It is each individual angler’s responsibility to know ALL
of the rules for each event you fish. Tournament Directors will
cover the "highlights" of the rules at each event as well as any
local or “lake specific” rules prior to each event. Anglers
who have questions on the rules should address them with the
Tournament Director prior to the contest start.
US Anglers Choice Pro Teams Tournament rules
(USAC Region #1 &
2 trails – effective for 2011-2012 season team events)
These rules shall remain unchanged throughout 2011-12 season
unless modified by the USAC Regional Vice President in writing.
Interpretation and enforcement of Angler's Choice (USAC) rules
shall be left exclusively to the Regional Vice President or
Tournament Director conducting the event. Federal, state, local
and lake laws and rules must be obeyed at all times and shall
supersede Angler's Choice rules when in conflict. Regional and
local circuit rules may differ from these rules at the
discretion of the tournament director or regional vice president
and will be brought to the attention of the angling field prior
to the event.
2.) PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY: Membership is required
to participate in all Angler's Choice Pro-Team, Pro-Am, WRL and
semi-pro tournaments. Tournament eligibility and entry is open
to all members in good standing with at least one team member at
least 18 years of age or older. Annual Membership is $45 and
covers USAC events. Membership includes a one-year subscription
to BASS WEST USA Magazine and credit card style membership card
with an angler specific membership number.
3.) ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES AND DRUGS: During tournament
hours no alcoholic beverages, narcotic or illicit drugs may be
consumed or are allowed in the boat while on the water.
Prescription medications kept in their pharmacy issued container
and issued to the participant in question are exempted.
Each contestant must have in possession a valid and current
fishing license with appropriate stamps governing the fishable
waters of the event. Penalty for such an offense is
disqualification of the day's catch.
5.) 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. USAC
reserves the right to revoke membership at any time without
remuneration. USAC also reserves the right to refuse service to
any angler seeking to participate in sanctioned events. USAC
participants are required to cooperate with tournament
official’s boat for the purposes of boat inspection,
photography, sponsor and media requests
6.) BOATS & MOTORS: There is no horsepower limit,
however, no engine may exceed the BIA horsepower rating for the
boat in use. All boats must meet US Coast Guard and state
regulations. All boats must have an emergency kill switch. All
boats must have a functioning aerated livewell suitable to
sustain a tournament limit in reasonable condition. Extra gas
tanks are not allowed. Standing on seats, combustible motor, and
or the use of ladder or raised platform for the purpose locating
or fishing for bedding fish in not permitted. All boats must be
in possession of and utilize USCG approved running lights prior
to sunrise and after sunset on official practice and competition
days. Boats without properly working running lights will be
held back and moved to the final start position on tournament
7.) INSURANCE AND
LIABIILTY: It is the
sole responsibility of all USAC boat owners to carry and
maintain the mandated, state required minimum liability coverage
for themselves and their passengers. By participating in a USAC
sanctioned event, all contestants by virtue of their entry agree
to release, hold harmless, and absolve USAC, USAC 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
8.) SAFETY: Boating safety must be observed at all times
during practice and competition. A US Coast Guard approved chest
type life preserver must be worn and properly fastened any time
the combustible engine is operative and the kill switch must be
attached to the driver with a lanyard no longer than
fourty-eight-48) inches. Life vests must also be worn during
official practice periods.
9.) TACKLE & EQUIPMENT: All fish must be taken in a
sporting manner with the fish caught by the hook in the mouth.
Intentional snagging of fish will not be allowed. Trolling with
the aid of combustion or electric motors 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. 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 nine feet in length. The use of
underwater cameras is not allowed during competition. Landing
nets possessed on the tournament boat during official tournament
hours may not have a handle length longer than 8 feet. The use
underwater cameras are allowed during practice periods. They are
not allowed during competition. No SCUBA diving or snorkeling is
allowed on tournament waters 30 days prior to the event. Use of
a CB or VHF marine band radio, cellular phone, texting, or any
electronic communication device for the purpose of locating or
catching bass during tournament hours is strictly prohibited.
