2017 Ram American Fishing Tour National Championship
Ouachita River - Monroe, LA
October 15-20, 2017
Launch and Weigh In Site: Forsyth Park: 2101 Riverside Drive, Monroe, LA 71201
Host Community: Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau
Official Practice: Safelight on Sunday, October 15, 2017 until 3:00 pm on Tuesday October 17, 2017.
Off-Limits: The Ouachita River tournament waters will be off limits beginning at sunset on September 17, 2017 until safe light October 15, 2017
AFT Director's Meeting: 5:00 PM on Monday, October 16, 2017 at Monroe Civic Center: 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway; Monroe, LA 71201
Onsite Registration: 2:00-5:00 PM on Tuesday, Octoer 17, 2017 at Monroe Civic Center: 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway; Monroe, LA 71201. Dinner will be served at 5:30 PM.
Onsite Safety and Pairing Meeting: 6:00 PM on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at Monroe Civic Center: 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway; Monroe, LA 71201
Tournament Days: Wednesday October 18th, Thursday October 19th and Friday October 20th.
Awards Banquet: 6:00 PM on Friday, October 20, 2017 at Monroe Civic Center: 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway; Monroe, LA 71201.
Best Western West Monroe Inn: 405 Thomas Rd, West Monroe, LA 71292 (318) 322-9922
Best Western Airport Inn: 1475 Garrett Rd, Monroe, LA 71202 (318) 345-4000
Tournament Director: Chris Wayand (256) 230-5627
American Bass Anglers, Inc.
2017 Ram AFT National Championship Rules
Ouachita River - Monroe, LA October 15-20, 2017
- Entry Fee $170
- Off Limits – September 17 until Safe Light October 15, 2017
- Pre-Tournament Practice – Beginning October 15th at Safe light until 3:00pm October 17th
- 12” Length for both Largemouth and Spotted Bass
- Mandatory pairing meeting and safety briefing for all contestants on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at 6:00 pm, at the Monroe Civic Center
- Fishing is not permitted within 50 yards of a marina gas pump or within 50 yards of another competitor's boat anchored or not.
- Late Fee Begins COB 10/2/2017
1) RULE CHANGES: These rules supplement the 2017 American Fishing Tour rules and will remain unchanged throughout the 2017 Ram American Fishing Tour National Championship. Interpretation of these rules shall be left exclusively to the tournament director. In the event of a rule violation, the tournament director may impose such sanctions, as deemed appropriate, including, without limitation, disqualification, forfeiture of prizes, forfeiture of entry fee and prohibition from participation in subsequent tournaments. The decision of the tournament director shall be final in all matters. Each competitor agrees to report to the Tournament Director any violation or infraction of any Tournament Rules. Failure to report violations, or suggestions to another competitor that they violated these rules, or false verification of weigh-in forms, will be cause for disqualification. Protests for any rule infraction must be made in writing within 15 minutes of the official announcement, “the scales are now closed”.
2) PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY: Participation is open to current members in good standing of American Bass Anglers, Inc., who are 14 years of age or older and possess a valid state fishing license for tournament waters, and who have qualified to participate in the 2017 Ram American Fishing Tour National Championship (Must have fished a minimum of four one-day tournaments and one two-day tournament). Proof of age to the satisfaction of tournament officials is the responsibility of the competitor. DURING THE OFFICIAL PRACTICE AND COMPETITION DAYS OF THE TOURNAMENT, NO COMPETITOR MAY OPERATE A BOAT UNLESS THAT CONTESTANT HAS DOCUMENTED PROOF OF A MINIMUM OF $100,000 BOATING LIABILITY INSURANCE ON THAT PARTICULAR BOAT WITH VALID EXPIRATION DATE. PROOF OF INSURANCE MUST BE WITH THE BOAT BEING USED AND MUST COVER THE COMPETITOR USING THAT BOAT. RANDOM CHECKS WILL BE CONDUCTED THROUGHOUT THE TOURNAMENT. Tournament officials reserve the right to refund any membership and/or entry fee, if they shall choose for any reason not to accept the application for entrance. Any person entering a tournament that is under 18 years of age must have the signature of his/her parent or legal guardian on the entry form.
