Rules & Forms
2023 Season and Championship Rules
1. Qualifications: Tournaments are open to anyone over 18 years of age. If under 18 years of age you must be accompanied by someone over 18 years old. Individuals who have fished in more than 3 tournaments in the last 12 months that required an entry fee of $1,000 or more are not eligible to fish in any Heartland Anglers Tournaments. Anyone who has been on Pro status (FLW, BASS, PAA MLF, and/or Professional Guide) must be cleared by the Heartland Leadership team prior to being able to fish. Event officials reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone in their sole discretion.
This Tournament Circuit is Designed for the Average Weekend Tournament Fisherman.
2. Membership: You must be a current paid-in-full member in Heartland Anglers. Yearly Membership is $35.00 (per angler) per calendar year. This allows you to fish all divisions in all states.
3. Substitutes: All subs must be a member of Heartland Anglers for that current year. To compete in the Classic, he or she must be qualified in order to fish.
4. Classic Tournament Entry Fee: There will be a mandatory $175.00 per team classic entry fee. Classic prizes and payouts will at minimum equal 100% of entries.
5. To qualify for the Classic: You must fish 4 out of 6 tournaments in your circuit or 6 tournaments total at any division. A team may buy into one tournament to qualify for the Classic.
6. Bass Limit: This will be a five (5) fish-limit tournament (Per team or when fishing alone) unless otherwise noted in 3 fish Divisions. Exceptions: State laws will prevail when fishing on any body of water (size and limit). Directors discretion on spotted bass for size limit and species. Anyone bringing in more than five fish will have their sack culled to the five-fish limit starting with the big fish first. All culling must be done on the water before trailering boat.
7. Sportsmanship: All contestants are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy and conservation. You may not fish closer than 50 yards to another competitor unless given permission. Each participant agrees to report to the Director immediately any violation or infraction of the Rules. Failure to report violations, suggestions that another Participant violated these Rules, or false verification of documents, may be cause for disqualification.
8. No Live Bait: Only artificial lures can be used in all tournaments. The use of pork rine is permitted.
9. Trolling/Long Linning: All long lining must be done with your trolling motor. Anyone found to be doing this with the big motor will be disqualified from any and all Heartland Anglers Tournaments. You may not use your big motor to fish this technique.
10. AOY Points: Heartland Anglers division tournaments will follow a simple AOY point system based on each angler/team place of finish as illustrated: 1st 200, 2nd 198, 3rd 196, 4th 194, 5th 192 and so on. Each angler/team that competes in a tournament but does not weigh any bass (zero) will be awarded (50) “Show Points”. AOY points will ONLY be awarded to angler/teams that actually competed in the tournament. Angler/teams that paid the tournament entry fee but did not compete in that tournament will not be awarded the (50) Show Points.
11. Short Fish Penalties: All fish brought to weigh-in must be of legal size determined by the Directors or by state law for that body of water fished, Penalty is loss of short fish and your largest fish. (Use Golden Rule) You may request a courtesy measure when handing your bag of fish to a tournament official. If the fish measures short you will only lose that one fish.
12. Dead Fish: (1/2 lb penalty for each dead fish weighed). No culling of dead fish.
13. Mangled Fish: Fish that appear to be altered or mangled will only be weighed at the discretion of local director.
14. Late Weigh-In: There will be a deduction of 1 lb. per minute off your total weight for every minute late to weigh in. After 10 minutes, your team is disqualified.
15. Locking Through: Participants are allowed to “lock” through to access to desired water, assuming that water is legally accessbile to all participants. It will be each angler/teams responsibility to know the official “lock times” and manage their time on the water accordingly.
16. Alcoholic beverages or drug use: The use of alcoholic beverages or Illegal drugs during tournament hours. (Will be cause for Immediate Disqualification from any and all Heartland Anglers Tournaments.)
17. Registration: There will be registration at the tournament site the morning of the tournament; blast-off time will be set by local director. By arriving early to ramp, and getting signed up and in the water, we will save time at the ramp. For the 2023 Championship there will be a mandatory registration period on Thursday, May 18th from 3PM-6PM at Pickwick Landing State Park. You must present your valid Heartland Membership cards when you draw your boat number.
18. Blast Off: Blast off position will be determined by draw or registration. There will be no Shot-Gun starts.
19. Boat Inspection: All live wells will be checked by directors either prior to the start of tournament or during blast off.
20. Safety: During all tournaments, contestants will wear their life jackets, zipped and kill swtich connected any time when boat is in motion. During foul weather you may take closest shelter. During any emergency you must return to tournament site if possible. You may not leave your boat during tournament hours except during an emergency. If you must leave the boat for any reason other than emergency, you must notify the Tournament Director before doing so.
21. Catch and Release: Heartland Anglers is 100% catch and release. All live fish must be returned to the water that they were taken from. (If there is a Lunker fish then an angler may keep it for mounting).
22. Cheating: Any angler caught cheating in any Heartland Anglers tournament will be immediately disqualified and banned from entering any future events. Heartland Anglers reserves the right to report any incident of cheating to law enforcement and/or other tournament organizations. Heartland cooperates with local law enforcement, park rangers and fish/wildlife officers during its tournaments. If any participant is found to be in violation of local, state or federal law during tournament hours, he/she/they will immediately be disqualified and unable to compete in future tournaments.
23. Off-Limits: There will not be an off-limits during the year. For the Championship, the lake will go off-limits on Thursday, May 18th at 3:00PM CST and will remain off-limits until you launch for Day 1 of the tournament.
24. Protest: All protests must be submitted in writing along with $100 cash to tournament directors no later than 15 minutes after close of weigh-in. Verbal protests will not be accepted. Any protest filed by a participant shall be heard by the Director. After reviewing the protest submitted, the Director shall inform the protesting participant of the decision. The decision is final and not subject to further appeal.
25. Insurance: All members need to carry liability insurance on any boat they might use during any Heartland Anglers Tournament. Failure to do so or reporting of false information will result in disqualification. Participants must include the company name and either the policy number or the name of the agent binding the coverage on the membership form.
26. Polygraph: All anglers/members agree to submit to a third-party administered polygraph examination and agrees to provide truthful and honest responses as to be determined by the third-party polygraph examiner. Refusing to take a polygraph examination for any reason will result in immediate disqualification.
27. State Law: It is each angler/member responsibility to have read and understand the official rules including all applicable state laws. This will include each state law and/or regulation regarding the use of “Alabama Rigs”
28. Payouts: All division tournaments will be 90% payback of entry and 100% of Lunker at the ramp with the remaining 10% going to the tournament director. Click here for Payout Example. Heartland Payouts
29. Miscellaneous: In the event of a discrepancy between the printed version and digital version of the Rules, the Rules posted on the official website at the time of the event shall prevail. The Rules shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Texas in all respects, including matters of construction, interpretation, validity, and enforcement.
30. Communication: Participant’s entry into an event via mail, facsimile, online or onsite represents your express consent to receive email, phone, and text message communication from Heartland Anglers and any of its successors, directors, members, officers, agents, contractors, affiliates, employees, sponsoring agencies, sponsors, and/or advertisers before, during, and after an event. Participants who remain in the Heartland Anglers database after an event understand and acknowledge that they will receive ongoing communication. In order to discontinue communication, it is the participant’s responsibility to notify Heartland Anglers in writing, to opt out of the Heartland Anglers mail, email, text message and/or other databases.