OFFICIAL RULES OF COMPETITION
The following rules shall apply to all APEX Pro Tour events. Rules for special tournaments may differ from those contained herein. These rules may be changed by APEX immediately upon notice to its members. Notice may be published on the APEX Internet site at https://wildwestbasstrail.com. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to the Tournament Director or their designee at a tournament.
1 TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR SANCTIONS: The Tournament Director may impose actions or rulings deemed appropriate by them, which may include the following without limitation. The Tournament Director may seek the advisement of the Advisory Board or Rules Committee:
- a) Reduction of competition hours as determined by the Tournament Director.
- b) Loss of catch for the day of the violation.
- c) Disqualification from the current tournament.
- d) Forfeiture of prizes and entry fee.
- e) Disqualification from future APEX events, which may be a specific number of events, a specific period of time, or lifetime disqualification.
- f) Any different or additional penalties determined by the Tournament Director including but not limited to monetary fines and/or reduction of Angler of Year Points.
2 The decision of the Tournament Director, their designee shall be final in all matters. In all cases the Tournament Director and APEX have the sole discretion to determine whether they or the Advisory Board, and/or Rules Committee shall be responsible for adjudicating any given issue or dispute.
Subject to the appeal process set forth in these rules. The decision of the Tournament Director, his/her designee, or the rules committee shall be final in all matters. APEX contestants are required to police themselves each competition day. If contestants have a concern regarding their catch, they should not present their catch. They must consult with tournament director immediately.
3 FISHING HOURS: Fishing hours will be posted on the Tournament Information Page or announced at the tournament briefing.
4 PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY: This tournament is open only to current members of APEX who are 18 years of age or older.
6 MEMBERSHIP: APEX membership is required to participate in any APEX events. Failure to have an active/paid membership is grounds for disqualification. APEX reserves the right to refuse and/or revoke memberships without cause, reason and/or explanation and without recourse at our own discretion. Membership does not guarantee the ability to enter a tournament. Memberships are valid for tournament calendar year. Note: A tournament calendar year may start in the fall prior. The membership fee is $60.00 per contestant per year.
7 LIABILITY INSURANCE: During the open practice and competition days of any APEX tournament, no contestant may operate a boat unless that contestant has documented proof of a minimum of $300,000 per occurrence boat owner’s liability insurance (see participation agreement for full details) covering the boat being used in the tournament. Proof of insurance must be with the boat being used and must cover all passengers in that boat. Random checks may be conducted and any contestant who does not have proof of valid insurance with $300,000 coverage will not be allowed to participate and all entry fees forfeited.
- ENTRY FUTURE SEASONS/PAYMENTS:
- Those APEX contestants who participated in events offered by APEX in the previous season will receive priority entry into the following season. Those contestants must declare their intentions in writing/signing of an APEX agreement by the published/announced deadline at the conclusion of the current season. APEX contestants must pay their partial payments for the full season of tournaments in a division for the upcoming year by: (see APEX Website/Facebook for dates and details) in order to secure their entry position.
- b) ***APEX may reserve sponsor exemption spots in any tournament/season. payments will be accepted by: (see APEX Website/Facebook for dates and details) in order to secure their entry position.
Entry will be final once payment is received. Entries may be made either on the internet, phone, or US mail.
Payments ARE NONTRANSFERABLE AND NON REFUNDABLE ONCE ACCEPTED INTO A TOURNAMENT. Entries received after a tournament has been filled will be placed on a standby list. Those contestants placed on the standby list who are not accepted into the tournament will receive a full refund after the tournament.
CONFIRMED ENTRIES ARE CONTINGENT UPON COMPLETE ENTRY FEE BEING PAID BY THE FIRST ENTRY DEADLINE DATE. ENTRY FEES WILL NOT BE TRANSFERRED OR REFUNDED AFTER THE FINAL ENTRY DEADLINE.
Any entry balances not received by the FINAL ENTRY DEADLINE will lose their priority entry position and forfeit any partial payments for that event.
9 FIRST ENTRY/BALANCE DEADLINE: See APEX Contract for specific dates. In most cases APEX will send periodic reminders via text message with balance due date and link to payment. First Entry/Balance deadline via mail/phone is 5:00pm local time or online/APP entries until 11:59 PM. If the date falls on a holiday/weekend, APEX will recognize the working day (M-F) prior to that holiday/weekend as the mail/phone deadline date.
Any entries after this date; pro late fee is $100. Check the APEX website/Facebook for all deadline dates.
APEX ENCOURAGES CONTESTANTS TO UTILIZE ONLINE/APP OR PHONE METHODS TO SUBMIT PAYMENTS. Checks will be accepted; however, it is the responsibility of each contestant to follow up with APEX if they have submitted an entry via USPS mail. All USPS entries must be received by the APEX office by the published deadline date.
10 FINAL ENTRY/BALANCE DATE: See APEX Contract for specific dates. In most cases APEX will send periodic reminders via text message with balance due date and link to payment. Via mail/phone is 5:00pm local time or online/APP entries until 11:59 PM. If the date falls on a holiday/weekend, APEX will recognize the day prior to that holiday as the mail/phone deadline date. Check the APEX website for all deadline dates. At 5:01 PM on this day there will be no refunds or transfer of entry fees.
