Mar 01

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Contender Series Rules

1. Tournament Rules and Procedures.

  • The following is the rules and procedures for the 2021 Contender Series competitions. Additional event location, information, rules and procedures may be added or modified due to geographic, environmental, sponsor and or other tour considerations.

2. Health and Compliance with Applicable Law.

  • All anglers participating in a Contender Series event must be in good physical health and not be on or have prescribed for them any medication for blackouts, seizures, fainting or other serious medical conditions that could place them, their teammates, fellow competitors and/or the tour in any danger. All anglers must follow applicable federal, state and local regulations, laws and tournament rules. Any violation of such regulations and laws and/or other tournament rules may result in a penalty including but not limited to and any combination of the following. Daily weight penalty, dead fish(s) penalty, fishing time penalty, disqualification from a tournament day, disqualification from the entire tournament, points deductions, disqualification from all future series events, or any combination thereof as decided by Contender Series.

3. Eligibility Requirements.

  • The Contender Series tournaments are Open events. Headturners3, LLC. and Contender Series ownership and officials reserve the right to deny entry to or remove from any event any angler, person, participant and or competitor for any reason the tour and/or it’s officials deem necessary. Anglers refusing to take or failing to take a requested truth detection test from any tournament or tournament trail or being banned from competition by another tournament or trail for cheating, unsportsmanlike conduct, public demeaning displays or similar reasons and at the tour’s discretion may be refused entry in to or be disqualified from any Contender Series event at anytime prior to or during the event at the time knowledge of same was discovered.

4. Insurance, Registration and Fishing License.

  • State required insurance, titling, registration and all other state required coverages and documents must be enforce and current prior to use in all Contender Series events. A liability insurance policy of at least $100,000.00 must be enforce for any vessel/operator prior to it’s use in a Contender Series competition. It is the angler’s responsibility to maintain insurance coverage and ensure all registrations and fishing licenses required by state, federal and local law are up to date for each competitor(s) in all Contender Series events. A vessel not complying with state, federal and local laws governing equipment, registration, decals and their proper display, cannot be used in competition. If such a boat is placed in competition either intentionally or unknowingly, the angler’s catch for the day(s) such vessel was used will be d.q.’d..
  • Competitor(s) must have a current, legal fishing license for the state in which they are fishing or transporting fish through and must show them to the referee at pre-tournament day morning meeting.

5. Entry Fees and Paybacks.

  • No membership fees for this tour. Optional DAP Membership Benefits available. Read more here.
  • Entry fees paid by Monday the week of an event are 600.00.
  • Entry fees paid after Monday the week of an event increase by 50.00 per day.
  • Optional Big Red and Angler Advantage side pots will be offered at each event and can be paid without penalty the morning of the event. Big Red is the heaviest single redfish of the tournament. Angler advantage is the heaviest limit of redfish during a tournament. Anglers “in” the big red side pot are responsible for presenting their biggest fish for weighing.
  • Optional Big Red and Angler Advantage side pots will be offered at each event and can be paid without penalty the morning of the event. Big Red is the heaviest single redfish of the tournament. Angler Advantage is the heaviest limit of redfish during a tournament. Anglers “in” the big red side pot are responsible for presenting their biggest fish for weighing.
  • A 3.5% electronic payment svc fee will be charged for all payments made electronically.
  • Event and optional side pot paybacks paid 1 spot for each 6 anglers entered.
  • Seasonal paybacks guaranteed to be 100% + of all event and side pot entry fees taken in.

6. Tournament Series Format. 

  • 1 competitor per boat, 1 or 2 day tournaments.
  • Mid week events usually prior to weekend team event.
  • 1 or 2 day total weight (depending on event days as determined by tour) minus penalties determine place of finish. (see #13 for possible weather exception)
  • Anglers can weigh in only redfish that meet legal state creel and size limits and set forth by the tour prior to the event.
  • Anglers may weigh in 2 or 3 redfish as determined and announced by tour the week of the tournament. Time of the season (hot summer), trailering length to weigh in and other factors will be used to determine creel limit.
  • Open events allowing anglers can compete in 1 or more events as they choose.

