Gopher Bassmasters
  11/22/2016                                                     OFFICIAL TOURNAMENT RULES & BYLAWS

  1. STRUCTURE OF DUES:  All dues will be paid in-full or you will not fish the tournaments.  Dues for full club membership, including State Federation dues, is $150.  Associate member dues for those not interested in participating in the MN TOC is $100.  Associate members are eligible to fish all Gopher Bassmaster club tournaments, but not the MN TOC.  For new members, there is a $25 dollar discount in their first year on the full $150 membership, which equates to $125.
  1. PRE-FISHING PRACTICE:  There will be NO pre-tournament fishing or boating for a period of 12 hours before a tournament. (Unless waived by the tournament committee.)
  1. SAFETY:  Safe boating conduct must be observed at all times by all competitors. Each competitor is required to wear a coast guard approved chest type preserver.  This preserver must be worn strapped, snapped or zipped securely at any time the combustion engine is operating. All boats in the Gopher Bassmasters tournaments shall be equipped with a safety tether switch. A disqualification will be automatic for no safety tether switch, NO EXCEPTIONS. The tournament Director has the power to cancel or delay any tournament before or during fishing due to inclimate weather.  Failure to comply will be a DQ.  Consumption of alcoholic beverages, marijuana, depressants, and stimulants by any competitor during the tournament from takeoff until the weigh in is complete with result in a DQ for this tournament and all other Gopher Bassmaster tournaments, also competitors that observe or allow this behavior without reporting it will result in a DQ for that tournament.
  1. SPORTSMANSHIP:  Competitors in the Gopher Bassmasters are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety, boat wake control, and conservation. Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles may be cause for a DQ.    Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the area of non-competitors. Any act of a competitor which reflects unfavorably upon Gopher or B.A.S.S. shall be reason for immediate DQ, subject to a final decision by the tournament committee.
  1. TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT:  Only artificial lures may be used. No live bait or prepared bait will be permitted, with the exception of port strips, rinds, ETC.  Only casting, spin casting, or spinning type tackle is permitted.  All other types are prohibited.  All competitors are bound by the prevailing statutes and regulations of the state. Rod length may not exceed 8 feet overall, butt of handle to tip.
  1. HORSEPOWER REGULATIONS:  Maximum horsepower for any boats in the tournament is 250 HP, not to exceed the limitations set by the U.S. Coast Guard in their ruling of Nov. 1st, 1972, or BIA equivalent rating. Each boat must have a HP rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer. The HP shall not exceed this rating or the 250 HP maximum set by the Gopher Bassmasters.  All boats not having this tag shall have their maximum HP determined by the U.S. approved equations set by the Coast Guard. Normal maintenance to increase the performance of your engine is allowed.  Changing or altering standard factory rating is prohibited and will result in a DQ. 
  1. BOAT AND MOTOR:  A small motor, gas or electric, may be used for slow maneuvering.  Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited.  Boats equipped with stick steering are prohibited to be used during tournament hours by any competitor.
  1. BASIC BOAT EQUIPMENT:  Every boat must have all required Coast Guard safety equipment. This includes a fire extinguisher and a throw able type life preserver in addition to the chest type for all boats 16 feet or more in length.  All boats must be equipped with functionally adequate livewell, properly aerated, capable of maintaining a limit catch of bass by both fishermen in a healthy, live condition.  No minnow type aerators will be allowed. Nets will be allowed in any competitors� boat during the tournament, but nets must be rubber or rubber coated.
    1. Movement or fishing on the tournament waters is permitted anywhere accessible by boat without its occupants debarking; even one foot is illegal, except within 25 yard of another competitor�s boat or bouy. A single marker being fished by a boat shall be deemed to be an anchored boat. No such boat shall permit another competitors lure to fish within a 25 yard circle occupied by his boat or marker at any time, unless contestant abandons their buoy by moving more than 25yds from buoy. Contestants must not debark to land fish. Contestants must leave and return to the official checkpoint by boat unless there is an emergency. Both partners must remain in sight of each other and each others catches until their catches have been officially weighed for that day.  Both competitors must remain in their boat at all times except in a case of an emergency or to prevent or to assist any person who�s life or health is threatened in any way or nature calls.  Any other emergency shall be the decision of the tournament committee. As MN law prohibits placing of any foreign object into water without a special permit, the artificial creating of man made fish habitat shall be prohibited. During a tournament, an angler may leave the boat to retrieve a lure from a man made object in an effort to cause no harm to the subject.
  1. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT:  Check-out and check-in will be from the shore area chosen by the tournament committee.  The take-off at each tournament will be in 10 second intervals. The last boat off will designate the 10 second intervals with a hand signal. Travel time to the point of origin shall be mandated so that the second 4 hours of fishing time would be started at origin. The first boat off will be responsible for fish bag handouts for the tournament check-ins at the take off area. Tournament times will be according to the first boat off.  Once you receive your bag you are done fishing.
  1. SCORING: Tournament standings, lunker award, and final winners shall be determined by the pound weight of each competitors catch during the days of the tournaments. Only largemouth and smallmouth bass shall be weighed.  The limit shall not exceed 5 in MN and 4 in WI per day, subject to change by tournament director.  All fish must be caught in a conventional sporting manner.  Only bass which measure 12 inches in length in MN and 14 inches in WI on any straight line will count.  The mouth of the fish will be closed when it is measured.  Undersized fish (see rule # 13). Any bass that appears to be mangled, mashed, mauled, or otherwise altered will be weighed and credited only at the discretion of the tournament weighmaster, who also shall make any decisions as to minimum length eligibility.  Each competitor must present their catch to the weigh in officials.  Stringing of your fish is prohibited at any time during the tournament and fish will not be counted, approved culling devices allowed.
  1. DO NOT KILL YOUR CATCH:  Each competitor is expected to keep their bass alive by the use of a properly aerated livewell.  There will be a .25lb. per fish penalty for any dead fish.  Live fish will immediately be released after they are weighed.  Dead fish penalty also applies to big fish weight - .25 lbs.
  1. PENALTY POINTS:  If a fish can not prove to measure once an angler said their catch can be weighed, a penalty would be enforced to subtract the anglers biggest fish weight of that days catch.  Dead fish penalty is 4 oz./ .25lb. for each dead fish, weigh master makes determination on all dead fish.  Measuring a short fish where there is a legal minimum length will result in disqualification. (i.e. 14� min. WI)
  2. LATE & NO SHOW PENALTIES: Competitors who are not at the official checkpoint area as described in rule #10 at the appointed time shall be penalized.  Penalty in the morning will be at the rate of 10% of the total weight of the days catch.  At the end of the tournament day, an angler will be penalized 0.7 oz. of the days catch per minute they are late.  The penalty will be deducted from the total weight of their legal catch that day.  Any competitor checking in late that day will be ineligible for lunker awards for that day. Any competitor over 15 minutes late in the weigh in area shall lose credit for that days catch.  Start & finish times will be set by Tournament Director prior to contest. 