APEX ENCOURAGES CONTESTANTS TO UTILIZE ONLINE/APP OR PHONE METHODS TO SUBMIT PAYMENTS. Checks will be accepted; however, it is the responsibility of each contestant to follow up with APEX if they have submitted an entry via USPS mail. All USPS entries must be received by the APEX office by the published deadline date.
11 WAIVER AND RELEASE: As a condition of participation in each tournament, each contestant must execute a waiver and release of liability and a name and likeness release.
12 PRIZES: Prizes will be awarded after the tournament. Contestants must be present and be able to hear their names called at the official weigh-in to be eligible for contingency prizes.
13 PRACTICE: To be announced at the tournament briefing.
14 OFF LIMITS: off limits period for all APEX tournaments will be 30 calendar days from the first event date unless otherwise notified by APEX. Special off limits and practice periods will be announced by APEX. SEE APEX WEBSITE FOR OFFICIAL DATES FOR EACH EVENT. No contestants will be allowed on or within 35 feet of Tournament waters during the off-limits period until the first day of competition. Scouting or surveying the tournament waters to gain information, knowledge, or utilizing any other means to gain an advantage is prohibited.
Unless otherwise specified, all official times are specific to the local host community. The contestant must know and observe these dates. During the off-limits and the tournament, a contestant may not have the assistance or advice of anyone for the purposes of locating or catching bass, nor enter the tournament waters with anyone who has been on the tournament waters during the off- limits period including, but not limited to, a professional guide, state or federal wildlife agency employee, or any other person deemed an “expert“ on these tournament waters by the Tournament Director, unless they are a contestant in the tournament. Flying over tournament waters or the use of drones during the off-limits period and competition is not allowed.
15 NO INFO RULE: APEX tournaments HAVE A NO INFO RULE REGARDLESS OF WHEN A CONTESTANT ENTERED THE EVENT, THEY MUST HAVE ADHERED TO THE OFF-LIMITS PERIOD AND THE NO INFORMATION RULE. BY SIGNING THE WAIVER AND ENTRY FORM EACH CONTESTANT IS ATTESTING TO ADHERING TO THE NO INFO AND OFF-LIMITS RULE. During the no information and off-limits period confirmed contestant(s) may only obtain information from another confirmed contestant(s).
Sharing of bait, tackle, equipment, and fishing information by confirmed contestants is allowed with any other confirmed contestant in an APEX event. APEX anglers may fish together.
Other than using publicly available information contestants cannot solicit, receive, or gather any information by any means about lake information.
In the event of unsolicited information being offered in any fashion constants must cease and /or discontinue such information by informing the person you are off limits for an APEX event. If there are any questions about potential infractions, you must notify the tournament director.
Upon the schedule being known to contestants:
- Schedule announcements will be announced via official APEX notification (email, text, public announcement) and may be posted on the APEX FB page.
- They may not have the assistance or advice of anyone for the purposes of learning any information that would give them any advantage (excluding confirmed APEX Anglers).
- This includes any information about the lake, locating or catching bass.
- They may not enter the tournament waters with anyone other than another confirmed APEX angler.
- Anglers may not attend any public functions held on tournament waters during the off limits.
- Flying over tournament waters or the use of drones is not allowed.
- Contestants may not launch their boats prior to first competition day.
- If contestants have any questions related to any activity which could be construed as a violation of the rules or actions which can be viewed as gaining any advantage over their competition, they must call the TD for clarification.
- Proving intent to break any rule does not need to exist for sanctions to be levied against any contestants.
- Unknowingly violating rules does not preclude any contestant from sanctions that may be levied against you.
- During practice and competition contestants cannot solicit, receive, or gather any information from anyone other than a contestant who has not been eliminated from competition.
Contestants are expected to compete every day for which they are qualified; failure to do so may result in ineligibility to compete in future APEX tournaments.
16 FISHABLE WATERS: Fishing within 50 feet of an operating gas pump/dock or within 50 feet of a competitor’s boat, which is first anchored, is prohibited (Trolling motors must be in up position, anchor rope visible, or shallow water anchoring system deployed to be considered anchored). A safe and courteous distance (50 feet) should be maintained when trolling motors are in use. Boats may fish anywhere except areas designated as “off limits” or “no fishing” by Local, State or Federal officials or as posted on the Tournament Information page or announced by Tournament Director. Tournament waters shall be established by the Tournament Director for each tournament. Any water within these boundaries posted “Off-Limits” or “No Fishing” by state or federal agencies will be OFF- LIMITS and will be announced at the Tournament Briefing. AFTER THE TOURNAMENT BEGINS, FISHING THE TOURNAMENT WATERS IS PROHIBITED EXCEPT DURING TOURNAMENT HOURS. Only water open to all public fishing will be considered tournament waters. Contestants may not cut, dig, or remove obstructions requiring the use of any tools once the off-limits period begins all the way through the conclusion of the event to access any water. Contestants may not have non-contestants cut, dig, or removed obstructions once the off-limits period begins all the way through the conclusions of the event to access any water. Contestants may not have the assistance of another boat, person, or apparatus (push poles are allowed) to access any water. Contestant’s boats must access fishable water under its own power and only with the assistance of the Pro assigned to that boat. All angling must be done from the boat. Prior to the tournament registration, any questionable areas must be brought to the attention of tournament officials to be considered tournament waters and may be announced in the briefing for all to hear. Contestants must fish in an area that is accessible by APEX staff, and camera personnel as deemed by the tournament director. As a general rule APEX views this as a 20-foot fiberglass bass boat with the motor trimmed down under its own power. If contestants have any questions, they must approach the tournament director. Tournament officials reserve the right to re- strict or enhance tournament waters based on conversations with local authorities.
