FISHERS OF MEN
REALTREE FISHING HIGH SCHOOL SERIES
RULES AND REGULATIONS 2023/2024
1. PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY
Participation is open to all 9th - 12th grade high school students.
Participation by one (1) seventh or eighth grade student per team is permitted. Each team will consist of two contestants and one coach.
Pursuant to federal law guidelines under the Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017, there MUST be three people to a boat at all times. No exceptions. No angler may register or plan to fish alone. In the case of a verifiable, unplanned emergency, where one partner is unable to attend and no time is left to find another partner, only then may a tournament official, at their sole discretion, allow an observer in the boat in place of a fishing partner. The observer may not fish. If this benefit is approved, however, it can only be used once per season, including any championships and regardless of reason.
No school team or school sponsored club is required to fish the Realtree Fishing HS Series.
Click here for complete SAF High School National & World Championship Rules.
Any angler who has graduated can continue to compete in the SAF MLF National and World championships for that calendar year.
Each competitor must be a current Fishers of Men member in good standing and a TBF/SAF member in good standing. Each team must provide a coach/boat captain that is 19 years of age or older who is also a TBF/SAF member in good standing. Boat captains are not required to have a Fishers of Men membership.
Each competitor and each boat captain must complete a TBF/SAF “Release of Liability” form and have a legal guardian signature to be eligible to compete.
*Fishers of Men reserves the right to reject any entries which we feel are not in the best interest of the tournament.*
Membership fees are as follows:
Individual membership $40 per person
Family Membership $60 per family
High School Membership Free
Memberships are to be completed online or submitted to the division director prior to fishing your first tournament.
Individual Membership Benefits: Eligibility to compete in any Fishers of Men Tournament.
Family Membership Benefits: Eligibility for the member and any immediate family member residing in the same household to compete in any Fishers of Men Tournament. **Any junior partner can be included in a family membership, whether that junior is an immediate family member residing in the same household or not.
High School Membership: Eligibility to compete in or to be a boat captain in Fishers of Men High School events only.
(Any high school angler or coach who wishes to compete in Legacy Series and/or Team Series event, must purchase an individual membership or a family membership as described above.)
2. COMBINED HIGH SCHOOL SERIES/LEGACY SERIES EVENTS
In cases, where a High School Series tournament and Legacy Series tournament are running concurrently, teams may opt to enter both events. In those cases, competitors must either be part of a Fishers of Men Family membership or have an individual FOM membership. Teams that enter both events must follow all rules for both series. Tournament weigh-in times will be set by the tournament director and may be adjusted to an earlier time than normal in combined events.
3. ENTRIES AND TOURNAMENT FIELD
There will be no entry fee for High School Series tournaments. Entry fees for the SAF National and World Championship tournaments will be set by the SAF.
Realtree Fishing HS Tournaments will have no set limit to the maximum number of anglers, unless mandated by state or local government. However, the minimum number of teams allowed is 3. In the event that there are less than 3 teams entered, the tournament will be cancelled and entries returned.
4. TBF STUDENT ANGLER FEDERATION SANCTIONED EVENTS
All Fishers of Men Realtree Fishing High School divisions that conduct a minimum of 3 tournaments in a season with 3 or more teams competing, will be sanctioned by SAF as qualifying events for the SAF High School World Finals. All teams that compete in any one of those tournaments will qualify for the World Finals.
Divisions that conduct a minimum of 3 tournaments in a season AND have an average of 10 teams entered per tournament, will qualify one team for the SAF High School National Championship. The team that finishes in first place in season points will earn that berth.
In the event of a tie, the team with the highest season total weight will earn the berth. If there is still a tie, the team with the heaviest single tournament weight will earn the berth.
5. COACH/BOAT CAPTAIN
Each team is required to bring a coach/boat captain to all events, NO EXCEPTIONS. All coaches/boat captains must be 19 years of age or older and must be a current Fishers of Men member with a High School Membership, Individual membership, or Family membership; and must be a TBF/SAF member in good standing.
