Benton Bass Fishing Tournament 2023 Official Rules
Please make sure you have read ALL rules before participating in any Benton Bass Fishing Tournament.
ALL tournaments are open to all individuals regardless of race, creed, color or gender. A team shall consist of no more than 2 anglers per boat. Contestants may fish alone or with a partner. Only anglers will be allowed in the boat. No captains or passengers. At least one contestant must be 18 years of age or older. Anyone under the age of 18 that wishes to participate, must have a release of liability signed by their parent or guardian. This can be found on the tournament website. To qualify for the Parent/Child Bonus, the child must be 15 years of age or younger and fish with a biological parent or grandparent. Please call if you need clarification of this rule.
Insurance and Liability: It is the sole responsibility of all Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament participants to carry and maintain the mandated, state required minimum liability coverage for themselves and their passengers. Contestants also need to be aware that not all insurance policies cover tournament participation, therefore all parties involved with the tournament must consult with their insurance company prior to competing in any Benton Auto Group event. By participating in a Benton Auto Group sanctioned event, all contestants by virtue of their entry agree to release, hold harmless, and absolve Benton Auto Group, Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament Staff, Tournament Sponsors, Co-Sponsors and their employees, officers or agents from any and all responsibility for any damage or personal injury that results from their participation in the tournament or related activities. Contestants are required to have in their possession and provide proof, upon request, of coverage to the tournament director.
Alcohol & Drugs: During tournament hours, no alcoholic beverages or narcotic drugs (unless prescription drugs prescribed to the user, and must not be the operator of the vessel) may be consumed or allowed in the boat while on the water. Operator must be coherent at all times. Any use of alcohol or drugs during the entire event will result in disqualification.
Sportsmanship: All anglers are expected to act and conduct themselves in a professional manner. Displaying of poor sportsmanship, willful violation of rules and Local, State or Federal laws, and bringing unfavorable publicity to the sport of bass fishing shall be grounds for disqualification. If one team member is disqualified, the team shall be disqualified. Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament reserves the right to revoke entry fee at any time without remuneration. Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament also reserves the right to refuse service to any angler seeking to participate in the event. Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament participants are required to cooperate with tournament official’s boats for the purposes of boat inspection, photography, sponsor and media requests.
Tackle & Equipment: Intentional snagging of fish will not be allowed. Trolling with the aid of combustion engine is not permitted. Only artificial lures may be used. No live bait or prepared bait permitted with the exception of pork rinds. Liquid fish attractants are allowed. Only one (1) rod may be used at any one time by each angler. Other rods may be in the boat and ready for use, however, every cast and retrieve must be completed before another cast is made. Rods may not exceed eight feet in length. The use of underwater cameras is not allowed during competition. Nets may not have a handle in excess of eight (8) feet in length. All boats must be equipped with a functional bilge pump, aerated live well space adequate for two contestants to maintain alive a limit catch
Permitted Fishing Areas: Fishing on the tournament waters is permitted anywhere except: (A) within 50 yards of another competitor’s boat. All such boats are required to advise any other competitor when such boat believes the competitor is close to being within this 50-yard radius. No such boat shall permit selected competitors to fish within the 50-yard circle claimed by him, to the exclusion of any other competitor; (B) any water within these boundaries posted Off-Limits or No Fishing by state or federal agencies will be OFF-LIMITS. Also, within 50 yards of boat launches or areas where live fish have been released.
Reserved Areas: No person may “hold” or “reserve” a fishing area for a contestant at any time. Infraction of this rule will result in disqualification of all parties involved.
Information Sharing: Once an event has started it is against the rules for any contestant to receive help or information about how/where to catch fish from someone else outside of their own boat. This includes help from another contestant.
Radio or Phone Transmitting: Transmittal of information via phone, radio, and text messaging or other means concerning any aspect of fishing during a tournament is prohibited. Communication between contestants and/or land lines may be used for breakdowns, emergencies, business, or personal reasons.
Official Boats: Officials may be on the waters during tournament hours and can approach or observe any contestant’s boat. Each contestant is required to cooperate with all reasonable requests from media representatives or officials. Official boats may not be used as contestant replacement boats.
Fish Transport: Restricting natural movement of fish by any means such as but not limited to: use of nets, tanks or dams will result in immediate disqualification. Restricting access to waters normally accessible to anglers by any means such as but not limited to: felling of trees or placement of obstructions will result in disqualification. Transporting live game fish taken in one area and releasing them in another area for the purpose of establishing a population in the new area during the practice period, during the tournament, or 30 days prior to the tournament is strictly prohibited and grounds for disqualification.
