Rules and Regulations

Official Rules and Regulations of the Bill Dance Giant Bass Open.

Participant(s) acknowledge and agree that they have reviewed, understand, and will abide by the Rules as posted on our official website.  Participants willingly agree to comply with the Rules for participation in the Event.

  1.    All local, State & Federal laws shall apply at all times including, without limitation, the penal code.
  2.    All local, State, U.S. Coast Guard, Parks & Wildlife, and federal boating and fishing regulations or off limits, shall apply at all times.

Participation and Eligibility

  1.    Each person in the boat must be a paid contestant of the Event and abide by the Rules. Maximum of three (3) anglers per boat
  2.    The Event is an “open” amateur event.
  3.    Tournament officials reserve the right to refuse entry to anyone at their sole discretion.
  4.    Professional anglers are not eligible to compete. Anglers who have fished more than 3 tournaments with an entry of $1,500.00 or greater are not eligible to fish. Anglers who have guided professionally for a fee (of any kind) on the host lake in the past twelve (12) months are not eligible to fish. Anglers who have fished professionally in; The Bassmaster Classic, BASS Elite Series, MLF Bass Pro Tour, MLF pro circuit, or the NPFL within the last three (3) years may not compete. Any professional with more than $200,000 in lifetime earnings in one of the aforementioned circuits may not fish.  If you are unsure of your professional status, it is your responsibility to request a decision in writing from the tournament staff prior to entering an Event.  Any Participant who enters this Event or series of events, and is determined to be a professional, will be disqualified from the event immediately and will forfeit their Entry Fee.
  5.    Any Participant desiring to inquire regarding the professional status of another Participant, must do so in accordance with the Protests and Dispute Article of these Rules.

Registration and Entry Fee

  1.    Each adult participant shall pay an entry fee of $200 for this event. Each youth participant shall pay an entry fee of $100. Youth will be defined as someone still in high school and younger. Youth are not eligible to fish in the adult division. We accept all major forms of credit card payments.  We will only accept online entries into our events. If you need assistance by phone, it will be available.
  1.    Refunds will not be allowed. You may roll your entry fee forward to a future event but a refund will not be given once you have registered for the event.
  2.   Payment of the Entry Fee constitutes a representation by each Participant that he/she has read and understands the Rules and the Participant will abide by such Rules and the decisions of the Event Director and/or Event Staff.
  3.    Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or other crimes including those involving moral turpitude, or other conduct reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with Event Rules, shall be grounds for disqualification from the event and future events based on the discretion of the tournament director.

Interpretation and Discipline

  1.    Interpretation and enforcement of the Rules shall be left to the sole and exclusive discretion of the Event Director and/or his/her designee at the Event.  In the event a Participant(s) violates any rule set forth in the Rules or, at the discretion of the Event Director, other rule not specifically codified herein, the Event Director may impose a penalty and/or sanction on the Participant (including but not limited to any other participant competing from the same boat).  Such penalties and sanctions may include disqualification from the Event and future events. Penalties and sanctions for violation of any rule set forth in the Rules or, at the discretion of the Event Director, other rule not specifically codified herein may include, but are not limited to, 1) reduction of competition hours; 2) loss of one or more fish; 3) loss of catch for an hour or the day; 4) disqualification from the Event; 5) disqualification from future events which may include a specific number of events, a specific time period, or a lifetime disqualification; 6) loss of Entry Fee; 7) forfeiture of Event winnings and/or prizes; and 8) any other penalty determined by the Event Director or his/her designee and/or the Event Staff.
  2.   Each Participant agrees to report to the Event 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.