6. PRE-TOURNAMENT MEETING
There will be a mandatory Friday Night pre-tournament meeting prior to each tournament. At least one team member must attend the meeting for the team to be eligible to compete. It is the responsibility of each competitor to find out the time and location of the meeting. Virtual pretournament meetings may be held in place of in-person meetings when such meetings are not possible.
7. PURCHASING OF INFORMATION
The purchasing of, or bartering for, information about locating or catching fish on tournament waters, including but not limited to GPS waypoints (other than through commercially available sources) and the hiring of fishing guide services is not permitted by contestants, coaches, boat captains or anyone working on a team’s behalf within 10 days of the start of any tournament. Violation of this rule may result in disqualification. A team may not pay a boat captain for their services. A team may reimburse a boat captain for actual fuel and travel expenses related to the tournament. However, a team or anyone acting on a team’s behalf, may NOT pay or “hire” a Boat Captain for their time or knowledge. Contestants, coaches, boat captains, parents (anyone acting on a team’s behalf) may not buy or barter a fishing location from anyone.
8. OFF LIMITS
There will be no off-limits period or official practice days for Realtree Fishing HS Series tournaments prior to the pre-tournament meeting. The tournament waters will be off limits to all competitors and coaches/boat captains from the beginning of the pre-tournament meeting until the start of the tournament.
9. LAUNCH SEQUENCE
Boat numbers will be assigned at the Friday Night meeting. Numbers will be determined by either a drawing, a random number assignment by a computer, or by when the entries were received. The tournament director will choose one of these three methods. Blast off numbers are not transferable. Competitors must keep the number they are assigned.
Safe boating conduct must be observed at all times. All competitors and coaches/boat captains are required to wear Coast Guard approved personal floatation devices, securely fastened at all times while the boat is being propelled by the combustion engine.
***A “chest type” Life vest must be worn by all High School anglers. Inflatable life preservers are NOT allowed for High School anglers. ***
Inflatable devices may only be worn by the coach/boat captain, and a “chest type” life vest of the correct size MUST be on board for the coach/boat captain. Furthermore, a kill switch must be fastened to the driver any time the combustion engine is propelling the boat. Failure to do so is grounds for disqualification.
All persons in a tournament boat shall remain seated in a manufacturer-recommended on-plane seating location with a driver behind the steering wheel or at the tiller in full control of the boat whenever it is on plane or the combustion engine is running and in gear. Sitting on pedestal seats while the combustion engine is in operation and in gear is not permitted. High School anglers are not permitted to drive the boat when the combustion engine is running. Safe boat conduct must be observed at all times by contestants, coaches and boat captains.
Running lights must be operational and turned on at the blast off of each tournament.
11. BOAT & HORSEPOWER REGULATIONS
All boats must be propeller-driven and a minimum of 16 feet in length. No barges or similarly cumbersome craft will be permitted. Pontoon and tri-toon boats that meet all other requirements under this rule are permitted. Each boat must have all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment. Boats must contain a properly aerated livewell space to maintain alive a limit catch of bass. Maximum horsepower for all outboards used in tournament competition shall not exceed the horsepower capacity set forth on the “Maximum Capacities” placard described below. Each boat must have a clearly legible “Maximum Capacities” (or comparably titled) placard that includes a maximum horsepower rating affixed to the boat by the manufacturer. The horsepower of the outboard engine must not exceed the maximum horsepower capacity specified on this placard. By signing the entry form, contestants, coaches and boat captains agree to submit their boat and/or motor to an inspection by tournament officials. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower numbers on the motor or rating placard will be cause for disqualification from the tournament and may result in ineligibility to compete in future High School Fishing tournaments. Fishing platforms must be factory-installed equipment or commercially available aftermarket equipment that is permanently installed in the boat. No portable platforms may be used in tournament competition. Fuel may be carried only in factory-installed (built-in) fuel tanks or auxiliary fuel tanks that are securely strapped or otherwise fastened to the boat. Any additional fuel used during the tournament day must be purchased from a retail facility open to the public and pumped through a hose with a nozzle. During the tournament, no portable gas tanks or containers capable of holding gasoline can be placed anywhere on the waters or shoreline for use by any tournament competitor.
