UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

2019 FLW Tour Rules

2019 FLW Tour Rules

FLW expects strict adherence to the following rules by all pros. FLW recommends the use of livewell additives like T-H Marine G-Juice to help promote the healthy release of bass. In the event of an emergency, please call 911 first and then notify the tournament director. FLW recommends the use of EPIRBs and Personal Locator Beacons. The tournament director should be notified as soon as possible prior to weigh-in if you use a mobile communication device for any purpose other than GPS, mapping, weather, power generation, barge traffic updates, tidal charts, personal fishing notes and related data as outlined in rule 11.

 

2019 FLW Tour Rules

1. INTERPRETATION & ENFORCEMENT • These rules will remain unchanged during 2019. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules will be left exclusively to FLW. Decisions of the tournament director are final in all matters and are not subject to appeal. Each pro agrees to report any rule violation to the tournament director immediately upon discovery of the violation. Failure to report violations may be cause for disqualification. The violation of a tournament rule may result in, but is not limited to, weight loss, the loss of weight up to a particular time in the tournament day, the loss of weight for the entire day, the loss of the heaviest one-day catch, the loss of the heaviest bass for the day, disqualification from the entire tournament, a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $5,000 or ineligibility to participate in future FLW tournaments. Protests and/or alleged rule violations are to be documented in writing by the witness within 30 minutes of the check-in time of the final flight of each tournament day. FLW reserves the right to consider rule violations reported or discovered after a tournament has ended and assess penalties for future events, including denying entry to compete.

2. PAYBACK & PARTICIPATION • Payback is based on the number of paid entries. Participation is open only to members of FLW who are 18 years of age or older. Any person’s participation in any tournament is at the sole discretion of FLW officials. Any pro who, in the judgment of the tournament director, is disabled or handicapped in such a manner as to compromise his or her safety or the safety of his or her marshal, other competitors or the boating public may not be eligible to participate. All pros must have a valid fishing license for the waters they fish. Random checks will be conducted at each tournament. Failure to provide proof of a valid fishing license within a reasonable amount of time when requested by the tournament director will result in disqualification for that day and any preceding days in which the license was required for the tournament.  

QUALIFIERS – ENTRY: Entry in the FLW Tour Qualifiers requires a $7,000 deposit for the season. Pros are expected to fish all seven qualifying tournaments. A pro may be permitted to miss a tournament for proper cause with prior approval from the tournament director. Missing a tournament without prior approval will result in ineligibility to participate in future 2019 FLW Tour events. The top 100 pros and the top 15 co-anglers from the 2018 FLW Tour, the top 15 pros and co-anglers from each division of the 2018 FLW Series, the FLW Series International Division representative from the 2018 FLW Cup, the 2018 TBF National Champion from the boater division, the boater champion from the 2018 BFL All-American and both members of the winning team from the 2018 FLW College Fishing National Championship must pay their deposits by November 15, 2018, in order to secure their priority entry position. For pros who fished the full 2018 FLW Tour, deposits will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. Central time October 16, 2018. For Ranger boat owners (Ranger owners with current registrations or confirmation of a boat order who will use their Ranger boat in FLW Tour competition) and sponsor entries (FLW may reserve sponsor spots in each qualifying tournament), deposits will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. Central time October 17, 2018. For pros who fished a full division of the 2018 FLW Series, deposits will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. Central time October 18, 2018. For TBF members, deposits will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. Central time October 19, 2018. For other entries, deposits will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. Central time October 22, 2018. Entry priority will be assigned by the date and time of entry and will be final once full payment of the 2019 deposit is received. Entries may be made either by mail, phone or on the Internet at FLWFishing.com. Do not make entry by more than one method. The final field will be set prior to the first tournament, at which time pros not accepted into the field are eligible for a full refund. DEPOSITS ARE NONTRANSFERABLE AND NONREFUNDABLE ONCE ACCEPTED INTO THE FIELD. Entry balances not received by the entry balance deadline will be charged a $300 late fee.