6A. Format Exceptions – Ride Alongs.

  • Anglers may have the following ride along on their boat during practice and competition. Wife, husband (for lady anglers) son or daughter up to 12 years of age.
  • No more than 1 additional person may be on the boat with the competitor and can in no way offer any assistance to the competitor except in the case of an emergency.
  • The ride along person cannot grab the net, hand the scales or measuring board to the competitor, check on the condition of the fish, crank, idle or in anyway be in control of the boat.
  • The ride along cannot recommend, hand lures or tackle to the competitor of offer any other type of help that could affect the tournament such as but not limited to pointing out fish, calling out the depth or other gps markings, entering markings on the GPS or in any other way participate in activities similar and/or related to those that a competitor would do during an event.
  • A competitor’s ride along must have obeyed all off limits requirements as delivered to all competitors and must keep their life jacket on, strapped and secured anytime the outboard engine is operating above a flat idle.
  • The ride along may take pictures and / or video of the competitor but may not be on social media or any phone, I-Pad or similar device in discussions with anyone pertaining to any topic related to fishing either in or out of the field and cannot do so via phone, email, text, instant message or similar.
  • If a competitors boat becomes stuck the ride along can not help get the boat unstuck or leave the boat temporarily to help the boat enter shallow water. If under extreme conditions a competitor and their ride along feels they must help unstick the boat due to the risk of being stranded, the competitor’s day of fishing is over and their fish will not count. However, for safety’s sake in this dangerous situation the ride along can and should help unstick the boat.
  • All adult ride alongs must sign a release of liability and agree to be polygraphed should one be requested of them by a tour official.
  • In some instances a tour sponsor may be permitted to become a ride along at the competitors choosing but must follow all guidelines as detailed in the above exceptions.

7. Off limits, Practice, Equipment and Information.

  • There is no limit to the days allowed to practice in Contender Series events.
  • In lieu of a mandatory captain’s meeting prior to the event anglers can check in at the official launch location as posted the morning of the event. Read More.
  • No angler can return to the water after day 1 check in cut off time in order to practice, fish and/or scout for fish.
  • As of Monday the week of the event anglers can not practice or compete in a boat and motor rig not considered normal in appearance compared to all other boat and motor rigs used in normal tournament fishing competitions. Example of acceptable boats: bay boats, tower boats, skiffs and other steering wheel controlled vessels that are powered by a single outboard engine manufactured by companies like Yamaha, Mercury, Honda, Suzuki and other industry standard outboard motors. No airboats, inboard, tiller steered, surface drive, air cooled or multiple outboard motor rigs may be used for practice or competition. Pump driven outboard motors produced by Mercury, Yamaha, etc. can be used.
  • As of Monday the week of the event anglers must be off the water by dusk and not return until dawn the following day.
  • As of Monday the week of the event anglers cannot take part in arial scouting personally or receive information from anyone flying in manned or unmanned vehicles including but not limited to airplanes, helicopters and/or any drone type devices over waters within 100 miles of in all directions of official launch point.
  • Hire a professional guide paid by cash or barter in an attempt to gain local knowledge pertaining to redfish movement, locations, lures, techniques and or navigation.
  • Lift, open, remove or otherwise tamper with any structures, I.E. booms, chains, gates, etc. placed across any canal or access area in a attempt to restrict public access to any body of water.
  • Research and/or attempt to find alternative entrance points to access the same “closed” body of water through other canals, creeks or means avoiding gates, notices, chains, booms, etc..
  • Jump berms, dykes, land masses or any other object blocking entrance to any waterway, either man made or natural.
  • Enter into any private agreement, written or verbal or with a “understanding” that would allow any angler(s) to scout or fish waters not open and available to all anglers equally.
  • Return to any body of water once asked to leave (other than obviously public waterways such as oceans, ICW, main river channels, etc.) during practice and any days of competition for current and future Elite Redfish Series events and must notify his team member of the request to leave the body of water it affects.