12. BOAT OPERATION
Coaches will supply and drive boats for their teams or arrange boat captains to supply and drive boats for their teams. To qualify as a coach or boat captain, the person or persons accompanying a team must be at least 19 years old and reside in the same state as the students comprising the team or be an immediate family member (mother, father, brother, sister or grandparent) that is at least 19 years old regardless of residence. For students living near state boarders, coaches or boat captains may reside in a neighboring state so long as they reside within 60 miles of one of the students comprising the team. In the event of boat or engine failure after a team is onsite for a tournament, the tournament director may, at his sole discretion, arrange for a volunteer boat captain to assist a team. Bass guides who operate or have operated for hire at any time during the previous 12 months from the tournament date on the designated tournament waters are not permitted as coaches or boat captains unless they are the parent or documented permanent legal guardian of one of the contestants on a team in the event. A guide is defined as anyone who is paid for their time and knowledge to take someone fishing. Written proof of permanent legal guardianship to the satisfaction of the tournament director may be required. The use of a guide as defined above will result in disqualification. Contestants may operate the trolling motor. Coaches and boat captains may provide assistance, including information about locating and catching fish, but are not permitted to fish on competition days. Coaches/boat captains are not permitted to assist competitors in landing fish. Contestants, coaches and boat captains may not use mobile communication devices of any kind, including but not limited to, phones, tablets, radios, etc., to communicate with anyone about locating or catching fish on tournament waters during tournament hours. Mobile communication devices may be used during tournament hours to communicate with lockmasters about locking, or to communicate with designated tournament officials. Contestants, coaches and boat captains may use smart phones and/or tablets during tournament hours for GPS, mapping, weather, power generation, barge traffic updates, tidal charts, personal fishing notes and related data. At no time during tournament hours may contestants, coaches and boat captains read or discuss social media posts from other contestants. If a special circumstance arises that inhibits a contestant’s ability to compete, the tournament director may allow the contestant to withdraw from competition and maintain the weight caught to that point.
All contestants, coaches and boat captains are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy and conservation and to conduct themselves in a manner that will be a credit to themselves, Fishers of Men, TBF, or SAF tournaments sponsors, the school the team is representing, the sport of fishing, and our combined efforts to promote the sport. Conduct not complying with these standards includes, but is not limited to, the following:
• Violation of, or failure to comply with, any of these rules.
• Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or any kind of mind-altering substance during registration, the pretournament meeting or during tournament hours extending through the weigh-in procedure.
• Abuse of, or addiction to, mind-altering substances.
• Conviction of a felony within the past 36 months.
• Suspension/disqualification, probation or ban from any tournament or fishing organization.
• Boat operation in an unsafe or unsportsmanlike manner.
• Violation of a posted no-wake area.
• Publicly criticizing or questioning the integrity of Fishers of Men or TBF/SAF or their officials, including but not limited to any rules, policies and procedures.
• Dissemination of disparaging content or content that one should reasonably know would harm the reputation of Fishers of Men or TBF/SAF officials and sponsors.
•. In case of any conduct not complying with the standards outlined above, tournament officials have the right to refuse an application to compete, to deny a confirmed application to compete, to disqualify a contestant or impose any penalty outlined herein.
No angler may fish within 50 yards of any other boat which is anchored with the trolling motor up. Spot-locked is not considered to be anchored. Furthermore, no angler may fish within 25 yards of any other boat without the other boater’s permission. Permission may not be granted to any angler at the exclusion of any other angler. No hole sitting by a non-competitor or by another competitor, to aid a tournament participant will not be allowed.
14. STATE AND FEDERAL GAME REGULATIONS
All participants are expected to abide by all state and federal laws and game regulations. Any angler who intentionally violates a law or regulation in an attempt to gain an unfair advantage will be disqualified. In the case of multiple governing authorities, the strictest law is applicable.
15. TOURNAMENT HOURS
Tournament hours will be set by the tournament director and will be posted in the tournament details section of the schedule on the website. The director may adjust or change the tournament hours as needed if unsafe conditions become a threat. Each team will have an assigned “check in” time. Teams who are late to check in will be penalized one pound per minute up to 15 minutes. A team that checks in more than 15 minutes late will have their catch disqualified for the day.
