2019 North Louisiana High School Fishing League
Rules, Guidelines, and Expectations
Updated Feb 14, 2019
The LAHFL board and its advisors expect strict adherence to the following rules by all contestants. In the event of an emergency, please call 911 first and then notify the designated tournament director.
- INTERPRETATION & ENFORCEMENT • Interpretation and enforcement of these rules will be left exclusively to a Board of Director Member or designated Tournament Director. Decisions of the board member or tournament director are final in all matters and are not subject to appeal. Each contestant and coach agree to report any rule violation to the designated 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 weight loss (late penalty, dead-fish penalty and short-fish penalty), the loss of weight up to a particular time in the tournament day, the loss of weight for the entire day, disqualification from the entire tournament or, in an extreme circumstance, ineligibility to participate in future High School Fishing tournaments. If a Team is under review of a rules violation, the respective Club will be also reviewed and put on notice. Protests are to be made in writing within 30 minutes of the check-in time of the final flight of each tournament day.
- PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY • Participation is open to 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade school students providing that the 12th grade student does not turn 19 before September 1st of their senior year. Each team member must hold a current TBF / SAF membership. Contestants must have a valid fishing license for the waters they fish. Contestants are required to follow all applicable federal, state and local regulations and laws. Each team will consist of one or two eligible contestants and one boat captain in one vessel on stated tournament waters. There is no limit to the number of teams accepted from each school or club. Any special circumstances must be approved by the tournament director prior to the tournament beginning. Tournament officials reserve the right to reject any application to fish for any reason whatsoever. Eligible angler is a student in good standing with their respective school district. Grades will be reviewed, and eligibility awarded using the process the schools already have in place for sports and activities. Student anglers are required to fish for the school which they attend. In the event that their school does not offer a high school fishing team, or a person is home schooled, they are permitted to fish with a High School that does.
- 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 or a coach is not permitted by any tournament participants including contestants and boat captains within 7 days of any tournament. In addition, no fishing information may be purchased, bartered, solicited, or received from any person who entered tournament waters during the official off-limits period if an off-limits period is enforced. If an “off-limits” time period will be used, it will be announced through official communications (official FB page and GroupMe) at least 4 weeks prior to the tournament date.
- DAY OF COMPETITION • Once competition is under way, contestants and coaches may not solicit and/or receive information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters from anyone except contestants, captains, and coaches confirmed in the tournament. On competition day, teams may not follow a non-contestant’s boat or participate in the placing of markers by non-contestants or the practice of “hole sitting” by anyone.
- SAFETY • Safe boating must be observed at all times. Each contestant and coach are required to wear a fastened U.S. Coast Guard-approved and state approved CHEST TYPE personal flotation device anytime the combustion engine is in operation from boat check until weigh-in each day of the tournament. All boats must be equipped with an emergency ignition-shutoff device that must be securely attached to the driver’s body whenever the combustion engine is in operation. All persons in a tournament boat shall remain seated in a manufacturer-recommended on-plane seating location when the combustion engine is in operation. Sitting on pedestal seats while the combustion engine is in operation is not permitted. LA Rev Stat § 34:851.13 “No person operating a motor boat of twenty-six feet or less in length shall allow any person to ride or sit on either the starboard or port gunwales thereof or on the decking over the bow of the vessel while underway unless such motor boat is provided with adequate guards or railing to prevent passengers from being lost overboard”. Safe boat conduct must be observed at all times by contestants and coaches. At the discretion of the League President or League Vice President, tournament days may be shortened, postponed or canceled due to unsafe weather or water conditions.
- CELL PHONE AND MOBILE DEVICE USAGE • During tournament hours contestants may not use mobile communication devices, including but not limited to, cell phones, tablets, marine radios, walkie-talkies, CBs, etc., to communicate with any non-contestant about locating or catching fish on tournament waters. 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 League media editors or producers, or to communicate with other coaches, captains, or contestants. Contestants 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 contestants read or discuss social media posts (public or private) from other non-contestants. At the request of a contestant, a captain may use a cell phone to assist the contestant with his or her social media updates.
- SPORTSMANSHIP • All contestants and coaches 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, TBF, SAF, BASS, our sponsors, the school the team is representing, the sport of fishing and FLW, TBF, SAF, and BASS’ 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 set forth by the North Louisiana High School Fishing League.
- Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or any kind of mind-altering substance during registration, the pre-tournament meeting or during tournament hours extending through the weigh-in procedure.
- Abuse of, or addiction to, mind-altering substances.
- Suspension/disqualification, probation or ban from any tournament or fishing organization.
- 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 these rules and the general competitive bass fishing community.
In case of any conduct not complying with the standards outlined above, tournament officials have the right to refuse an application to compete, to deny a confirmed application to compete, or to disqualify a contestant.