PAYMENT SCHEDULE: Entry fees for the seven qualifying tournaments total $35,000. Pros must pay an $7,000 deposit upon entry for the season followed by payments for the season according to the schedule outlined below:

1. Sam Rayburn Reservoir: $5,600 due December 21, 2018

2. Lake Toho: $5,600 due January 21, 2019

3. Lake Seminole: $5,600 due February 18, 2019

4. Grand Lake: $5,600 due March 11, 2019

5. Cherokee Lake: $5,600 due March 25, 2019

6. Lake Chickamauga: Paid in full based on payments listed above

7. Lake Champlain: Paid in full based on payments listed above

2020 FLW TOUR QUALIFICATION: The FLW Tour is transitioning from a priority-entry system to a qualifying system with a 150-boat field starting with the 2020 season. The following guidelines govern entry for the 2020 season:

  • The top 100 pros based on an average of points earned in the 2018 and 2019 FLW Tour seasons (2019 only for rookies) requalify for the 2020 season. If a pro finishes outside of the top 100 but has previously earned an FLW Tour Angler of the Year title or has previously won the FLW Cup (as a pro), he or she will be granted a one-year exemption. Pros who earn entry upon exemption must finish in the top 100 (based on points for the current season) to requalify or must qualify through the FLW Series. If a top 100 pro declines his or her bid into the 2020 FLW Tour, the next eligible pro will qualify.
  • The top five pros in the final point standings in each U.S. division of the 2019 FLW Series and the International division representative at the 2019 FLW Cup qualify for the 2020 FLW Tour. If a top-five pro declines his or her bid into the 2020 FLW Tour, the next eligible pro will qualify. This process will continue through the top 10 pros in each U.S. division, after which eligibility reverts back to the FLW Tour.
  • The 2019 TBF National Champion from the boater division and the boater champion from the 2019 BFL All-American qualify for the 2020 FLW Tour. If either angler declines his or her bid into the 2020 FLW Tour, the next eligible FLW Tour pro will qualify.
  • In addition to the 128 qualifying entries outlined above, 10 invitations will be issued based on the following criteria:
    • 2 entries for the FLW Foundation
    • 8 entries for FLW sponsors

Unclaimed invitations will revert back to the FLW Tour.

  • In addition to the 138 entries outlined above, 12 at-large entries will be accepted based on the following entry priority:
    • Ranger boat owners who fished the 2019 FLW Tour (Ranger owners with current registrations or confirmation of a boat order who will use their Ranger boat in FLW Tour competition) will have the first priority-entry call-in date.
    • Pros who fished the full 2019 FLW Tour (but did not requalify) will have the second priority-entry call-in date.
    • Ranger boat owners (Ranger owners with current registrations or confirmation of a boat order who will use their Ranger boat in FLW Tour competition) will have the third priority-entry call-in date.
    • TBF members will have the fourth priority-entry call-in date.

Entry priority will be assigned by the date and time of entry and will be final once full payment of the 2020 deposit is received.

  • FLW may, at its sole discretion, issue a medical or hardship exemption to an FLW Tour pro, which would allow him/her to return to the FLW Tour without requalifying as outlined above.
  • FLW Cup, FLW Tour Angler of the Year and medical/hardship exemptions do not count against the 150-boat field.

3. POINT STANDINGS & FLW CUP ADVANCEMENT • 200 points are awarded to the winner of each qualifying tournament, 199 to 2nd, 198 to 3rd, etc. All pros who receive weight credit receive points. The top pro from the point standings after the seven qualifying tournaments (ties resolved by total weight, then total number of fish, then total number of live fish) wins the FLW Tour Angler of the Year title. The top 40 pros from the point standings after the seven qualifying tournaments (ties resolved by total weight, then total number of fish, then total number of live fish) qualify for the 2019 FLW Cup. If a top-40 pro has already qualified for the 2019 FLW Cup, the next person in the pro point standings will be invited. The 2019 FLW Tour Angler of the Year and 2019 FLW Cup champion qualify for the 2020 FLW Cup provided they compete in all of the 2020 FLW Tour qualifiers. If the 2019 FLW Tour Angler of the Year or FLW Cup champion does not compete in 2020, their entry in the 2020 FLW Cup will go to the 2020 FLW Tour pro with the highest point total who is not already qualified for the FLW Cup.