    Most, if not all, Gopher tournaments are organized as two anglers per boat. When an angler is unexpectedly absent for a tournament, it can leave one or more anglers significantly disadvantaged for that tournament. A 'No-Show' penalty will be assessed to any angler who fails to show up for an event without notifying the tournament committee or partner for that event. Notification must take place no less than 30 minutes prior to tournament start for extreme cases, with a 24 hour notification strongly encouraged for all normal circumstances. The penalty will be equal to the average weight of that tournament and will be assessed to the yearly weight total for the absent angler.

  1. AWARDS:  All anglers will be awarded 1 lb. show up weight for each contest they participate in. 

    In an attempt to encourage and continue a spirit of learning and sportsmanship, a bonus will be awarded to the two anglers sharing a boat who bring in the heaviest combined weight consisting of two limits in each event. The bonus will be one half pound per angler and will be added to the cumulative yearly total.

    A sportsman award & most improved award will be given to one member by secret ballot.  Sportsmanship award for the person who shows good sportsmanship both on and off the water, and is always willing to give someone a hand.  Most Improved award is for members who show greatest improvement in their over all angling ability.  Winners of each tournament will receive an award.  An award will be given to the all TOC participants. A lunker award will be given for the biggest bass caught in a Gopher Club tournament, for that year.  Rookie of the year award will be awarded to top finishing rookie angler in years where we have more than 1 new member.

  1. TIES:  The first tie breaker will be the total number of bass weighted in by each competitor, if still tied, the largest individual fish of each competitor will be weighed, if still tied, the tournament committee will decide the winners.
  1. PAIRING OF CONTESTANTS:  No one shall be allowed to fish alone unless authorized by the tournament committee.  If both contestants have a boat, then their will be a coin toss to determine the boater and the non-boater, the boat owner has the option of which 4 hours he will be in the front of the boat, to be split as participants agree.  Split fishing time 50/50.  DQ would be in order for not splitting time in the front of your boat when requested.  Boater has right to refuse navigating his boat where he feels it is unsafe, non-boater may file a protest and tournament committee will rule, if committee rules otherwise, boater will be disqualified (DQ'd)
  1. TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE:  All decisions of the tournament committee are final.  Tournament Committee consist of Tournament Director, President, & Vice-President.  If a member of tournament committee is involved, another member will be appointed.
  1. APPEAL:  Any contestant adversely affected by the tournament committee's decision at the landing has the right of appeal to the written tournament rules.
  1. NO SHOWS:  If a non-boater does not show, the boater will fish alone.  If a boater does not show, the non-boater will fish with the person with the biggest boat and does not get the front of the boat unless deemed by the team they are fishing with.  If this happens more than once, boaters with watercraft larger than 19ft will rotate starting with largest and going smaller.  This prevents the guy with the biggest boat from getting stuck with a 3rd angler all the time.  If participants drop out more than 48hrs in advance of tournament, pairings will be redone to accommodate.  Under 48hrs it is at the discretion of the competitors to fish alone or together.  For no show penalty, see section 14.



PRINTED NAME:_______________________________