Rules & Maps

CSBA Division MAps

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BLBA Division Maps

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Braidwood OPENS Maps

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Besides Safety, Sportsmanship is the absolute most important rule for any CAL SAG, BIG LAKE, or BRAIDWOOD OPEN ANGLER. This is a simple rule, treat everyone competing as you would want to be treated. If an angler is determined to not be using good sportsmanship and is proven to have done something intentionally against what would be deemed common decency during an event, the tournament committee will vote on whether to disqualify and possibly ban the angler.

If an angler is going down a shoreline Anglers should try not to pull in front of those anglers if at all possible. Buzzing a fishing angler is prohibited, use common courtesy, and do not run your boat at high speed within 50 feet of another angler if at all possible. You cannot fish within 50 yards of an angler who is anchored (Power Poles and Talons are anchors). If an angler anchors after an angler is within the 50 yard radius they must not get closer.

If an angler is stranded or needs help you are encouraged to help that angler.  If an angler is broke down or experiencing mechanical issues, we want you to help and tow a competitor into the dock. Please carefully read our rules in the event of a breakdown under “Safety” and “Angler Leaving their Boat”.



Safe boating conduct must always be practiced and all no wake rules followed that are communicated by the Tournament Director and shown in Division Specific Rules Forms.  Each competitor is required to wear a Coast Guard approved life preserver AT ALL TIMES whenever the combustion engine is running. All boats must be equipped with an ignition kill switch. A lanyard is to be attached to the boat kill switch and operator any time the combustion engine is running. Please note, if an angler is not wearing their life jacket during competition, when the combustion is running; WILL result in an Angler Disqualification. The Cal Sag Bass Anglers is recognizing multiple no wake zones (see maps for ALL Division/OPENS) there are other areas of no wake in the many miles of river that we are not providing mapping for, these should be followed if posted. Any angler deemed to be operating unsafe by the tournament committee can be disqualified at any point during any tournament. Please operate safely and be alert with all of the other boaters and barges on all tournament waters. At no time should competing anglers pass another boat (Traveling/moving) unless verbal consent/communication is exchanged.

*****In the event an Angler’s boat breaks down: they must notify the President one hour to the start of the check-in time communicated by the Tournament Director.  Another competing angler MAY tow the individual experiencing mechanical issues. The Angler towing the other with mechanical issues may have one hour after the check in time to weigh their fish. AT NO TIME, no angler broke down; may put their fish in a competitor’s live well. If an angler is towed in by BOAT US, Coast Guard, or a fellow competing angler; they MAY board the towing vessel for Personal safety purposes.  
The competing angler whose boat is inoperable MUST check in on time with their Boat (always staying in water) in order to weigh their eligible fish, or be penalized for their late arrival.***** 

Cell phone usage

No Angler may utilize their cell phone to contact a fellow angler for competitive advantages, unless for emergency purposes. The angler experiencing emergency situations relating to safety should communicate all current events to the President immediately.

Angler leaving their boat

No angler may leave their boat, unless in the event of staying aboard would result in personal injury or destruction of property. In the event an angler is thrown or slips into water from their boat does not disqualify the angler from an event. The Angler MUST maintain a portion of their body inside the gunnel of their boat when actively fishing. An angler may NOT leave their boat to retrieve a lure or land a fish. If an angler is found to be leaving their boat within their own will or anything fishing related that allows a competitive edge will result in an immediate disqualification. If an angler needs to leave their boat for medical or safety related reasons, the angler must contact the President immediately to explain the nature of the situation.


Only artificial lures may be used. No live or once living bait can be used at any point during a tournament for catching fish. Commercially prepared attractants, sprays and dips are allowed. Only one rod can be used at a time, 10 feet is the maximum length of any one pole. Any competitor found to possess restricted bait, rod longer than 10 feet or any apparatus outside of what would be considered bass fishing tackle to catch fish will be disqualified.