4. PURCHASING OF INFORMATION • The purchasing of, or bartering for, information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters, including but not limited to GPS waypoints (other than through commercially available sources) and the hiring of fishing guide services is not permitted after December 7, 2018. The sharing of tournament winnings with noncontestants in exchange for information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters is strictly prohibited and will be cause for disqualification from the entire tournament. The purchasing of, or bartering for, fishing locations from another pro is strictly prohibited and will be cause for both pros to be disqualified from the entire tournament. Marshals are noncontestants.

5. RESTRICTED ACCESS • Thirty (30) days prior to the first practice day until the start of the off-limits, pros are only permitted on tournament waters alone or accompanied by another pro in the tournament, a member of their immediate family (mother, mother-in-law father, father-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, grandparent, grandchild or spouse), approved domestic partner, approved sponsor representatives, approved youth age 18 or younger or approved media representatives. With prior approval from the tournament director, pros may participate in FLW, Major League Fishing, B.A.S.S. Elite Series, B.A.S.S. Opens, and other pro/am tournaments featuring random partner draws during this period. With prior approval from the tournament director, pros may also serve as boat captains in FLW High School Fishing tournaments during this period. Starting 30 days prior to the first practice day pros may not follow a noncontestant or receive on-the-water instruction from a noncontestant. A list of pros confirmed in the FLW Tour will be posted at FLWFishing.com.

Tournament                                            Restricted Access Begins

  1. Sam Rayburn Reservoir             Dec 7, 2018
  2. Lake Toho                                  Jan 4, 2019
  3. Lake Seminole                           Feb 1, 2019
  4. Grand Lake                                Feb 22, 2019
  5. Cherokee Lake                          Mar 8, 2019
  6. Lake Chickamauga                   Mar 29, 2019
  7. Lake Champlain                        May 24, 2019
  8. Lake Hamilton – FLW Cup        Jul 5, 2019

6. OFF-LIMITS, PRACTICE & COMPETITION • Tournament waters will go off-limits to pros 13 days prior to the first practice day in all tournaments. Pros may not enter tournament waters to fish, test equipment, sightsee, or for any reason without FLW permission during the off-limits period. During the off-limits period, practice and competition days, pros may not solicit and/or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except pros confirmed in the tournament and through publicly available sources (quasi-public websites, blogs and/or social media pages, including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope, set up for the specific purpose of sharing information with individuals or a small group of individuals are NOT publicly available sources). Beginning with practice and extending through competition, pros may not place brush or other physical fish attractors, including chum of any kind, in tournament waters. Beginning with practice and extending through competition, pros may not obtain information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from noncontestants or follow a noncontestant’s boat or participate in the placing of markers, brush or other fish attractors by noncontestants or the practice of “hole sitting” by anyone. Pros eliminated after each round of competition are considered noncontestants. Pros in the top-30 cut (top-10 cut at the FLW Cup) after the close of weigh-in on day 2 may not solicit or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except other top-30 pros (top-10 pros at the FLW Cup). Pros in the top-10 cut after the close of weigh-in on day 3 at qualifiers may not solicit or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except other top-10 pros. Tournament waters will reopen for practice three days (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday) prior to registration day (Wednesday) at qualifiers. Tournament waters will reopen for practice four days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday) prior to registration day (Thursday) at the FLW Cup. No practice is permitted at night (beginning at sunset and ending at sunrise) during the designated practice period just before each tournament. This includes running to and from a fishing location. For FLW Tour qualifiers, pros may practice alone, with another pro or with a member of their immediate family (mother, mother-in-law, father, father-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, sister, sister-in-law, son, son-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, grandparent, grandchild or spouse), approved domestic partner, approved sponsor representatives or an approved youth age 18 or younger, provided the practice companion has also observed the off-limits period and procedures. For the FLW Cup, pros may practice alone or with another pro. No other practice companions, except approved media representatives, are permitted at the FLW Cup. Pros may practice with an approved media representative at FLW Tour qualifiers and the FLW Cup. Flights over tournament waters, including drones, are not permitted beginning with the start of the off-limits period, extending through practice and competition days. Tournament waters will be closed to all pros on registration day (Wednesday at qualifiers and Thursday at the FLW Cup).

