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Handle With Care

MLF introduces new fish handling rules, sponsor in Ram Trucks

By: Major League Fishing

When sports fans tune in to Outdoor Channel in January to view the second Jack Link’s Major League Fishing® event, they will see something fundamentally different in the way anglers bring fish into the boat, as well as another major sponsor.

While the Bassmasters Elite Series doesn’t allow for landing nets, Major League Fishing is taking fish care a step further; bass are no longer allowed to hit the deck of the boat.

“There won’t be a lot of fish hitting the carpet. Because when fish hit the carpet, anglers get penalized,” MLF Commissioner Don Rucks said. “That’s actually one of two significant new rules for us that are aimed at protecting the fish our anglers catch.”

The new fish-handling rules are:

Anglers will be penalized with two minutes of inactivity if they allow a fish to touch the carpet of their boats.

When releasing fish back into the water, anglers’ hands must be no higher than the boat’s gunnel above the water surface. Failure to properly release a fish will result in two minutes of inactivity.

“It is not anyone’s first instinct to keep a bass suspended in the air after a catch. But, frankly, we’re asking our anglers to play at a higher level. And conservation is something we’d like to stress. If you keep fish from hitting the deck and if you gently put them back into their environment, they’re healthier,” Rucks said.

“But I have to add that, even though our anglers were in full agreement with the rule change, we had to dish out a few penalties.”

The Jack Link’s Major League Fishing Summit Cup, presented by General Tire, was filmed Aug. 27-Sept. 1 on Chautauqua Lake in Western New York. The event will air in its entirety on Outdoor Channel beginning January 2013. The Summit Cup’s Championship Round will also be broadcast on NBC Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. An extended time, web-based pay-per-view version – Extended Cast – will follow shortly after the television broadcasts.

The Chautauqua Lake event again utilized the innovative format that allows anglers to compete with no limit on the number of legal fish they can weigh. Competitors were not allowed to begin competition with stored, user-generated GPS waypoints. Anglers were equipped with real-time leaderboards in their boats, which showed where they ranked in the standings at all times. Anglers had no prior practice on Chautauqua Lake and were informed of the venue just two days prior to the start of competition.

The Ram Truck brand, makers of the most innovative lineup of full-size trucks, has become the latest major company to sponsor MLF.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to bring one of the great names in trucks on board at Major League Fishing,” Rucks said. “Ram trucks are everywhere at fishing tournaments all over the country, and we believe their brand is a natural fit for Major League Fishing.”

The Ram Truck brand produces a host of popular trucks, including the Ram Chassis Cab, Ram 3500, Ram 2500, Ram 1500 Tradesman and the Ram C/V.

“Ram trucks are designed to meet the towing capabilities and durability that anglers demand,” said Fred Diaz, President and CEO - Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico. “We know anglers are passionate about their trucks and loyal to the sport’s sponsors. That is why there is a Ram truck to fit every need and lifestyle and why we are proud to sponsor Jack Link’s Major League Fishing.”

Major League Fishing is bringing the high-intensity, competitive sport of bass fishing into America’s living rooms in the form of original one-hour TV episodes. Under the league’s innovative format, anglers are can weigh all the score-able bass that they catch. The bass are immediately weighed after they are caught, then released back into the water.

In the MLF competition, anglers know where they rank in the standings at all times via real-time leader boards in their boats. Anglers are not allowed to practice before events.

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