17 NON-SHARED WEIGHT FORMAT: Pro anglers are responsible for their own catch. A contestant must not allow any bass caught by him/her to be counted on the score of another contestant. In such a case, both contestants shall be disqualified from this tournament and from all future tournaments conducted by APEX.
18 COMPETITION DAYS: APEX will span three competition days with the full field of pros participating on days one and two. The top 10 pros will advance to the final day. Top 10 pro’s are REQUIRED for a mandatory meeting immediately following the weigh in on Day 2. Any anglers not present for the meeting will automatically be replaced in the rankings. NO EXCEPTIONS! Contestants may not fish, scout, or practice at any time after they have weighed their catch in for each of the first two competition days.
19 COMPETITION DAY 3: The top ten (10) pros will advance to Championship day three.
Contestants who qualify at the “Cut” line and cannot participate will automatically be moved to the place in the standings just below the establish “cut” line. That contestant will receive those points and awards associated to that place. That contestant is considered withdrawn from the event. The next place in the events standings will advance to the next round. APEX will work down the event standings to ensure there are the needed number of anglers to proceed with the tournament.
Contestants are expected to compete every day for which they are qualified, failure
to do so may result in ineligibility to compete in future APEX tournaments.
20 OTHER EQUIPMENT/RESTRICTIONS:
A Any other special rule as deemed by the tournament director and announced prior to blastoff.
B Landing devices, nets, and other such devices are not allowed in APEX competition.
C No floggers, underwater cameras, or similar devices will be allowed in practice or during the event’s days.
D No spotlights or similar devices will be allowed in practice or during the event’s days to locate fishing locations or fish.
E Binoculars are not allowed in the boat at any time.
F Contestants must have a valid fishing license for all tournament waters.
G No contestant may buy or barter a fishing location from anyone for use during any competition day.
H Testing of engines during off-limits periods is not permitted on tournament waters.
I Testing of engines after the weigh-in is only allowed with permission from the Tournament Director.
J Scouting, pre-fishing or other “practice” related activities prior to or after weigh-in is not allowed once the tournament has begun.
K During the tournament, a contestant may not enter or dive in tournament waters also known as skin or scuba diving.
L During the official competition days of the tournament, a contestant may not use a CB radio, a VHF marine band radio, a cellular phone, or any other type of communication device for the purpose of locating or catching fish. Contestants are permitted to transmit by radio or telephone only in the event of an emergency. If so equipped, contestants may listen to the marine-band weather information.
M Contestants can call lockmasters for locking purposes only.
N In all cases where communications are initiated by a contestant, the Tournament Director must be called prior. A voicemail or text message may constitute such communication.
O A designated tournament official must be granted access to the contestant’s boat at any time. Failure to grant such access may result in immediate disqualification.
P Nothing can be placed into the water to attract baitfish, any type of forage. This includes but is not limited to: structure, dog food, fish habitat, bait balls or any substance that would enhance or hold fish in a particular area once the off-limits period begins and all the way through the conclusion of the event.
Q A fully charged smartphone with the GPS location functions turned on must be in possession of each contestant at all times.
R The smartphone must have a fully functioning camera, the Tourney X app installed, and the contestant must have an active account.
- VIOLATION OR INFRACTION: EACH CONTESTANT AGREES TO REPORT TO THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR IMMEDIATELY ANY VIOLATION OR INFRACTION OF ANY TOURNAMENT RULES.
- PROTEST AND REPORTING PROCEDURE: ALL PROTESTS MUST BE BROUGHT TO THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTORS ATTENTION VIA VERBAL NOTIFICATION AND THEN SUBMIT A WRITTEN PROTEST WITHIN THIRTY (30) MINUTES OF THE LAST FLIGHT CHECK-IN (OR IMMEDIATELY UPON DISCOVERY PRE OR POST EVENT) TO THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR OR DESIGNATED TOURNAMENT OFFICIAL. THE PROTESTOR ALSO AGREES THAT IF THERE IS A QUESTION WITH REGARDS TO VERIFYING THE PROTEST, THEY MAY BE SUBJECT TO A POLYGRAPH EXAM AND AGREE TO TESTIFY IN A COURT OF LAW IF NECESSARY.
- POLYGRAPH: By signature on the APEX Series participation agreement or the official entry form, each contestant agrees to submit to a polygraph examination and abide by its conclusion should he/she be accused of any rule violation. The APEX Tournament Director or rules committee or such person designated by the Tournament Director shall have the discretion to determine the need for a polygraph examination. The APEX Tournament Director or his/her designee shall be responsible for selecting an independent expert to administer and interpret the results and establishing, in consultation with the expert administrator, the scope of the questions which may be asked during the polygraph examination. The APEX Tournament Director or his/her designee shall attempt to have the location of such polygraph examination as close in proximity to the angler’s permanent address or such other mutually convenient location as possible. The contestant shall make himself/herself available at the location selected by the Tournament Director and shall cooperate in all respects with such examination. In the event of polygraph examination, contestants may have tournament prizes withheld until such testing has been concluded.