8. Tackle and Techniques.

  • All competitors must cast, flip or pitch their lure to the fish they catch.
  • Only artificial lures may be used and only artificially produced bait attractants.
  • Only one rod at a time may be used per angler.
  • A cast must be fully retrieved by a angler before that same angler may make another cast.
  • All redfish must be caught alive in a conventional sporting manner.
  • No snagging of fish, netting of fish or scooping of distressed surface fish is allowed.
  • No multi lure rigs allowed.
  • Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited.
  • Angler(s) must obey all local, state and federal laws in regards to boating, equipment and fishing.

9. Live Fish, Limits and Penalties.

  • Angler(s) may not intentionally attempt to manipulate the weight or length of any redfish.
  • A .75 pound penalty will be assessed for each dead fish presented for measuring.
  • No culling of dead fish permitted.
  • Dead fish may be kept separate from live fish but only with water and/or an ice substitute, frozen water bottles, Arctic Ice, etc.
  • It is the angler(s) responsibility to keep control of their fish from their live well till it reaches the stage for weighing, any loss of control or intermixing of any fish with other angler(s) fish while catching a ride with another competitor(s) during a mechanical issue, getting fish ready for weigh in at boat or at tour staging tanks, etc. may result in all fish affected without control of the angler being deemed un-weighable.
  • The length of all redfish must measure within minimum and maximum “slot” sizes as set forth by the state in which the fish was caught and must maintain a legal size limit for any waters where the fish is transported through or to. Normally 16-27 inches for Louisiana, 20-28 inches for Texas, Mississippi 18-30 inches, 18-27 inches in Florida and 15-23″ in South Carolina. Some event(s) may offer kicker / oversized fish as allowed by the state where the tournament is taking place. Any kicker / oversized fish must be alive in order to count.
  • The Check it Stik Official Elite Measuring System will be used only with fish’s head facing left and the tail to the right only, no flipping or measuring 2nd side of fish.
  • The Elite perfect pincher will be placed on a fish’s tail and slid to a point 1/2″ short of the state legal length limit for a redfish.
  • Tour representatives reserve the right to refuse any red fish for measuring and/or weighing deemed by representatives to have a damaged tail or nose/head area sufficiently to make determining the exact length of the fish’s overall length non conclusive using official tour Check It Stik Elite measuring system. Redfish with abnormal, severely damaged and/or deformed tails or noses and in the opinion of the tour not normal in it’s appearance to a healthy, non damaged redfish will not be accepted, regardless of fish’s length and whether or not the damaged area happened naturally and has healed over. The protocol used in determining a fish’s condition to be within the rules specified will ultimately be determined by the fish’s head and tail being considered by the tour to be normal in appearance and undamaged.
  • Angler(s) are encouraged to take a picture and submit via text to tournament director for ruling during tournament day on a fish’s overall condition and whether or not that fish would be approved or denied if presented in the current pictured condition.
  • Failure to notify official and having a fish weighed with a hook, lure, jig or other object in its mouth may incur dead fish penalty.
  • Re weighs of a angler’s catch are only executed by the weigh master (not at the request of any angler) and based solely on his judgment of conditions when the weigh scales automatically lock in and render the final, computer activated and locked weight.