Alabama/Umbrella Rig 

IDNR regulations states, on any “NON 2 pole and line” lakes, the Alabama Rig up to 5 hooks is legal. Lake Michigan, Chicago River, Lake Calumet and River are all “NON 2 Pole and line lakes”.  Braidwood like is defined as a “2 Pole and line” lake.  Illinois DNR regulations state that the Alabama rig may only have 2 hooks on this body of water.

The use of jerkbaits or topwater walking style baits/rigs may not exceed 3 treble hooks. Snagging hooks are banned.


There are no minimum horsepower restrictions, however, the horsepower cannot exceed the maximum B.I.A. (Badged) requirement for the watercraft. The boat should also be in good working seaworthy safe condition. The boat must have an aerated, working running livewell of sufficient size to keep 5 bass alive for a period of 9 hours or more. The boat must be at least 14 feet in length and meet the coast guard requirements (See Indiana & Illinois Boating Safety Requirements) Please read “Penalties Summarized” carefully as Citation infractions listed and described will result in a disqualification.


Any cancellations for BLBA scheduled events due to unsafe conditions will be determined 24 hours in advance by the Director of each Division/OPEN. NOAA wave reports will be used by the BLBA Tournament Committee as the determining factor. In the event a “Small Craft Advisory” is issued for the day, the BLBA event will be canceled.  The best effort will be made to reschedule the next calendar day. All updates will be communicated to participating anglers with adequate notice.

Braidwood OPENS Director will also announce 24 hours in advance, if events may be canceled due to high winds. The IDNR owns and operates the launches at Braidwood Lake and may close ramps due to high winds.

The Tournament Committee reserves the right to postpone the start time of ANY scheduled event due to unsafe/inclement weather conditions.


Off Limits areas are designated on the maps and covered in depth at pretournament meeting by the Tournament Director.  All off Limits areas are clearly marked on Division Rules Forms and are distinctly communicated in pretournament meetings by Tournament Directors. Fishing on tournament waters is permitted anywhere except those areas designated off limits on the day of the tournament or within 50 yards of another competitor’s boat which was first anchored. Competitors may not have any location reserved or saved by either another competitor or non-competitor during the event. All angling must be done from the boat.

All Tournament Directors will distinctly define and describe what each division’s Off-Limits areas are in the pre-tournament meeting.

** Off Limits Areas are described, and maps provided in each Division Specific/OPENS “Rules Form” provided on our website, as well as at every Cal Sag Bass Angler sanctioned Event. Every Angler will sign off on their complete and full understanding of our organization’s Rules, Policies and Procedures. **

livewell checks

Livewell checks will be conducted by any of the following individuals at a scheduled event: President, Weigh Master, Tournament Director, or Co-Director(s) prior to Blast off. When logistical procedures permit, live well checks will be conducted PRIOR to an angler entering their boat in the water and registering for the event.  The organization’s Tournament Director or President will outline Livewell check procedures prior to an event via website and social media platforms.

boat draw/blast off

Starting positions will be drawn at the mandatory pre-tournament meeting at that event. At that point exact instructions will be administered.

The Last Boat Number Drawn during the Pre-Tournament Meeting will be the Call Boat. Please carefully read procedures on CSBA RULES FORM for this information. All boats will be called out in numerical order, as outlined by the Tournament Director.

When each number is announced by the Call Boat, the angler MUST drive his boat past the Call Boat breaking the plane of their bow with their entire boat, no matter what nautical direction the angler chooses to navigate in to order begin their tournament fishing day. In the event, an angler does not follow this procedure discussed in pre-tournament meeting; a verbal warning will be issued. A Second infraction will result in an automatic disqualification for that day. All Anglers are to STAY In numerical order prior to blast off.

When operating your boat during blast off procedures set forth by the Tournament Director, the Angler is to operate their boat STAYING in the prop-wash area, DIRECTLY BEHIND the boat number in front of them! This means not running next to or in front of.  A numerical “Parade Sequence” should be maintained. 

