2024 SERIES RULES OVERVIEW
To protect the integrity of the Georgia Bass Trail (GBT) and our anglers, all winners will be subject to a polygraph exam before the prizes are distributed at each event. Contestants must pass the polygraph exam at the tournament site to receive prize money, awards, and points for the event. The refusal of any winner to voluntarily submit to a polygraph exam before the prizes are distributed at each event automatically disqualifies any winner from being eligible to receive any prize money, awards, points for the event, and any other offered prize and/or award. All decisions regarding compliance with GBT’s rules and the interpretation of these rules will be made by the tournament director at his/her sole and absolute discretion, Georgia Bass Trail (GBT), and the tournament director reserve the right to make additional reasonable rules for the conduct of its tournaments if circumstances require. The tournament director reserves the right to waive any violation of these rules disclosed to him/her before the polygraph exam, at his/her sole and absolute discretion. The tournament Director shall have the right to refuse any application or deny a confirmed application by returning the entry fee of a previously accepted application or disqualifying a contestant.
1. Official 2024 Team Trail Event Rules:
Decisions of the tournament director are final and are not subject to appeal. Interpretation of these rules will be left exclusively to the tournament director in his sole and absolute discretion. Each competitor agrees to report any rule violation to the tournament director immediately upon discovery of the violation. The violation of the tournament rules may result in loss of weight, the loss of weight up to a specific time during the tournament day, total loss of weight of the particular day, the ineligibility to participate in future Georgia Bass Trail events, or any other penalty deemed appropriate by the tournament director in his sole discretion. Protests must be made in writing within 15 minutes of the official closing of scales at each tournament. The total entry fee into each event is $225 per boat. $25.00 of each entry fee will be taken out for tournament fees; $50.00 for the Classic, and $150.00 will go towards the respective tournament payout. The above breakdown does NOT include processing fees charged by the credit card company. Each tournament will also have a big fish pot at $20.00 per team. (The big fish pot is optional).
Team registration is online only. Paperwork must be filled out online. Teams should pay in full for the year at time of registration (June 1st to October 1st) total of $1350.00 for the six events in each Division. The AOY team from previous year in each division will be boat number one for the new season. Then boat number 2 and so on will be assigned as you pay in full at time of registration. This will be your boat number for the complete season. Teams can also register with a $600.00 NON-refundable deposit for six events, which is 100.00 per tournament down payment. Teams that just pay the $600.00 down payment will go in to a boat lottery before each tournament starting after the last boat number assigned from the teams that paid in full. The remaining $125.00 will be due the week prior to the event on Wednesday when tournament registration opens. The $125.00 (does not include processing fees). The invoices will be sent out Friday morning the week before the tournament. All credit card payments are subject to a 2.9% + $0.30 processing fee. $125.00 plus processing fee will be charged to your card. The breakdown of the entry fee is as follows: $50.00 to classic, $25.00 to trail. The remainder of the fee $150.00 will go toward the respective tournament payout. The Georgia Bass Trail will pay out 1 in 7 spots for each tournament. Only teams who pre-registered and paid the $600.00 non-refundable deposit or paid in full will be permitted to fish. Also there will be a last chance to register for the year at the ramp before the first tournament starts in each division. Teams who show up at the ramp who did not pre-register must complete ALL PAPERWORK at the ramp and pay in full or pay the non-refundable $600.00 deposit plus the entry fee. No registrations will be taken after the first tournament of the North and South Division. November 11th 2023 for the North and December 16th 2023 for the South. Your registration includes your B.A.S.S. Team Championship Program registration fee that is required to compete in the B.A.S.S. Team Championship. It DOES NOT include a B.A.S.S. Individual Membership, which is required to participate in that event. The $500.00 fee to fish the Bass Team Championship is not included also. Changes to team registrations must be made prior to the first tournament of the season. November 11, 2023 for the North Division or December 16th for the South Division.
2a. Participation and Eligibility:
GBT tournaments are open to all anglers with the exception of GUIDES. All boats must contain at least one registered owner. Any angler entering a GBT event who is under 18 years of age must have the signature of a parent or legal guardian in the provided space on the official entry form. Each contestant that voluntarily participates in any GBT event voluntarily agrees to abide by GBT’s Rules and all applicable state and federal laws, and any violation of said rules and/or laws will be subject the contestant to disqualification and/or other disciplinary action at the sole and absolute discretion of the tournament director.
Each contestant that voluntarily participates in any GBT event voluntarily agrees to submit and subject himself/herself to a polygraph exam.