Aforementioned devices may be used for emergency purposes only
during tournament hours.
10.) PROTESTS: All protests must be submitted in writing
no later than 15 minutes after the official close of the scales
for the day in question. Protests will be ruled upon by the
tournament director and all decisions of the tournament director
shall be final.
11.) POLYGRAPH: All contestants regardless of tournament
finish are subject to a polygraph testing. Failure to submit is
grounds for disqualification. Any contestant who has failed a
polygraph test for cheating in a bass tournament or whose
results are found to be inconclusive shall not be eligible to
compete in USAC tournaments. Polygraph and voice stress testing
are performed at the discretion of the tournament director.
12.) SCORING FISH: Each team may weigh-in five (5) fish
per day, a minimum of 13 inches in length unless state or lake
limits are greater, measured on a flat board with mouth closed
and tail compressed. Any team weighing-in a fish shorter than
the legal tournament length will be assessed a one (1.00) lb.
penalty plus the loss of the short fish. Any team bringing more
than five (5) fish to the scales will be disqualified. Dead fish
will be assessed a penalty of .20 lbs. which will be deducted
from the total weight. The weigh master and tournament director
will be the sole arbiters as to whether or not a fish is
considered dead. Only Largemouth, Smallmouth and Spotted Bass
will be scored. Once fish are handed to the weigh master, they
become the possession of the tournament authority for the
purposed of weighing and DFG scientific review. Big Bass should
be marked by a culling ball prior to bringing the fish to the
scales. Any team returning to the checkpoint after their
assigned check in time will disqualified. Tournament scoring is
based upon the overall cumulative weight of the fish presented
for weigh-in and is ranked in descending order.
13.) BREAKDOWNS: Contestants must leave and return to
official checkpoint by boat. In the event of equipment failure,
there shall be two permitted methods of returning to the
check-in and weighing fish. (1) By both partners remaining in
their boat and being towed by water, or (2) By one partner
entering the boat of another USAC Team Tournament contestant or
staff member along with the days catch. Teams fish must be kept
separate and not co-mingled.
14.) CULLING FISH: It is the responsibility of each team
to keep no more than a maximum of the legal tournament limit of
five fish (5) in a live well during the tournament, unless lake
or tournament regulations allow for a lesser or greater number.
If more fish than the local laws allow are present in the live
well during the event you will be subject to disqualification.
Per CA DFG regulations, dead fish may not be culled. No culling
is allowed in the host marina.
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
16) 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
gamefish 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. It shall be illegal to “seed” an area with live or
dead baitfish or any other type of chum for the purposes of
conditioning or congregating fish populations within 14 days of
a USAC sanctioned event. It shall also be illegal to pre-fish
14 days prior to a USAC sanctioned event with live bait. Such
action by participants or third parties acting on behalf of
participants shall be grounds for disqualification.
17.) PERMITTED FISHING WATERS: No fishing is allowed
inside the host marina unless lake specific rules allow for
such. If fishing is allowed within the marina, no boats may
fish within 100 feet of the launch ramp. No fishing is allowed
within 25 yards of another anchored or tied tournament boat with
trolling motor out of the water, without the anchored boat's
permission. Both team partners must fish from the same boat.
Unless otherwise directed by the tournament authority, only
contestants may be in the boat during the tournament hours.
Having anyone hole-sit for anyone shall be grounds for
disqualification. Contestants cannot leave the boat to land a
fish or gain access to a fishing area. Restricting natural
movement of fish by any means is automatic disqualification.
Navigable waters are the only waters to be fished during a
tournament and restricting boating access to an area by any
means shall be grounds for disqualification.
18.) GUIDES: Guides are allowed to fish in USAC
sanctioned events provided they are not “hired” by a contestant
to fish the event. Guides are not to be hired by contestants to
scout or pre-fish one week prior to any USAC tournament.
