Tournament Rules

Utah Bass Federation
Affiliate The Bass Federation, Inc.
Official Tournament Rules

Last Update: February 2012

1. PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY: To be eligible to participate in any Federation qualifying tournament, a participant must meet the following requirements:
A. Must be a member in good standing of The Bass Federation, Inc. hereafter known as TBF.
B. Must be a member in good standing of a bass club affiliated with and in good standing with the Utah Bass Federation.
C. Guests may fish the tournament by invitation only from an affiliate with the Utah Bass Federation. Guests should preregister with such club and may enter all options available (i.e. Big Fish and added purse). Guests are not eligible for a place on the state team nor do they qualify to enter a divisional tournament on a pay-in basis. A $15.00 associate member fee will be charged to all guests at the first tournament they participate in. This fee will cover the angler for the remainder of the tournament year.

A twelve member State Team with two alternates will be determined after the final State Team Qualifying tournament is held. The State Team shall consist of the six top finishing boaters by either place or points; the four top finishing non-boaters by either place or points, and the two team members as the next highest finishers by weight (not already on the State Team).

All boat operators must have boating liability insurance in effect at the time of the tournaments. This is a State Law. All boat operators must also have in their possession the a State Aquatic Species form, showing they have taken the required steps to ensure that they have not transported Aquatic Nuisance Species. Further, all boat tow vehicles must have on their dashboard the same form filled out and signed. Any boaters found to be in violation of either the insurance requirement of the Aquatic Nuisance Form will be disqualified until such a time as they can show proof of compliance.

Registration and entry fees will be handled by each individual on an official entry form.

This form must contain each entrant’s name, TBF number, expiration date, boat or nonboater status, Signature, and what fees are paid. The official entry form shall be the only registration accepted and must be received by the Tournament Director by the given deadline date. Late registration will be accepted until 6 PM the night before the tournament starts. A late fee of twenty dollars ($20) per application/entrant will be charged on any entries received after the deadline and will only be accepted if there is a boater for a non-boater or non-boater for a boater and cannot be guaranteed. One (1) check for the total amount of entry fees made payable to the Utah Bass Federation from each entrant shall accompany the official entry form. Entry fees will be seventy-five dollars ($75) for the boaters and seventy-five dollars ($75) for the non-boaters (per event). Non-boaters or guests wishing to fish the Qualifier but not make the State Team can pay thirty-five dollars ($35) to fish the event (does not include options or Federation membership).

A Pre-tournament meeting will be held the evening prior to the tournament start. All contestants should attend this meeting, or make arrangements with a member of their club, or a friend, to get partner’s name, blast-off order, and meeting place. Tournament hours and first day pairings will be announced at this time. Location of the meeting will be posted on the entry form and/or the WEBSITE.

3. OFF-LIMITS: Tournament waters shall be off-limits as follows:
There is no off-limits period for pre-fishing, however contestant must be off the water prior to the tournament meeting. No contestant shall be allowed to pre-fish during the tournament meeting, after the tournament meeting, or up to a period of time which would make them unable to attend the tournament meeting (come off the water in time to put your boat away in order to make the meeting). Tournament Day OFF-LIMITS will be announced by the tournament director at the pre-tournament meeting.

4. SAFETY: Safe boat conduct must be observed at all times by tournament competitors. Each competitor is required to wear a Coast Guard approved chest-type life preserver. This preserver must be worn anytime the combustion engine is operating. This preserver must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the competitor reaches his fishing location and the combustion engine is shut off. Violation of this rule shall be reason for disqualification. Tournament officials have the right to delay or cancel the start of an official tournament day because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the competitors. Tournament waters may also be restricted at any time because of bad weather.