Sight fishing: This rule concerns “sight or bedding” bass and is in effect at any time either of these conditions exist, and is designed to eliminate illegal snagging of bass. Intentional snagging of fish will not be allowed. A sight or bedding fish is defined as one that can be seen and watched as it approaches the lure. Fish caught under these conditions must be caught by hook and line and by the fish ingesting the lure. Any bass caught that is either a “sight” or “bed” fish must be caught “hook in mouth with the hook point entering from the inside of the mouth” – and must be verified as a legal catch by the angler’s in-boat partner. Any “sight” or “bed” fish caught by snagging or with hook starting from outside the mouth shall be deemed an illegally caught fish and must be released. This same fish may be caught again by the legal method – with the hook starting from inside the mouth. Any angler catching a fish under these conditions and not verifying the hook location with the other person in the boat may be disqualified from the tournament. Standing on seats, or motor or the use of ladder or raised platform for the purpose locating or fishing for bedding fish in not permitted.
Tournament Creel Limit: Tournament creel limit is five (5) fish per boat and must be caught in tournament waters the day of the tournament. Other considerations concerning length of fish or slot limit will be governed by State and Local laws for that particular body of water. Any team weighing in a fish shorter than the legal tournament length will be penalized the loss of the largest fish. Any team bringing more than five (5) fish to the scales will be disqualified. Dead fish will not be weighed. Culling is not allowed at the ramp or dock. Tournament limits may be adjusted to allow for better fish care. Examples; high water temperatures may dictate a three fish limit.
Only Black Bass (Large mouth, Spotted, or Small mouth) will be weighed. Fish weighed must meet the minimum length according to the Golden Rule or equivalent measurement system to be determined by the State of Alabama Regulations according to the lake that is being fished. It is the participant’s responsibility to make sure they know and understand the requirements of each lake and any rules contrary to state limits.
Culling Fish: It is the responsibility of each team to have no more than the tournament limit in their live well during the event. Culling must be performed at the time a fish is caught that puts you over the tournament limit. Culling is not allowed at the ramp or dock.
Breakdowns/Emergencies: Anglers are not permitted to leave their boats nor touch another boat, with the exception of an emergency or major equipment failure during the tournament. In this case, it is permitted to be towed either to safety or back to the weigh-in area by any safe means available. You may not transport fish by land if you choose to trailer back to the weigh-in area; however, you may have your fish transported to the weigh-in by another tournament boat participating in the same event. Transported fish must be held separate from another contestant’s fish. At least one person must stay with your fish at all times and neither angler is permitted to fish while under the assistance of another boat during the breakdown period.
Prizes: Awards for Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament require the winners to be present at the time the awards are distributed. Winners not present at the awards ceremony will forfeit any and all prizes selected for them. This does not include money won as a result of placement in the tournament. If your name is called for a money award as the result of placement in the tournament, you are allowed 10 minutes to claim your winnings. If it is not claimed within 10 minutes then the next placed competitor will receive the award. If the next competitor does not claim the prize, one more attempt will be made for a third competitor. If this competitor does not come forward then the award and or prize will become the property of the Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament. Payout for the event will be by check. IRS form 1099 will be issued at the end of the year for all payments over $599.
Manufacturer Bonus Money: The Benton Automotive Group Bass Fishing Tournament is a sanctioned event for most bass boat manufacturer’s bonus money programs. For a current list of manufacturers participating, please click on the dealer’s logo on the Friends and Family page of the tournament website. It is each boat owner’s responsibility to register with your manufacturer prior to participating in this event. The tournament director will provide a final roster should your sponsoring manufacturer request one when applying for any bonus money. Rules vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and it is the boat owner’s responsibility to know the rules that go along with his/her boat.
Protest: All protests must be submitted in writing within 10 minutes after the official closing of the scales. A re-weigh may be requested while at the scale only. Any team asking for a re-weigh will be given one; however, no matter the outcome, that team will take the re-weigh weight for their official weight.
Polygraph: All contestants are subject to a polygraph test. Failure to submit is grounds for automatic disqualification. Any angler who has failed a polygraph test in any bass tournament, or whose results were found to be inconclusive, or have been banned from competing in any tournament or bass fishing trail, shall not be eligible to compete in the Benton Auto Group Bass Fishing Tournament. Polygraph and voice stress testing are performed at the discretion of the tournament director.
Photograph and Video: All photos and or video taken at a Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament are the property of the Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament and may be used for promotional purposes. If you are approached by media you are expected to present yourself in a professional manner and 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. Remember, you are representing our sport.
Any form of cheating or malpractice will result in immediate disqualification, forfeiture of entry fee, and permanent disqualification from future Benton Auto Group Bass Tournaments. By your participation in this tournament, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to comply with the all rules of the Benton Auto Group Bass Tournament.
The Tournament Director reserves the right to refuse tournament registration and refund/return entry fees at any given time.
The Tournament Committee, whose decision will be final, will resolve any and all conditions that may arise which are not covered by the above.
Any questions may be directed to Max Reeves