Cup Events - Major League Fishing

Cup Events Rules

CUP EVENTS

2020 OFFICIAL RULES

CHALLENGE CUP, HERITAGE CUP,

PATRIOT CUP and SUMMIT CUP

(UPDATED 08-05-20)

MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING CUP FORMAT

  1. There are four (4) Cup Events: Challenge Cup, Heritage Cup, Patriot Cup, and Summit Cup.
  2. Each MLF CUP Event will be comprised of a thirty (30) MLF Cup Anglers field as determined by Cup qualifying points standings earned in MLF Bass Pro Tour Events.
  3. Each MLF Cup Event competition will be comprised of three (3) rounds, covering six (6) total days with no practice days.
    1. ELIMINATION ROUND will comprise three (3) days (Days 1, 2 and 3); (10 anglers each day, top 6 advances into SUDDEN-DEATH ROUND)
    2. SUDDEN-DEATH ROUND will cover two (2) days (Days 4 and 5); (9 anglers each day, top 4 advances into CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND)
    3. CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND will be a one-day event, held on the final day. (8 Anglers)
  4. ELIMINATION ROUND – Event Competition Days 1, 2 and 3
    1. During the Elimination Round, MLF Cup Anglers will be divided into three groups of ten (10) MLF Cup Anglers each: Groups 1, 2 and 3. 
    2. Group 1 will compete on Day 1, Group 2 on Day 2, and Group 3 on Day 3. 
    3. MLF will determine which MLF Cup Anglers compete in each round. 
    4. On Day 1, Elimination Round 1, the six (6) MLF Cup Anglers from Group 1 with the highest weight total of “scorable bass” at the end of a full day of competition will qualify to the Sudden-Death Round. 
    5. On Day 2, Elimination Round 2, the six (6) MLF Cup Anglers from Group 2 with the highest weight total of “scorable bass” at the end of a full day of competition will qualify to the Sudden-Death Round. 
    6. On Day 3, Elimination Round 3, the six (6) MLF Cup Anglers from Group 3 with the highest weight total of “scorable bass” at the end of a full day of competition will qualify to the Sudden-Death Round.
    7. The total number of MLF Cup Anglers advancing to Sudden-Death Rounds will be eighteen (18).
  5. SUDDEN-DEATH ROUND – Event Competition Days 4 and 5
    1. During the Sudden-Death Round, the eighteen (18) MLF Cup Anglers that advanced from Elimination Rounds 1, 2 and 3 will be divided into two groups of nine (9) MLF Cup Anglers each: Groups 1 and 2.
    2. Group 1 will compete on Day 4, Group 2 on Day 5. 
    3. MLF will utilize a “seeding system” based on Elimination Round results to establish the MLF Cup Anglers’ placement in groups 1 or 2. MLF will seed the groups based on the success (or lack of success) of MLF Cup Anglers during the Elimination Round.
    4. MLF will post a qualifying target weight for the two days of Sudden-Death Round competition based on the fishery and existing conditions.
    5. The qualifying target weight will be determined by the MLF Tournament Director and other consultants of his choosing. 
    6. The qualifying target weights will be set for each of the two days and will be announced no more than 12 hours prior to the start of that round’s competition. 
    7. On Day 4, Sudden Death Round 1, the first four (4) MLF Cup Anglers from Group 1 to reach the qualifying target weight set for the day of competition will advance to the Championship Round. 
    8. On Day 5, Sudden Death Round 2, the first four (4) MLF Cup Anglers from Group 1 to reach the qualifying target weight set for the day of competition will advance to the Championship Round. 
    9. Should there not be four (4) MLF Cup Anglers reach the qualifying target weight before the end of the third period, the MLF Cup Angler(s) that advance will be determined by the total weight of scorable bass caught during all three full periods of that day’s competition.
    10. The total number of MLF Cup Anglers advancing to Championship Round will be eight (8).
  6. CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND – Event Competition Day 6
    1. Championship Round will be comprised the eight (8) MLF Cup Anglers that advanced from Sudden-Death Rounds 1 and 2.
    2. During the Championship Round, the MLF Cup Angler with the highest total weight of scorable bass at the end of a full day of competition will be declared the winner.
  7. COMPETITION HOURS
    1. During all days of MLF Cup Event competition, MLF Cup Anglers will fish 7.5 hours that will be divided into three periods, with a 30-minute Lines Out between the end of a period and the beginning of the following period. 
    2. Prior to the start of the first period, MLF Cup Anglers will convene at the edge of the zone that will be utilized for that day’s competition. MLF Cup Anglers will be released simultaneously to begin a non-Fishing, scouting ride-around for a minimum of 15 minutes prior to the official start time of Period 1. Fishing is not allowed during this ride around.
    3. During period breaks, no MLF Cup Angler will be allowed to fish or try to locate bass.
    4. Period Breaks begin when the MLF Official announces, “Lines Out. End of Period 1 or end of period 2.”  The period break ends at the start of the next period. During period breaks, MLF Cup Anglers are not allowed to fish or try to locate bass.  MLF Cup Anglers may look at and review provided paper maps and maps on graphing units during period breaks. 
    5. MLF Cup Anglers will be required during period breaks to meet at a pre-determined Rendezvous Point. This is a requirement regardless of the amount of time it takes to reach the Rendezvous Point, including if it requires more than the 30 minutes allotted for the period break.
    6. MLF Cup Rendezvous Point to be located at a centralized area of the competition zone. 
    7. At the beginning of the second and third periods, MLF Cup Anglers will take off according to their order in the standings.
    8. ELIMINATION ROUND: Daily schedule is as follows. Daily times may vary and will be provided:
      • 45  Minutes: Launch, Interviews, and Photos (subject to change)
      • 15  Minutes: Enter zone for the Ride Through scouting (minimum time)
      • 2.5 Hours: Fishing Period 1
      • 30  Minutes: Lines Out and Rendezvous
      • 2.5 Hours: Fishing Period 2
      • 30  Minutes: Lines Out and Rendezvous
      • 2.5 Hours: Fishing Period 3
      • (Note: All daily competition times subject to change.)
    9. SUDDEN DEATH ROUND: Daily schedules will follow the same schedule as the Elimination Round daily schedule. Sudden Death will, however, include qualifying target weight. If four (4) MLF Cup Anglers reach the qualifying weight, competition will immediately cease for the day.
    10. CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND: Daily Schedule will follow the same procedural schedule as the Elimination Round daily schedule in all aspects.
  8. TIE-BREAKER RULES FOR MLF CUP EVENTS

CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

  1. If two (or more) MLF Cup Anglers are tied at the end of the Championship Round – meaning they have caught the same total on-the-record weight during that round – the following tie-breaking rules will be employed.
    1. TIE-BREAKER NO. 1: The MLF Cup Angler with the most total accumulative number of “scorable bass” caught during the Championship Round shall be deemed the winner.
    2. TIE-BREAKER NO. 2: After Tie-Breaker No. 1 is employed and two (or more) MLF Cup Anglers are still tied, Tie-Breaker No. 2 shall be employed: The MLF Cup Angler with the largest single bass (highest weight) caught during the Championship Round shall be deemed the winner.
    3. TIE-BREAKER NO. 3: After Tie-Breaker No. 1 and 2 have employed but two (or more) MLF Cup Anglers are still tied, Tie-Breaker No. 3 shall be employed: The 2nd largest single bass caught during the Championship Round 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

NON-CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

  1. If two (or more) MLF Cup Anglers are tied for a finishing position that determines whether that MLF Cup 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.
    1. TIE-BREAKER NO. 1: The MLF Cup Angler with the most total accumulative number of “scorable bass” caught during the Round shall be deemed the winner.
    2. TIE-BREAKER NO. 2 : After Tie-Breaker No. 1 is employed and two (or more) MLF Cup Anglers are still tied, Tie-Breaker No. 2 shall be employed: The MLF Cup Angler with the largest single bass (highest weight) caught during the Round shall be deemed the winner.
    3. TIE-BREAKER NO. 3: After Tie-Breaker No. 1 and 2 have been employed but two (or more) MLF Cup Anglers are still tied, Tie-Breaker No. 3 shall be employed: The 2nd largest single bass caught during the Championship Round 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.

