1.)These rules are for Wisconsin Elite Series “Tournaments”. In addition to these rules, each contestant MUST READ, UNDERSTAND, AGREE TO, AND SIGN an annual Wisconsin Elite Series Waiver (each season). Wisconsin Elite Series utilizes several forms of communication methods including websites, social media, emails and texting. Wisconsin Elite Series does not use standard mail to communicate rules or other program information. It is the responsibility of each individual, to obtain program information (including sponsor contingency programs), event information, rule information, etc. through the methods utilized by Wisconsin Elite Series. Wisconsin Elite Series can always be reached by phone (contact us page) to update contact information or to verify current communication methods. Failure to “agree to” “Truth Verification” provisions stated in the Waiver may result in ineligibility to participate in Wisconsin Elite Series events and loss of membership status with Wisconsin Elite Series. It is the responsibility of each entrant to know these rules. Ignorance of the rules is not a defense for violation of them. Tournament Directors shall apply penalties for rule infractions. Wisconsin Elite Series encourages all parties involved in a rules dispute to photograph and/or video the incident at the time of the dispute to assist in resolving the issue with tournament authorities. Do not use zoom functions when taking photos involving encroachment. Protests must be made in writing within 30 minutes of the official check-in time of the final flight at each tournament. The person(s) submitting the protest must be present and willing to identify the offender(s) in a face to face situation at the time the director confronts the named offender(s). The Tournament Director may assess a penalty/disqualification without a written protest. The results of any event where protests have been filed or penalties or disqualifications have be assessed shall be considered unofficial until a review of the incident has been conducted by the Tournament Director of Wisconsin Elite Series. This review shall be completed within 72 hours of the event. The exception to this 72 hour limit is for “Truth Verification” testing (see Truth Verification rule for additional information). In the event of “Truth Verification” testing the final decision on tournament results are pending the outcome of the test. The decision of the Tournament Director shall be final in all matters. Adjustments to the results/paybacks, if necessary, shall be made after the final decision. Wisconsin Elite Series uses this procedure to assure fair and consistent application of rules and penalties in all regions and matters. Our objective is to offer you the fairest most consistent handling of any problem. To avoid protests, if you suspect a possible infraction is about to take place - Alert the would-be offender and check the rules! I agree to only register for events that are “open” registration or events I have qualified for. It is mandatory to provide Wisconsin Elite Series with complete and correct name, address and Social Security number information for tax purposes. Providing incorrect and/or incomplete information is grounds for denial of membership and denial for participation in any/all events Wisconsin Elite Series conducts.
COMPUTER GENERATED RESULTS - In the unlikely event of a computer failure at any event where the tournament director utilizes a computer to generate the results, the director may choose to give the basic tournament results and payments at the awards ceremony but hold any option payments until the computer problem is resolved. All results will be completed within 72 hours of the event. This procedure is necessary to insure respect for all of the competitors time. The possibility of a computer failure exists. All directors keep back-up data that will assure proper payment. However, manual checking of this data can be time consuming and would not be practical at the weigh-in site.
2) SPORTSMANSHIP - Any contestant who displays poor sportsmanship and/or misconduct and/or violates these rules and/or violates the state fishing laws or lake rules may be disqualified and/or excluded from membership in Wisconsin Elite Series. This includes conduct on and off the water including improper fishing techniques, illegal fishing techniques, misconduct in and around the host facilities for any event including hotels, casinos, retail establishments, etc. Misconduct is a bad reflection on organized fishing and Wisconsin Elite Series. Misconduct may be deemed as an infraction of our sportsmanship rule and is grounds for disqualification from any event and/or exclusion from membership in Wisconsin Elite Series. Any angler who engages in improper or illegal fishing techniques, either during a competition or not, may be disqualified from any event and/or excluded from membership in Wisconsin Elite Series. Wisconsin Elite Series shall make the determination as to any sportsmanship, improper fishing techniques and/or misconduct issue. Wisconsin Elite Series reserves the right to refuse membership in Wisconsin Elite Series to anyone.
3) PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY - Participation is open to all members of Wisconsin Elite Series. (You MUST fish or lock in spot, MINIMUM of 2 events for 2023 bass events, in order to fish.) Membership in Wisconsin Elite Series is open to everyone. Wisconsin Elite Series can be fished as a TEAM or SOLO. You are allowed 1 sub partner per season, however NO subs for the championship. Wisconsin Elite Series reserves the right to refuse membership, and to refuse participation in Wisconsin Elite Series events to anyone. Cancellations within 24 hours of the tournament, will NOT be refunded. Any angler unwilling to provide accurate address and/or social security # information may be denied membership. At least one (1) partner of each team shall be 18 years of age or older. Those anglers under the age of 18 years must have written consent of parent or guardian. No one under the age of 18 may fish alone without special provisions. A “Team” consists of two anglers. One member may fish alone at any Wisconsin Elite Series event. (Team or Singles is allowed)
4) BOAT/ENGINE REGULATIONS (TEAM TOURNAMENTS) - There is no minimum length or minimum horsepower requirements to compete in Wisconsin Elite Series Tournaments. No airboats or similar vessels may be used. This restriction is to limit access to water not accessible by “conventional bass boat” style vessels. Other Wisconsin Elite Series tournaments will specify any specific requirements. Horsepower shall not exceed the horsepower rating for that boat or the U.S. Coast Guard rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer. Each boat must contain all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment. Boats must contain a properly aerated or recirculating live well to maintain alive a team limit catch of fish. Ice chests with an aerator is acceptable upon approval of the tournament director. Any vessel deemed “unsuitable” by a Tournament Director will not be allowed to participate in that event.
Wisconsin Elite Series is not responsible to track or in any way regulate boats used on waters with invasive species. Lake, water district, state & local officials, etc. are solely responsible for determining launch eligibility of any tournament vessel. If said officials allow or disallow a vessel to launch, Wisconsin Elite Series will allow that vessel to participate. Since the decision to allow or disallow a launch is not in the control of Wisconsin Elite Series, Wisconsin Elite Series will see this decision made by any governing agent as the final decision and will not allow any protest about that decision.
5) SAFETY - All boats must meet Coast Guard regulations. Boat owners are required to have proper boat insurance that allows tournament participation. Boat owners must carry a minimum of $300,000 single limit liability insurance. Safe boating shall be observed at all times. During competition, each contestant is required to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket anytime the combustion engine is in operation. Anyone found operating a boat in an unsafe manner in the opinion of the Tournament Director may be disqualified. All boats must be equipped with an emergency ignition shut-off device which must be securely attached to the drivers body whenever the combustion engine is in operation. Any non-lanyard shut-off systems must be approved by the tournament director. All boats 16 ft. must have a float cushion on board. Each contestant is responsible to have proper safety equipment to meet state and local regulations. It is not the responsibility of Wisconsin Elite Series or any tournament sponsor to provide assistance in on-the-water repairs or rescues at any time. Each contestant shall provide their own on-the-water assistance if needed. Wisconsin Elite Series and its sponsors are not responsible to assure that any contestant has returned at the end of any contest. For safety, each contestant should inform another contestant as to the location(s) that they will be fishing and have that contestant check to assure that the other contestant has returned safely at the end of the contest and have a plan for assistance if needed.
6) PERMITTED FISHING METHODS AND TACKLE - All fish must be caught live in a conventional and sporting manner. Trolling, also referred to as ripping / sweeping or jerking, is prohibited. (Bass Event's ONLY) Cast and retrieve methods of ripping and jerking are legal. Only artificial lures may be used with the exception of pork rind or deer hide. No prepared or live bait may be used. Chumming is prohibited. Attractant products may be applied directly to a lure. The intentional snagging of fish is strictly prohibited. Landing nets are permitted in Wisconsin Elite Series events. Only one “rod and reel” may be used at a time. Rods may not exceed nine (9) feet in length. Number of hooks per lure and rules per rig will be restricted by each states regulations unless a lesser number is stated by the Wisconsin Elite Series tournament director. Contact the tournament Director for details.
7) PERMITTED FISHING WATERS - Contestants may fish anywhere accessible by boat, except areas designated as “off limits” or “no fishing” by the tournament director, local, state or federal officials or the service area for any gas pump, operational or non-operational. Marina’s may have additional areas off limits near gas docks due to fuel lines in the water. All angling must be conducted from the boat. At no time may a contestant leave the boat to land a fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. No contestants are permitted to leave their boat in an effort to propel or float their boat to fishing waters they could not otherwise reach, however, the use of push poles is permitted. The boat must remain in the tournament waters during the tournament day. Contestants must leave and return to the official check-in by boat. Some events have “off-limits” periods preceding the event. Special Events such as Opens may have specific rules governing Off-Limits times and/or conditions to the Off-Limits. Each angler is responsible to comply with the Off-Limits rules for each event. Consult the schedule or call the tournament director for details.
8) ENCROACHMENT - A “25 yard rule” is in effect at all times during competition. No contestant’s boat may move within 25 yards of another contestant’s boat at any time for the purpose of fishing without the consent of all contestant’s involved. A boat moving from one area to another may infringe upon this zone as long and the parties that are moving do not fish and do not intentionally disrupt the area. Judging distance is very difficult on the water. As a general rule of sportsmanship all anglers should give all others enough room to make a reasonable cast to fish an area. Exception: In the case of fishing docks or piers, no contestant’s boat may “tie up,” or “protect” more than a single dock at one time regardless of the distance involved.