        Tournament                                   Off-limits

  1. Sam Rayburn Reservoir            Dec 24 – Jan 5 & Jan 9, 2019
  2. Lake Toho                                 Jan 21 – Feb 2 & Feb 6, 2019
  3. Lake Seminole                          Feb 18 – Mar 2 & Mar 6, 2019
  4. Grand Lake                               Mar 11 – 23 & Mar 27, 2019
  5. Cherokee Lake                         Mar 25 – Apr 6 & Apr 10, 2019
  6. Lake Chickamauga                   Apr 15 – 27 & May 1, 2019
  7. Lake Champlain                       Jun 10 – 22 & Jun 26, 2019
  8. Lake Hamilton – FLW Cup       Jul 22 – Aug 3 & Aug 8, 2019

7. REGISTRATION & PRETOURNAMENT MEETING • Each pro must register in person at the designated site. In an emergency or due to an FLW sponsor obligation, pros may request permission from the tournament director to send a person who is 18 years of age or older to represent them. If permission is granted, noncontestants can represent one pro; pros can represent themselves and one other pro. This representative must attend the pretournament meeting to record flights, takeoff time, check-in time, off-limits areas, size and creel limits, and any other relevant tournament rule information. Registration hours are 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. local time the day before each qualifier’s start date. Pros registering between 1-1:15 p.m. will pay a $100 late fee that will be donated to the FLW Foundation. Registration hours may differ for the FLW Cup and will be provided to participating pros. Pros who fail to notify the tournament director and are more than 15 minutes late for registration may forfeit their entry fee and not be entered in the tournament. It is mandatory that all pros or their representatives attend the pretournament meeting that will be held at 1:30 p.m. local time the day before each qualifier. Being late for the pretournament meeting will result in a $100 late fee that will be donated to the FLW Foundation. Pros not present or represented at the pretournament meeting may forfeit their entry fee and not be entered in the tournament.

8. PAIRINGS • Pros and marshals will be paired by random draw and will receive a text message with their boat number, flight time and pro or marshal’s name and phone number. All pros or their representatives must contact their assigned marshal following the marshal briefing. Pros and marshals should advise each other of their respective lodging and phone numbers and establish a meeting time and place for the following morning’s takeoff. The tournament director, at his sole discretion, may reassign marshals prior to takeoff.

9. SAFETY • Safe boating must be observed at all times. The provisions of this rule apply during practice and from boat check until weigh-in each day of the tournament. Each pro and any person practicing with a pro is required to wear a fastened U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device anytime the combustion engine is running. All boats must be equipped with a factory-installed emergency ignition-shutoff device that must be securely attached to the driver’s body with a standard-length, factory tether whenever the combustion engine is running. Pros may fish and charge batteries using an onboard charger by letting the combustion engine idle in neutral only if the boat is equipped with a certified and functioning wireless ignition-shutoff device and everyone in the boat is wearing a fastened U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device. All persons must be seated and a driver must be behind the steering wheel in full control of the boat whenever it is on plane or the combustion engine is running and in gear. At the discretion of the tournament director, tournament days may be shortened, postponed or canceled due to unsafe weather or water conditions. Pros and marshals may leave their boat and seek shelter in bad weather or when danger is eminent. They must, however, stay within sight of each other. Pros involved in boating accidents and/or safety incidents may be required to complete a BoatUS Foundation boating safety course before participating in another FLW tournament. A free course for each state is available at boatus.org.

10. SPORTSMANSHIP • All pros are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy and conservation and to conduct themselves in a manner that will be a credit to themselves, to FLW, FLW’s sponsors, the sport of fishing and FLW’s efforts to promote the sport. Conduct not complying with these standards includes, but is not limited to, the following:

•     Violation of, or failure to comply with, any of the rules for the 2019 FLW Tour.

•     Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or any kind of mind-altering substance during registration or tournament hours extending through the weigh-in procedure.

•     Abuse of, or addiction to, mind-altering substances.

•     Conviction of a felony within the past 36 months.

•     Suspension/disqualification, probation or ban from any tournament or fishing organization.

•     Boat operation in an unsafe or unsportsmanlike manner.

•     Publicly criticizing or questioning the integrity of FLW or FLW officials, including but not limited to FLW rules, policies and procedures.

•     Dissemination of disparaging content or content that one should reasonably know would harm the reputation of FLW, FLW officials or FLW sponsors.

