AMERICA’S FISHING TOURNAMENT

AMERICA’S FISHING TOURNAMENT

RULES

Official 2023 AFT Rules

The decisions of the AFT director(s) are final and are not subject to appeal. Interpretation of these rules will be left exclusively to the AFT director(s) in his/her/their sole and absolute discretion. Each competitor agrees to report any rule violation to the AFT director(s) immediately upon discovery of the violation. The violation of the tournament rules may result in disqualification of current and future AFT events. All decisions regarding compliance with AFT rules and the interpretation of these rules shall be made by the AFT director(s) at his/her/their sole and absolute discretion, and America’s Fishing Tournaments (AFT), and the AFT director(s) reserve the right to make additional and reasonable rules for the conduct of its tournaments if circumstances require such. The AFT Director(s) shall have the sole and absolute right to refuse any application or deny an application by returning the entry fee of a previously accepted application or disqualifying a contestant or team

Tournament rules are included herein below. It is each participant’s responsibility to read all items before entering any AFT tournament. It is also every participant’s responsibility to know all state, local and specific body of water laws before participating on that body of water. AFT rules will apply in all events unless superseded by federal, state or local laws. AFT reserves the right to refuse any membership or tournament entry fees or entry forms for any reason. AFT reserves the right to make needed changes to these rules in order to ensure the safety and welfare of America’s Fishing Tournaments, the AFT anglers, and/or the public and preserve the integrity of the AFT Tournaments.  Any rule changes will immediately supersede all previously published copies of these rules.  AFT officials’ decisions will be final in all matters.

All participants must have a current AFT membership. Having an AFT membership allows anglers to compete in any AFT tournament in the country during that calendar year. Only current members may participate in AFT tournaments. The $35 membership fee is per person and due yearly and is nonrefundable or transferable. Anyone or their partner fishing with a non-current membership will be disqualified as a team. No points or prizes for that tournament will be awarded to that team and their entry fee for that tournament will be forfeited.  

All AFT tournaments are $100 per team, per tournament. Entry fees are non-refundable for any team that pays for a tournament and does not participate in that tournament. Entries will be excepted up to the actual start of each tournament. You will not be able to enter any AFT tournament after it has started.

All AFT events are team tournaments. Participation in the tournaments is open only to current members of the AFT. Any person age 17 or under must be a team partner with a person age 18 or older and have written permission from their parent or guardian. There is a maximum of one team per boat. You CANNOT fish in more than one AFT tournament at a time. Meaning, you cannot register to compete in two neighboring states and fish boundary water to register fish in both tournaments. You may participate in another tournament at the same time that you are competing in an AFT event, as long as there are no infractions of any of the AFT rules.

Any public waterbody that is within the state you registered to compete in and must be larger than 100 acres, be public water open to all and have a public boat landing capable of launching all types of boats. If it is part of a connecting chain of lakes or a river system, the entire chain or river system has to be bigger than 100 acres, not the actual or particular body of water you are on. If it is a boundary water or boarders more than one state, you can fish either side but must have a fishing license for all sides if required by law. If you are fishing a chain of lakes or river and have to enter a creek, river or channel to get to another lake that is 100% in another state than the state you are registered to participate in, THAT LAKE WOULD BE OFF LIMIT.

Some states are combined with neighboring states. These will have similar size structure and numbers of fish, in an effort to create higher prize payouts for those states. You must fish water that is available and accessible to all competitors. Shore fishing, wading and banking fishing is not allowed. No fishing within 50 yards of other anglers or any anchored boats, with trolling motor up. No fishing in areas designated off limits by governmental agencies, local or state.

Each fish a team catches that is 12.5 inches (minimum bass) and 14 inches (minimum walleye) or longer will have its length converted to pounds through the AFT app based on a national average weight/length formula for said species. The minimum has been established because it is the closest average measurement for a 1-pound fish. Teams will receive 1 pound for each fish entered and additional pounds or fractions of pounds for every one quarter of an inch (1/4”) over the minimum sizes of 12.5” bass or 14” walleye. A team can register up to 10 fish over the minimum size in a single tournament. All fish will be photographed and entered through the AFT app under that team’s registration. (Complete details on entering fish is under the registering fish icon or on the app). The team with the most pounds at the end of the tournament day will be declared unofficial winners and then the next largest weight will be second place and so on downward to determine the total standings for each tournament. The official results will not be posted until the tournament officials review and certify each fish registered.