All GBT events are team events, although a contestant may fish alone as a single person team. If a contestant chooses to fish as a single-person team the GBT reserves the right to place an observer in the boat at any given event, and further reserves the right to issue a polygraph at any given event. Any contestant who refuses to voluntarily submit to a polygraph exam will be disqualified from said event at the sole and absolute discretion of the tournament director. A single-person team can’t use an alternate at any event. A single-person team is prohibited from participating in the Bassmaster Team Championship per BASS Rules.
A team may assign one alternate partner at the beginning of the year who may fish TWO regular-season events out of the six total. And allow the team to retain all points earned. ALL alternate partners MUST be assigned by November 11, 2023 for the North Division and December 16th for the South Division. Adding an alternate is very much encouraged.
2b. All GBT tournaments are team events.
Alternate partners may only be used during regular season tournaments and will not be permitted to fish in the Championship. (Classic).
Under the circumstances that a team has a team member unable to fish a tournament, said team member will fish alone and will be subject to a polygraph.
Only registered contestants/alternate partner or an approved observer may be in the boat during official tournament days. This is the Thursday and Friday official practice days before each tournament and day of tournament.
2c. Tournament Check In:
Tournament Check In will be the morning of the tournament. Check In time will be at the discretion of the Tournament Director based on the number of boats in said event. Each team member must check-in, in person at the GBT trailer. Each angler MUST present a valid fishing license, driver’s license, and proof of boat insurance at the first tournament of the year.
No fishing information may be purchased, bartered, or solicited from any person after official practice has begun. Official practice for each regular season tournament shall be the Thursday and Friday prior to the tournament. Official practice begins at 12:01 A.M. on Thursday and ends on Friday at 6:30 P.M.
$100,000 minimum liability coverage is required to use your boat during all GBT events. This includes using the boat during the official practice period. Proof of insurance coverage must be maintained in the boat during all tournament events, including official practice period and must be shown at registration.
4. Pre-tournament Practice:
All regular season GBT events will NOT be subject to an off-limits period. However, the Thursday and Friday prior to the tournament are considered the Official Practice Days. During official practice, all GBT tournament rules apply and only team members or the alternate can be in the boat on these days.
Safe boating must be observed at all times. Each contestant is required to wear a fastened (fully zipped and/or all clips fastened), U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device anytime the combustion engine is in operation from boat check to weigh in.
All boats must be equipped with an emergency ignition shut-off device, which must be securely attached to the driver’s body any time the combustion engine is in operation. The driver must be seated in the driver’s seat anytime the combustion engine is engaged in gear. In the event of inclement weather, the tournament will be held the next day, weather permitting. Competitors are allowed to leave the boat and seek shelter in bad weather, at which time no fishing may occur.
In the event of equipment failure or emergency, the tournament director must be notified as soon as it is safe to do so. There are then two permitted methods of returning to check-in unless another option approved by tournament director: (1) by both anglers remaining in their boat and being towed by water, or (2) with permission from the tournament director, by one or both anglers entering the boat of another tournament contestant. Under these two conditions both contestants’ catches may be counted without a penalty (except for late penalties, dead-fish penalties or other penalties pertaining to other tournament rules) provided each team’s fish are adequately marked so as to provide clear distinction to the tournament director. Contestants who elect to return to check-in by any means other than those cited will forfeit their day’s catch to that point in time of the tournament day. Abandoning a boat and leaving it adrift without proper tie off or anchoring after a mechanical failure may result in disqualification of that day’s weight.
6. Permitted Fishing Methods:
Only artificial lures may be used. Only one fishing rod per angler may be used at any one time. Additional rods may be in the boat and ready for use; however, each cast and retrieve must be completed before another cast is attempted or rod is used. Trolling with the combustion engine as a method of fishing is prohibited. Switching or sharing fish with other teams or individuals is a violation of these rules and will result in immediate disqualification. All bass must be caught alive, in a conventional, sporting manner.
When sight fishing for bass, all fish must be hooked inside the mouth to be counted as a legal fish. 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.