9.   DISQUALIFICATION 

  1. If an MLF Cup Angler is disqualified or disqualifies himself during an event, he only receives the position earned in that event leading up to disqualification. The MLF Cup Angler in the next position in the event standings WILL NOT move up to replace him in the event.

COMPETITION RULES AND GENERAL ENFORCEMENT

10. PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY STANDARDS

  1. Participation in MLF Cup Events is determined solely by Cup qualifying points standings earned during MLF Bass Pro Tour events in the current year. 
  2. The top thirty (30) MLF Anglers in Cup Points Standings after the first and second MLF Bass Pro Tour Events combined will qualify into the MLF Challenge Cup. Cup qualifying points earned by MLF Anglers will return to zero following the first and second MLF Bass Pro Tour Events.
  3. The top thirty (30) MLF Anglers in Cup Points Standings after the third and fourth MLF Bass Pro Tour Events combined will qualify into the MLF Heritage Cup. Cup qualifying points earned by MLF Anglers will again return to zero following the third and fourth MLF Bass Pro Tour Events. Omitted for the 2020 shortened season
  4. The top thirty (30) MLF Anglers in Cup Points Standings after the fifth and sixth MLF Bass Pro Tour Events combined will qualify into the MLF Patriot Cup. Cup qualifying points earned by MLF Anglers will again return to zero following the fifth and sixth MLF Bass Pro Tour Events. Omitted for the 2020 shortened season  
  5. The top thirty (30) MLF Anglers in Cup Points Standings after the seventh and eighth MLF Bass Pro Tour Events combined will qualify into the MLF Summit Cup. Cup qualifying points earned by MLF Anglers will again return to zero following the seventh and eighth MLF Bass Pro Tour Events. Omitted for the 2020 shortened season  

11. LAWS, BOATS, SAFETY AND WEATHER 

  1. MLF Cup Anglers must adhere to all federal, state and local laws. MLF Officials are required to contact the MLF Tournament Director or his designee with any questions or concerns about an Angler’s potential action that may violate a law. An MLF Official must immediately report a Cup Angler’s violation of a law to the MLF Tournament Director or his designee. Based on the set of circumstances in connection with the violation, the MLF Tournament Director, at his discretion, will issue an immediate penalty and or disqualification.
  2. Boats for MLF Cup Event competition will be supplied by MAJOR LEAGUE FISHING and will be fully equipped with all essentials to meet state water safety requirements.
  3. The MLF Tournament Director or his designee has the right to delay, shorten or cancel the start of an event because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the competitors. Competition waters may also be restricted at any time because of bad weather. MLF will be monitoring the weather at all times during the competition day and will communicate to your MLF Official via SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device messages, texts and phone.
  4. In the event that dangerous conditions develop, MLF will suspend the competition for all MLF Cup Anglers and instruct you to immediately take cover. If at any time you feel you are in danger, and your MLF Official HAS NOT been contacted, you should take cover and immediately contact the MLF Tournament Director or his designee. The MLF Tournament Director his designee will suspend the competition until the conditions have improved.

12. SPORTSMANSHIP

  1. Competitors are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation. Any violation of the standards may be deemed cause for disqualification. (SEE Sportsmanship and Flagrant Sportsmanship Violations, definition and penalties.
  2. Use of alcohol or drugs (other than drugs purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any Angler during MLF Cup Events could be cause for automatic disqualification.
  3. Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non-competitors who may be on tournament waters.
  4. MLF Officials have the responsibility of reporting to the MLF Tournament Director or his designee any MLF Cup Angler’s sportsmanship violation or a flagrant violation for any act that reflects unfavorably upon efforts to promote Fisheries conservation and/or clean waters.  The MLF Tournament Director will assess the incident. 