19.) OFF LIMITS PERIOD: USAC does not impose an "Off
limits period" however, each tournament director at their
discretion may do so. Clarify this rule with your local
20.) CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: Qualifying will be based on a
points and pound format beginning with 100 points for first
place and descending down by one 1) point per place. In each
event "First Place" will receive 100 points plus their weight,
e.g., 1st Place = 100 points + 20.50 lbs. = 120.50 points, 2nd
Place = 99 points + 20.00 lbs. = 119 points. This procedure will
be followed for all teams weighing fish. The lowest team having
weight will be the last points given based on the point's
structure. All remaining teams that fished but did not weigh
fish will receive one-half (½) of the next possible points based
off the point structure. Example: The last team weighing fish in
a 45-boat field ended at 40th place with 2.0 lbs. They would
receive 60 points + 2.0 lbs = 62 points. The remaining 5 teams
without weight would receive 29.5 points each (59/2 = 29.5). No
points shall be awarded to contestants that pay but do not fish.
21.) CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING: You must fish a minimum of
5 regularly scheduled team tournaments within a single trail
during the year to qualify for a championship berth based on
points system. You must fish a minimum of 6 regularly scheduled
team to qualify for a championship berth based on the "Wild
Card" system. Championship qualifiers will be determined after
the last regularly scheduled tournament in each division.
Angler's Choice reserves the right to allow alternate or
substitute teams to participate in regional championships at the
tournament director’s discretion to ensure full fields. To
qualify for a "Wild Card" berth teams must fish 6 of 7
qualifying events. "Wild Card" qualifying shall be determined by
their finishing position in the last tournament of the year and
after points qualifiers have been removed. For trails with less
than 7 events, teams must fish a minimum of 80% of the events in
that trail to qualify for a championship berth based on the
20 or less boat average will
qualify 8 teams plus 2 wild cards.
27.) Tournament Director
Modification – For
the integrity of the region or trail or for safety purposes, the
USAC Regional Vice President(s) may modify these rules at any
time without prior notification. Rules modification which occur
during the current season will appear on the USAC website listed
in red text.
21 - 25 boat average will qualify 12 teams plus 5 wild cards.
26 - 30 boat average will qualify 16 teams plus 5 wild cards.
31 - 40 boat average will qualify 18 teams plus 6 wild cards.
41 - 50 boat average will qualify 20 teams plus 7 wild cards.
51 - 60 boat average will qualify 22 teams plus 8 wild cards.
61 - 70 boat average will qualify 24 teams plus 9 wild cards.
71 - 80 boat average will qualify 26 teams plus 10 wild cards.
80 and above boat average will qualify 40% of average plus 14
Any team fishing 7 events in any one USAC trail will
automatically qualify for the TOC.
22.) PARTNERS: A member may fish the first two events of
a trail’s season solo without a designated partner. Members
accumulate points for the designate team when fishing alone
providing the other team member does not participate in that
same event. Either member of a team is allowed to fish up to 3
events alone and representing the team, providing that the team
fishes at least 4 tournaments together. No substitution of
partners will be allowed except in cases of partner death,
catastrophic illness, military duty, and/or at the Regional Vice
President’s discretion. . USAC Team events are just that – team
events. Once you choose your partner, you must fish with that
partner throughout the season for Championship qualifying and
23.) CHOICE DIVISION: Teams may fish an unlimited number
of tournaments within a single region in order to qualify in
that region’s “ Choice Division “ and for that region’s
championship but only their best 7 point events will be
calculated toward a championship berth regardless of the number
of tournament fished. A team that fishes in 2 or more divisions
within a region automatically accumulates points in that
region’s “Choice Division”. A team can qualify for a regional
championship via more than one-1 division. However, a team may
not represent more than one division e.g. “Oroville” or “East
Delta” or “Choice”, although qualified in all three-3 at the
regional championship. The division in which a team accumulates
the highest ranking will be the division they represent at the
championship. Choice Division championship qualifying shall be
calculated by taking the total number of entries in that
division during the year divided by seven - 7 to produce an
average number of entries. That average shall be the number used
for which qualifying shall be based as per our championship
qualifying criteria. Points in the Choice Division are only for
place finished. Weight is not calculated in the Choice Division
Standings. For Example: A team finishing in 1st place receives
100 points, a team finishing in 2nd place receives 99 points and
so on. This is new for 2005 and changed for purposes of
For scoring purposes. the “Angler of the Year” from the Choice
division can only use a total of four (4) tournaments from one
Division with the remaining three (3) tournament coming from
other divisions. (Example Best 4 Tournaments
from Lake Powell Division, Best 2 from North Lake Powell and 1
The “Choice” division affords Angler’s Choice members an
additional opportunity to qualify for a regional championship
they might not otherwise be able to meet the minimum
qualification for. Example: If a team misses the first few
regularly scheduled tournaments within a single division, which
requires a minimum of 5 tournament participations for
qualification, they can still meet this 5 tournament minimum
requirement by fishing in other scheduled tournaments within a
given region. Another example can be found in; a team that has
“Bad luck” in their first few tournaments and scored low points,
thus missing the point’s requirement for qualification, can make
it up by fishing and qualifying via the “Choice Division”.