- REGISTRATION: Each contestant must register in person with official APEX staff at the time and place designated in the schedule of events. Contestants failing to register in person during the prescribed hours may result in disqualification. Any contestant who has not contacted the APEX Tournament Director 15 minutes after the closing of the posted on site registration, may be disqualified from participating in the tournament and his/her entry free forfeited. It shall be each contestant’s responsibility to check the schedule of events or registration time and location or obtain times from the APEX tournament department.
- TOURNAMENT BRIEFING: The Tournament Briefing MUST BE ATTENDED by all contestants.
All contestants are solely responsible to know and adhere to all the announcements made through the event. It is the contestant’s responsibility to seek out tournament officials to sign the waiver prior to competing in the event. Failure to have a signed waiver for that event on record is grounds for disqualification.
- SAFETY: Safe boat conduct must always be observed by contestants. During competition, each boat passenger must wear a Coast Guard-approved chest-type life preserver anytime the combustion engine is operating. This preserver must be strapped, snapped, or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is shut off. Inflatable life vest indicators should be checked daily. Violation of this rule shall be the reason for disqualification. Pros are encouraged to carry two Coast Guard approved chest type life preservers per boat. It is suggested the Pro contestant have a safety check each day prior to the launch to familiarize the location of all safety equipment. Tournament officials have the right to delay, shorten or cancel the start of an official tournament day because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the contestants. Tournament waters may also be restricted at any time because of bad weather. Weather delays on competition days resulting in half of the tournament day being lost (first flight take-off and check-in) may result in cancellation. APEX reserves the right to impose boat speed limits during any or all tournaments. Whether or not to impose a speed limit, the area covered by the speed limit and/or the actual speed limit imposed shall be left exclusively to the discretion of the Tournament Director. IN THE EVENT OF AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, CONTESTANTS SHOULD CALL 911 FIRST AND ONCE SAFE, NOTIFY TOURNAMENT OFFICIALS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. CONTESTANTS ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE THE BOAT AND SEEK SAFE SHELTER IN BAD WEATHER WHERE DANGER MAY BE IMMINENT.
- ANGLER CODE OF CONDUCT AND SPORTSMANSHIP: Contestants participating in any APEX event shall abide by this code of conduct and the applicable rules for the event in which they are participating. Contestants shall, always, conduct themselves in a manner becoming of a professional that will not reflect unfavorably on APEX, its members, sponsors, events, or representatives. The favorable public reputation of APEX as an organization in the sport of fishing, the integrity of its officials, and the reputation of its media properties are valuable assets and tangible benefits for APEX. It is an obligation of contestants to refrain from public comments that unreasonably attacks or disparages the integrity of tournaments, tournament officials, sponsors, fellow members, fellow contestants, or the APEX organization. Public comments that an angler knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation of APEX, APEX officials or sponsors shall be considered unacceptable conduct and may result in disciplinary action, including but not limited to, permanent removal from all APEX events. Contestants will refrain from arguing, yelling, demeaning, using profanity, or challenging any tournament official. Anglers will be notified of any known rules infractions at the moment they are discovered or as soon as they are ruled upon by the tournament director. Contestants shall demonstrate professionalism and integrity in support of the sport of professional fishing. Any angler who violates any portion of the Angler Code of Conduct may be subject to sanctions including but not limited to permanent disqualification.
- PUBLIC CONDUCT, SPORTSMANSHIP AND COMPETITIVE INTEGRITY: Contestants in APEX tournaments are expected to follow the highest standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety, and conservation. Maximum courtesy must always be practiced, especially regarding boating and angling near non-contestants who may be on tournament waters. Any act of a contestant which reflects unfavorably upon efforts to promote fisheries conservation, clean waters and courtesy shall be reason for disqualification. All contestants are bound by the prevailing statutes and regulations of the various states within which they fish. Contestants are responsible for research of fishing and boating regulations. APEX anglers agree that the integrity and competitive honesty of fishing contests is paramount to any bass fishing tournament circuit’s continued existence and success. Contestants compete in APEX contests at the sole discretion of APEX. The APEX reserves the right to refuse service to any potential contestant and enforce its tournament rules, including but not limited to this Rule and the Angler Code of Conduct and Sportsmanship Rule, at its sole discretion. Contestants must adhere to normal grooming and hygiene standards that would be expected in any normal workplace. This extends to proper dress. No ripped, torn, faded, or other such type of clothing may be worn by contestants during APEX events. Logos, clothing, and any other offensive signage/messages will not be allowed.
- ALCOHOL OR DRUGS: Use of alcohol or drugs (other than those purchased over the counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any contestant during the open practice or during the tournament will not be tolerated and shall be cause for automatic disqualification from this and all future APEX tournaments. No alcoholic beverages, other stimulants or depressants, prescription or otherwise, shall be allowed in the boats during the open practice or competition days or when in the weigh-in area. Any contestant(s) deemed under the influence by the tournament director may be disqualified. Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or crimes involving moral turpitude or other conduct reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition, and compliance with tournament rules shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation and/or for disqualification after circumstances are reviewed by the Tournament Director.
- TOBACCO PRODUCTS: The use of any tobacco products or smoking prior/during takeoff, from check-in through weigh-in, and while cameras are present is prohibited.