- BOAT OPERATION • Captains must supply and drive boats for their teams. To qualify as a boat captain, the person accompanying a team must be at least 19 years old, have not guided on the tournament waters in past 30 days, or fished a tournament with an entry fee of more than $1000 ($2000 if team tournament) or more within the last calendar year. Anyone wishing to be considered boat captain that has paid more than this amount to enter a tournament within the past calendar year must be approved by the tournament director. The contestants may operate the trolling motor. Captains may provide assistance, including information about locating and catching fish, BUT ARE NOT PERMITTED TO FISH. Students may assist in unloading and loading boats but may not operate the combustion engine during active event except in an extreme emergency where bodily harm or inujury is imminent. In such cases, this must be reported to the Tournament Director as soon as possible.
- 3 Person Minimum in Boat • Because of TBF rule changes and mandates, there must be a minimum of 3 people in the boat at all times during tournament hours. If an angler requires an observer in the boat due to the absence of a partner, it is the responsibility of that angler or boat captain to provide an observer. This observer could be another adult, family member, youth, etc; The observer is required to be at least in 7th grade, however it is recommend, but not required, that the observer to be at least the same age or older than the angler able to fish. If an observer is to be used, the tournament director or host school must be notified immediately upon check in and the observer can not fish whatsoever (just like the boat captain).
- PERMITTED FISHING METHODS • Fishing is defined as having a lure attached to a line and a rod and reel with the lure in the water. All bass must be caught alive in a conventional sporting manner. Only artificial lures may be used, with the exception of pork trailers and biodegradable soft baits. Only ONE fishing rod per contestant may be used at a time. Students must initiate and complete every cast in order for a catch to be considered legal. Trolling as a method of fishing is strictly prohibited. All bass caught while sight-fishing must be hooked inside the mouth and immediately shown to your coach for verification.
- PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS AND BOUNDARIES • Teams may fish anywhere on tournament waters within the boundaries that is available to the public and accessible by boat, except areas 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 tournament officials, local, state or federal officials, or within 50 yards of a contestant’s boat that may be tied or anchored. If additional “off-limits area or areas” will be designated by the League, it will be announced through official communications (official FB page and GroupMe) at least 4 weeks prior to the tournament date. All fishing must be conducted from the boat. At no time may a contestant leave the boat to land a fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. 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.
- WEIGH IN’S • There will be only one checkpoint for weigh-ins in the afternoon. Failure to go through boat check and or failure to check in at the check-in point will result in NO Points awarded to that team.
- LATE PENALTY • Teams that are not at the designated afternoon checkpoint at the appointed time will be penalized 1 pound per minute, deducted from the total weight. Teams more than 15 minutes late will lose credit for that day’s weight.
- LIVE FISH • Every effort must be made to keep bass alive through the use of a properly aerated live well. Eight ounces (1/2 lb.) will be deducted from the total weight for each dead bass presented for weigh-in. No dead fish are to be culled at any time (State Law)
- SCORING • Scoring is determined by the final weight of each team’s catch during each tournament. The tournament limit is five bass per team unless the state or lake limit is less than five, in which case the state or lake limit prevails. Any team possessing more than 5 fish at weigh in will be disqualified immediately. The minimum length limit for bass is 12 inches unless the state or lake limit is more than 12 inches, in which case, the state or lake limit prevails. Bass presented for weigh-in that fail to measure the prescribed length limit will be penalized by not being able to weigh that fish. Each team’s catch must be presented in an official weigh-in bag, not a personal weigh bag. The winning team is determined by the day’s heaviest catch.
- TIES • Will be broken by big bass. If a tie remains, total number of fish for the tournament will break tie. If a tie remains, it will be broken by a flip of the coin.
- ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO • During all days of competition, any and all alcohol and tobacco logos are prohibited and may not be worn or displayed. Contestants may not smoke or use tobacco products during tournament hours, including weigh-in at any event. Students caught in violation of these rules will be disqualified immediately.
- TRUTH VERIFICATION TEST • Each contestant and coach agree 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 the sole discretion of tournament officials, and the determination of the meaning of the results will be made solely by tournament officials.
- INSURANCE • Liability insurance with coverage in reasonable amounts is required on all boats used in High School Fishing tournaments. Proof of insurance must be with the boat being used and must cover all passengers in the boat.
- CUMULATIVE SEASON POINTS • Points will be awarded to teams based on position of finish.
Examples- 1st place – 200 pts, 2nd place- 199 pts, 3rd place- 198 pts etc.
Participating teams not weighing a fish will receive points based on the finishing position of the last place team which weighed a fish. A team may obtain the minimum posted points from a missed event if that team pays the entry fee for the missed tournament prior to the close of registration on the morning of the missed tournament. All points are subject to change based on the number of teams participating in the tournament.
- TWO DAY CHAMPIONSHIP • All qualifying anglers may participate in the two-day championship. Qualifying requirements- Have fished in all 5 league events with entry fees paid, have fished in 4 events but has paid for 5.
(Team is determined by the unique “team” number issued to that team at the beginning of the year)
- REVISIONS • These rules are subject to periodic revision throughout the year. For up-to-date copies, please visit www.lahfl.com or facebook.com/lahfl for a current copy. You can look at the footer of each page for the revision date of the document.