In the event a partner is unable to make the TOC for some
unforeseen reason, two qualifying members can join up to fish
the TOC. For Example: John Doe and Bill Smith qualify for the
championship, as does Jim Jones and Jerry Wilson. If John Doe
and Jim Jones are unable to make the TOC, Then Bill Smith and
Jerry Wilson may team up and fish the event together. This can
only take place if both teams have qualified for the
championship based on the standard Angler's Choice Regional
Qualifying Rules, laid out above and is approved by the Regional
24.) 7 EVENT CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM: All Teams who fish
Anglers Choice Pro Team Tournament Trails a minimum of 7 events
and qualify for their respective Regional Championship now have
a new added benefit in return for their support. You will now be
eligible to fish any other Pro Team Regional Championship in the
country. There are some very important restrictions on this
Any team qualifying for a regional TOC is eligible to fish all 4
TOC events across all four regions of Angler's Choice
Nationally. Example: Region 1 qualifiers can fish Region 2,
Region 3 and Region 4 TOC events if they choose to do so.
You must Register with Anglers Choice @ 800 360 7112 to fish
this event no later 30 days prior to the event
25.) OFFICIAL PRE-FISH PERIOD FOR TOC’s: Official
pre-fish for all lakes hosting TOCs begin on the Monday prior to
the event. Official Pre-Fish means that no one other than your
team member or a member of your immediate family is allowed on
the boat with any angler wishing to participate in the event.
This eliminates the use of guides for the weekdays immediately
prior to the event.
All USAC rules shall apply during the official TOC pre-fish
26.) ANGLER OF THE YEAR CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAM: At the
conclusion of each division’s tournament year the team with the
most points shall be deemed the Anglers of the year. This shall
also include the Choice division. As Anglers of the year, those
teams will then advance to the Regional championship and fish
against all the other divisional Anglers of the year at the
Regional Championship. The top 3 Angler of the year teams shall
be awarded the following prizes.
◦1st Place $1,000.00 in Cash and Prizes plus Entry Fees for
upcoming seasons Team Events
◦2nd Place $$750.00 in Cash and Prizes plus Entry Fees for
upcoming seasons Team Events
◦3rd Place Entry Fees for upcoming seasons Team Events
These prizes shall be independent of the regular Regional
Championship prizes and the Anglers of the year shall be fishing
for both prize pools. AOY teams will be considered as those who
have fished a 7 event trail. Trails with AOY teams from trails
with 5 or fewer events per season will not be eligible to
participate in this program.
What is a “Division” or "Trail" ? A “Division” is another term
for the local tournament trail. An example of a division is
Ray-Bend, Southern California, Gold City, Illinois, Alamo, or
What is a “Region”? A “Region” is a group of divisions in one of
four geographical parts of the USA. The four U.S. Angler’s
Choice Regions are Northwest Region, Southwest Region, Central
Region, Southeast Region, North Region, and Northeast Region.
Further, each “Region” shall have its own “Choice Division”.