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National Redfish League (NRL). The NRL is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization designed to build, grow, and maintain the sport of competitive redfishing.

2021 Rules and Regulations

National Redfish League

Rules & Participation Agreement

RULES, REGULATIONS, COVENANTS, AND PROCEDURES


Team and Entry Fee

 

Teams consist of two anglers*. At least one member of the team must be over the age of 18. Either member of the team can sign, be responsible for, and bind his/her partner to all communication and agreements. After a team is entered into a specific event, no changes may be made to the team members except under unusual circumstances and only with approval of the tournament director.

 

The team entry fee for every event in 2021 is Seven Hundred Fifty dollars ($750) and must be paid in full by midnight of the Sunday before the Captains Meeting of each event. Registration is via the online portal at nationalredfishleague.com - NO ENTRIES WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER THE DEADLINE.

 

The entry fee is non-refundable but is transferable should a team have to withdraw after paying their entry. Another team may be entered in the place of the withdrawing team but the exchange must be completed prior to the deadline for a particular event. The NRL must be notified via email of the exchange and approve the incoming team as a replacement prior to the replacement being noted on the event roster. The outgoing team is responsible for obtaining the entry fee from the incoming team. The NRL is not responsible for, nor will we broker, the exchange of fee between the two teams.

 

All teams fish both days.

 

Boat numbers will be assigned by computer generated random order draw. Boat numbers will remain the same throughout the event.

 

*Team Exception: This exception may be used only once per tournament year and applies across all divisions. In the event one partner must unavoidably miss an event for which the team is registered the remaining partner may fish alone for that event IF the following conditions are met;

 

1.) The NRL is able to provide a suitable marshal for both days.

2.) The angler fishing the event must sign an exception agreement.

3.) Points earned under this condition will remain with the team that is noted in the exception agreement only.

 

Off Limits, Information Sharing, and Prohibited Technique

There will be no restriction to the number of days anglers may practice up to and including the day of the Captain's Meeting.

However, for the Official Practice Period beginning at first light Two Saturdays prior to the Captains Meeting and continuing through the conclusion of the event anglers agree to abide by the following covenants:

During this period anglers cannot engage in the technique or practice of “burning”, ”rodeoing”, or “corralling” which primarily entails running a boat on plane near shorelines with the specific intent and for the express purpose of locating, catching, or corralling fish.

When the combustion engine is running no person may be on any raised platform with the exception of the helm.

During this period anglers cannot share, give, or receive information including, but not limited to, lures, techniques, location of fish, and/or navigational information with any person or persons that are not paid entrants in the event at the time the information was exchanged.

During this period anglers cannot loan a boat, or be loaned a boat, with navigational equipment on board that is not removable or that does not have the ability to be disabled.

 

Compliance with Applicable Law

Anglers participating in any NRL sponsored event are required to follow all applicable federal, state, and local regulations and laws. Any violation of such regulations and laws and/or other tournament rules may result in the imposition of a fine, daily weight penalty, fishing time penalty, disqualification from a tournament day, disqualification from the entire tournament, disqualification from all future series events, or any combination thereof as decided by tournament officials.

 

Modification of Tournament Rules

The rules and procedures for the NRL Tournaments may be modified in the case of oversight or omission of tournament rules or procedures that, in the opinion of the tournament officials, would need to be added, changed, or omitted in order to ensure fair competition and the safety of all competitors.

 

Extreme Weather

In the case of severe weather, the start of any or all days of the event may be delayed and tournament hours lengthened or shortened at the tournament director’s discretion. Launch decisions will be made by tournament officials with the best information available at the time and with the safety of the competitors at the forefront of all decisions.

 

Insurance and Registration

Current liability insurance and boat registration is required for each participant in all NRL-sponsored events. It is the angler’s responsibility to maintain this coverage and ensure registration is up to date. Any boat not complying with state, federal, and local laws governing equipment requirements, registration numbers, 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 using that boat for the day(s) it was used will be disqualified regardless of reason.