9) EQUIPMENT FAILURE OR EMERGENCY - In the event of equipment failure or emergency, contestants boat may be towed to the check-in. If it is necessary to transfer fish to another boat, it must be another contestants boat. At least one member of the team must accompany the fish to the weigh-in site.
10) FISHING HOURS AND LATE PENALTY - Official fishing hours will be announced at tournament sign-up prior to each event. All contestants must check in at the weigh-in site. Contestants who are not at the official check-in area at the appointed time may be disqualified. DON’T BE LATE!
11) LIVE FISH - Contestants shall make every effort to keep all fish alive through the use of a properly aerated livewell. Wisconsin Elite Series strongly recommends the use of chemical additives in livewells. .25 lbs will be deducted from the total weight for each dead fish presented for weigh-in. If 4/5 fish are dead at weigh in, DQ. (BASS) A dead fish, may NOT be weighed for BIG FISH.
12) SCORING - Scoring will be determined by the total weight of each teams catch. The limit shall be five (5) fish per two angler team, five (5) fish for an angler fishing alone. (BASS) Teams presenting more fish than the stated tournament limit will lose their entire weight for that day. Check for legal species at each event. The official minimum length for bass shall be fourteen (14) inches unless otherwise stated at sign-up or if the lake limit is greater than thirteen (14) inches. Bass will be measured laying down, mouth closed / tail fanned, on a FLAT board. The Tournament Director will have the official board for measuring. This is the only board that will be used in determining length. (Some lakes may require different measuring techniques) Bass presented for weigh-in which fail to measure the prescribed minimum length limit, shall result in full disqualification from active tournament. DO NOT BRING IN A SHORT FISH!
13) WAIVER AND RELEASE - Each contestant must sign an annual Wisconsin Elite Series / release form prior to entering their first event each year.
14) PRETOURNAMENT PRACTICE (PRE-FISHING) - Most regions allow pre-fishing on the tournament lake prior to each tournament. However, some regions have restrictions for pre-fishing. Check with the Tournament Director for each event. At no time during the “closed period” will contestants be permitted to “fly the lake” for the sake of scouting the waters. No SCUBA diving or snorkeling will be permitted by contestants during the off-limits period or on any specified practice rounds or on any competition day. Any tournament that is preceded by a major National holiday on the Monday prior to the event will allow pre-fish on that Monday. Call Wisconsin Elite Series for conformation on “legal” Monday pre-fish days.
15) NO ALCOHOL - No alcoholic beverages are allowed during tournament hours. No alcoholic beverages are allowed in any tournament boat.
16) BOAT INSPECTION - Boat inspection instructions will be given at the sign-up site. Failure to obtain a sign-off at boat inspection may result in disqualification.
17) COOPERATION WITH MEDIA/PROMOTION - Within the framework of reasonable requests, all contestants in Wisconsin Elite Series events will cooperate with media representatives covering said event. Likewise, participation in the tournament grants Wisconsin Elite Series the use of any pictures of contestants, accounts or interviews with contestants it gathers for the lawful promotion of Wisconsin Elite Series and its tournament operations and sponsors.
18) TOURNAMENT PROTECTION RULE - Any act or inflammatory statement by any contestant that, in the opinion of the Tournament Authority, is detrimental to the operation of the tournament, damaging to organized bass fishing, to Wisconsin Elite Series or any of its sponsors, or to permitting agencies or their officers (such as rangers, wardens, fishery biologists, tournament officials, etc.) during the practice round or tournament, may result in the temporary or permanent suspension from all future Wisconsin Elite Series tournaments. Disrespect and or defamation to Wisconsin Elite Series as a company, any tournament staff member, or sponsors of Wisconsin Elite Series, may result in immediate disqualification, or loss of membership privileges with Wisconsin Elite Series. This includes the elimination of any and all points an individual may have accrued during an active season.
19) CITATIONS - A contestant cited by officers for violation of State or Federal fishing or boating regulations may be disqualified.
20) TRUTH VERIFICATION TESTING - All contestants, by virtue of their entry into any Wisconsin Elite Series event, are subject to testing by any “Truth Verification” method by authority of the management of Wisconsin Elite Series. The cost of testing may be assessed to the challenger. Failure to comply to taking or failure to pass a “truth verification” test, either at the tournament site or at any time after the tournament is concluded may result in forfeiture of any or all awards. This may also affect your membership status with Wisconsin Elite Series. See the waiver for additional details.