2017 ILF Boater / Boat Official Rules

2017 ILF Boater / Boat Official Rules

Boater / Boat Official Format Competition Rules/General Enforcement


  1. Each angler will be permitted to use their boat for tournament competition which should be fully equipped with all essentials to meet state water safety requirements.
  2. The ILF commissioner or his designee has the right to delay, shorten or cancel the start of an event because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the competitors and or Boat Officials.
  3. Tournament waters may also be restricted at any time because of bad weather.


  1. Competitors are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation. Any violation of the standards may be deemed cause for disqualification.
    (Refer to Sportsmanship / Flagrant Sportsmanship Penalties, Rules 9 k and 9 l.)
  2. Use of alcohol or drugs (other than drugs purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any competitor during ILF events could be cause for automatic disqualification.
  3. Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non- competitors who may be on tournament waters.
  4. Boat Officials have the responsibility of reporting to the Commissioner an angler’s sportsmanship violation or a flagrant violation for any act that reflects unfavorably upon efforts to promote fisheries conservation and/or clean waters.


  1. Interpretation and enforcement of rules shall be left exclusively to the ILF League Commissioner and his assigned designees at the competition.
  2. In the event of a rule violation, the Commissioner and his designees may impose such sanctions as disqualification and/or prohibition from participation in subsequent ILF competitions.
  3. Subject to appeal, the decision of the Commissioner and his designees, or a special rules committee established by the Commissioner shall be final in all matters.


  1. Anglers are responible for signing up and bring a Boat Official. That Boat Official will be assigned to another Angler by a Draw system. A Boat Official will accompany each Angler throughout each day’s competition.
  2. Each boat will be equipped with a SCORETRACKER™ Scoring System Device that will be linked to a central database system. The device will provide the Anglers with a Leaderboard that shows the status of the event’s points leaders.
  3. The duties of the ILF Boat Official will be to weigh and record the weight of each scorable catch, update the SCORETRACKER™ real-time leaderboard, “call the game” and communicate with the base of operation.
  4. The Boat Official will serve as rules enforcer and the boat’s official scorekeeper.
  5. Specific Penalty Violations will be assessed “on the spot” by the Boat Official and all other violations will be reported to the Commissioner or his representative.
  6. Rules decisions made by a Boat Official are considered final, unless an Angler chooses to submit a written protest to the Commissioner.


  1. ILF competition will utilize the term “Scorable Bass.” The parameters (size) of a Scorable Bass will be determined by ILF no less than 12 hours prior to the start of the tournament.
  2. Immediately after a catch is made, the bass will be verified as Scorable (or not Scorable) by the Boat Official. The Boat Official may request that any fish be put on the measuring board for verification.
  3. There is no limit to the number of Scorable Bass an Angler can catch and record during ILF competition. The only deviation from this guideline will be competition days that include a qualifying weight cutline.
  4. Only the Angler will handle bass caught during competition. Once a bass is caught, placed on the measuring board and determined as Scorable, the bass will be attached to the official scale by the Angler.
  5. The Boat Official will hold the official scale by the handle only and position it at eye level. The bass must be held steady, allowing the scale to be clearly read first by the Boat Official.
  6. The Boat Official will “call the weight” and the Angler will immediately confirm or challenge the call. If the call is challenged by the Angler, the Boat Official will zero scale and re-weigh the fish a maximum of two (2) additional times until the Boat official and angler agree. The Angler must confirm the call.
  7. Once the call is confirmed by the Angler, the Boat Official will immediately record the weight in writing on the Boat Official’s “Daily Score Pad” and enter the weight into the MLF SCORETRACKER™ Scoring System.
  8. After agreement is secured, the Angler is permitted to physically release the fish into the water and resume fishing.


  1. The SCORETRACKER™ Scoring System will serve as the “Official Game Clock.”
  2. At the ends of periods, the Angler will be clearly notified by the Boat Official when the period competition is coming to an end and when the Angler must stop fishing. The only deviation to the scheduled ends of periods will be if all Anglers receive extra minutes because of OFFICIAL MECHANICAL TIME OUT by the Commissioner.
  3. Regarding the final cast of any period, any bass hooked on the final cast must be “inside the boat,” visibly inside the gunnel before the time expires.
  4. The legality or illegality of a period-end catch will be determined by the Boat Official.


  1. Use of nets and grippers for landing bass is prohibited.
  2. Only artificial lures can be used.
  3. All bass must be caught in a conventional sporting manner.
  4. Any bass caught while “visually fishing” must be hooked inside the mouth and verified by the Boat Official before being unhooked. The weight of a bass caught by the technique of “visual fishing” can only be scored once during that day.
  5. Anglers will be permitted the use of a lure retriever; however, Anglers must supply their own lure retriever.


  1. In case of a tie for total weight, the first tiebreaker is the total number of Scorable fish caught. The second tiebreaker is the largest fish caught.


When a Penalty is accessed by a Boat Official the Angler is to not allow to fish or doing anything related to fishing such as retied, change or fix a lure, reposition the boat or any graphing. The exception to this is if the boat is in danger of drifting into a solid structure such as a dock the Angler may reposition the boat to the nearest open water. Anglers will be allowed to consume a beverage or snack during a penalty.