 

Creel Limit, Size, and Possession

The NRL events for 2021 will observe the following bag limits:

Day 1 – Florida & Louisiana - Two fish 27 inches or less

Day 1 Texas – Two fish 28 inches or less

Day 2 – Florida - Two fish 27 inches or less

Day 2 Louisiana – Three fish 27 inches or less

Day 2 – Texas – Three fish 28 inches or less

If a fish dies while being held in captivity on your boat or in your possession, that fish cannot be returned to the water and culled.

Anglers may have as many legal fish onboard the boat at any given time throughout the tournament day as allowed by law. However, anglers must possess only the creel limit for that day’s competition when they enter the final no wake zone to return to the launch for weigh-in.

Any team entering the final no wake zone or returning to the launch with more fish on board than the number specified for that day will have that day’s total weight disqualified. (Exception can occur under rule 12)

 

Tournament Schedule of Events

On the Thursday before the Event there is a Mandatory Attendance Captain’s meeting from 5PM – 7PM. Locations TBD at each event.

Blastoff will be at 7AM for all anglers on Day 1 & Day 2 unless delayed by weather or other unavoidable instance.

Anglers will launch according to computer generated random draw on Day 1 of the event and in reverse order on Day 2.

Return times will be announced at the captain’s meeting.

Failing to return to the official check point and checking in with the Tournament Time Official by the appointed time will result in disqualification for that day and a zero-weight recorded.

Anglers cannot return to tournament waters any time after any day’s weigh in prior to the next day’s launch except in the case of wet slip dockage or mechanical issues in which case an angler must have permission from Tournament Director.

 

Alcoholic Beverages and Drugs

Any angler consuming or carrying alcoholic beverages or drugs (other than their own current prescriptions) on the boat during tournament hours (which begins at first light and ends at conclusion of weigh in) will have that day’s weight disqualified.

Anglers that consume any alcohol prior to a requested truth verification test on the day in which the test is being administered will be disqualified from the tournament and the team will forfeit any winnings or expected winnings.

 

Bait and Tackle

Only artificial lures may be used.

Bait Attractants - Only artificially produced and commercially available and sold bait attractants may be used.

Only one rod at a time may be used per angler.

A cast must be fully retrieved before another cast can be made by the same angler.

All redfish must be caught alive in a conventional sporting manner and in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws.

Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. Anglers must cast, flip, or pitch their lure to the fish they catch.

No snagging of fish and no netting or scooping of distressed, unhooked, surface fish is allowed.

No multi lure rigs allowed.

 

Anglers Must Remain in Boat

All angling must be conducted from the boat.

Anglers cannot leave the boat to cast to, catch, or land a fish.

Angler(s) may leave the boat and seek safe shelter in bad weather when danger may be imminent but must continue to follow all tournament rules and procedures during this period.

Anglers 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.

No jumping berms, dykes, land masses or any object blocking entrance to any waterway, either man made or natural.

 

Mechanical Break Downs

Anglers experiencing boat or engine trouble have the following remedies:

Anglers can only board the boat of another competitor fishing the tournament except in the case of an extreme medical emergency or where there is imminent danger to their persons, i.e. boat sinking, boat on fire, etc..

Angler’s boats experiencing mechanical failure may be towed in by anyone.

Angler(s) forced to board the boat of a non-tournament angler may have their catch for the day disqualified depending on circumstance.

Angler(s) boarding the boat of another tournament team and transferring their catch must keep the fish separate and well-marked. Both tournament teams can no longer scout or fish and must proceed immediately to launch location.

Anglers needing or receiving any assistance from anyone should communicate to a tournament official, the boat number(s) of the assisting boat and the time(s) aid was requested, performed, begun, and completed.

 

Private Waters

Tournament anglers or guest(s) on their boat may not participate in any of the following to navigate, fish, practice, or compete.

Lift, unlock or pass through gates, chains, booms or other canal or river objects (not including lock systems between public waters) normally closed and used to restrict boat traffic in what is known, or should be known, to be private waters and not open to all anglers equally. Additionally, anglers may not cause any navigable waterway to be obstructed which would, or could, prevent access by any and all other anglers.