A limit of 5 bass (largemouth, smallmouth, spotted bass) per team may be weighed in. Minimum lengths will be set at the discretion of the division director but at no time will be less than the legal limit. Lengths will be measured with mouth closed. A short fish or slot fish brought to the scales will not be weighed, and will result in a 1 pound penalty. Dead fish will be penalized .25 (1/4) pound. The dead fish penalty will also apply to any fish weighed as a Big Fish if that fish is dead. All culling must be done at the time the 6th fish is caught. N no team may continue fishing with more than the tournament limit in the livewell at any time during the tournament, with the exception of dead fish that is not included in their limit. The penalty for possessing more than 5 fish (with the exception of dead fish), bringing more than 5 fish to the scales, or culling at the ramp will be 1 pound. That 1 pound will be deducted from the total weight of the team’s best 5 fish. On any water where State or local laws prohibit culling or impose limits of less than 5 fish, the state or local laws will replace the above as the rule.
Competitors shall remain with their coach/boat captain in the boat at all times during the tournament, except in the event of sickness or brief excursions for "nature calling", severe storm or other such hazard. It is permitted for a competitor to leave the boat for marina services. During competition, competitors and coaches/boat captains may leave the boat to dislodge it, but only to return the boat in the direction it came from. Leaving the boat, on a competition day, to advance it is not permitted. (In falling water conditions, a team may leave the boat to advance it only to return from water they accessed without leaving the boat.) If for any reason it becomes necessary to leave the tournament waters early, the angler shall bear full responsibility for notifying the tournament director.
18. WEIGH-IN PROCEDURES
Weigh-in will be on a first come first serve basis. Once fish have been presented to a tournament official to be weighed-in all fish become the property of the F.O.M.N.T.T. and no additional fish may be brought to the scales. Bags will be limited in order to avoid a bottleneck at the weigh-in tanks. Teams not weighing any fish are still required to check in with tournament officials in order to account for all teams. Once a team member has checked in or left the boat for the purpose of checking in, neither team member may fish or continue fishing.
19. PROTEST AND POLYGRAPH TEST
Any protest must be submitted in writing to the tournament director within 15 minutes of the close of the weigh-in. In any case when a written protest is filed with the director, it is required that the director must contact the National Office before making a ruling. The Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail reserves the right to give a polygraph or other truth verification test to any participant at any time. This test does not have to be administered on site and may be set up by the tournament director at his discretion. All participants agree to abide by the results of any polygraph or other truth verification test administered. In the event of a protest and an off-site polygraph or other truth verification test the tournament director will have the option of mailing all the prizes/trophies to the winning team(s), pending the outcome of the test.
20. LIABILITY INSURANCE
All members must carry a minimum of $100,000 of liability insurance on any boat they use during any Fishers of Men Tournament. Failure to do so, or reporting of false information will result in disqualification of catch. Participants must include the company name and either the policy number or the name of the agent binding the coverage on the entry form for each tournament.
21. VIOLATION OF RULES AND DISQUALIFICATION
The violation of a tournament rule by either team member may result in weight loss, the loss of weight up to a particular time in the tournament day (eligible for a restart), loss of weight for the entire day, disqualification for the entire tournament or, in an extreme circumstance, ineligibility to participate in future FOM events.
If a team is disqualified from a tournament their weight will be recorded as 0 lb. If the director feels that their violation was a willful attempt to gain an unfair advantage or to intentionally cheat, then the director has the right to refuse entry from that team or team members in the future and may inform all other Fishers of Men directors of the situation.
22. CHANGE OF RULES
These rules will remain unchanged for the current season unless unforeseen circumstances create a situation where changes are absolutely necessary. The Fishers of Men National Office reserves the right to amend and/or adjust these rules if necessary.
23. RULES ENFORCEMENT
It is the tournament director’s responsibility to enforce all of these rules as they are written. Infractions of any rule may result in a penalty or disqualification of catch. In any issue not specifically covered in these rules the director must contact the National Office before making a ruling.