ARTICLE VIII- Tournament Rules and Regulations (Revised January 1, 2016)



Section 1: Bass Tournament Defined


Bass tournament shall be defined as a competitive event in which the practices collectively known as fishing are skillfully applied by participants to catch bass and present them for scoring by weight, length or other criteria to determine a winner or winners who receive certain awards and/or other recognition.


Section 2:  Purpose of Tournament Rules


Tournament rules are adopted for the express purposes of providing equal opportunity for all participants to successfully apply their fishing skills and abilities, of improving the safety of both participant and non-participant users of the tournament area resources, and of providing for proper handling of the fish.


Section 3:  Amendments and Interpretations


Only the Tournament Director and the Board of Directors of the B.A.S.S. Nation of Virginia Region One shall amend the Tournament rules. They are subject to interpretation only by the Tournament Director, under the coordination and supervision of the Board of Directors. Decisions of the Tournament Director approved by the Board of Directors shall be final. All tournament rules will be recommended to the Board for their approval or disapproval.


Section 4:  Bass Defined


Bass shall be defined as any of the species known as large-mouth bass (Micropterus Salmoides), smallmouth bass (Micropterus Dolomieu), spotted bass (Micropterus Punctulatus), suwannee bass (Micropterus Notius), redeye bass (Micropterus Coosae), and guadalupe bass (Micropterus Treculi), all of which are of the genus, Micropterus, in the family, Centrarchidae, the fresh water sunfish.


Section 5: Entry Fees


Applications from otherwise qualified members; chapters of regions to enter and compete in tournaments shall be acceptable only when accompanied by the fee established by the tournament committee with approval of the Board.  Region members may elect to pay their entry fees in cash or by check made payable to Battlefield Bass Anglers.   Club Tournament entry fee is $50.00 per team for non-regional tournaments.  Region Tournament entry fee is: $70.00 per team.  Big fish entry is optional and $10.00 per person.  Fees shall not be refundable to individual, team or regional applicants once the fees have been accepted by the B.A.S.S. Nation Region except in extenuating circumstances approved by the board.


Section 6: Eligibility


Members and chapters in good standing whose official application and entry fee are received by the Tournament Director/Secretary/Treasurer prior to the published date of all tournament deadlines. In order to be eligible to participate in the Mr. BASS Tournament and the Chapter Team Tournament the member must have been a member of that club at the time of submission of that club’s official roster (no later than January 31st) Additionally, the member must have attended a minimum of 50% of the club meetings and have fished 50% of the Region events to be eligible to fish State events. Any member whose name is not present on the official roster submitted to the BASS Nation of Virginia Board will not be allowed to participate on that club’s team.


Section 7:  Registration


All tournament participating teams will register for the tournament by completing a tournament registration form at the meeting prior to the tournament or by the tournament entry deadline set by the Tournament Director.  Day of registration if permitted by the Tournament Director will begin no less than 60 minutes prior to sunrise/safe light and will end 15 minutes prior to launch. Members who are present prior to the 15 minute cutoff but who have not registered will be allowed to complete their registration.  All boat live wells will be checked as a part of the registration process by the Tournament Director or Board member Representative. Teams that have registered and paid at the club or region meeting prior to the tournament will receive launch numbers based on order of draw format conducted by the Tournament director or designated board member.  Teams that are registering on the morning of the tournament will receive their launch number in the order of registration received.  Numbers will start after the numbers reserved for prepaid members from prior meeting.


Section 8:  Ethics~ Sportsmanship And Personal Conduct


All participants shall observe high standards of ethics, sportsmanship and personal conduct. They shall obey all of the laws, and the authorities having jurisdiction in the tournament area. They shall keep themselves informed and aware of the rules, laws and conditions applicable to the tournament. They shall yield to all other recreational users of the Tournament resource, sufficient distance or other courtesy to avoid interference with their activities. For example, duck blinds, which are occupied, on lawful duck hunting days, shall be given sufficient clearance to avoid interference with ducks approaching the blind in flight and to avoid danger from shot. Where a blind is situated in a narrow passage, boats shall move past them at no wake speed without stopping to fish. Drunkenness during the practice, competition and scoring activities will be cause for immediate disqualification. No alcoholic beverages shall be permitted in competition boats during competition hours. Participants shall yield to inspection by tournament officials at any time during the tournament.


Section 9: Practice Days And Competition


Tournament waters are open at all times to all competitors. However, during any Bass Nation sponsored tournament no competitor may hire, buy or barter the use a fishing location from any other competitor for use during any competition day. Failure to comply with the rules will result in disqualification from the tournament.