- DISQUALIFICATION SUSPENSION: Any disqualification suspension from or other disciplinary action regarding any tournament or fishing organization shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation in an APEX tournament and/or disqualification from an APEX tournament after circumstances are reviewed by the Tournament Director. A written statement may be accepted by the tournament director from any contestant in question.
- TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT: Only artificial lures and biodegradable artificial lures may be used. No “live bait” or “prepared bait” will be permitted during open practice and competition, except for pork strips or rinds. Only ONE (1) casting, spin casting or spinning rod and reel may be used at any one time. Other rigs as specified above may be in boats ready for use; however, only ONE is permitted in use at any given time. All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner on each day of competition.
- PERMITTED FISHING METHODS: Fishing is defined as having a lure attached to a line and a rod and reel with the rod in hand. All lures must adhere to state regulations. Alabama rigs and similar umbrella type rigs are limited to a maximum of five wires, five lures and three hooks (single or treble) unless state regulations are more restrictive, in which case state regulations prevail.
- RECEIVING, ACCEPTING OR TAKING OF FISH FROM ANOTHER PERSON during tournament hours is strictly prohibited. Stringers, ropes, caging, barrels or use of any other type of device to hold fish with the intent of catching or utilizing them to count for your or anyone else’s daily catch is prohibited. Adding weight in any way to alter the natural state of any fish caught is prohibited. Moving or “stocking” fish from one location to another is prohibited.
- VISIBLE FISH: Anyone guilty of snatching or snagging visible fish will have their catch disqualified. When visually fishing a bed or for bedding bass, to be counted as a legal fish, all bass must be hooked inside the mouth and must be verified by officials before being unhooked.
- HORSEPOWER REGULATIONS: MAXIMUM HORSEPOWER FOR ALL OUTBOARD MOTOR BOATS USED IN OPEN TOURNAMENT PRACTICE AND IN TOURNAMENT COMPETITION WILL not exceed the limitations set by the U.S. Coast Guard. Each boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard horsepower rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer. Changing or altering standard factory parts of a contestant’s engine to increase the horsepower over the factory horsepower rating is forbidden and will result in disqualification.
- BOAT AND MOTOR: For the safety of all contestants during OPEN PRACTICE AND COMPETITION, ALL BOATS MUST BE MINIMUM OF 16 FEET IN LENGTH, PROPELLER DRIVEN AND EQUIPPED WITH AN APPROVED OPERABLE IGNITION KILL SWITCH AND LANYARD. The exception to the manufacturer’s lanyard is a factory or dealer installed Mercury 1st Mate wireless MOB system. WWBT recognizes this as an alternative ignition kill switch system to the lanyard. No jet-propelled boats. No “barges” or similar craft will be permitted. NO BOAT EQUIPPED WITH “STICK STEERING” SHALL BE PERMITTED. “Stick steering” shall be as defined by the Tournament Director.
- MANUFACTURER’S LANYARD/KILL SWITCH/MERCURY 1st Mate: must be attached to the driver’s body any time the combustion engine is operating. Any time the combustion engine is operating and in gear there must be a driver in the driver’s seat in full control of the boat. Engines may be run to charge batteries in neutral only. In this situation, all passengers must wear an approved PDF and an individual wireless ignition shut off device/FOB.
- NO RAISED PLATFORMS, decks, or other non-factory installed standing platforms may be used in the boat. Standing on the outboard engine or seats while fishing is not allowed. An electric trolling motor may be used for slow maneuvering. However, trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited.
- ALL BLADDER TANKS AND AUXILIARY GAS any other type of AUXILIARY gas tanks that are not installed by the boat manufacturer are prohibited. Additional gas tanks that are factory options and installed by a manufacturer’s authorized dealer are permitted. Boats that do not have factory installed gas tanks are restricted to a maximum of 18 gallons of gasoline in tanks that meet U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Gas tanks must be properly secured or strapped in a boat. No portable gas tanks or containers capable of holding gasoline can be placed anywhere on the tournament waters or shoreline for use by any tournament contestant. Gas must be purchased from a retail gas station.
- BASIC BOAT EQUIPMENT: During open practice and competition, every boat must have all required Coast Guard safety equipment as well as a functional bilge pump. During open competition, every boat must have LIVEWELL SPACE, PROPERLY AERATED, TO ADEQUATELY MAINTAIN A LIMIT CATCH OF BASS FOR TWO CONTESTANTS. APEX recommends live wells be maintained at full level and aerators/recirculators on manual. Tournament officials shall have the sole responsibility for determining whether aeration and capacity is proper and adequate. PROS ARE REQUIRED TO MAKE ONE DRY STORAGE COMPARTMENT AVAILABLE TO BOAT OFFICIALS. PROS ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE BOAT OFFICIALS AMPLE SPACE TO ICE FOR FOOD AND DRINK.
- BOAT IDENTIFICATION: Prior to each day’s start, each boat MUST be given an inspection check by a tournament official. Pros will be assigned a boat number according to his/her take off position.
- BOAT OPERATION AND EXPENSE: During competition pros may fish/cast from anywhere on the boat. Expenses are the sole responsibility of the Pro.
- BOAT OFFICIAL BOAT OPERATION: Boat Officials are allowed to drive boats only in cases of emergency or with permission from tournament officials this is to include assisting in loading and unloading boats from trailers.