Any water without obvious vessel restricting objects could still be private and anglers must leave and not return during practice or any days of tournament competition if asked to leave by a person or persons that own the property or are designated in writing as authorized to manage the property. Leaving an area prior to being asked to leave when approached by another vessel, or noting the presence of another vessel in the area that may be there to enforce a private lease and then leaving as an attempt to circumvent this rule by “not being asked to leave” is unacceptable. Returning to the same waters after escaping before being asked to leave, and/or with the possibility that you would have been asked to leave, does not obviate the intent of this rule and is a violation.

Returning to these same waters, even if by alternate routes, during practice or during the event will result in disqualification from the entire event.

Anglers may not navigate nor fish any waters where a membership, lease, or agreement is required or must be paid unless that membership is made available to tournament officials and all tournament anglers equally for the period beginning January 1st of the year of the event and continuing through the completion of the event.

Anglers are not permitted to cast/fish within 100 yards of a competitor’s boat (not separated by land or jetties but in same body of water) which is anchored unless invited into the restricted area. If more than one boat, by invitation, is fishing within the restricted area then all tournament boats are de facto invited into the same area. An anchored boat is a boat held in a stable position by a power-pole, talon, line attached to a weight or other device used for keeping a vessel in place and/or tethered and stationary and has the trolling motor in the stowed position. If the boat does not have a trolling motor, the definition of “anchored” still applies to stationary boats held in place by the manner herein described.

 

Live Fish, Measuring, and Weighing

Every effort must be made to keep redfish alive and healthy for release.
A penalty of 0.50 pounds will be assessed per dead fish presented to fish bumper for measuring. Counting of fish for being alive or dead will be determined at time of measuring of fish except in the circumstance of an unavoidable delay.

No culling of dead fish allowed.

Teams will be allowed to bring their days’ catch to the bump tank in the order of their arrival to the check-in dock that day. If a team is not prepared to bring their fish to the tank when called, they will be moved to the end of the line that was formed at the time they were called.

Fish bumper and/or tournament officials reserve the right to refuse any redfish deemed to have been altered, (accidentally or intentionally) and/or damaged sufficiently to make determining the exact length of the fish inconclusive.

There are no tail shape restrictions.

Each fish will only be measured with its head to the left of the measuring official and the fish’s belly facing the official’s belly. Fish will be measured on this side only. A fish going over the line very slightly may be removed from the board and allowed to “rest” while other fish in the creel are measured. The “over” fish will then be measured again but only for this one additional measurement. If the fish is deemed to be over on the second measurement it will be disqualified. In the case that there are no other fish remaining in the creel at the time the “over” fish is measured, the “over” fish will be “rested” for a minimum of thirty seconds and then re-measured.

Re-weighs of a limit of fish are executed exclusively by the weigh master (not at the request of any angler) and based solely on his judgment of conditions when the automatic scales rendered their final, computer-controlled weight.

Anglers will use only tournament-provided forms of transport from boat livewells to fish bumper and/or tanks.

In the event of a delay by the tournament in opening the weigh scales at the designated time, the tournament officials will make every effort to check angler’s fish for live or dead prior to being presented to fish measuring official.

Dead fish may be kept separate from live fish but only with water, wet towels, or an ice substitute.

All lures, hooks, jig heads, etc. must be removed from fish prior to the final weight being recorded. To keep the fish alive anglers may wait until the fish has been counted live or dead to remove hook or jig. Failure to notify official and having a fish weighed with a hook, lure, jig or other object in its mouth may incur a penalty equal to a dead fish penalty.

 

Safety, Boats, Motors, and Accessories

Safe boat conduct must always be observed by competitors. During all days of competition, each boat must always adhere to Coast Guard operating regulations and have all required safety equipment on board. The Coast Guard requires that Inflatable PFDs be worn at all times unless there is an equal number of non-inflatable Coast Guard approved PFD’s on board.

 

Boating Responsibility

All anglers certify that they are fully trained and capable of operating their boat(s) in a safe and legal manner. All anglers further certify and agree that the RWS, NRL, its parent, affiliated, and subsidiary companies, the hosts, sponsors and tournament series officials and any associated vendor(s) have no legal responsibility or control over the operation of tournament boats and that all liability for any injury, property damage, or other infraction on the water is borne fully by the anglers and their personal insurance providers.