Section 10:  Tournament Waters


Tournament waters shall be defined as all public waters which are accessible by boat from the tournament headquarters with the exception of the waters as may be designated and announced at registration time by the Tournament Director. All fishing by participants shall be done from a boat on tournament waters and all participants and competition boats shall remain on tournament waters throughout the competition hours. Violators shall be disqualified for that day’s competition.


Section 11:  Competition Hours


Competition hours shall be determined by the Tournament Director and announced at registration. The hours may be changed by the committee as necessary because of changing conditions and with reasonable notice to participants during the tournament. Late arrival at the check-in point at the end of competition hours shall not be excused. No make-up time shall be granted for any reason to any participant who has been unable to compete during any part of the tournament.


Section 12:  Weather Conditions


Tournaments shall proceed as scheduled regardless of weather conditions, except that competition may be suspended or terminated by the Tournament Director whenever he/she finds weather conditions to be hazardous. Competitors shall not fish during periods of suspension or after termination of competition. They may decline to compete without penalty only after the Tournament Director has accepted their notice, given prior to withdrawing, that they believe weather conditions to be hazardous.


Section 13:  Safety and Inspection


Safety shall be the concern of first priority to all participants. All competition equipment shall be presented for inspection before the beginning of competition and all participants shall yield to inspection upon the request of tournament officials during the entire tournament event including scoring, award ceremonies, the protest period and during the deliberation of any protests that may be registered by participants. Competition equipment found to be unsafe or unseaworthy by the Tournament Director shall not be used in the tournament.


Section 14:  Safety Equipment


Participants, throughout the official practice and competition hours, shall whenever their primary propulsion engine is in gear, wear a vest type personal floatation device, or life jacket, which is approved by the United States Coast Guard. Each tournament boat shall be equipped with a functional device, known as a kill switch, which will terminate the operation of the primary propulsion engine when the operator leaves the controls. The kill switch shall be attached to the operator whenever the engine is in operation. Each tournament boat shall be equipped with a functional power operated pumping device, which will remove water from the boat effectively, and in a manner acceptable to the Tournament Director. Violators will be disqualified for that day’s competition.
Section 15: Boat Requirements

Competition boats shall be sixteen feet or more in length and powered by at least a seventy-five-horse power engine. The boat must also have an electric bow mounted trolling motor and sufficient live well capacity to maintain a limit of bass by both contestants in good condition during the tournament hours. No cumbersome craft, stick steering or motors of a horsepower that exceeds the manufacturers rating plate will be permitted. All boats must comply with all the applicable federal and state regulations. All boats that do not meet these requirements cannot be used in any of the Region or state level draw tournaments conducted by the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation of Virginia. Boats built on or after November 1, 1972 shall display horsepower rating plates installed by the manufacturer. Boats built before November 1, 1972 shall display horsepower rating plates if plates were installed by the manufacturer. All tournament boats shall be powered within their rating plate specifications, or in the absence of rating plates they shall comply with the United States Coast Guard horsepower rating formula. Changing or altering standard factory parts of your motor to increase the horsepower over the factory horsepower rating is forbidden. Any violation of these rules will result in immediate disqualification from that day’s competition. “All boats used in state and region events of the B.A.S.S. Nation of Virginia must have no less than $300,000.00/300,000 liability insurance on these boats. In order to use a boat, proof must be provided for all events. If you do not own the boat to be used in the event, a letter of permission to use the boat in that event must be provided by the owner (s) prior to use.

Section 16:  Official Inspection Of Boat And Safety Equipment


Boats will be checked at tournament start for lights, life jackets, kill switch and live wells. Any non operating equipment will send the boat to the end of the tournament launch line and must be corrected prior to release. Prior to being allowed to compete in a tournament each boat must be checked and approved by the Tournament Director or Board Representative. Each boat must meet all guidelines specified in Regulation #14 and Regulation #15. Ample time prior to the tournament will be designated and announced for boat inspections. It is the responsibility of each competitor to make sure that his boat has been registered and officially approved prior to beginning the tournament. Any competitor who competes without an official boat inspection will be disqualified.


Section 17:  Fishing Tackle


Competition tackle shall be limited to casting, spinning and spin-casting rods and reels, and artificial lures. Live baits or natural baits are prohibited and shall not be present in boats during competition except that skin, feathers and hair of non-aquatic animals may be used as lure components subject to approval by the Tournament Director. As many sets of tackle, which include rod, reel, line and lure, may be kept in competition boats as participants’ desire. Only one such set may be in actual use at any one time.


Section 18:  Fishing Methods


Trolling as a method of fishing shall be prohibited. Participants shall hook, play and land any fish they catch in competition, using no devices other than a landing net, tackle as provided in section 1 – 17, and that participant partners or observers may assist in landing and bringing them into the boat. All fishing must be done from the boat. Contestants must not depart from the boat to land the fish. Boats may not be trailered during tournament hours.