3) POLYGRAPH: By signing the official entry form contestants agree to submit to a polygraph/voice test examination. Any person convicted of violating tournament rules or failing to successfully pass a polygraph/voice test will not be allowed membership or entry into any future American Bass Anglers, Inc., event. The administration and interpretation of the polygraph/voice test shall be solely the responsibility of the American Bass Anglers, Inc., and shall be used (or not used) at their discretion. Without limiting the foregoing, the American Bass Anglers, Inc. shall have sole discretion of the individual(s) who administers such polygraph/voice test, and the scope of the questions which may be asked during such test. Failure to take and pass the polygraph/voice test examination, if required, will result in immediate disqualification without recourse.
4) GUIDES: Individuals who have guided on tournament waters within 30 days prior to the Championship are not eligible to compete.
5) ONSITE Check-in: All Competitors must check-in onsite on Tuesday October 17, 2017 between 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm at the Monroe Civic Center: 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway; Monroe, LA 71201. Late registrations will be accepted until 3:00 pm on Tuesday October 17, 2017 at the Monroe Civic Center. ANGLERS MUST BE REGISTERED AND ENTRY FEE PAID PRIOR ENTERING THE TOURNAMENT WATERS FOR PRACTICE. Failure to register will result in disqualification and forfeiture of entry fee.
6) Entry Fee: $170 and all entries must be postmarked, completion of on-line entry or called in with a charge card by COB October 2, 2017. All entries received after October 2ND will be assessed a $25 late fee for a total entry of $195.
7) SAFETY: Safe boating conduct will be observed at all times. During the official practice and competition, each competitor is required to wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved chest-type life preserver (PFD). This preserver must be worn any time the combustion engine is in gear. This preserver must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is no longer in gear. The boat operator must have an operational safety-stop switch attached to his/her person when the combustion engine is in gear. During practice and tournament hours extreme caution must be exercised by boat operator during bad weather. In addition extreme caution must be exercised and boat operator must be aware that there will be large cruisers and barges operating that displace extremely large volumes of water which create unusually large wakes. Weather and water turbulence can be extremely hazardous and extreme caution should be exercised at all times. Violation of either the PFD or safety-stop switch portion of this rule will result in disqualification.
8) SPORTSMANSHIP: All contestants are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation. Contestants must adhere to all local, state and federal laws. Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification. Use of or possession of illegal drugs or drugs (other than those purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any competitor during the official practice or during pre and post tournament activities will not be tolerated and shall be cause for automatic disqualification from this and all future ABA tournaments. The consumption or possession of alcohol during tournament hours is prohibited. Tournament hours are defined as from check-out in the morning through check-in in the afternoon. Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or other crimes involving immoral turpitude, or other conduct reflecting unfavorable upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with tournament rules shall be grounds for rejecting applications for membership, participation and or disqualification. Any disqualification or suspension from, or other disciplinary action regarding any tournament or fishing organization, shall be grounds for rejecting any application for membership, participation and for disqualification.
9) TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT: Only artificial lures may be used. No "live bait" or "prepared bait" will be permitted during official practice and competition, with the exception of pork strips, rinds, etc. Only one rod and reel combination may be used at one time. Alabama Rig/Umbrella Rigs are prohibited. No fly rods or rods over 8 ft. are allowed. Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner. All angling must be done from the boat and anglers must stay on tournament waters during tournament hours. Anglers are not permitted to leave the boat to land a fish or leave the boat to gain access to secluded waters. Boats must remain in tournament waters during tournament day/days. Competitors must leave and return to official checkpoint by boat. Both competitors must remain in boat at all times except in case of dire emergency. In such an emergency, competitors may be removed from their boat to: A BOAT OPERATED BY OTHER COMPETITORS OR A RESCUE BOAT DESIGNATED BY THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR. Partners must remain together at all times, in sight of each other and each other's catch, under the conditions cited above, in order for their catch of that day to be scored in the tournament. Citizen band radios, marine radios and cellular phones are allowed in the boat for emergency use only. Any transmission of information via any communicative device concerning any aspect of fishing is prohibited during tournament hours.
10) HORSEPOWER REGULATION: MAXIMUM HORSEPOWER FOR ALL OUTBOARD MOTORBOATS USED IN OFFICIAL TOURNAMENT PRACTICE AND IN TOURNAMENT COMPETITION WILL BE 250 HP. Horsepower cannot exceed the limitations set by the U.S. Coast Guard horsepower-rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer. The horsepower of the outboard engine must NOT exceed the rating specified on this plate nor the horsepower maximum set by American Bass Anglers. Each competitor agrees to submit, by his/her signature on the official entry form, the boat and outboard motor used in the tournament, to an inspection by factory-trained personnel, if there is any reason to suspect the horsepower is in excess of the rating. Changing or altering standard factory parts of your engine to increase the horsepower over the factory horsepower rating is forbidden, and will result in disqualification. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower-rating numbers on the engine also would be cause for immediate disqualification from American Bass Anglers tournaments.
