat launch. The MLF Angler cannot use this time to gain any competitive advantage over other MLF anglers.
(Penalty – Official: Lines-Out Violation, 5 Minutes Carry-Over Penalty)
A. There is no official buoy distance rule. However, at no time is an MLF Angler allowed to interfere with another MLF Angler’s line. If an MLF Angler casts close to another MLF Angler and hooks into his line, the casting MLF Angler will be penalized.
(Penalty – Official: Hooking other’s line, 2 Minutes Immediate, stop fishing when line untangled)
A. While landing bass, the body of the bass cannot touch the carpet or any other part of the boat inside the gunnel at any time during the process. If the bass comes unhooked from the bait and falls to the carpet or hits any other part of the inside of the boat, it will be assessed as a Fish Landing violation. Exception from this rule will be laying the bass on the carpet to remove a deep-set hook, only after it has been properly landed without touching the carpet. The MLF Angler should first ask the MLF Official if the MLF Angler can lay the bass on the carpet.
B. Additionally, MLF Anglers are not allowed to cradle bass or allow bass being landed to touch the MLF Angler’s body. An MLF Angler cannot allow a bass to touch any part of his body other than his hands or forearms. A slight touch will not be penalized. If the MLF Angler brings the bass to the body deliberately to secure control of the bass or the bass hits the MLF Angler more than a “slight touch” as judged by the MLF Official, then it will be deemed a Fish Landing Violation. From a rule’s standpoint, the anglers body is to be treated the same as the carpet. Additionally, if the bass comes into contact with an MLF Official or MLF Camera Operator, a penalty will not be assessed.
C. Should an MLF Angler hook multiple bass on one bait, a penalty will be assessed for every bass that touches anything inside the boat or touches the angler as described above.
(Penalty – Official: Fish Landing Violation, 2 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)
A. Should an MLF Angler intentionally harm a bass in any way during the landing process, the action shall be deemed a Flagrant Fish Landing Violation. Such actions include, but are not limited to, intentionally causing a bass to touch the carpet or any other part of the boat inside the gunnel, intentionally cradling a bass with arms, legs or body, intentionally kicking the bass into the floor of the boat, etc.
B. The difference between a regular Fish Landing Violation and a Flagrant Fish Landing Violation is intent. A regular Fish Landing Violation is the result of an unintended action. A Flagrant Fish
Landing Violation is the result of an intended action, such as boat flipping a bass onto the bottom of the boat.
C. Should an MLF Angler hook multiple bass on one bait, and intentionally harm them as described above, a Flagrant Fish Landing Violation penalty will be assessed for every bass that is hooked.
D. If a bass is landed by lifting or pulling it up with the angler’s rod and purposely dropping it on the
floor (boat flipping), a Flagrant Fish Landing Violation will be charged.
(Penalty – Official: Flagrant Fish Landing Violation, 5 Minutes immediate, stop Fishing)
A. When releasing any bass, scorable or non-scorable, the MLF Angler’s hand must be at gunnel level or closer to the water. Flipping or tossing of bass is prohibited and will be considered a Fish Release Violation. If the MLF Anglers’ full intention was to properly release the fish, and they were in the action and motion to do so, a violation will not be assessed.
(Penalty – Official: Fish Release Violation, 2 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)
A. An MLF Angler will be allowed to utilize a second line once per period. When utilizing a second
line an MLF Angler must employ a “cast and retrieve” method. Working bottom baits very slowly is considered a “cast and retrieve” method. Dragging a line from a stationary rod is not permitted. If an MLF Angler casts a second line more than once per period, the MLF Angler will receive an Illegal 2nd Line penalty. Although the MLF Angler will be penalized for the second-time use of two lines, any scorable bass caught will be counted towards his weight total.
(Penalty – Official: Illegal 2nd Line, 1 Minute immediate, stop fishing when 2nd lure is retrieved)
A. MLF Anglers may not leave the boat for the purpose of fishing. Leaving the boat to assist in landing a hooked fish, as an act of fishing, will result in a penalty. Although penalized, if an MLF Angler retrieves a scorable bass, the bass will be counted towards his weight total. Leaving the boat for non-fishing reasons is allowed without a penalty.