10. Acceptable Fishing Locations.

  • Angler(s) may only navigate and fish those waters open for navigation, boating and fishing to the general public equally.
  • Angler(s) nor anyone working on their behalf may lift, unlock or pass through gates, chains, booms or other canal, river and/or waterway objects meant to divide public from non public waters during a practice period or any day(s) of competition.
  • Angler(s) must know that even water without obvious vessel restricting objects waters can still be considered non public.
  • If a angler(s) is or has ever been been asked to leave a particular body of water due to it being claimed to be non public even if those waters are located within the official “playing field” map or description they must not return during any practice period or day(s) of competition and should notify the tour immediately so a notice of non public waters can be sent to all angler(s).
  • If at anytime during recreational boating, scouting, practice and/or during any tournament day(s) a angler(s) is asked to leave they cannot ever return to that same water even by alternate routes again during the remaining days of practice or tournament days or any other time during any Contender Series event, present or future.
  • Angler(s) failing to observe the public water rule in any manner including but not limited to intentionally returning to the same waters after being asked to leave or fleeing to avoid capture will be disqualified from the competition and may face expulsion from the tour.

11. Alcoholic Beverages, Smoking and Drugs.

  • Angler(s) cannot consume or possess alcohol or drugs (other than their own current prescriptions except any medication for conditions listed in point 2 above) during Contender Series competitions.
  • Competitor(s) cannot consume alcoholic beverage prior to taking a polygraph or other truth verification test on the Contender Series tour.

12. Communication.

  • The use of mobile communication devices such as cellular telephones, marine radios, walkie-talkies, CBs, pagers or any electronic device able to communicate any information pertaining to fishing or navigation with anyone outside the field of current Contender Series anglers during tournament days is strictly prohibited. Lock information, family emergencies and work related calls may take place as long as no discussions pertaining to fishing information relevant to the tournament or tournament waters at which event is being held on or near is discussed. Anglers can contact anyone at anytime by any means when a emergency issue arises. Texting while operating your boat above idle is prohibited.

13. Extreme Weather.

Small craft advisories (A Small Craft Advisory means that wind speeds of 21-33 knots are expected to produce hazardous conditions to small craft vessels) at time of launch and or forecasted by NOAA or similar reputable organizations to include official tournament waters during a day(s) of competition will immediately execute a no go for that day. Launch may be delayed if small craft advisory forecasted to be lifted. “The National Weather Service does not specifically identify what constitutes a “small craft”, although the United States Coast Guard informally assigns the designation to boats with a total length of less than 33 feet”.

Should any day(s) of a Contender Series event be cancelled due to extreme weather or the eminent threat of extreme weather the tournament results will be deemed official by the standings after any day of completed competition or in the manner described.

  • Day 1 canceled, all anglers fish day 2 in a one day shootout to determine place of finish for all teams.*
  • Day 2 canceled, results from day 1 are final and will determine place of finish for all teams.*
  • Days 1 and 2 canceled, the day immediately following day 2, not being a Monday will be used to determine place of finish.
  • If no days of a Contender Series event can take place, the event will be rescheduled.
  • *note in examples above the Contender Series may attempt to complete full event with acceptance of a majority of the field to modify the remedies shown. I.E. fish day 1 Friday but Saturday gets cancelled the tour may allow anglers to vote to hold day 2’s competition on Sunday depending on other events, tour schedule, etc… 
  • One day events will be scheduled for the best possible conditions as forecasted using any day that does not conflict with a Champions Team Tour event Thurs-Sun.

14. Mechanical and Navigational.

  • For mechanical reasons only a series approved mechanic may temporarily ride along for the purpose of determining and remedying a mechanical issue, however no tournament related information outside of the problem being diagnosed can be discussed.
  • It is the angler’s responsibility to notify a tour official by phone of a mechanical issue, mechanic’s name and duration of time he/she is expected to be on board prior to boarding of a Contender Series angler’s boat during competition.
  • If a angler has GPS/graph issues any day of the event, they must borrow, rent or purchase any electronic navigational device from someone still in the field, from a retail dealer with a store front business or a onsite tournament support representative.