- CONTESTANTS MUST REMAIN IN BOAT: During the competition days; contestants must not depart the boat to land fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. Boats must remain in tournament waters during tournament days. Contestants must leave from and return to official checkpoints by boat. Contestants must remain in the boat at all times except in case of dire emergency. There are then two permitted methods of returning to the check-in: (1) by an angler remaining in their boat and being towed by water, or (2) by the angler entering the boat of another tournament contestant. Boats must be properly secured and stationary. Contestants must notify the tournament director as soon as possible.
Under these two conditions both contestants’ catches may be counted without a penalty (except for late penalties, dead fish penalties or other penalties pertaining to other tournament rules).
- RESTROOM BREAK: In the event of a needed restroom break boat officials and contestants are allowed to leave the boat upon which all fishing must cease until they are back together in the boat.
- REPORT AN EMERGENCY OR BREAKDOWN: Contact a tournament official by phone or other means or to report an emergency or breakdown. If after the emergency situation is resolved by tournament officials and enough time is left for the contestant to resume fishing, a RESTART may be allowed, and the contestant will continue, and their catch will be counted. This applies only to emergency situations as determined by the Tournament Director or their designee.
- TOWING BOATS: on trailers during tournament hours is prohibited, except by the direction of tournament officials.
- OFFICIAL CHECKPOINTS: There shall be only one official check point for check-out in the morning, and one official check-in point in the afternoon which will be designated at the tournament briefing. Failure to go through boat check and check-out in the morning or failure to check-in at the check-in point in the afternoon may result in disqualification. At the time of check-out, all contestants and their boats shall be in full conformity with all rules set forth by the Tournament Director. At check-in, all boats shall identify themselves by means of the numbers described in and proceed immediately to the designated weigh-in area. Operational navigation lights must be illuminated from takeoff to the first stop of each day. Contestants who do not display operational navigation lights will be moved to the end of the blast off line. Their check in time will remain the same.
- SCORING: Tournament standings and final winners shall be determined by the total weight and/or scorable bass of each contestant’s catch during the competition days of the tournament. Only Largemouth, Smallmouth, Spotted, Meanmouth, and Redeye bass will be weighed. The limit shall be 5 of the above species and varieties per session/day, unless otherwise specified by tournament officials (example – hot weather/fish care concerns). As soon as a contestant has caught one more fish than their tournament limit, they must cull a fish immediately to reduce their catch to the tournament limit.
- THE OFFICIAL LENGTH FOR BASS: shall be determined by the Tournament Director and announced at the Tournament Briefing. THE OFFICIAL LENGTH FOR BASS SHALL BE FOURTEEN 14” UNLESS DICTATED OTHERWISE BY LOCAL REGULATIONS. ALL BASS WILL BE MEASURED ON A BOARD PROVIDED FROM APEX WITH THE MOUTH CLOSED. ONLY BASS AS DESCRIBED ABOVE WHICH MEASURE THE OFFICIAL LENGTH OR MORE ON THE LONGEST STRAIGHT LINE SHALL BE COUNTED. Bass presented for weigh-in which fail to measure the official length shall result in loss of that bass and a penalty of one (1) pound for each such bass presented. Penalty shall be deducted from the total score of the contestant. Any bass that appears to have been mangled, mashed, mauled, or otherwise altered may be weighed and credited only at the discretion of tournament officials.
All scorable bass must be: 1) measured 2) time and GPS stamped photographed, and 3) submitted into the Tourney X platform immediately upon catching it. In poor reception areas, #1 and #2 must be completed for each scorable bass. Contestants may not resume fishing until the above has been completed for each scorable bass. This must be completed prior to the contestants designated check in time. Contestants are expected to input an accurate estimated weight for each scorable bass submitted. Scales will be provided to all contestants. If contestants have issues with submitting scorable bass, they must call the TD immediately.
Final 15 Minutes: If a contestant catches a scorable bass inside of the final 15 minutes (verified by the metadata on your photo), they may submit that catch after checking in at the designated location and time. In this instance, the bass must be measured and photographed immediately upon catching it.
52 Specific Formatting to APEX: The TD will make known any specific format adjustments and/or changes via an official addendum. Once announced and disseminated to the APEX anglers, the addendum becomes a part of the official rules.
- MUST PRESENT ALL LEGAL FISH: after contestants check in at the official checkpoint, they MUST present all LEGAL fish in their possession to a tournament official to be counted, measured, and weighed. Contestants may not cull or discard any fish in their possession once they have checked in at the check-in point. Once a contestant’s catch is measured, counted, and verified by a tournament official, that contestant may not return to the boat until their catch has been weighed and recorded.
- CULLING TAGS or clips are allowed. Puncture type cull rings/tags are not allowed in APEX competition. Specially designed bags which increase survival rate will be furnished by the Tournament Director and must be used for the weigh-in.
- CATCH AND RELEASE CULLING OF DEAD BASS IS PROHIBITED. No dead bass will be eligible for Big Bass awards or prizes. For each legal dead bass presented to weigh-in officials, the contestant shall be penalized 0.25 pounds per dead fish to be deducted from their daily score. Dead fish determinations will be made by APEX staff member(s) in charge of the bump tank. Contestants will not argue, yell, demean, use profanity, or be disrespectful in any way toward this ruling.