Check in area

The Check in area will always be made known in the morning and this will be covered in the pre- tournament meeting by the Tournament Director. There will be a 1 lb per minute penalty for those who show up late. If your penalty exceeds the amount legal weight you bring in you will be given 15 Points. Any angler greater than 15 minutes late to check-in is disqualified (with 0 AOY points awarded).

A Competing Angler is NOT deemed “late” until the first minute of the hour or half hour begins. (Example: 3 p.m. is announced Check-In Time. Penalties do NOT begin until 3:01:00 p.m. or Example 3:30 p.m. is announced Check-in Time, penalties do NOT begin until 3:31:00 via Smartphone Satellite controlled Clock.)


Tournament winners and all places for CSBA will be determined by the total weight of a maximum of a 5 fish limit of bass over 12 inches determined by the pound and fraction of a pound of each angler’s catch during the day. Tournament winners and all places for BLBA will be determined by the total weight of a maximum of a 3 fish limit of bass over 14 inches determined by the pound and fraction of a pound of each angler's catch during the day. Tournament winner and all places for Braidwood OPENS will be determined by the total weight of a maximum of a 3 fish limit of bass over 15 inches determined by the pound and fraction of a pound of each angler’s catch during the day.

Only largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass will be weighed. All contestants are bound by the prevailing rules and regulations of the State of Illinois & Indiana. Fish snagged intentionally or reported to be intentionally snagged off of a spawning bed while sight fishing shall not be counted.


Tournament Winners are awarded 60 points, Second place at 58.  Each descending place finisher is awarded one point lower in succession. In the event an angler does not come in with any fish for that day, they are awarded 15 points. Any disqualifications result in 0 points to the competing Angler. Angler of the Year Points are awarded to anglers for the events in which the division they are competing soley.  Angler of the Year is determined by the best 5 Events Fished (accumulative points total), including its Division’s Open. Braidwood OPENS do not conduct an AOY points system or award an Angler of the Year.


Participation is open to anglers of either sex who are members of CAL SAG & BIG LAKE BASS ANGLERS. Participants must be eighteen (18) years of age or older to fish in a tournament. Each angler must sign off that they have received and understand the rules and the waiver before each tournament.


In the event we have a re-rescheduled date for an event or a date conflict arises where another Team Circuit has rescheduled one of their events during our OFF LIMITS time on tournament waters; we will allow our organization’s members to compete in that circuit’s tournament. We will always make best efforts to accommodate our organizations members and their participation with other local circuits.


Tournament waters are off limit at dark 2 days leading into an event. For example, if we have our scheduled tournament on a Saturday, no angler competing in the event will be able to practice starting Wednesday at dark. There will be a period of 2 days off limits before a scheduled event. A competing angler may not be on tournament waters in any boat. The angler may not shore fish tournament waters during Off Limits Time. We regularly announce on our Facebook page off limit times leading into an event.


Tournament waters are off limit at dark 1 Day leading into an event. For example, if we have our scheduled tournament on a Saturday, no angler competing in the event will be able to practice starting Thursday at dark. There will be a period of 1 day of off limits before a scheduled event. A competing angler may not be on tournament waters in any boat. The angler may not shore fish tournament waters during Off Limits Time. We regularly announce on our Facebook page off limit times leading into an event.

Braidwood Opens

No off limit of tournament waters.


The designated no wake zones are shown in each Division/OPENS Rules Forms with maps. No Wake Zones MUST BE followed in ALL tournament events.  If you are caught running any of the announced/listed no wake zones you will be disqualified. It is the responsibility of the competing anglers to be be= fully aware and in full understanding of No Wake Zones. If a competing angler is issued a citation by a DNR Officer or US Coast Guard in a no wake zone, the angler is automatically disqualified.

Competing Anglers should NOT pass one another in a designated no wake area unless communication or consent is exchanged. 


