Connected Water "Off Limits" rule for Championship Tournaments
What is the “OFF LIMITS AREA” for a Regional or National Championship when all of the water in the area is connected?
Fishers of Men occasionally runs a Regional Championship or National Championship on a body of water that is connected to everything in the area. Two examples are; the 2011 South Central Regional on the Atchafalaya Basin and the 2011 South East Regional on Rodman Reservoir. Even on waters such as Pickwick Lake in Alabama, (where the 2012 National Championship will be held) as it is part of the Tennessee River, there are numerous lakes connected. It would not make sense to make all connected waters off limits during the off limits period, so we have to look at the off limits area for these events from a practical point of view.
The easy way to answer the question is this; If you are fishing the same water during the competition that you fished during the off limits period, that's a violation. In fairness to all competitors, when we say that, we must define "same water". The way we have defined it for this purpose is "anything within 5 miles by water".
That would mean that the off limits line for each competitor on the competition days are 5 miles (by water) from the closest place that team fished during the off limits period. Competitors who have not been on any water during the off limits period will not have those boundaries, so the lines may be different for everyone.
Our sport relies on self policing and the honor system to a certain extent, so it’s up to each competitor to do the right thing. However, there will be truth verification at all championship events for the winners and possibly other teams who do well, as well as teams involved in a protest.