RULES

1. Official 2020 Georgia Bass Trail 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 tournaments, 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. Entry Fee into each tournament will be $130 per boat. $30.00 of each entry fee will be taken out of each entry fee; $20.00 for the Classic, and $10.00 for administrative fees such as permits and insurance.

2. Team Registration:

Registration will be held online ONLY.  The one-time registration fee is $50.00 per team. Online registrations will be accepted through Monday, January 6, 2020.  Tournament registration will be done on-line ONLY.  Tournament registration for each tournament will close the Sunday PRIOR to each tournament.  No entry fees will be taken at the ramp. NO EXCEPTIONS. Your registration includes your B.A.S.S. Team Championship Program registration 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 tournament.

3. Waiting List:

The maximum number of teams that will be allowed to register for the tournament season is 125.  Any teams beyond that number will be placed on a waiting list should they desire.  Teams will be added to the waiting list in the order they were received.  Should a team drop out the next team on the list will be permitted to fish.

4. Refunds & Cancellations:

Paid registration fee’s may be refunded until December 31, 2019.  There will be a $15.00 processing fee for all refunds.  Tournament entry fees may be refunded up until the Sunday prior to the event.  There will be a $15.00 processing fee for all refunds.  No refunds will be issued after the Sunday prior to the tournament.

5a. Participation and Eligibility:

GBT tournaments will be open to all registered boat owners.  All boats must contain at least one registered owner. Any angler entering an GBT tournament 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.

5b. The Georgia Bass Trail is a Team Trail.

• The Georgia Bass Trail is a team tournament trail; however, a participant may fish alone as a single person team. If a participant chooses to fish as a single-person team the GBT reserves the right to place an observer in the boat at any given tournament, and further reserves the right to issue a polygraph at any given tournament. A single-person team can’t use an alternate at any tournament.  • A team may assign one alternate partner at the beginning of the year who may fish two regular season tournaments and allow the team to retain all points earned.  • Alternate partners may only be used during regular season tournaments and will not be permitted to fish in the Championship. • 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 participants/alternate partner or an approved observer may be in the boat during official tournament days. • For Championship qualification, the same two partners must fish together to accumulate points.

  5c. Information:

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.

6. Pre-tournament Practice:

Regular season GBT tournaments 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 tournament rules apply. The GBT Championship will observe off limits on the Monday and Tuesday prior to the tournament. Wednesday and Thursday will be the Official Practice Days for the GBT Championship.

7. Safety:

Safe boating must be observed at all times. Each participant 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 tournament 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 tournament 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: (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 participant. Under these two conditions both participants’ 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. Participants 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.

 8. 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 from the tournament and the remainder of the season. 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 fishing must be conducted from the boat. At no time may a participant leave the boat to land a fish, or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters.

9. Code of Conduct:

All participants 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 tournament. 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 participant’s honesty, integrity, character or qualifications to enter the tournament. 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 tournament and any future GBT tournaments. ANY DOCUMENTED VIOLATION OF THE SPORTMANSHIP RULE WILL RESULT IN DISQUALIFICATION OF ALL GBT TOURNAMENTS. 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 participant’s honesty, integrity, character, and qualifications for entry into a GBT tournament being questionable in the tournament director’s sole and absolute discretion. f. Anglers participating in any GBT sanctioned tournament shall observe this code of conduct and the applicable rules for the specific tournament in which they are participating. 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 tournaments, 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 participant. GBT reserves the right to place an official observer in a participant’s boat at any time during competition hours.

10. Support:

During official practice days and hours of competition, participants 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 tournament of an emergency situation, competitors should first dial 911 and then notify Tournament Director.

11. Boat & 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 participant 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 tournaments. 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.

12. Allowable Fishing Locations:

Participants 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.

13. Prohibited Areas:

Participants may not fish inside the established “off-limits” area. Violation of the rule will result in immediate disqualification. Participants’ boats must remain in the tournament waters during the tournament.

14. Not trailering:

All boats must leave the official checkpoint in the order designated at registration. Participants may launch their boat at a ramp other than the designated take-off location, but all participants must come through the official checkpoint location before leaving to fish. In the tournament of severe weather, alternate takeoff instructions will be given at the registration site at the sole discretion of the tournament director.

15. Official Checkpoints:

There will be only one 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 tournament. During morning checkout, all teams are required to idle a minimum of 100 yards past the checkpoint or past no wake buoy before putting the boat on plane. It is the sole responsibility of each participant 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 team check in time. All fishing must cease upon check-in, or upon such other time as may be designated by the tournament director.

16. Scoring:

Scoring will be determined by the pounds and hundredths of a pound of each angler’s catch during the tournament. ONLY Largemouth and Spotted Bass are accepted species. The limit will be five (5) per team unless otherwise stated by the tournament director. Any participant who possesses more than the tournament limit at any time will have his/her catch for the day disqualified. The minimum official length limit for all species for the 2020 GBT Qualifying Team tournament will be provided at each tournament. Bass presented for weigh-in that fail to measure the prescribed length limit, will result in loss of that fish and a one–pound penalty to the weight of the remaining fish. Each participant’s catch must be presented in a weigh-in bag. Bass will be measured with mouth closed, tail compressed and swiped to achieve overall greatest length.

  17. Live Fish:

You may weigh one dead fish as a part of your five-fish total; a one-pound penalty will be assessed to your total weight for the day. No dead fish will be weighed for big fish. Culling a dead fish is not allowed and will result in disqualification. All dead fish must be brought to weigh in for sanitary disposal.

18. Late Penalty:

Participants 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 participant more than 15 minutes late will forfeit that day’s catch. In the tournament of a mechanical breakdown, a participant may return to check-in location with their catch by receiving a ride from another registered participant or tournament official only. The participants must return to the official check-in location by the methods set forth above by their assigned check-in time to avoid late penalty.

19. 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.

20. Ties:

A tie for 1st place in all 2020 GBT tournaments will be broken by a one-hour fish off. All other ties will result in splitting that place and the next place’s money. Ties in the teams that qualify for the Championship will be broken by adding each team’s total weight for the entire season; the highest weight will determine a qualifier.

21. Championship Qualifiers:

The championship will consist of one in five registered teams.  ALL teams must fish (5) of the eight (8) tournaments to be eligible to qualify for the Championship. In the event a team cannot participate in the championship tournament, the next team in the points standing will be invited. 

 22. Points:

Points will be awarded as follows: Points will begin at 125 for 1st, 124 for 2nd Place, 123 for 3rd Place and so on. All teams that do not weigh a bass will receive 10 points less than the last place team that weighed fish in that tournament.

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. Tea Championship.

23. Media:

All photos and/or video taken at a GBT tournament 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 participant’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.