11) BOAT AND MOTOR: ALL BOATS MUST BE EQUIPPED WITH SOME TYPE OF IGNITION STOP SWITCH: This ignition-kill device must be attached to the driver's body any time the combustion engine is in gear. Also any time the combustion engine is operating and in gear, there must by a driver in the driver's seat in full control of the boat. Fishing boats that are 16 feet or more in length may be used. No barges, cumbersome craft or boats without steering wheel will be permitted. Contestants may not use boats equipped with "stick steering" during official practice or during tournament hours. Each boat must also have a properly aerated or re-circulating live-well to maintain a live limit catch of bass by both contestants.
12) BOAT OPERATION: Any competitor answering yes to the question: "Will you enter as boater?" will be expected to make that boat available for the duration of the tournament. Partners must discuss boat operation prior to send-off. Each partner is entitled to an equal number of hours to fish his/her selected waters. The non-boater is responsible for any damages, which may occur to the boater's boat if he/she is granted permission to operate the trolling motor. Any contestant who, in the judgment of the tournament director, operates the boat in such a manner as to unfairly handicap his/her partner shall be disqualified. It is the responsibility of the non-boater to reimburse the boater in the amount of ½ of fuel cost to defray daily expenses (this will be enforced by tournament officials). All boat operation within 200 yards of the launch facility will be by trolling motor or idle speed only.
13) PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS: Fishing will be permitted on the Quachita River between the Arkansas State line upstream and the first lock downstream at Columbia LA. Fishing is not permitted within 50 yards of a marina gas pump or within 50 yards of another competitor's boat anchored or not. Competitors invoking the 50-yard rule must hold their boat in a steady manner. Any competitor that allows any other competitor to fish within 50 yards of his/her boat has suspended the 50-yard rule and opened the water to all competitors. Off-limits will be an area clearly marked at the Forsyth Park launch facility. Additional off-limits areas may be designated and explained at the pre-tournament meeting by the tournament director.
14) OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT: There will be THREE FLIGHTS: designated RED, WHITE and BLUE. There will be only one official point for checkout in the morning and check-in in the afternoon. Competitors not at the checkpoint at the designated time will be penalized at the rate of one pound per minute, deducted from his/her total weight for the day. Any competitor more than 15 minutes late for send-off or check-in will be disqualified for the day. Official start and weigh-in times will be announced at the pre-tournament meeting. Our best effort will be given to allow at least eight hours fishing time.
15) SCORING: Pounds and hundredths of each competitors (three day total) catch will determine tournament standings and placement. Only largemouth, spotted, red eye or small mouth bass will be weighed. The creel limit shall be five (5) unless the prevailing state limit is less. At no time shall a competitor have in his/her possession more than the tournament limit. Culling must be done immediately. Minimum length will be 12 inches for largemouth bass and spotted bass (measured on a flat board). A penalty of one pound will be deducted from the total weight for each short fish and a penalty of .50 pounds will be deducted from the total weight for each dead fish. Penalty weights will be subtracted from the scale weight. A contestant that presents more fish than the tournament limit will be disqualified immediately. Mangled, mashed, mauled or otherwise altered fish will be grounds for immediate disqualification. No regurgitated baitfish will be weighed. Fish will not be put on a stringer at any time. All fish presented at weigh-in become the property of American Bass Anglers.
16) PAIRING OF COMPETITORS: there will be a MANDATORY pairing meeting and safety briefing for all contestants on Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at 6:00 pm, at the Monroe Civic Center: 401 Lea Joyner Memorial Expressway; Monroe, LA. Pairings for Thursday and Friday will be posted at the weigh-in sight after each days weigh-in and will appear on your daily weigh slip. All assignments of partners will be by computer draw and all angling must be accomplished from the boat. Anglers will be divided into flights and FLIGHT LEADER will perform the pairings in accordance with computer printout. Boater must meet his/her partner at a designated place prior to coming to the launch ramp. Tournament director has no responsibility for finding lost partners. Competitors must stay on tournament waters and in sight of each other throughout the tournament day from send-off until weigh-in (Exception: Nature call). Any contestant refusing to take or go with another contestant in his/her boat will be subject to immediate disqualification. Each contestant is to meet his/her partner in ample time to be at take off at designated time. The flight leader may reassign pairings prior to morning ooze-off to accommodate problems and/or emergencies.