  1. PENALTY CARRY-OVER: If an angler is assessed a penalty at the end of Period One or Period Two, the penalty time spent will be at the “start of fishing” in the next period. The penalty time will start at the time of the starting position of the Angler based on total weight.
  2. OFF LIMITS: Lake is off limits 48 hours prior to competing in an ILF event.
    Penalty - Commissioner: Illegal Scouting, Disqualification
  3. ENCROACHMENT RULE: There is no official buoy distance rule. However, at no time is an Angler allowed to interfere with another Angler’s line. If an Angler casts close to another Angler and hooks into his line, the casting Angler will be penalized.
    Penalty – Official: Hooking other’s line, 2 Min., stop fishing when line untangled
  4. LANDING FISH: When landing a Largemouth, Small Mouth or Spotted Bass the fish cannot touch any part of the boat at any time during the landing process such as carpet, windshield, motor, console, etc. If the fish comes unhooked from the bait and falls to the deck or floor of the boat it will be assessed as a violation. Exception to this rule will be laying the fish on the deck or floor to remove a deep set hook, “only after it has been properly landed”. Angler should first ask the Boat Official for permission to lay the fish on the deck or floor before removing the deep set hook. Additionally, angler is not allowed to cradle fish or allow fish that he is landing to touch his body. An angler cannot allow a fish to touch any part of his body other than his hands or forearms. The other exception is measuring the fish on the approved bump board.
    Penalty – Official: Fish Landing Violation, 2 Minutes. Stop fishing when fish is released.
  5. RELEASING FISH: When releasing any fish species Scorable or non Scorable, the angler’s hand must be at gunnel level or closer to the water. No flipping or tossing of fish.
    Penalty – Official: Fish release violation, 2 Minutes. Stop fishing when fish is released.
  6. LEAVING BOAT: Angler may not leave the boat for the purpose of fishing. Leaving the boat for non-fishing reasons is allowed. Leaving the boat to assist in landing a hooked fish is an act of fishing and will result in a penalty. Although penalized, if an Angler retrieves a Scorable bass, the fish will count.
    Penalty – Official: Leaving Boat to fish, 4 Minutes immediate, stop fishing
  7. OUT OF BOUNDS: On some bodies of water, Anglers will compete in a pre-determined zone each day. The boat must be positioned inside the zone boundaries. Fishing outside of the boundaries is allowed as long as the boat position remains inside the boundaries. Any boat position outside the zone will result in a penalty.
    Penalty – Official: Boat out of Bounds, 5 Minutes. Immediately stop fishing
  8. GRAPHING: Graphing between periods in order to locate fish is not allowed.
    Penalty – Official: Graphing between Periods, 5 Minutes at start of next period
  9. PERSONAL FLOTATION DEVICE: Each competitor and Boat Official must wear a Coast Guard-approved chest-type life preserver. Camera Operators are not required to wear the PFD but one must be on board for them. Life preservers must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is turned off.
    Penalty - Official: Safe-boat conduct Penalty, 5 Minutes immediate, stop fishing
  10. KILL SWITCH: The Angler or other appointed driver must have his boat’s kill switch connected any time the combustion engine is in gear.
    Penalty – Official: Kill-switch connection, 5 Minutes immediate, stop fishing
  11. SPORTSMANSHIP:A Sportsmanship Violation is defined as aggressive or hostile behavior directed at a fellow Angler, Boat Official, a non-competitor or a representative of ILF, including the use of profanity directed at these individuals, will not be tolerated. Boat Officials are required to report violations.
    Sportsmanship Violation, Penalty will be determined by the COMMISSIONER
  12. FLAGRANT VIOLATION:A flagrant violation for any act that reflects unfavorably upon the positive efforts of ILF, ILF sponsors, spectators, fisheries conservation, and clean waters will not be tolerated.
    Flagrant Sportsmanship Violation, Penalty determined by COMMISSIONER
  13. MECHANICAL FAULT: If an Angler experiences mechanical failure during ILF competition and the Boat Official determines that the Angler is at fault for the problem, NO TIME OUT will be called.
    Penalty – Self-inflicted Mechanical Failure, No time out for repair)
  14. MECHANICAL FAILURE:If an Angler’s boat experiences mechanical failure during competition and the problem is determined by the Boat Official to be no fault of the Angler, an OFFICIAL TIME OUT will be issued. All competing Anglers will be promptly notified when the OFFICIAL TIME OUT is to begin. Anglers must immediately stop fishing when the OFFICIAL TIME OUT is called. Any Angler in the process of reeling in a “hooked” bass will be allowed to count the weight of this bass toward his daily weight total should he bring the bass into his boat.

    The OFFICIAL TIME OUT will be employed for the duration required to replace the Angler’s boat or appropriate boat part. The Boat Official of the Angler experiencing the boat failure will notify the ILF Commissioner and the Commissioner will communicate the beginning and ending times for the OFFICIAL TIME OUT.

    At the end of the period, Anglers will be allotted extra minutes of fishing, with the total number of minutes equaling the duration of the TIME OUT. ILF reserves the right to alter the day’s competitive time schedule should a TIME OUT occur.
  15. IMBEDDED HOOK IN ANGLERS BODY: If an Angler has an imbedded hook in any part of his body, NO TIME OUT will be called. Removing the hook is the responsibility of the Angler, however if the hook is in a position that requires help the Angler may ask for help from the Boat Official. No penalty will be enforced. All Fish Landing and Fish Release rules/penalties will be enforced during this process if violations are committed.
  16. Littering and Smoking: No littering of materials in the lake is allowed including plastic baits and cigarette butts.
    (Penalty – All violations will be a 2 minute penalty)
  17. SECOND LINE: An Angler will be allowed to utilize a second line in the water ONCE PER PERIOD. However, when utilizing a second line, an Angler must employ a “cast and retrieve” method. If an Angler casts a second line in the water more than once per period, the Angler will receive a penalty. Dragging a line from a stationery rod is not permitted however a Scorable fish caught will count.
    (Penalty – 1 Min., stop fishing when 2nd lure is retrieved)