•     Any other words, conduct or actions reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with tournament rules, or which fail to comply with the standards set forth in the first sentence of paragraph 10.

In case of any conduct not complying with the standards outlined above, FLW shall have the right to refuse an application to compete, to deny a confirmed application to compete by returning the entry fee (minus deposit), to disqualify a pro or impose any penalty outlined in paragraph 1.

11. BOAT OPERATION • Pros will have complete control of boat operation and waters to be fished. For safety concerns in rough water or swift current, in the event of an outboard or trolling motor breakdown or during an emergency, marshals may operate the trolling motor or the outboard but may not fish at any time. Pros may not use mobile communication devices, including but not limited to, cell phones, tablets, marine radios, walkie-talkies, CBs, etc., to communicate with anyone about locating or catching fish on tournament waters during tournament hours. Mobile communication devices may be used during tournament hours to communicate with lockmasters about locking, to communicate with the tournament director or to communicate with FLW editors or producers. Pros may use smart phones and/or tablets during tournament hours for GPS, mapping, weather, power generation, barge traffic updates, tidal charts, personal fishing notes and related data. At no time during tournament hours may pros read or discuss social media posts from other pros. At the request of their pro partner, a marshal may use a cell phone to assist the pro with his or her social media updates. Marshals are not, however, obligated to assist a pro with social media updates, as their primary function is to communicate with FLW editors and producers. Marshals are not permitted to smoke if requested not to do so by their pro. Pros are expected to compete every day for which they are qualified; failure to do so may result in ineligibility to compete in future FLW tournaments. If a special circumstance arises that inhibits a pro’s ability to compete, the tournament director may allow the pro to withdraw from competition and maintain the weight caught to that point.

12. BOAT & HORSEPOWER REGULATION • All boats must be propeller-driven, a minimum of 18 feet in length and have a rear deck. All boats must be equipped with wheel steering; no other steering device will be permitted. All boats must be equipped with a functioning POV camera focused on the front deck so as to provide a clear view of the pro fishing. The camera must record throughout each tournament day. Each day’s recording must be preserved until the next FLW Tour event and must be turned over to FLW upon request. No barges or similarly cumbersome craft will be permitted. Each boat must have all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment. Boats must contain a properly aerated livewell space to maintain alive a limit catch of bass. Minimum horsepower for all outboards used in tournament competition will be 150 horsepower. Maximum horsepower for all outboards used in tournament competition will be 250 horsepower, not to exceed the horsepower capacity set forth on the “Maximum Capacities” placard described below. Each boat must have a clearly legible “Maximum Capacities” (or comparably titled) placard that includes a maximum horsepower rating affixed to the boat by the manufacturer. The horsepower of the outboard engine must not exceed the maximum horsepower capacity specified on this placard or the 250-horsepower maximum set by FLW. By signing the entry form, pros agree to submit their boat and/or motor to an inspection by FLW personnel. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower numbers on the motor or rating placard will be cause for disqualification from the tournament and may result in ineligibility to compete in future FLW tournaments. Fishing platforms must be factory-installed equipment. No portable platforms may be used in tournament competition. Fuel may be carried only in factory-installed (built-in) fuel tanks. Any additional fuel used during the tournament day must be purchased from a retail facility open to the public and pumped through a hose with a nozzle. The use of generators, other than solar or wind-powered generators, is prohibited in pro boats during tournament hours on all competition days.

13. PERMITTED FISHING METHODS • Fishing is defined as having a lure attached to a line and a rod and reel with the rod in hand. All bass must be caught alive in a conventional sporting manner. Marshals are not permitted to net fish or assist pros with fishing in any way. All lures must adhere to state regulations. Only artificial lures may be used, with the exception of pork trailers and biodegradable soft baits. Alabama rigs and similar umbrella-type rigs are not permitted. Only ONE fishing rod may be used at a time. Trolling as a method of fishing is strictly prohibited. Trolling is defined as operating the combustion engine to extend a cast or lengthen a retrieve. All bass caught while sight-fishing must be hooked inside the mouth and immediately shown to your marshal, FLW camera operator or remote POV camera for verification.

UMBRELLA RIGS DEFINED • 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 is 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. Traditional double fluke, front-runner, double drop-shot and popping cork rigs with a maximum of two hooks are grandfathered in and will be permitted in FLW Tour competition unless otherwise restricted by state regulations.

14. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS • Pros may fish anywhere on tournament waters available to the public and accessible by boat except areas posted or otherwise designated as “off-limits,” “no boats,” “keep out,” “restricted,” “no trespassing” or “no fishing” (or similar language or markings intended to restrict public access) by FLW, commercial property owners and/or local, state or federal officials, or within 50 yards of a pro’s boat that was first anchored. An anchored boat is a boat held in a stable position by a line attached to a weight or by a Power-Pole or similar shallow water anchor with the trolling motor in the up position. All fishing must be conducted from the boat. At no time may a pro leave the boat to land a fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. At no time may a marshal leave the boat to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. The cutting of trees, bushes and/or logs after the off-limits date and/or the removal of official commercial, local, state or federal barricades at any time to make an area more accessible by boat or gain access for fishing is strictly prohibited and may result in disqualification from the tournament. The use of cables, ropes, chains or any type of block and tackle system to maneuver a boat into fishing waters is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification from the tournament. Pros must leave and return to the check-in by boat. The boat must remain in the tournament waters during the tournament day. No tournament boat may be loaded on a trailer before the weigh-in except with the permission of the tournament director. 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 the check-in: (1) by the pro and marshal remaining in their boat and being towed by water, or (2) with permission from the tournament director, by the pro or pro and marshal entering the boat of another tournament pro. Under these two conditions the pros catch may be counted without a penalty (except for late penalties, dead-fish penalties or other penalties pertaining to other tournament rules). Pros who elect to return to the check-in by any other means than cited above 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. Any pro returning to the check-in point will be eligible to restart and resume competition under the supervision of the tournament director or his designated tournament official. It is the sole responsibility of pros to locate the tournament director to request a restart. Pros and marshals must remain together at all times and within sight of each other until the weigh-in verification is signed. The momentary condition of being out of sight of each other for restroom breaks is permitted.

15. CHECKPOINTS • There will be only one checkpoint for boat check in the morning and one check-in point in the afternoon. Failure to go through boat check and checkout in the morning or failure to check in at the check-in point will result in disqualification. All fishing must cease upon check-in.

16. LATE PENALTY • Pros who are not at the check-in area at the appointed time will be penalized 1 pound per minute, deducted from the total weight, including any weight to be counted toward the Big Bass Award. Any pro more than 15 minutes late will lose credit for that day’s weight.

17. LIVE FISH • Every effort must be made to keep bass alive through the use of a properly aerated livewell. Four ounces will be deducted from the total weight for each dead bass presented for weigh-in.

18. SCORING • Scoring is determined by the pounds and ounces of each pro’s catch during each qualifying tournament and the FLW Cup. Only largemouth, spotted, redeye or smallmouth bass are accepted species. No regurgitated forage or other foreign matter may be placed in a bass. The daily limit will be five bass unless conditions dictate a reduced limit for conservation purposes or the state or lake limit is less than five, in which case the reduced limits will prevail. After possessing the daily limit, pros must cull immediately upon their next catch. Pros possessing more than the daily limit must notify the tournament director immediately upon discovery of the infraction and reduce his/her catch to the daily limit by releasing live bass. Pros possessing more than the daily limit will be penalized 2 pounds for each bass over the limit. Bass are considered in possession once placed in the boat and fishing or travel has resumed. The minimum length limit for bass will be 12 inches unless the state or lake limit is more than 12 inches or FLW sets a longer limit for a specific tournament, in which case, the state or lake limit or longer limit set by FLW for the tournament will prevail. Bass presented for weigh-in that fail to measure the prescribed length limit will be penalized at the rate of 1 pound for each short bass presented. Each pro’s catch must be presented in an official weigh-in bag and verified by the signature of their marshal. Failure to have a verified marshal signature may result in disqualification of that day’s catch. After a pro’s catch is weighed, it must be turned over to FLW or officials designated by FLW for release unless otherwise instructed by the tournament director. On day 3 of qualifying tournaments, the top 30 pros based on combined weight from days 1 and 2 compete. On day 4 of qualifying tournaments, the top 10 pros based on combined weight from days 1, 2 and 3 compete, and the winner is determined by the heaviest combined weight from days 1, 2, 3 and 4. On day 3 of the FLW Cup, the top 10 pros based on combined weight from days 1 and 2 compete, and the winner is determined by the heaviest combined weight from days 1, 2 and 3.