All contestants must use care in handling, measuring, photographing and releasing of all fish.

A single tournament limit will be ten (10) fish per team. Each team will be able to register up to 10 fish of their minimum size or longer. If a team catches and registers more than 10 fish, the app will automatically cull the smallest fish once a larger one has been added to their total in the app.

All bump boards used during an AFT tournament must be a manufactured, hard or fixed bump board and not a homemade bump board. All bump boards must have a front nose bump, post or vertical stop to push the closed mouth of the fish into or against and are not a simple flat stick. All bump boards must be solid, hard material and not a roll up or flexible bump board. Make sure the measurements are clear and not faded or difficult to read. It is also required to check, measure and verify your manufactured bump board is the exact measurement that it says before competing in an AFT tournament. 

All AFT tournaments will be 7:00am – 3:00pm and held on Saturdays. States with split time zones will start at the exact same time period across the start, with using the earlier time. Example: A state’s east side is 7am eastern time zone, while at the same time the west side of the state is at 6am time zone. The entire state will start at the 7am eastern time and end at the 3pm eastern time, even though it may be 6am to 2pm in their part of the state. The tournaments will have a start time of 7am, with safe light at each tournament, that will be consistent and fair for all the anglers in that particular state that they are competing in, that may have a different safe light times from one side of a state to the other. Start times will be available and visible for every tournament when registering. Tournament Officials reserve the right to alter daily start and finish times, and if necessary, alter or cancel dates of each tournament day, due to severe weather conditions, acts of God and any unforeseen circumstances. If a tournament is cancelled for any reason, it will be rescheduled for the following Saturday. If it is not rescheduled or a team cannot participate in the rescheduled tournament, they will receive a full refund or credit towards another tournament.

Prize payouts will be a minimum of 90% payback of the total field and awarded per the prize percentage table that is located in the prizes tab on this site. There will also side pots available in the future. For complete detail please click the prizes icon.

To protect the integrity of America’s Fishing Tournaments – (AFT) and its anglers, all winners will be REQUIRED to submit to a Truth Verification & Polygraph Exam before the prizes are distributed for each event. Truth Verification/polygraph exams are realistically foolproof and will determine the ultimate decision of the tournament outcome. This does not mean just the 1st place winners, as others that competed in the tournaments will be randomly selected and required to submit to a test. Some will be other top place finishers and others will be randomly selected from the field.

All participants that are asked to submit to a truth verification/polygraph test will have up until two weeks following said event to have this completed. AFT will confirm a location and the closest or best one for the anglers and cover the cost of the polygraph tests. If you know ahead of time that you cannot submit to a test after a tournament because of constraints of any kind, you must contact the AFT officials prior to the tournament for approval. The results of the test will be the final decision of the tournament outcome and cannot be protested or contested. If any part or in whole of a team does not pass the polygraph exam, their prizes will be forfeited and all of the standings will move up one place respectfully.

The truth verification/polygraph test will only pertain to the AFT tournament in question or other AFT tournaments. If any part of a team does not feel they could pass a test for any reason, then they should not register to compete in an AFT tournament. Prizes will not be awarded until tests are completed. Any AFT member may be required to submit to a truth verification/polygraph test. Failure or refusal to submit to these tests will result in disqualification from this tournament, forfeiture of all prize money and entry fees and will not be eligible to fish in any future AFT tournaments.  

Because of the dollar amounts involved, anyone caught cheating will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as a felony.

If fishing shallow or bedding fish, you cannot intentionally or knowingly target, catch or register the same fish twice. You cannot come back later in the day and try to intentionally catch the same fish again. If fishing shallow or bedding fish, the hook(s) must be on the inside of the fish’s mouth and not on the outside. If this occurs, the fish must be immediately released and not registered as a catch fish.

All boats used in AFT tournaments must have liability insurance. This is the user/owner’s responsibility and they need to carry liability insurance on any boat they might use during any AFT tournament.

Life Jackets or Vest will be worn by both team members any time the outboard motor is in gear and running above idle speed. Kill switch will be connected to boat operator any time the outboard motor is running and in gear.