13. MLF TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS’ ROLE

  1. The MLF Tournament Director shall assess all rules violations that require penalty assessment at the MLF Tournament Directors discretion shall be done so by the MLF Tournament Directors (i.e. extended penalty time, disqualification and/or prohibition from participation in subsequent MLF Cup Competitions). 
  2. Subject to appeal, the decision of the MLF Tournament Director, or the MLF rules committee established by the MLF Tournament Director, shall be final in all matters.

14. MLF COMPETITION CREW CHIEF’S ROLE

  1. Supervises the training program for all MLF Officials.
  2. Develops and manages all MLF Official duties, procedures, communications, etc. and makes additional recommendations to the MLF Tournament Director, Operations. 
  3. Evaluates and rates the performance of each member of the current MLF Official Staff and reports the findings to the MLF Tournament Director, Operations. 
  4. Serves as the on-site liaison between the MLF Officials and MLF Cup Anglers as required.

15. MLF LEAD OFFICIAL’S ROLE

  1. Independently trains all MLF Officials to meet the standards as set by MLF.
  2. Serves in a supervisory capacity in directing other MLF Official Staff.

16. MLF OFFICIAL’S ROLE

  1. A fully trained MLF Official will accompany each MLF Cup Angler throughout each day’s competition.
  2. 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 Cup Anglers with a Leader Board that shows the status of the event’s leaders.
  3. 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.
  4. The MLF Official will serve as rules enforcer and the official scorekeeper.
  5. 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.
  6. Rules decisions made by the MLF Official are considered final, unless an MLF Cup Angler chooses to submit a written protest to the MLF Tournament Director.

17. THE WEIGHING OF BASS

  1. All MLF Events shall utilize the MLF term “scorable bass".  A scorable bass is any bass caught that weighs one (1) pound or greater.  Any bass caught that weighs less than one (1) pound shall be deemed “non-scorable.”
  2. There is no limit to the number of scorable bass an MLF Angler can catch and record during MLF Event competition day. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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 in full view of the TV camera. Anglers are not permitted to clip the bass to the scales until all hooks are removed. 
  5. Should the bass be less than one (1) pound, the MLF Official shall announce it to be non-scorable. Should the bass be more than one (1) pound, the official will proceed to call the weight. 
  6. The MLF Official will call the weight. If the call is challenged by the MLF Cup Angler, the MLF Official will zero the scale and re-weigh the bass a maximum of two (2) additional times and then the MLF Official will make the final call, “the official weight is”. The bass cannot be dipped into the water between re-weighs with exception of scale malfunctions. 
  7. After the official weight is announced (or after a bass is deemed non-scorable) the MLF Cup Angler is to remove the bass from the scale, immediately release the bass into the water and resume fishing.
  8. 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.
  9. Should an MLF Cup Angler catch a bass on a bait which is illegal in the waters being fished, the bass caught will be deemed a non-scorable bass.  If the MLF Official discovers that an illegal bait is being used, he may warn the MLF Cup Angler that no bass caught with the illegal bait will be scored.  The Official may require an MLF Cup Angler’s bait be shown to him in which case the MLF Cup Angler must allow him to inspect the bait for its lawfulness.

18. END-OF-PERIOD SCORING

  1. The MLF SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device will serve as the “Official Clock.” 
  2. At the ends of periods, the MLF Cup Angler will be clearly notified by the MLF Official when the period competition is coming to an end and when MLF Cup Angler must stop fishing. The only deviations to the scheduled ends of periods will be if all MLF Cup Anglers receive extra competition time because of an Official Time Out due to a Mechanical Failure, Medical Emergency, Weather, or TV Production Equipment Failure, as called by the MLF Tournament Director or his designee. 
  3. Regarding the final cast of any period, any bass hooked on the final cast must be “inside the boat” - visibly inside the gunnel - before the time expires to be scorable.
  4. The legality or illegality of a period-end catch will be determined by the MLF Official.

19. TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT

  1. Use of nets and grippers for landing bass is prohibited.
  2. Only artificial lures can be used.
  3. Once the event has begun (the start of Elimination Round 1), actively competing MLF Cup Anglers may not exchange baits with any other actively competing angler. Active MLF Cup Anglers may ask for and receive baits from eliminated MLF Cup Anglers, so long as no information is received from the eliminated MLF Cup Angler in the exchange which violates the No Information Rule (21a). Terminal tackle such as weights, rods, line etc.…is permitted
  4. All bass must be caught in a conventional sporting manner.
  5. Any bass caught while “visually fishing” must be hooked inside the mouth and verified by the MLF Official before being unhooked. 
  6. MLF Cup Anglers will be permitted the use of a lure retriever; however, MLF Cup Anglers must supply their own lure retriever.
  7. 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. 

20.   MLF CUP COMPETITION RULES / PENALTIES

  1. NO INFORMATION RULE: MLF Cup Anglers shall not pursue any action of any kind that may give that MLF Cup Angler a competitive advantage during competition. 

All actively competing MLF Cup Anglers may not talk with any other MLF Cup Angler, sponsor, locals or anyone else except for authorized MLF media personnel about any daily results or any other event information. Actively competing MLF Cup Anglers may not talk to MLF Officials about any other MLF Cup Angler’s results or tactics used during any competition day. Eliminated MLF Cup Anglers may discuss daily results and any other event information with other eliminated MLF Cup Anglers only.

MLF Cup Anglers may not use any mapping or GPS device including boat electronics, cell phones, tablets or computers to research any information about any possible fisheries in the general area of the évent location.

Should an MLF Cup Angler receive information that potentially gives him a competitive advantage, such as locations, baits, topography, conditions, etc., including unsolicited information, he is required to share that information with the MLF Tournament Director. The MLF Tournament Director shall determine whether this information should be subsequently shared with any or all other MLF Cup Anglers. 

The No Information Rule will be governed by a Rule Infraction Verification Test.

(Penalty – MLF Tournament Director: Sharing Information, Result Disqualification)

2. GPS STORED WAYPOINTS: No pre-determined, user-generated GPS waypoints will be allowed. Waypoints may only be marked during competition hours.

(Penalty – MLF Tournament Director: Illegal GPS Waypoints, Disqualification)

3. OFF LIMITS: Lake is off limits except for when MLF Cup Anglers are competing in the actual MLF Cup event.

(Penalty – MLF Tournament Director: Illegal Scouting, Disqualification)

4. ASSESSING PENALTIES: If the MLF Official calls a penalty on the MLF Cup Angler, he must immediately stop all activities, including fishing. The MLF Cup Angler is allowed to drop his shallow water anchors or operate the trolling motor Spot Lock. ALL other activities of any kind are not allowed, and additional penalty time will be added for a penalty compliance violation for each occurrence. 

If a penalty results from a bass Landing Violation the bass must immediately be 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. 

MLF Officials are not allowed to enter the penalty on the SCORETRACKER© Scoring System Device before the weight is first manually recorded. The MLF Cup Angler must not request that MLF Official start the penalty clock before the weight is first manually entered.

The MLF Cup Angler must sit down on the front deck and is not allowed to do ANYTHING during his penalty time with the exception of 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)

5. PENALTY CARRY-OVER: If an MLF Cup Angler is assessed a penalty at the end of Period One or Period Two, the penalty time spent will be at the “start of Fishing” in the next period. If a MLF Cup Angler is penalized at the conclusion of Period Three in Round One or Round Two, the penalty time spent will be at the “start of Fishing” during the next Round. The beginning ride around time cannot be used for penalty time.

(Penalty – Official: Lines-In Violation, 2 Minutes at Start of Period)

h.   LINES-OUT RULE: When the MLF Official has called "Lines Out, End of Period" or "Lines Out, End of Round" the MLF Cup Angler cannot make another cast. 