19. TIES • QUALIFIERS: The heaviest one-day catch for the tournament will break ties on day 2. If a tie remains, it will be broken by total number of fish for the tournament, then by total number of live fish for the tournament, and then by Angler of the Year standings. If a tie remains, pros will remain tied with pros tied below the cut position awarded points equally based on the tied position. For ties in money positions, awards will be combined and split equally among the tied pros. For ties in the cut position, each tied pro will advance to day 3. Ties on day 3 will be resolved by day-2 standings. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by the heaviest one-day catch for the tournament, then by second heaviest one-day catch for the tournament, then by total number of fish for the tournament, then by total number of live fish for the tournament, and then by Angler of the Year standings. If a tie remains below the cut position, pros will remain tied with awards combined and split equally among the tied pros and points awarded equally based on the tied position. For ties in the cut position, each tied pro will advance to day 4. Ties on day 4 will be resolved by day-3 standings. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by the heaviest one-day catch for the tournament, then by second heaviest one-day catch for the tournament, then by third heaviest one-day catch for the tournament, then by total number of fish for the tournament, then by total number of live fish for the tournament, and then by Angler of the Year standings. If a tie remains below first place, the pros will remain tied with awards combined and split equally among the tied pros and points awarded equally based on the tied position. If a tie remains for first place, it will be broken by a one-hour fish-off. FLW CUP: The heaviest one-day catch for the tournament will break ties on day 2. If a tie remains, it will be broken by total number of fish for the tournament and then by total number of live fish for the tournament. If a tie remains for the cut position, the pros will remain tied and will each advance to day 3. If a tie remains below the cut position, the pros will remain tied with awards combined and split equally among the tied pros. Ties on day 3 will be resolved by day-2 standings. If a tie remains, it will be broken first by heaviest one-day catch for the tournament, then by second heaviest one-day catch for the tournament, then by total number of fish for the tournament and then by total number of live fish for the tournament. If a tie remains for first place, it will be broken by a one-our fish-off. All other positions will remain tied with awards combined and split equally among the tied pros. 

20. LOGO DISPLAY & MEDIA COVERAGE • During all days of competition any and all tobacco logos and logos of other bass tournament organizations are prohibited and may not be worn or displayed. Pros are expected to participate in media opportunities requested by FLW editors and producers during any day of competition. Pros will run their own boats every day of competition. Each boat must display a minimum 10-inch wide FLW Tour logo on both sides of the boat above the water line on the rear third of the boat or on the driver’s windshield. The boat must also include the pros name on both sides above the rub rail and adjacent to the seating area. Pros must wear their own apparel with a minimum 4-inch wide FLW logo on the upper chest every day of competition from takeoff through weigh-in. On days 3 and 4, logos on the apparel may not conflict or compete in any way with the exclusive categories listed below unless the category is not occupied by an FLW sponsor and a written exception is obtained from the FLW Marketing Department. No tape or other material may be used to cover a conflicting logo on a jersey. Pros must have their own compliant apparel.

Exclusive Categories:

  • ATVs/ORVs – Polaris only
  • Boats – Ranger, Triton, Nitro and Tracker only
  • Camouflage logo – Realtree only
  • Marine electronics – Lowrance only
  • Outboard engines – Evinrude and Mercury only
  • Sunglasses – Costa only
  • Tournament organizations – FLW only

FLW reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to prohibit any pro’s apparel that it finds to be offensive. FLW also reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to prohibit any pro’s apparel that in any way competes with any of the above referenced categories on days 3 and 4. Any pro wearing a nonapproved jersey may be disqualified for that day and/or fined as outlined in paragraph 1. Pros may wear any hat, PFD or rain suit that does not in any way compete with the above referenced categories or FLW. On days 3 and 4, pros may not fish while using tobacco products. Smoking is not allowed in the weigh-in line during all days of competition. FLW may, at its sole discretion, place a camera operator or camera equipment in a tournament boat on any day of competition. During the 2019 season FLW reserves the right to add categories to the above list. If a pro has made FLW aware, in writing, of all his or her sponsors prior to FLW adding the category or adding a sponsor in an existing category, the pro may be allowed to display the competing logo for the remainder of the year. Confirmation of the pro’s category exception must be obtained in writing from the FLW Marketing Department. All decisions are in FLW’s sole discretion.