When boating in low visibility situations (i.e. fog, heavy rain, etc) during both practice and competition, competitors must operate their boats at a safe speed and in a safe manner.

Only a single engine outboard powered boat can be used in official practice or competition. No air boats, pump driven, or multiple engine boats allowed for practice or competition. No drones, helicopters, planes or other aerial device may be used during practice and competition. All boats used in competition must be seaworthy and powered sufficiently to be considered safe for operation in all weather conditions that may arise.

Tournament officials strongly recommend the use of a kill switch attached to the pilot of the boat at all times the combustion engine is running.

Fuel may be carried only in factory installed (built-in) fuel tanks or coast guard approved portable containers following all applicable state, federal, and local laws.

 

Protest and Truth Detection

Any Protest must be submitted, in writing, with a $100 non-refundable payment per protest within 15 minutes of the closing of the weigh scales. The decision of the Tournament Director will be final in all protest matters.

Acts not officially protested within 15 minutes after the final angler has weighed in for that day will not be heard. Protest must be made in writing and in the presence of tournament official(s) and competitor being protested must be allowed to be present during discussion.

NRL acts as a broker when hiring the truth detection administrator and has no influence on procedures, type of test, the amount of time taken, nor the results of the testing.

All truth detection results are final and not contestable by any competitor or their proxy.

Any claim or disagreement with truth detection results or the administration of the test must be settled between angler(s) being tested and the person and/or company administering the truth detection test. NRL, RWS, affiliated, and subsidiary companies, the hosts, sponsors and tournament series officials are not involved in nor in any way responsible for the results of, or methods used, in any truth detection test given.

 

Sportsmanship

Anglers are bound by the prevailing statues and regulations of the state of the event. Tournament anglers are responsible for research and knowledge of fishing and boating regulations, including proper registrations and insurance of vessel used in event, fishing licenses, size limits of catch, private waters, idle and no wake zones, etc.

No one by any means can attempt to manipulate the length or weight of any fish by any means whatsoever. Over-icing, oxygen shock, dropping of fish on nose, manipulation of the tail of the fish, adding weight by any means whatsoever, and similar practices if at any time are discovered, or reported to and verified, by the tournament officials will result in immediate disqualification of the team from the current and all future RWS/NRL-sponsored events, probable criminal charges, and public exposure of the disqualification and reason for the disqualification in the results of the tournament.

Holding, Detaining, or Stocking fish during practice or competition - Fish may not be penned, detained, or held by line, hook, cage, barrel, box, net, fence, placement in small bodies of water with blocked entrance or no entrance, or any other means of preventing fish from freely swimming with full and complete access to the entire waterway prior to being fairly caught during competition and held in a livewell for weigh in that day.

Angler(s) proved to be displaying poor sportsmanship or violating game or boating laws or the letter and spirit of these sportsmanship rules will be subject to penalty determined on a case by case basis.

Anglers cannot purposely attempt to hurt another angler’s opportunity to catch fish. Any act or action deemed to be intentionally made in an attempt to displace, scatter or intentionally hurt fish or fishing in an area is strictly prohibited and will result in disqualification from the current and all future events.

Angler(s) receiving a ticket or citation on the water for any reason will result in disqualification of the day’s catch for the day that the ticket was issued. Failure to disclose receiving a citation/ticket to tournament officials will result in immediate disqualification from the entire event with all awards being forfeited.

 

Angler Code of Conduct

All anglers are expected to practice, compete, and comport themselves in an honorable manner and to continually use their best efforts to demonstrate professionalism, ethical behavior, sportsmanship, and integrity in support of the sport of professional redfishing and the values of the NRL-sponsored events.

 

Certification and Signature of Acceptance

I certify that I have read, understand, agree with, and accept the rules, regulations, procedures, and covenants of the 2021 National Redfish League Tournament Participation Agreement and by my signature herein affixed agree to bind myself and my team partner to the entire agreement and any variations of the same delivered verbally or through electronic device by tournament officials to the field.