17) TIE: In case of a tie, combining awards and dividing them equally among the tied contestants shall resolve positions. A form of lottery shall determine trophy positions. The tournament director may decide to break first place ties with a fish-off. Duplicate points will be awarded to tied competitors.
18) TRANSFERS: There will be no transfers of tournament entry fees. Refunds, minus $20.00, will be given through October 6, 2017 only.
19) Off-Limits: The Ouachita River tournament waters will be off limits beginning at sunset on September 17, 2017 until safe light October 15, 2017. COMPETITORS MUST BE REGISTERED AND ENTRY FEE PAID BEFORE ENTERING TOURNAMNET WATERS. COMPETITORS MUST BE OFF TOURNAMENT WATERS BY 3:00 PM OCTOBER 17, 2017. During the off-limits periods, other than using publicly available information (e.g. newspaper, periodical and Internet reports) competitors cannot solicit, receive or gather any information via phone, electronic devices or any other means about locating or catching fish on tournament waters. THERE SHALL BE NO EXCEPTIONS. All information must be opened or accessed prior to official off-limits periods, no exceptions.
20) Practice Period: Official practice will be three days beginning at safe light October 15 and ending at 3:00 pm on October 17, 2017
- Contestants must be registered and paid in full before entering tournament waters to practice.
- During official practice contestants may only pre-fish alone, with a member of his/her immediate family, another contestant of the tournament, a national sponsor of American Bass Anglers or a member of American Bass Anglers staff.
- Contestants may not receive assistance from anyone other than another contestant for the purpose of locating or catching fish after off limits period starts. During official practice and during the tournament, a competitor may not "SKIN DIVE" OR "SCUBA DIVE" in the tournament waters.
- Competitor may not buy or barter a fishing location from any person for use during any competition day.
- During the official competition days of the tournament, a competitor may not use a CB radio, a VHF marine-band radio, a cellular phone, texting or any other type of communication device for the purpose of locating or catching fish. Competitors are permitted to transmit by radio or telephone only in the event of an emergency. If cell phone is used, it must be in speaker mode and the other angler must be allowed to hear the conversation. Anglers are not allowed to use GPS units, portable or fixed mounted, to mark their partner’s fishing locations during competition days.
- A designated tournament official must be granted access to the competitor's boat and cell phone at any time during competition. Failure to grant such access may result in immediate disqualification.
21) NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Contestants must have qualified through local AFT divisions (see 2017 tournament rules) to participate in the 2017 Ram American Fishing Tour National Championship. Contestants must have met the minimum requirements of qualification which is the successful completion of four (4) one-day tournaments and (1) two-day tournament. After all two day events are completed, the top 500 national point holders will be invited to compete in the National Championship, in the event some of the top 500 elect not to participate additional anglers will be invited starting with points position 501 and continue until a full field is reached. The top 250 points holders and all divisional “Anglers of the Year” will be guaranteed boater status. All registered non-boaters who meet qualifications will be paired with a guaranteed boater. If there are not enough non-boaters, boaters my fish alone. The top qualifiers (boaters) will be notified of their boater status on September 25, 2017. The National Championship is worth 2000 points to the winner. Points will be awarded in five point decreasing increments depending on place of finish. Service Team Anglers of the Year will be determined by the best (4) one-day district finishes and best two-day finish, plus points received at the Championship.
22) ANGLER OF THE YEAR: The divisional “Angler of the Year” from each AFT division will be eligible and invited to compete for the national title. “Angler of the Year” title will be awarded to the highest finishing divisional “Angler of the Year” competing in the Championship based on their total weight for the three days of the competition. Divisional “Angler of the Year” is determined by points acquired within angler’s home division (see season rules for points system).
23) Awards: The same person is not eligible to win more than one prize boat from the American Fishing Tour during the same calendar year. In the event the winner of the National Championship is also “Angler of the Year”, he/she will be awarded the first place prize boat and second place by place of finish will be awarded the second boat. If the highest finishing non-boater wins the championship they will be awarded the National Champion boat and the Non-Boater championship boat will be awarded to the next highest finishing angler by place of finish whether it be a boater or non-boater.
24) WAIVER AND RELEASE: As a condition of participation in this tournament, competitors must execute a waiver, release of liability and a name and likeness release.