7. Sportsmanship and Conduct:
All contestants are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation. Examples of conduct not complying with those standards include, but are not limited to, the following: a. Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or mind-altering substances during tournament hours extending through the weigh-in procedure. b. Any previous conviction, arrest, or investigation for a felony, or crime involving moral turpitude, or a crime related to, arising out of, or involving any fishing tournament or event. Exception will be considered with full, prior written disclosure to the tournament director under oath and by affidavit of all facts and circumstances surrounding such conviction, arrest, or investigation so long as those facts and circumstances do not result in the continuing questionability of the contestant’s honesty, integrity, character or qualifications to enter the event. c. Actions or words that reflect unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, and fair competition. The GBT will not allow bullying by any GBT competitor during practice, at meetings, or during tournament hours. ANY act of bullying will result in disqualification from the event and any future GBT events. ANY DOCUMENTED VIOLATION OF THE SPORTMANSHIP RULE WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION OF ALL GBT EVENTS. d. Chemical or substance abuse. e. Disqualification from any GBT or other fishing organization’s tournament that resulted from unexplained rule violations that result in a contestant’s honesty, integrity, character, and qualifications for entry into a GBT event being questionable in the tournament director’s sole and absolute discretion. Anglers participating in any GBT sanctioned event shall observe this code of conduct and the applicable rules for the specific event in which they are participating.
7. Sportsmanship and Conduct:
Anglers shall, at all times, conduct themselves in a professional manner that demonstrates integrity, honor and respect towards fellow competitors, tournament staff, and general public, and does not reflect unfavorably on GBT, its members, officers or representatives, tournaments, or sponsors.
To this end, anglers shall use their best efforts to demonstrate professionalism and integrity in support of the sport of professional fishing. Any angler who violates any of the provisions of the Angler Code of Conduct may be subject to fines, reduction of points, forfeiture of tournament winnings, suspension from competing in individual GBT sanctioned events, permanent ban from competition, or any combination thereof deemed appropriate by the GBT. Upon review of the circumstances by GBT and the tournament director, the tournament director 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 disqualifying a contestant. GBT reserves the right to place an official observer in a contestant’s boat at any time during competition hours.
During official practice days and hours of competition, contestants may not receive fishing information from non-competitors or participate in the practice of “hole-sitting.” The use of mobile communication devices such as cellular phones, marine radios, walkie-talkies, CBs, etc. to communicate fishing information during tournament hours is strictly prohibited. In the event of an emergency situation, competitors should first dial 911 and then notify Tournament Director.
9. Boat and Horsepower Regulation:
Each boat must have all the required U. S. Coast Guard safety equipment. Boats must contain properly aerated live well space to maintain alive the limit of catch of bass. Maximum horsepower for all outboards used in tournament competition may not exceed the horsepower limitation set by the U. S. Coast Guard in such vessel. Falsifying information on entry forms, or altering the horsepower numbers on the motor, or rating the plate to conceal such limitations will be cause for disqualification from the tournament. No contestant may have a platform, raised deck, or ladder that is higher than the gunnel of the boat. Standing on the fishing seats or outboard motor will not be allowed in GBT events. No air or jet boats will be permitted during official practice or competition days. “Official practice” days are those days, if any, designated by GBT as such on its website with respect to a particular tournament.
10. Permitted Fishing Locations:
Contestants may fish anywhere on tournament waters accessible by boat, except areas designated as “off-limits” or “no fishing” by state or federal officials, or within 50 yards of a competitor’s boat which was first anchored (an anchored boat is a boat held in a stable position by a line attached to a weight with the trolling motor in the up position), or within 50 yards of a non-anchored competitor’s boat unless otherwise agreed upon by the other tournament angler. The act of moving bass from one area of the lake to another area of the same lake at any time is not permitted, regardless of whether or not it is during official practice or competition days. Locking through to another body of water is not permitted at any time during tournament hours.
11. Off-limits Areas:
Such areas established and announced at the briefing meeting for each GBT events. Contestants may not fish inside the established “off-limits” area. Violation of the rule will result in immediate disqualification. Contestants’ boats must remain in the tournament waters during the event.
12. Trailering Is Not Allowed:
All boats must leave the official checkpoint in the order designated at registration. Contestants may launch their boat at a ramp other than the designated take-off location, but all contestants must come through the official checkpoint location before leaving to fish. In the event of severe weather, alternate takeoff instructions will be given at the registration site at the sole discretion of the tournament director.
13. Official Checkpoints:
There will be only two official checkpoints for boat inspection in the morning and one official check in point in the afternoon. Failure to go through the checkout in the morning or failure to officially check in at the check-in-point will result in disqualification from such event. During morning checkout, all teams are required to idle a minimum of 100 yards before putting the boat on plane. It is the sole responsibility of each contestant to arrive at the designated check-in location on time. Regardless of what you are told or understand, it is the angler’s responsibility to verify his/her provided flight card time. All fishing must cease upon check-in, or upon such other time as may be designated by the tournament director.