- LATE PENALTY: Contestants who are not at the official check-in point, as described at the appointed time shall be disqualified for that day/session. There shall be no excuse for tardiness and in no case shall a contestant be allowed to make up “lost time.” After proper recognition at the check-in point, contestants will be allowed ample time to proceed to the weigh-in site; however, all fishing must cease upon check-in. Exact starting and check-in times will be announced at the Tournament Briefing. It is the angler’s responsibility to confirm check-in times each day on the daily pairings.
- RULE OF TIME KEEPING the official time is kept by the Tournament Director at all times once open practice has begun. For the rule of time keeping until the official clock reads the following minute, contestants are not considered late for that minute in question, i.e., 3:00:59 is not considered late. 3:01 is considered one minute late, etc.
- 100 POINT SYSTEM FOR ALL APEX SERIES: One Point System per Place – Points for each event will be based on a 100-point scale.
1st place receives 100 points.
2nd place receives 99 points.
3rd place receives 98 points.
Balance of field, one point each until the end of field or points run out.
- Bonus AOY points will be awarded to the top 3 anglers.
- 1st place 5 bonus points
- 2nd place 3 bonus points
- 3rd place 1 bonus points
- Anglers who do not weigh in a legal fish per tournament will receive last place AOY points for that event.
- AOY will be determined by the highest points accumulation for the season. There are not throw-outs.
- Due to the unique Scorable Bass and Weight format of APEX events, AOY points will administered using the below outlined criteria:
- AOY Points for the top 10 finalists per event will be assigned based on their final finish.
- From 11th to the end of the field.
- 6th Place weight will receive 11th place AOY points.
- 6th Place scorable will receive 12th place AOY points.
- 7th Place weight will receive 13th place AOY points.
- 7th Place scorable will receive 14th place AOY points.
- 8th Place weight will receive 15th place AOY points.
- 8th Place scorable will receive 16th place AOY points.
- Repeated to the end of the field.
- If any of the first two days must be canceled by the Tournament Director, they will inform the field of the adjusted format. In most cases, total weight will be the dominant factor in determining the champion.
- If the final day must be canceled by the Tournament Director, the angler with the highest cumulative weight at the time of cancellation will be declared the Champion.
- Ties Standings will reflect ties starting at the place closest to first.
- End of year point tiebreakers shall be total weights from full field days for season.
- CHAMPIONSHIP INVITATIONAL QUALIFICATION:
CHAMPIONSHIP INVITATIONAL QUALIFICATION: The top 50% or top 30 places whichever is higher of the field (to be rounded up at the discretion of APEX)*** based on the Angler of the Year (AOY) points who participate in all events will receive an invitation to the Championship Invitational.
- In the case of a tie for the final Championship qualifier(s):
- 1) Whichever angler has the higher total weight for the entire season.
- 2) Number of total fish weighed for the season.
- 3) Prior season AOY standings
- 4) APEX discretion to add additional invitees.
- APEX reserves the right to work down the AOY list to ensure a full field at the Championship Invitational provided those contestants participated in all regular season events offered by APEX for each respective division.
- ***The previous year’s Championship winner will automatically qualify for the following year’s championship in each respective division. That contestant must participate in all regular season events in the following season to exercise their qualification.
- If a regular season event must be canceled and cannot be rescheduled in that season, APEX will use the current AOY standings to determine qualifiers for the championship. Under this criteria APEX may amend any previously written qualification rules to adapt to any scheduling, permitting, federal, state, city, or county restrictions/requests.
- APEX ANGLER QUALIFICATION CRITERIA:
The APEX angler field may be expanded at any time at the sole discretion of APEX.
- For the future season:
- WWBT Professional Anglers who participated in the current Open Pro/Am season will receive an invitation to enter the APEX qualified field based on the below criteria:
- Those professional anglers who finish in the top 10 in Angler of the Year (AOY) points based on the WWBT AOY rules will receive an invitation to the following APEX Season.
- APEX/WWBT reserves the right to work down the AOY list to balance the future field.
- APEX/WWBT reserves the right to invite corporate partnerships to balance the future field.
- Those anglers who accept their initial invitation will be guaranteed 2 seasons to meet future qualification criteria set forth by APEX.
- APEX REQUALIFICATION CRITERIA
At the conclusion of the 2023 season APEX may release underperforming anglers based on the below criteria:
- All current APEX anglers (Excluding new invitees/rookies) will be rated based on their two (2) most recent AOY seasons.
- APEX will average those two (2) seasons to give each APEX angler a standing position.
- The bottom 10 APEX Anglers may/will be released at the conclusion of that current season.
- ALL APEX anglers who are identified to be released will have the highest priority for re-entry into the APEX field.
- If additional vacancies into the following season are available, the top-rated APEX angler from those identified for release may be re-invited.
- TIES FOR FINAL STANDINGS: Please refer to specific tournament addendum that may be distributed prior to each APEX event. In case of ties, the tiebreaker will be determined by the (1) largest single day’s weight, (2) if the tie is not broken, largest number of legal fish weighed during competition, (3) if the tie is not broken, the next tiebreaker will be the highest number of legal live fish weighed during competition, (4) if the tie is not broken, the angler who had a higher ranking/standing on the prior day or session, (5) if the tie is not broken, the next tiebreaker will be the AOY standings. If the tie is not broken by applying the foregoing procedures, the tie will remain a tie. Monetary prizes for each contestant will be awarded in equal amounts. Angler of the Year points will be awarded for the place of the tied position and each contestant will be awarded equal points. During competition if it is determined that a sudden death fish off is required, the TD may enact this option.