5. SPORTSMANSHIP: Competitors in Utah Bass Federation tournaments are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation issues. Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification. Use of alcohol or drugs (other than those purchased over the counter, or prescribed by a licensed physician) by the competitor during the tournament will not be tolerated and shall be cause for automatic disqualification for this and all future Utah Bass Federation tournaments. Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regards to boating and angling in the vicinity of non-competitors who may be on tournament waters. Any act of a competitor, which reflects unfavorably upon the effort to promote fisheries conservation, clean waters, and courtesy, shall be reason for disqualification. NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES SHALL BE ALLOWED IN THE BOATS OR IN THE WEIGH-IN AREA. Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or other crimes involving moral turpitude, or other conduct reflecting unfavorably upon the efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship and compliance with tournament rules shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation and for disqualification.

6. TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT: Only artificial lures may be used. No “Live Bait” or “Prepared Bait” will be permitted, with the exception of pork strips, rinds, etc. Only ONE casting, spin-casting, or spinning rod (8 foot maximum length from butt of handle to rod tip) and reel may be used at any one time. All other types prohibited. Other rigs as specified above may be in boat ready for use; however, only ONE is permitted in use at any given time. All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner. No equipment will be allowed to be used during the event which is specifically prohibited by, or would violate any state or federal rules.

7. BOAT AND MOTOR: All boats must meet BIA requirements. No overpowered boats will be allowed. For the safety of all contestants, all boats must be equipped with some type of ignition kill switch. This ignition kill device must be attached to the driver’s body anytime the combustion engine is operating. Fishing boats may be used that are 16 feet or more in length. A small motor, gas or electric, may be used for slow maneuvering. Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. No barges or similar cumbersome craft will be permitted.

8. BASIC BOAT EQUIPMENT: Every boat must have all required Coast Guard safety equipment. In addition, it must have a functional bilge pump and LIVE-WELL SPACE, PROPERLY AERATED, TO ADEQUATELY MAINTAIN ALIVE, A LIMIT CATCH OF BASS BY BOTH FISHERMAN USING THE BOAT. Tournament officials shall have the sole responsibility for determining whether aeration and capacity is “proper and adequate”. Boat owners with one livewell must provide a method to identify each angler’s catch. CAUTION: State law prohibits tagging fish or clipping of fins. Pinning is allowed provided pins are removed before weigh-in.

9. BOAT IDENTIFICATION: Each boat MUST be given, prior to each day’s start an inspection check by a tournament official, also a number or other such indentifying device, which MUST remain with your boat until check-in each day.

10. BOAT OPERATION AND EXPENSE: A full discussion MUST be held between the two partners prior to a morning departure as to the schedule of boat operations. This schedule must permit each partner equal time to fish from the front of the boat and to operate the trolling motor, so as to afford each partner the opportunity to fish selected waters an equal number of hours. Distance traveled to fishing locations must be considered in order not to deprive either partner fishing time while traveling to and from fishing waters. If a contestant waives the above rights, they shall retain the right to select the fishing waters for one half the tournament day. Any contestant who, in the judgment of the officials, operates the boat in such a manner as to unfairly handicap his partner shall be disqualified. In view of the large expense involved in operating and maintaining a tournament bass boat, it is suggested that the non-owner partner at least share one-half of the cost of gas and oil for the competition day.

11. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS: Tournament waters shall be established by the Tournament Director at each tournament. Fishing on the tournament waters is permitted anywhere except: Within 50 yards of any marina gas pump or within 50 yards of another competitor’s boat which was first anchored or secured in a fixed position. No such boat shall permit selected competitors to fish within the 50-yard circle claimed by him, to the exclusion of any other competitor. Any water within these boundaries posted OFFLIMITS or NO FISHING by State or Federal agencies will be OFF-LIMITS. Also, the live-bass release area established by the Tournament Director will be OFF-LIMITS and will be announced at the Tournament briefing. Only that water open to ALL public fishing will be considered tournament waters. Any water closed to public fishing will be closed to this tournament’s contestants. Host marina will be off limits as will be all wakeless speed areas of that marina, launch, and boat recovery area. The Tournament Director may alter this area as competitors wishing to change fish habitat by placing any object in the tournament waters may do so if such action does not violate state or federal regulations.