  1.    Participants are aware he/she/they are participating in a physical activity in the sport of fishing that may be dangerous and can cause injury.  These activities may involve severe cardiovascular stress and possible violent contact.  Participants understand and acknowledge the activities involve certain risks including, but not limited to, death, serious neck and spinal injuries resulting in complete or partial paralysis, brain damage, and/or serious injury to virtually all bones, joints, muscles and internal organs, and property damage. Although particular Rules, equipment, and personal discipline may reduce the risks associated with participating in the Event, the risk of serious injury does exist and cannot be completely eliminated.
  2.    During Event hours no alcoholic beverages or drugs (other than those purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) are to be consumed by Participants or allowed in Participants’ boat until the final hourly weigh-in is complete and/or polygraph examinations are complete.
  3.    All boats must be equipped with some type of emergency ignition cut-off device (kill switch) on any remote steered outboard while main engine is in use. Ignition cut-off device (kill switch) must operate properly, which means when the kill switch is activated the outboard main engine must stop running immediately. The ignition cut-off device (kill switch) must be attached to the boat operator at all times while the outboard main engine is in use.
  4.   U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets are required for each person on board a boat during competition. Life jackets must be worn and strapped, snapped, or zippered securely, and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is out of gear or shut off.  Participants shall check inflatable life vest indicators daily during the Event.
  5.    If Participants observe any significant hazard, condition or activity during his/her presence or participation in the Event, Participant reserves the right to remove himself/herself from participation and bring it to the attention of a representative of the Event immediately.
  6. In the event of significant weather conditions during competition, the Event Director will advise via text message regarding any change, delay, suspension and/or cancellation of one or more hours or day(s). In such event, the total daily payouts will be allocated against all completed hours of competition and paid places for the day(s). In the event of an entire day cancellation, the payouts for that day will be evenly distributed against all completed hours of the event. No refunds will be provided in any of these scenarios.

Permitted Fishing Areas, Off Limits, Access, Hours & Miscellaneous

  1.    All fish must be caught on and within the official designated Event waters during official Event hours. Participants may fish anywhere on Event waters accessible to the public by boat, except areas designated as “off limits” or “no fishing” by private ownership or local, state and federal officials. Jumping dikes, landmasses or any other object, natural or manmade to enter an area is prohibited.
  2.  The Event off limits time begins at 6:00 p.m. local time on the Friday before the event. Participants must be off the water on or before 6:00 p.m. on the day prior to the Event and may not begin fishing until the official Event start time on the following day, which will be announced via text message the morning of the Event. The Event lake is off limits to fishing  after 6:00 PM local time on the Saturday of the Event. Participants may return to their respective launch site by boat, but are not allowed to fish or use electronics and/or other devices (including lights) or attempt to locate or mark, for the purposes of finding fish, after the off limits time.
  3. There is no formal launch site for the Event. Participants may leave from any launch site on the Event day at any time; however, the Participants may not begin casting and are not allowed to fish or use electronics or other devices, including lights, to locate for the purposes of finding fish until the Event has officially started.  Official start times will be determined by the Event Director and Participants will be notified when to commence fishing via text message the morning of the Event. (In the event the participant does not receive the official text message, the participant may commence fishing at the official start time as verified by cellular phone time)
  4.    No one may leave his or her boat to fish or land a fish.
  5.    Participants are limited to use of a primary motorized boat only with a fully operational livewell. No personal water craft, canoes, kayaks, rafts, or flotation apparatuses.
  6.    No fishing is allowed within twenty-five (25) yards of a non-anchored boat or fifty (50) yards of an anchored boat without that boat’s permission.
  7.    Participants may not collude to buy, barter, block or hold a fishing location for any other Participants or Non-Participants for use during any Event day or during off-limits prior to start. This includes Participants or Non-Participants attempting to block access to Event water and/or a specific location or otherwise impede another Participants ability to compete.
  8.    Participants must be in line at the bump tanks and “declared” before the end of the respective hour for their fish weight to be tallied and counted in the results of the Event.
  9.    From the start of the no-wake zone to the mouth of Richland creek will be off-limits during tournament hours for fishing.

Methods, Tackle and Equipment

  1.   All bass must be caught on artificial bait by casting only, no foul hooking of bedding fish. A foul hooked “bedding” fish is defined as a fish that does not have at least one hook in its mouth, and it must be released. Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. “Long-Lining” and/or “Strolling” (use of trolling motor or outboard motor to mechanically extend a cast) is NOT allowed. Participants may use only one rod at any one time. Other rods may be in the boat for substitute purposes.
  2.    No electronic tracking devices (implanted microchips) may be used to locate fish for Event purposes (depth-finders, sound mimicking devices (such as Hydrowave) and graph charts are the only exception).
  3.    Alabama (Umbrella) rigs are permissible and it is the responsibility of the Participant to abide by all local, state, and federal Rules for the Event lake(s).


  1.    Participants shall act in a courteous manner at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non-participants who may be on Event waters.
  2.    Any Participants attempting to manipulate the outcome of the Event or defraud the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour will be disqualified and may be subject to prosecution.