*Each Dead Fish will result in a ½ pound penalty to overall weight. A competing angler should make every effort for best Fish Care practices when competing in any Cal Sag Bass Angler sanctioned event.
*Every Angler is responsible for the care of their own fish kept for weigh-in and competition purposes. *“Fizzing” of fish must be done by the angler who catches those fish that exist in their livewell for weigh-in purposes.
*We encourage all anglers to allow competing anglers to utilize each other’s supplies for best fish care.
Anglers MAY NOT Leave their boat or administer practices to a competing anglers’ fish or their livewell water. Supplies and materials MAY be shared for Fizzing, Water Treatment or Blood Coagulation as long as all anglers are following policies and procedures set forth.
*An angler may NOT weigh a Dead Fish as their ‘Big Bass’.
*Late Arrival to Check-In, 1 lb per minute penalty. After a maximum 15 Minutes late to Check In, the angler is disqualified. A Competing Angler is NOT deemed “late” until the first minute of the hour or half hour begins. (Example:  3 p.m. is announced Check-In Time. Penalties do NOT begin until 3:01:00 p.m. or Example 3:30 p.m. is announced Check-in Time, penalties do NOT begin until 3:31:00 via Smartphone Satellite controlled Clock.
*Any Angler found not to be following NO WAKE ZONES rules/policies WILL be disqualified.
*Any Angler found not to be wearing an approved USCG approved life preserver when the Combustion Engine is running, WILL be disqualified.
*Short Fish Penalty will be cause you to throw that fish out and the largest fish as well.
*Culling Fish Penalty, if an angler is caught running his boat or at the weigh in with more than 5 fish (Cal Sag) or 3 fish (Big Lake/Braidwood OPENS) in the live well; they will be disqualified.
*Culling Dead Fish is an automatic disqualification.
*Fishing in any off limit times or off limit areas/locations will result in an automatic disqualification.
No Warnings!

DNR/Coast Guard Citations that will result in an automatic Disqualification: A competing angler who has been issued a citation for the following must notify the President.

No Wake Zones – Must be a Citation within our announced/posted areas on Rules Maps.
A citation for any of the following: No Fishing License, Proper Battery Terminal Covers, Fire Extinguisher (not expired), US Coast Guard Approved Flares (not expired), Proper Life Preserver (per State Law/USCG), Legal Boat License/Registration and Insurance.

*Any other cheating or violation of the rules will be handled by the President, Tournament Director and co-directors. Each Tournament Director reserves the right to disqualify or remove an angler from the CSBA, BLBA or Braidwood OPENS for a violation of Sportsmanship or any other rule.

*A running log of angler violations or rules infractions will be kept on record/file for each season by the President. In the event of multiple infractions, we reserve the right to disqualify/remove the angler from our organization for that season. The Cal Sag Bass Anglers is not subject to refund the individual of their membership or entry fee.


(President, Tournament Director, Co-Directors & Weigh Master)

The Tournament Committee reserves the right for rules interpretations and rulings thereof.

Furthermore, the tournament committee reserves the right to change dates or sites of any given tournament.

Any protest must be in writing, signed by the protester, and filed within ten minutes after weigh-in. An investigation will be conducted by the Tournament Committee which will include a statement to be provided by the angler protesting, as well as the angler being protested against.

The angler filing a protest or dispute should be able to provide CONCRETE EVIDENCE (Picture or Video) for claimed protest/dispute against a competing angler. In a possible group setting, witnesses will be able to confirm the protest/dispute. If witnesses are able to affirm the protest/dispute provided, they too will be asked to provide a written statement to the Tournament Committee.

All tournament anglers are asked to comply with the requests of the tournament committee as it relates to written disputes and investigations against fellow competitors.

Any and all rulings by the Tournament Committee shall be final. Any and all contestants are subject to a polygraph test AT ANY TIME, at the request of the Tournament Committee. If a contestant fails the polygraph under any circumstances, they will forfeit the prizes earned and will be banned for life from Cal Sag Bass Anglers. Any cheating will be dealt with seriously and prosecuted if needed.