(Penalty – Official: Lines-Out Violation, 2 Minutes Carry-Over Penalty)

i.    ENCROACHMENT RULE: There is no official buoy distance rule.  However, at no time is an MLF Cup Angler allowed to interfere with another MLF Cup Angler’s line. If an MLF Cup Angler casts and hooks into another MLF Angler’s line, the casting MLF Cup Angler will be penalized.

(Penalty – Official: Hooking other’s line, 2 Min., stop fishing when line untangled)

j.    LANDING BASS: While landing bass, 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 violation. Excepted 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 it touching the carpet”.  The MLF Cup Angler should first ask the MLF Official if the MLF Cup Angler can lay the bass on the carpet. 

Additionally, MLF Cup Anglers are not allowed to cradle bass or allow bass being landed to touch the MLF Cup Angler’s body.  An MLF Cup 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 Cup Angler brings the bass to the body deliberately to secure control of the bass, or the bass hits the MLF Cup Angler more than a “slight touch” as judged by the MLF Official, then it will be a penalty.  From a rules standpoint, the body is to be treated the same as the carpet.

Should an MLF Cup 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: Bass Landing Violation, 2 Minutes immediate, stop Fishing)

k.   FLAGRANT FISH LANDING: Should an MLF Cup Angler intentionally harm a bass in any way during the landing process, the action shall be deemed a Flagrant Bass 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 stepping on a bass, etc. 

The difference between a regular Bass Landing Violation and a Flagrant Bass Landing Violation is intent. A regular Bass Landing Violation is the result of an unintended action. A Flagrant Bass Landing Violation is the result of an intended action.

Should an MLF Cup Angler hook multiple bass on one bait, and intentionally harm them as described above, a Flagrant Bass Landing Violation penalty will be assessed for every bass that is hooked.

(Penalty – Official: Flagrant Fish Landing violation, 5 Minutes immediate, stop Fishing)

l.    RELEASING BASS: When releasing any bass that is scorable or non-scorable, the MLF Cup Angler’s hand must be at gunnel level or closer to the water. No flipping or tossing of bass. At no time may an MLF Cup Angler shake off any bass, scorable or non-scorable, by hand or rod. Doing so will be considered a Bass Release Violation. 

(Penalty – Official: Bass Release Violation, 2 Minutes immediate, stop Fishing)

m.  SECOND LINE: An MLF Cup Angler will be allowed to utilize a second line in the water ONCE PER PERIOD. However, when utilizing a second line, an MLF Cup Angler must employ a “cast and retrieve” method. Working bottom bait very slowly is considered a “cast and retrieve” method. If an MLF Cup Angler casts a second line in the water more than once per period, the MLF Cup Angler will receive a penalty. Dragging a line from a stationery rod is not permitted. Although the MLF Cup 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 Min., stop fishing when 2nd lure is retrieved)

n.   LEAVING BOAT: MLF Cup Anglers may not leave the boat for the purpose of Fishing. Leaving the boat to assist in landing a hooked bass, as an act of Fishing, will result in a penalty. Although penalized, if an MLF Cup 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 Bass, 3 Minutes immediate stop fishing)

o.   Furthermore, the MLF Official and camera operator may not leave the boat to help the angler for any reason.  The exception for the MLF Official is he may only leave the boat in a situation where the integrity of the game is at risk. The exception for the camera operator may leave the boat for alternate filming angles, but never to help the angler. However, if the MLF Official has to aid the MLF Cup Angler in boat retrieval a 2 minute penalty will be called.

(Penalty - Official: Boat Retrieval, 2 Minutes immediate stop fishing)

p.   The MLF Cup Angler is not allowed outside of their boat for the purpose of gaining access. If an MLF Cup Anglers’ boat gets stuck and the MLF Cup Angler needs assistance a penalty will be assessed. Once the boat is freed and the angler is back in the boat the penalty will start. 