Weigh-in, Points, and Penalties

  1. Once a fish is handed to a tournament official it becomes the property of the Giant Bass Open. All alive fish will be released back into tournament waters.
  2.    Trailering a bass to a weigh-in site during Event hours is permissible at all times and may be required by the Event Director based on adverse weather conditions. If trailering becomes mandatory, anglers will be notified via text message. Any Participant, whether trailering or not, shall be required to bring their boat and respective partner or partners, if any, with them to the official weigh-in site for a boat inspection when weighing bass in any respective hour.
  3.   Hourly weigh-ins are held each day at: 8:00-9:00 a.m., 9:00-10:00 a.m., 10:00-11:00 a.m., 11:00 am -12:00 p.m., 12:00-1:00 p.m., 1:00-2:00 p.m, 2:00-3:00 pm. All weigh-in hours are local time. 
  4.    For reasons of conservation, all bass brought to the official weigh-in station must be in a weigh bag with adequate water. Anglers must bring their own weigh bags. Bass must be alive to be weighed-in.
  5.    No Participant may weigh more than one (1) bass per official Event hour. Bass entered as a part of big bass of the hour does not carry forward from hour to hour. Participant’s biggest bass is registered into the final overall standings.
  6.    Bass must be weighed-in by the Participant who originally caught the bass and it must be in said Participant’s actual physical possession in the weigh-in line. (The only exception to this rule would be if one of the tournament participants is disabled, in this case we will allow another Participant to bring the fish to the scales for the disabled angler.)
  7.    Any artificially weighted bass will be disqualified and the Participants may be subject to prosecution and shall be disqualified from all future events.
  8.    Only largemouth, smallmouth and Kentucky spotted bass will be weighed-in. Specific lake minimums and/or slot requirements must be followed and it is the responsibility of the Participant to abide by all local, state, and federal Rules for the Event lake(s).
  9.    No Participant may have more than three (3) bass (per Participant) in his/her possession at any time during official Event hours. When the Event officially concludes each day, all bass not weighed in shall be released back into the water and are not allowed to carry over to another day.
  10.    In the event of a tie for the overall big bass, the winner will be the Participant that weighs-in his/her fish first.
  11.    Every effort must be made to keep bass alive including proper livewell aeration, treatment and temperature management. You may not weigh a dead fish.

Article X: Communications

  1.  Text message updates and Event communication is an added value service provided by the Event.  The Event and the Event Staff can NOT guarantee delivery of any text messages or communications. It is the Participant’s responsibility to manually enter themselves into the text system. Some carriers/providers block text messaging services and it is the Participant’s sole responsibility to check with his/her respective provider to determine text delivery services.  If Participant is unable to receive text messages, please contact your provider prior to the Event or you may utilize the Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour live leaderboard.
  2.  Cell phones and other communication devices may NOT be used for the purposes of locating or finding fish and/or communicating with other Participants or Non-Participants regarding such.

Polygraph Examination

  1.   Participant agrees to submit for a third-party administered polygraph examination and agrees to provide truthful and honest responses as to be determined by the third-party polygraph examiner.
  2.   Refusing to take a polygraph examination for any reason will result in immediate disqualification.
  3.   Any Participant taking medication should notify the polygraph examiner prior to examination.
  4.   Any Participant determined by the polygraph examination and/or other Event Officials to be intoxicated and/or under the influence of any type of illegal drug(s) at the time said Participant is required to take the polygraph examination or in violation of the Rules, will be disqualified from this Event and all future events.
  5.   Participants acknowledge and agree that Event may disclose the results of the polygraph exam.
  6.   By his/her signature on the Event entry form and/or other required documents or entering the Event online, each Participant agrees to submit for a third-party administered polygraph examination.
  7.   At the sole discretion of the Event Director or his/her designee, random third-party administered polygraph examinations may be administered on site during the Event.

Boat Inspection

  1.   All Participants, by entering this Event, hereby agree to allow their boat to be boarded and inspected by Event Officials at any time prior to, during, or following the Event, to include, but not limited to, their boat registration, live-well, rod boxes, closed storage compartments, tackle boxes, life jackets, personal floatation devices, and safety equipment.

Protests and Disputes

  1.   All protests or disputes relating to any matter involving the Rules and/or the Event must be registered in writing with the Event Director within fifteen (15) minutes of the designated weigh-in and prior to delivery of any prizes or winnings. Protests made after the deadline will be disregarded and the protesting Participant may be subject to disqualification. Failed polygraph examinations are non disputable and the results are final.
  2.   The interpretation and enforcement of the Rules will be the sole responsibility of the Event Director and, if protested, the Event Staff.
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