15. Remedies for Breakdowns and Returning to Launch.

  • Angler boats experiencing mechanical failure may be towed in by any one from any where at any time.
  • Angler can only board the boat of another competitor fishing the same event.
  • Angler must tag and/or mark and keep separated their fish from any competitor’s fish who’s boat they board.
  • Angler boarding another competitor’s boat for any reason will result in the end to both competitor(s) day of fishing.

16. Anglers Must Remain in Boat.

  • All angling must be conducted from inside the boat. No wading.
  • Angler cannot leave the boat to cast to, catch or land a fish.
  • Angler may and should leave the boat and seek safe shelter in bad weather where danger may be imminent but must continue to follow all tournament rules and procedures during this period.
  • Angler may leave their boat to pull it out of an area where tides have gone out but cannot leave their boat to gain access to any area and must wait on water levels to rise enough to allow entry without dragging bottom or jumping berm.

17. Safety, Boats, Motors and Accessories.

  • Safe boating conduct must be observed at all times by all angler(s).
  • During all days of practice, each competitor and any of their guest on board are encouraged to wear a Coast Guard-approved chest type life preserver at any time the combustion engine is in operation.
  • During each day of competition all competitor must wear a Coast Guard-approved chest type life preserver any time the combustion engine is on and in gear. This preserver must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is out of gear or shut off.
  • Boats and single outboard motor rigs normal to the fishing industry and inshore tournament fishing may be used. I.E. bay boats, tower boats, skiffs powered by a single outboard engine manufactured by companies like Yamaha, Mercury, Honda, Suzuki, etc may be used. All boats used in official practice days (Monday the week of the tournament) and continuing through the tournament’s conclusion must be powered by a single outboard engine as described above and cannot use a inboard, tiller steered, surface drive, air cooled, pump driven or similar engine. No airboats or similar.
  • All acceptable boats used in practice and/or competition beginning Monday the week of any Elite Redfish Series event must have engine kill switch installed and attached to the driver anytime the combustion engines on and in gear.
  • Additional fuel may be purchased from a public marina during normal business hours and open to the general public equally.
  • Additional fuel may be carried only in factory installed (built-in) fuel tanks. No portable fuel containers allowed.
  • When boating in low visibility situations i.e. fog, heavy rain, during both practice and competition, anglers must operate their boats at a safe speed and in a safe manner. Failing to do so and being reported will result in penalty.

18. Sportsmanship and Penalties.

  • It is prohibited and against the law to enter any fish in a saltwater fishing tournament that have had the length or weight altered, that were taken unlawfully and/or are fraudulently represented. An angler doing such will be d.q.’d and could be prosecuted.
  • Angler(s) are required to display the highest level of sportsmanship to each other, recreational anglers or boaters sharing the waters, the tour and it’s staff, Contender Series, Elite Redfish Series ownership, sponsors and fans.
  • Angler(s) proved to be displaying poor sportsmanship or violating fishing, game and/or boating regulations will be penalized.
  • Act(s) or action(s) deemed to be a intentional and unsportsmanlike toward another angler(s) is prohibited.
  • Angler(s) receiving a non moving ticket for any reason will result in disqualification of the day’s catch for the day that the ticket was issued. Angler’s receiving a moving violation will be disqualified from the event.
  • Failing to disclose receiving any citation or ticket to tour officials will result in immediate disqualification from the event and may include expulsion from the tour.
  • Angler(s) can not cast pitch or flip within 100 yards of a competitor’s boat (not separated by land or jetties but in same body of water) which is anchored by a traditional anchor and/or anchoring system such as Power Pole or Talon or obviously stationary through use of spot lock electronic system.
  • Angler(s) may not use their vessel to limit passage or access to waters that are outside of the 100 yard stationary rule.
  • Angler(s) knowingly attempting to circumvent state, federal or local law enforcement or similar in an attempt to avoid capture or issuance of a ticket or citation will be disqualified immediately for the remainder of the season.