(Penalty - Official Assistance, 15 minutes stop fishing)

q.   OUT OF BOUNDS: On some bodies of water, MLF Cup 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.                                                                                                 

(Penalty – Official: Boat out of Bounds, 5 Minutes immediate stop fishing)

r.    GRAPHING: MLF Cup Anglers may mark waypoints ONLY during the following times: (1) upon arrival at the ramp prior to the beginning of a Round when they are allowed to review the graph mapping provided; (2) during the Ride-through period prior to the beginning of a Round; (3) during the competition hours of Periods 1, 2 and 3; and (4) during each period break at the rendezvous location. Marking a waypoint at any other time will result in an Illegal Graphing penalty. 

While MLF Cup Anglers are allowed to mark waypoints during period breaks at the rendezvous location, they are not allowed to mark waypoints while returning to the rendezvous location. Doing so will result in an Illegal Graphing penalty.   

(Penalty – Official: Graphing between Periods, 5 Minutes at start of next period)

s.    GOING NEUTRAL: Round Two Cup MLF Anglers will be required to “go neutral” immediately after they have qualified for the next round of competition. Going neutral means the MLF Cup Angler is required to immediately stop Fishing and return to the ramp where you put in. 

(Penalty – Official: Failure to “Go Neutral,” 5 Minutes at start of Championship Fishing Period. The ride around time cannot be used for 5 Minute penalty time)

t.    PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE: Each MLF Cup Angler must wear a Coast Guard-approved chest-type life preserver. MLF Cup Angler’s life preserver must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition any time the combustion engine is in gear.  The MLF Official's life preserver must be on and the MLF Official must be seated before the boat is put on plane.  Camera Operators are required to wear the life preserver under the same fashion as the boat officials.  

(Penalty - Official: Safe-boat conduct Penalty, 3 Minutes immediate, stop fishing)

u.   KILL SWITCH: The MLF Cup 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)

v.   SPORTSMANSHIP: A Sportsmanship Violation is defined as aggressive or hostile behavior directed at a fellow MLF Cup 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)

w.  FLAGRANT VIOLATION: A flagrant violation for 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 by MLF Tournament Director)

x.   MECHANICAL FAULT: If a MLF Cup Angler experiences mechanical failure during MLF competition and the MLF Official determines that the MLF Cup Angler is at fault for the problem, no TIME OUT will be called.

(Penalty – Boat Official: Self-inflicted Mechanical Failure, No time out for repair)

y.   IMPEDANCE: The MLF Cup 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 Cup Angler must immediately stop fishing and return the boat to an area of SCORETRACKER© connectivity.  Failure to do so will result in a penalty. This includes making another cast after the MLF Official has announced the 15 minutes of lost connectivity has elapsed. 

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 – Boat Official, Impedance Violation, 15mins once connectivity is reestablished)

z.    MECHANICAL FAILURE If a MLF Cup Angler’s boat experiences mechanical failure during competition and the problem is determined by the MLF Official to be no fault of the MLF Cup Angler, an OFFICIAL TIME OUT will be issued. All competing MLF Cup Anglers will be promptly notified by the MLF Official In Charge when the OFFICIAL TIME OUT is to begin. MLF Cup Anglers must immediately stop Fishing when the OFFICIAL TIME OUT is called. Any MLF Cup Angler in the process of reeling in a “hooked” bass will be allowed to count the weight of this scorable bass toward his daily weight total. 

The OFFICIAL TIME OUT will be employed for the duration required to replace the MLF Cup Angler’s boat or appropriate boat part. The MLF Official with the MLF Cup Angler experiencing the boat failure will notify the MLF Official In Charge and the MLF Official In Charge will communicate the beginning and ending times for the OFFICIAL TIME OUT. 

At the end of the period, MLF Cup Anglers will be allotted extra minutes of Fishing, with the total number of minutes equaling the duration of the TIME OUT. MLF reserves the right to alter the day’s competitive time schedule should a TIME OUT occur.