12. CONTESTANT MUST REMAIN IN BOAT: Contestants must not depart the boat to land fish. Boats must remain in tournament waters during tournament days. Contestants must leave and return to official checkpoint by boat. Both competitors must remain in boat at all time, except in case of dire emergency. * In such an emergency, competitors may be removed from their boat to: A boat operated by other competitors or a rescue boat. Partners must remain together at all times, in sight of each other and each other’s catch under the conditions cited above, in order for their catch of that day to be scored in the tournament. If a competitor MUST VIOLATE ANY OF THE ABOVE CONDITIONS (to contact a tournament official by phone or other means or to report an emergency or breakdown) both competitors must cease fishing at this point, and their catch must be verified by a tournament official in order to be counted in the tournament. A competitor may bring in bass and partner’s bass in another boat in such an emergency that the boater cannot leave his boat for whatever reason. The bass must be plainly marked and segregated by means of weigh bags. If after the emergency situation is resolved by tournament officials and enough time is left for the competitors to resume fishing, a RE-START will be allowed the competitors will continue and their catch will be counted. This applies only to dire emergency situations. Trailer of boats during tournament hours is prohibited, except by the direction of tournament officials. * If the need should arise, person (s) may leave the boat for use of Restroom.

13. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT: There shall be only one official point for check-out in the morning, and check-in in the afternoon. This point shall be designated at the tournament briefing. At the time of check-out, all competitors and their boats shall be in full conformance with all rules set forth by the Tournament Committee; at check-in, all boats shall identify themselves by means of the numbered tags and proceed immediately to the designated weigh-in area. Partners must stay together, and tags must be turned in at check-in.

14. SCORING: Tournament standing, auxiliary awards and final winners shall be determined by the pound and decimals (100th’s) weight of each competitor’s catch during the competition days of the tournament. Only largemouth and smallmouth bass will be weighed. The limit shall be five (5) of the mentioned species and varieties per day, or a special limit established for a particular tournament by the Tournament Director, in which case the state limit, or special limit, shall be tournament limit. All competitors are bound by the prevailing statutes and regulations of the various states in which they fish. At no time shall a competitor have reduced to possession of more than the limits described above (Cull Down before leaving). This means that when you catch your sixth fish you must immediately cease fishing and cull down to five fish before leaving one area to fish another area. Tournament officials may conduct checks for violation of this provision, and in the event a competitor has not reduced more than the above described limits to possession, shall cull the largest bass first, down to the limit described. There shall be no culling of bass within the check-in area. Any competitor who enters weigh-in area with more than a legal Tournament limit, shall be penalized their largest fish plus one pound. The official length for bass shall be determined by the Tournament Director and announced at the tournament briefing. In most cases it will be twelve (12) inches on Lake Powell and twelve (12) inches on Flaming Gorge. Only bass as described above which measure the official length or more on a Flat Board with mouth open and swished tail, shall be weighed. All fish will be released alive after the weigh-in if possible, with a minimum of at least 1⁄2 mile (this is a State law) from weigh-in site. A trophy bass may be kept, but it must be claimed and so designated by the competitor at the weigh-in. Bass presented for weigh-in which fail to measure the official length shall accrue penalties at the rate of one pound for each such bass. This penalty shall be deducted from the total score of the competitor. Any bass that appears to have been mangled, mashed, mauled, or otherwise altered will be weighed and credited only at the discretion of tournament officials. Each competitor must present his catch to the weigh-in officials, and the angler must certify the weight of catch for that day. Once a competitor’s catch is measured, counted and verified by a tournament official, that contestant may not return to his boat until his catch has been weighed and recorded. Bass must not be strung at any time during the tournament. It has been determined that stringing decreases the chances of a bass’s survival, and bass thus handled may be disqualified. Specially designed bags, which increase survival rate, will be furnished by the Tournament Committee, and these bags must be used for the weigh-in.