21. TRUTH VERIFICATION TEST • Each pro agrees to submit, by signature on the tournament entry form, to a polygraph or voice stress analysis examination and to abide by its conclusion. Failure to pass an examination will result in disqualification from the tournament. Truth verification tests will be used at FLW’s sole discretion, and the determination of the meaning of the results will be made solely by FLW.

22. INSURANCE • Liability insurance with coverage of not less than $300,000 per occurrence is required of all pros in FLW Tour events. Proof of insurance must be with the boat being used and must cover all passengers in the boat. Random checks will be conducted. Failure to provide proof of insurance when requested by the tournament director may result in disqualification.

23. CAPTIONS • The captions at the beginning of each paragraph are intended to facilitate convenience in referring to the various rules. The captions are not part of the substance of the paragraph and should not be used in construction of any paragraph or of this overall set of rules.

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Do you need a generator for bass fishing?

Austin Felix has been running a generator for a few years now, and his primary use is during the spring in the North, when he’s spending mega-days on the water practicing for tournaments that feature bedding smallmouths. READ MORE »

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

It’s not often an angler wins a Strike King Angler of the Year title in a Costa FLW Series division by chance, and while skill is what carried Jake Morris to his first Costa AOY title, chance definitely brought him to the opportunity. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

The final Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks – which is presented by Evinrude – was originally slated to begin at 7 a.m. CT this morning, but Mother Nature had other plans. A massive thunderstorm has been rolling through Osage Beach, Mo., this morning bringing heavy downpours and lots of lightning. READ MORE »

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a tour and original, award-winning programming featuring the top professional anglers in the world to an extensive grassroots organization that serves tens of thousands of competitive anglers from high school and college students to weekenders and tour pros.  READ MORE »

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

The Thursday announcement of Major League Fishing’s acquisition of FLW signifies a historic shift in the landscape of competitive bass fishing. Here’s an overview of how the competitive circuits of FLW will operate. READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Join FLW for a Rapala Varsity Bass watch party on Friday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. CT for the premiere of Episode 3 in the series. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

The final five T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournaments took place over the weekend, bringing BFL regular-season competition to a close. Regional tournaments will kick off Oct. 10, and by the end of the month the majority of the field for the 2020 All-American will be set.  READ MORE »

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Fishing League Worldwide, the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, announced Sunday that the 2019 T-H Marine BFL Wild Card tournament will take place on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, Nov. 8-9. The two-day event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, will launch from the Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville. READ MORE »

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Scott Dobson has earned a pile of accolades up north, but this year, he earned his biggest title yet. Winning the Strike King Angler of the Year in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, the Clarkston, Mich., angler finished third at Lake Champlain, 13th on the Potomac River and wrapped the season and the title with a second-place showing on the St. Lawrence River. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

The third round of T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament action saw smallmouths, spotted bass and largemouths all make an appearance as six divisions put a bow on the season with their respective two-day events. Here’s a quick recap of what all played out in the action spanning from the Detroit River down to Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Bass fishing fans have a chance to help the USA Bass team achieve its goal of winning the 2019 Pan American Championship in Canada next month. To help fund the effort, USA Bass, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, recently launched a limited edition hat drive with the goal of selling 1,000 USA Bass hats. READ MORE »

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A recent high school kayak bass fishing tournament showcased the potential of kayaks to get more young anglers on the water and competing. READ MORE »

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Hough is Fighting to Fish

Fishing just her second full season as a co-angler in the T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) South Carolina Division, mother of two and first-grade teacher Kate Hough was planning and preparing for a chance to do something no woman has ever done in her division: win Co-Angler of the Year. Instead of preparing for the Super Tournament on Lake Hartwell on Sept. 28, however, Hough is simply fighting to leave her hospital bed. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 2

The second weekend in September saw seven more T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) divisions conclude their seasons with two-day Super Tournament events. From the Tennessee River to the St. Lawrence River and a few places in between, here’s a quick look at how the seven events were won. READ MORE »