Only artificial lures may be used, no live or dead bait, except for pork products. All traditional rods & reels are allowed including fly rods and flipping poles. Only one rod, reel and lure may be used at any given time by each angler. No rod may be left unattended with line or lure in the water.

Safety of the participants comes first. Do whatever means possible to ensure both team members are safe in the case of an emergency.

Each boat must have all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment and not exceed the maximum horsepower stated by the boat’s manufacturer. For teams fishing from single occupancy Kayaks. Those fishing from 2 different kayaks as a team. You must try and keep your kayaks within a maximum of approximately 2 kayaks lengths away from each other at all times while fishing. In the spirit of the team fishing rule, this is also approximately the same distance as 2 anglers fishing in the front and back of a large bass boat. Kayak anglers can safely travel throughout the lake at any distance away from each other while moving to and from each fishing spot, as long as they are not fishing, but when fishing they must try to stay approximately within 2 Kayak lengths of each other.


Each team is expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, safety, courtesy, and conservation. Any team found in violation of these rules or any federal, state, or local laws may be disqualified. Should any contestant be caught cheating, it shall result in immediate disqualification of the team and forfeiture of event entry fee. Further, the team shall be banned from all future America’s Fishing Tournaments. Because of the dollar amounts involved, anyone caught cheating will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as a felony. We EXPECT and DEMAND STRICT RULES AND COMPLIANCE in the interest of fairness, professionalism and the sport! The use, possession or consumption of any and all drugs and alcoholic beverages right before and during tournament hours, will not be tolerated and shall be cause for disqualification from current and future AFT events.

AFT members may submit a protest during the tournament morning prior to start, during or immediately following the end of tournament for up to 1 hour after that tournament has ended. Protests shall be immediately emailed and sent to info@aftournaments.com. The burden of proof of a rule’s infraction will be the responsibility of the angler filling the protest. Any angler making an accusation against another contestant without submitting a written protest may be subject to disqualification from current and future AFT events.

Cellular phones and radios are encouraged for safety reasons but are prohibited during tournament hours for assisting in and/or helping locate or catch fish.

“Baiting” of any kind is prohibited. Baiting of brush piles of any kind, legal or illegal, weed lines, lilies, or any other structure will not be tolerated. This will help create a more level playing field for all anglers.

No spotter, teaming or guide boats during tournament hours. No communicating with other anglers, whether in the tournament or not, for information, aid, advise, ideas, assistance, etc. during tournament hours. This includes all forms of communication, verbal, texting, phone call, email, radios, etc.

All contestants shall cooperate with all members of any form of the AFT media outlets. This includes pre, during and after tournament interviews, livestreams, texting & phone calls with tournament directors, social media, sponsors and TV, which may also include photographs and video and these will and may be used for publicity and advertising purposes.

All rules potentially have “loopholes”. It is the intention of the America’s Fishing Tournaments to conduct fair, honest and professional tournaments. “Common sense” and “spirit of the rule” shall apply at all times. Should any participant have any questions about these written rules, those questions should be resolved with Tournament Officials BEFORE the start of any event.

All decisions of America’s Fishing Tournaments officials shall be final. The decisions of the AFT officials are final and are not subject to appeal. Interpretation of these rules will be left exclusively to the AFT officials in their sole and absolute discretion. Each competitor agrees to report any rule violation to the AFT officials immediately upon discovery of the violation. The violation of the tournament rules may result disqualification of current and future AFT events. All decisions regarding compliance with AFT rules and the interpretation of these rules shall be made by the AFT officials at their sole and absolute discretion, and America’s Fishing Tournaments (AFT), and the AFT officials reserve the right to make additional and reasonable rules for the conduct of its tournaments if circumstances require such. The AFT officials shall have the sole and absolute right to refuse any application or deny an application by returning the entry fee of a previously accepted application or disqualifying a contestant or team.

Please note

At the time of this release, all rules displayed here are considered accurate, but America’s Fishing Tournaments, LTD., reserves the right to modify these rules at any time. For the latest version of the AFT rules please reference the AFT website. Again, it is each contestant’s responsibility to read and understand all of the currently-published AFT rules and regulations. The ONLINE copy of the AFT rules will always be considered the OFFICIAL RULES of America’s Fishing Tournaments, LTD. and will supersede all other versions. ​

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