15. DON’T KILL YOUR CATCH: Each competitor is expected to keep bass alive by use of a properly aerated live-well. The few bass, which do not survive, will be used for scientific study and for charity. Disposal of such bass will be determined by the tournament officials. Anglers must keep dead or injured fish to comply with state laws (NO CULLING OF DEAD OR INJURED FISH).

16. PENALTY POINTS: For each legal dead bass presented to weigh-in officials, the competitor shall be penalized two tenths of a pound to be deducted from his daily score. The Tournament Director and his designated appointees shall have sole authority for accessing penalty points. All legal dead bass become the property of the tournament officials for disposal.

17. LATE PENALTY: Competitors who are not in the official check-point area as described in Rule 13 at the appointed time, shall be penalized at the rate of one (1) pound per minute to be deducted from the total weight of catch that day, including any weight to be counted toward a “lunker award”, for each one (1) minute competitor is late. Any competitor more than 15 minutes late shall lose all credit for that day’s catch. There shall be no excuse for tardiness, and in no case shall a competitor be allowed to make up “lost time”. After proper recognition at the check-in point, competitors will be allowed ample time to proceed to the weigh-in site; however, all fishing must cease upon check-in. After the tournament begins, fishing the tournament waters is prohibited except during the tournament hours. Exact starting and check-in times will be announced at the tournament briefing.

18. TIES: In case of a tie, the number of Fish will break the tie; Big Fish will be used to break further ties.

19. PAIRING OF CONTESTANTS: Two (2) contestants will be assigned to each boat wherever possible, no contestants from the same locale will be paired nor shall two competitors fish together more than one day. Announcement of your first day fishing partner shall be made at the tournament briefing, which must be attended by each competitor. It is suggested that the partners make every attempt to locate each other the night before the tournament day they are assigned together. It shall be the responsibility of each partner to appear at a mutually agreed upon location with sufficient time remaining to check-out at the official checkpoint and start on time. Tournament officials shall have no responsibility for finding missing partners. It is suggested that a minimum of thirty (30) minutes is required for preparation to depart to the check-out point. When two contestants checkout at the beginning of the day, they must stay together and within sight of each other and each other’s catch throughout the day until the weigh-in is completed except in case of dire emergency (See Rule 12.) A contestant must not allow any bass caught by him to be counted on the score of another contestant. In such a case, both contestants shall be disqualified from this tournament and all others in the future. No boats will be sent out with only one (1) competitor or with three (3) competitors unless absolutely necessary because of breakdowns or uneven pairings. In such an event that two boaters are paired with each other, it shall be the responsibility of the fishing partners to mutually agree on whose boat to use and a basis for sharing operation expenses. If the partners are unable to agree, the Tournament Director shall make such determination, which shall be binding upon the partners. If a boater is required by draw to leave boat out of competition for one tournament day, he will be exempt from this situation for the remainder of the year.

20. None of the above rules shall prohibit a properly designated tournament official from approaching or boarding any competitor’s boat at any time during the “warm-up” period or the competition days.

21. No transmitting devices will be allowed during tournament hours for the purpose of passing or receiving information about fishing activities or fish locations.

22. Complaints must be submitted in writing to the Tournament Director within one (1) hour of weigh-in each day.

23. Great effort, study and research have gone into the formulation of these rules. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to Tournament Officials. In the event of a rule violation, the Tournament Director and officials may impose such sanctions as they deem appropriate, including, without limitation, disqualification, forfeiture of prizes and prohibition from participation in subsequent tournaments. The decision of the Tournament Director and officials shall be final in all matters.

24. A guest boat will be the one to stay on shore if paired with a Federation member, in the event of excess boats at a tournament.

25. Sight fishing for Bass. While sight fishing for bass, the following rules must be observed:
A. All fish caught must be hooked inside the mouth (inside out). Any fish hooked in an area other than inside the mouth must be immediately returned to the water. Bass caught by sight fishing must be verified by the other person in the boat that the fish was caught inside the mouth. Any competitor attempting to weigh a fish caught anywhere beside inside the mouth shall be disqualified.

The Utah Bass Federation: Dedicated to the realistic conservation of our water resources.