Big Fish- In the case where two contestants are tied with the weight of a big fish. APEX will combine the payout for those places and divide them equally by the tied contestants. I.E. If 3rd is to be paid out $500 and 4th is to be paid out $700 and they are tied $500+$700=$1,200/2=$600 to be paid out equally.
Plaques/trophies will be awarded based on which contestant weighed the bigger limit of fish. If that does not determine the awards, it will be determined by heads/tails coin toss.
CHAMPIONSHIP PRO: In the event that the tie is for first place, the tie will be broken by the previous days standing, if the tie is still a tie, the tie will be broken by day 1 weight standings, finally if this is still a tie, this will be broken by the AOY standings. .
- RULES VIOLATIONS AND APPEALS COMMITTEE: An appeals committee may be established by APEX which shall be comprised of the tournament director and a minimum of 4 contestants from the advisory board in the event in question. Appeals for penalties assessed must be presented in writing 48 hours from the time and date of ruling to the Tournament Director. Appeals hearings shall take place within seven (7) business days from the date of receipt of the written appeal and all parties must make themselves available at prescribed time of hearing. If contestants admit to a rule’s violation, they may not file an appeal of either the finding that they have violated the rules, or the penalty imposed for the violation. Decisions of the appeals committee shall be final. Contestants may be allowed to compete under appeal. However, penalties assessed will remain until final ruling by Appeals Committee. Contestants may be allowed to compete under appeal for penalties assessed until final ruling by Appeals Committee. Appeals of non-competition rulings must be presented in writing to the Tournament Director within 48 hours from the time and date of ruling for review.
- MEDIA: All official contestants of an event are required to cooperate with the media personnel that cover the event. Contestants do not have the option of not being filmed or interviewed during the official event days. APEX personnel must be granted access and be able to board any contestants boat at will. Any act deemed by APEX officials to have the intention of preventing media coverage will result in disqualification from the event. Contestants must fish in an area that is accessible by APEX staff, media, and camera personnel as deemed by the tournament director. As a general rule APEX views this as a 20-foot fiberglass bass boat with the motor trimmed down under its own power. If contestants have any questions, they must approach the tournament director. Anytime cameras are present or when contestants are specifically being filmed, they are required to wear a tournament jersey. Final approval of attire will be determined by the tournament director.
All other media outlets, camera crews, photographers, and other privately enlisted personnel must receive express written consent from APEX/WWBT to conduct any business during any event. At no time may these entities interfere or capture any content that is property of APEX/WWBT. Personal filming and usage of action cameras is allowed. All decisions for authorizing media will be at the sole discretion of APEX/WWBT.
- LOGOS AND/OR SIGNAGE: During all days of competition logos of bass tournament organizations other than APEX/WWBT are prohibited and may not be worn or displayed.
Approved Jersey must be worn from:
- Takeoff through weigh-in.
- Anytime there are cameras or media personnel present.
- Anyone from the public is present.
Contestants must wear an approved APEX jersey as the outermost garment:
- At official meetings
- When crossing the stage. Anglers will not be allowed to weigh their fish if they do not meet this criteria. They will lose credit for their daily catch.
- During inclement weather, the tournament director may (at their sole discretion) allow exceptions to this.
- Contestants must fish from their own APEX approved wrapped boats. Temporary use of a non wrapped boat is permitted with prior approval from the tournament director.
APEX reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to prohibit any pro’s apparel or boat wrap that it finds to be offensive. Any pro wearing a nonapproved jersey or running a nonapproved boat wrap may be disqualified for that day, other otherwise sanctioned, and/or fined.
APEX encourages high visibility logos and other signage promoting the angler’s and/or APEX advertising partners. APEX may, however, restrict the use of patches, logos, signage, etc. which are, in APEX’s sole judgment, in poor taste. APEX will provide as much advance notice as possible to the contestants in such instances. Contestants must display the APEX shield on their boat and tournament jerseys as prescribed in the APEX agreement.
Boat, clothing, jerseys, tow vehicles and other related equipment which could be filmed and visible to the public must be in acceptable condition as deemed by APEX officials. Contestants may be asked by tournament officials to fix, clean, hide, or otherwise adjust items of their equipment to meet these standards. The standard set will be at the sole discretion of APEX tournament officials.
- ADVISORY BOARD: An Advisory Board will be established by APEX. APEX will look to this board for their input on various items regarding tournaments and the contestants. This Advisory Board may be asked to help resolve appeals/protests with regards to rules violations.
- TAXES: Participants are responsible for all applicable taxes, execution of all tax forms and rules on both cash and merchandise awards. Various states require withholding tax on merchandise be paid upon the awarding of certificates and contestants awarded merchandise certificates in these various states are responsible for remitting this tax to APEX. Failure to meet those obligations may result in reduction of Angler of Year Points, fines and/or disqualification from all future APEX Events.
- Promotional Responsibilities: All APEX anglers may be obligated by APEX/WWBT to attend media opportunities up to three (3) days.