Scoring will be determined by the pounds and hundredths of a pound of each angler’s catch during the tournament. Large mouth, Smallmouth, Shoal, Spotted bass will be weighed. Limit will be five (5) per team unless otherwise stated by the tournament director. Any contestant who possesses more than the tournament limit (5 fish) at any time will have his/her catch for the day disqualified. The minimum official length limit for all species for the 2024 GBT Qualifying Team event will be provided at each event. A penalty of (3) pounds will be assessed for a short fish brought to the scales. In addition, that fish will not be weighed and that team will be disqualified from the Big Bass competition. Any team bringing more than one short fish to the scales will be disqualified from competition for the day. Each contestant’s catch must be presented in an official weigh-in bag. Bass will be measured with mouth closed, tail compressed and swiped to achieve overall greatest length. There will be a courtesy ruler on the table just ahead of the weigh-in tank so you can measure your fish if in question with the same ruler used by tournament director. Once at the scales it will be final.
15. Live Fish:
Culling a dead fish is prohibited and will result in disqualification. A penalty of ½ pound (.5) per dead fish will be assessed and deducted from the day’s total weight. In the event the angler’s big fish is dead, a penalty of ½ pound (.5) will be deducted from the big fish total weight. All dead fish must be brought to weigh in for sanitary disposal. Dead fish is up to the discretion of the tournament director.
16. Late Penalty:
Contestants who are not at the official check-in point at the appointed time will be assessed a one pound-per-minute penalty from their total weight, including any weight to be counted toward a Big Bass award. Any contestant more than 15 minutes late will forfeit that day’s catch. In the event of a mechanical breakdown, a contestant may return to check-in location with their catch by receiving a ride from another registered contestant or tournament official only. The contestants must return to the official check-in location by the methods set forth above by their assigned check-in time to avoid late penalty.
17. Closing of the Scales:
Scales will close 30 minutes after the last flight is due in. Due to certain weigh-in locations, this time may be lengthened or shortened at the tournament director’s sole and absolute discretion. Any change to the above stated official scale closing time will be announced during registration, during boat checkout, or during weigh-in. It is the angler’s responsibility to verify the official scale closing time and to be in the weigh-in line by such time.
If there is a tie in any paying position the two teams will split the money for that position and the next paying position. Both teams will receive the same amount of points for the tie. Ties in each of the teams that qualify for the Championship will be broken by adding each team’s total weight for the season; The highest weight will determine a qualifier.
19. Championship Qualifiers:
The Top 15 teams in each division will qualify for the two-day tournament on November 9th– 10th 2024. (Lake to be named at later date) To qualify for the Classic you must fish five of the six tournaments. The Monday thru Wednesday the week of the classic will be off limits. The Thursday and Friday before the classic will be the official practice days.
Points will be awarded as follows: Points will begin at 150 for 1st, 149 for 2nd Place, 148 for 3rd Place and so on. All teams that do not weigh a bass or paid in full will receive 10 points less than the last place team that weighed fish in that event. All two day tournaments will be scored on a per day basis. Teams will be given points based on their standings for each individual day. At the end of the two days, your two day point total will be your tournament total. The GBT will determine the number of teams to move on to the B.A.S.S. Team Championship by the number of boats who participate during the season. Teams will be responsible for paying their own entry fee for the B.A.S.S. Team Championship.
21. Angler Team of the Year (AOY):
The AOY will be awarded in both the North and South Divisions. AOY will be determined by the accumulated total points earned during the tournament season prior to the championship in each division. Each AOY team will receive $1500.00 and free year’s membership for the following season, will be assigned boat #1 for the following year 2025, Trophies will be awarded and be named the 2024 points leaders for that division. In the event that an AOY team is disqualified from the GBT prior to that year championship, they agree to forfeit any and all prizes they received.
22. Photography & Video:
All photos and/or video taken at a GBT event are the property of the GBT Tournament Series and may be used for promotional purposes. If any form of the media approaches, you are expected to present yourself in a professional manner and to accommodate them within reason. During weigh-in you are expected to present yourself in a professional manner and answer the questions to the best of your ability. All video/camera equipment placed in a contestant’s boat shall not be tampered with or removed without permission from the GBT tournament director. Any tampering with, powering off, or removing of this equipment will result in the team’s disqualification.