(Penalty – Official: Leaving Boat to Land Fish, 3 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)
B. The MLF Official and MLF Camera Operator may not leave the boat to help the MLF Angler for any reason. If the boat drifts away from where the MLF Angler left the boat, the MLF Official may retrieve the boat to allow angler access. However, a 2-minute penalty will be assessed. The exception to this rule is that the MLF Official may leave the boat only in a situation where the integrity of the game is at risk, but a longer penalty will be assessed. (see Rule 33 C below).
(Penalty- Official: Boat Retrieval, 2 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)
C. Should an MLF Angler’s boat gets stuck and the angler needs assistance in any form from anyone - including the MLF Official, MLF Camera Operator, and/or other MLF Anglers - a penalty will be assessed once the boat is freed and the angler is back in the boat.
(Penalty – Official: Official Assistance, 15 minutes immediate, stop fishing)
A. On some bodies of water, MLF Anglers will compete in a pre-determined zone each day. The boat must be positioned inside the zone boundaries. Fishing outside of the boundaries is allowed as long as the boat position remains inside the boundaries. Any boat position outside the zone will result in a penalty. Any area inside competition waters where no fishing is allowed, this area shall be deemed a wall (See Rule No. 17 Subsection A). MLF Anglers may not cast into the area.
(Penalty – Official: Boat out of Bounds, 5 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)
A. MLF Anglers will be required to “go neutral” immediately after MLF Official calls “Lines Out, End of Round.” Going neutral means the MLF Angler is required to immediately stop fishing and return directly to the boat landing where they launched. The MLF Angler cannot use this time to gain any competitive advantage over other MLF Anglers.
(Penalty – Official: Failure to “Go Neutral,” 5 Minutes at the start of the next fishing period)
A. Each MLF Angler must have two Coast Guard-approved chest-type or inflatable personal floatation device. The MLF Angler’s personal floatation device must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition any time the combustion engine is in gear.
The MLF Official's personal floatation device must be on, and the MLF Official must be seated before the boat is put on plane. MLF Camera Operators are also required to wear a personal floatation device when the boat is on plane.
(Penalty - Official: Safe-boat Conduct Penalty, 3 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)
A. The MLF Angler or other appointed driver must have his boat’s kill switch connected any time
the combustion engine is in gear.
(Penalty – Official: Kill Switch Connection, 5 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)
A. A Sportsmanship Violation is defined as aggressive or hostile behavior directed at a fellow MLF Angler, MLF Official, a non-competitor or any representative of MLF, including the use of profanity directed at these individuals, will not be tolerated. MLF Officials are required to report violations.
(Sportsmanship Violation, Penalty will be determined by the MLF Tournament Director)
A. A flagrant violation of any act that reflects unfavorably upon the positive efforts of MLF, MLF sponsors, spectators, fisheries conservation, and clean waters will not be tolerated.
(Flagrant Sportsmanship Violation, Penalty determined the MLF Tournament Director)
A. The MLF Angler cannot knowingly put the MLF Official or camera operator in a situation where they are unable to perform their job. This includes being in an area where there is no connectivity with the SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device for more than 15 consecutive minutes.
Once the boat enters an area where the SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device loses
connectivity, the MLF Official will announce “We have lost SCORETRACKER© connectivity. You have 15 minutes before you must return to an area of connectivity.” Once the 15 consecutive minutes has elapsed, the MLF Official will announce “You have reached your 15 minutes of connectivity loss. You must stop fishing and return to an area of connectivity.” At this point the MLF Angler must immediately stop fishing and return the boat to an area of SCORETRACKER© connectivity. This includes making another cast after the MLF Official has announced the 15 minutes of lost connectivity has elapsed. Failure to do so will result in a penalty.
Any bass caught between the time after the MLF Official has announced the 15 minutes of lost connectivity has elapsed and before the SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device has regained connectivity will be deemed non-scorable.
(Penalty-Official: Impedance Violation, 15 minutes once connectivity is reestablished, stop fishing)