19. Protest and Truth Detection.

  • Angler(s) that feel they cannot take or pass a truth detection test, for any reason can not fish with the Contender Series, Elite Redfish Series. Any angler(s) that have failed or refused to take a polygraph test on any tour or in any tournament will not be eligible to compete in a Headturners3, LLC. event. Angler(s) being prosecuted and pleading or refusing to defend in a court of law may be ineligible to compete in a Headturners3, LLC event.
  • A reported violation may be brought to the attention of tour officials at anytime during or after the conclusion of the event and penalty(s) for any violation can be levied at anytime during the season the violation is brought to the attention of tour officials.
  • Should a polygraph or other truth detection test be needed to settle a protest, the angler protesting and the angler being protested may both be required to render to the tour the fee for the polygraph test, with the winning angler being reimbursed the test fee.
  • Should no polygraph test be available the day of the protest, the event will continue as normal, under protest with the results, tournament placement, prizes, points and awards being retained by the tour until a test can be administered to settle dispute.
  • Headturners3, LLC acts as a broker when hiring the truth detection administrator and has no influence on procedures, type of test, the amount of time or the results of the testing and as such all rulings of cause are determined by the testing agent and not by anyone affiliated with Headturners3, LLC and the Elite Redfish Series.
  • All truth detection results are final and not contestable by any Headturners3, LLC competitor(s).
  • HeadTurners3, LLC. and/or the Elite Redfish Series their parent, Contender Series, affiliated and subsidiary companies, the hosts, sponsors and tour officials are not involved in or in any way responsible for the results of or methods used in any truth detection test given.

20. Angler Code of Conduct and Registration.

  • Any angler(s) participating in any Contender Series sanctioned event shall observe this code of conduct and the applicable rules for the specific event in which they are participating. Anglers shall, at all times, conduct themselves in a professional manner that demonstrates integrity, honor and respect toward fellow competitors, tournament staff and the general public and does not reflect unfavorably on Contender Series, Elite Redfish Series, its members, officers and/or representatives and/or community and product sponsors of Elite Redfish Series and Contender Series.

Anglers are frequently in the public eye and are considered role models by young people; therefore, it is imperative that tournament competitors demonstrate good sportsmanship in fishing. Sportsmanship is defined as fair play, respect for opponents and polite behavior while competing in the event and sport. Following are examples of unacceptable behavior by competitors in Elite Redfish Series events that will be cause for penalties as outlined in this document.

  • Heated and loud public disagreements withContender Series officials, other competitors and fans and volunteers during an event that can be seen as a public display of unsportsmanlike and unprofessional conduct.
  • Public attacks through media, including social media, upon the integrity of Contender Series rules and/or officials.
  • Public comments that an angler knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation of Contender Series officials, ownership and/or tour sponsors.
  • Displays of anger and displeasure for reasons related to fishing competition where members of the public, including other anglers, spectators and the media, are present.
  • Publicly questioning or criticizing a tournament official or official decision, ruling or penalty except through the proper channels.
  • Abuse (physical, verbal, threatening or slanderous) of tournament officials, volunteers, fellow competitors or others connected with a Elite Redfish Series event.
  • Offensive or slanderous comments with racial, cultural or sexual overtones regarding event officials, event personnel or fellow anglers.
  • Intentionally interfering with a fellow angler’s ability to compete.
  • Any disqualification, suspension or other disciplinary action imposed by any tournament and/or fishing organization may result in disqualification from competition and rejection of an application for participation in a Contender Series tournament. (ii.) Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or crimes involving moral turpitude, may be grounds for disqualification from competition and for rejecting any application for participation.
  • Any angler(s) who violates any of the provisions of the Sportsmanship Rules or the Angler Code of Conduct may be subject to fines, reduction of points, forfeiture of tournament winnings, suspension from competing in individual Contender Series events, permanent ban from competition or any combination thereof deemed by Elite Redfish Series, Contender Series ownership and officials.


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