Section 19:  Permitted Fishing Locations


Fishing on tournament waters is permitted anywhere except as otherwise specified by the Tournament Director or within 50 yards of marina gas pumps or within 50 yards of another competitor’s boat which was first anchored. Any such anchored boat shall have its trolling motor retracted from the water. No such anchored boat shall permit selected competitors to fish within the 50-yard circle claimed by him, to the exclusion of any other competitor. Violation will result in disqualification for that day’s competition. It is the responsibility of the anchored boat to make other competitors aware that he is anchored.
Section 20:  Fishing Partner/Team Required


Participants shall fish with partners that have been registered as a team with the Tournament Director prior to January 31st of that tournament year.  The Team will be allowed three team member substitutions per tournament year with prior approval of the Tournament Director or Club Officer in his or her absence.   In the event an entrant has to exclude himself/herself from the competition they shall report immediately to the Tournament Director and notify him of the situation.


Section 21:  Boat Operation and Expenses


Providing a boat for competition is a voluntary option, not a license to totally control the location of fishing during that tournament day. Each competitor may be permitted to fish from the front seat and in full control of the tournament boat with boat owner’s concurrence and may choose fishing locations of his choice during half of each competition day.   The boat owner may choose to be the operator of the primary propulsion system, taking the boat to areas chosen by the partner during his half of the competition day. Failure to cooperate with a partner may result in a protest to the Tournament Director and could result in disqualification of the non-cooperating partner from competition. Waiver of any part of the required sharing shall not constitute a waiver of any of the remainder. Boat operation in manner, which unnecessarily handicaps a partner or any other competitor, shall be prohibited. The owner and his participating team will assume all expenses incurred in the operation of the boat. It is expected that the non-boat owner will share in paying the expenses of the boats supplied by the other members of his chapter team. The exact mechanism whereby boat expenses are shared by a chapter team is their responsibility.


Section 22:  Contact With Other Boats


No fishing shall be permitted within fifty yards of the anchored boat of another participant. Anchored boats shall not restrict navigation through narrow channels to or from other tournament waters. Participants shall not approach closer than necessary or otherwise make physical contact with other boats or persons during competition hours for reasons other than emergencies. Any competitors’ boats seen in physical contact on the lake without the existence of an emergency will be disqualified from that day’s competition.


Section 23:  Emergency Conditions


Emergency conditions are defined as conditions which subject persons or property to imminent danger or conditions which are deemed by the Tournament Director or Board Member to be of emergency nature. Only under emergency conditions, or in cases where boats are disabled, may participants leave their boats. In cases of dire emergency or where safety is involved, both contestants must remain in the boat at all times. Under such conditions (dire emergency or safety), they may ride in other boats and bring their fish to the tournament headquarters for scoring subject to all requirements otherwise applicable. Otherwise, they shall remain in sight of each other at all times until their fish are turned over to tournament officials. In such cases, both partners or the non-boating partner alone may take their/his fish to the weigh-in in another contestant’s or official’s boat. The contestant or official providing the return ride becomes responsible for signing the weigh-in forms for the non-boater who returned without his original partner. The contestant who remained behind is disqualified as soon as his original partner leaves in the other boat. Except for this emergency situation partners must remain in sight of each other’s catch for the catch to be scored. Violators are subject to the penalties provided in section 30.
Section 24:  Handling of Fish During Competition


Competition boats shall be equipped with a functional, adequately aerated fish holding device, known as a live well, sufficient to maintain live bass of average size. All fish caught and retained in possession of participants shall be segregated for identification and kept in a live well. No stringers, ropes, or other devices, which would injure fish or subject them to unnecessary stress, shall be used. Dead fish large enough for scoring shall be kept by participants and submitted for scoring. Fish too small for scoring shall be returned to the water. No more fish than may be scored may be held in captivity at any time during competition hours. Fish shall not be mutilated or otherwise intentionally injured or mistreated. A swallowed single hook shall be cut free of other tackle and left in place whether the fish is to be kept or released. Lures may be extracted in the least injurious manner available.
Section 25:  Check in and Late Penalty


All competitors must check in with tournament officials at the official check-in site by the previously announced finish time. Failure to do so will result in a penalty of 1 pound per minute deducted from the competitor’s total weight of catch for that day, including any weight to be counted toward a “lunker award”. Any competitor who is more than 15 minutes late will lose all credits for that day’s catch. There will be no acceptable excuses for tardiness.


Section 26:  Handling Of Fish At Check-In And During The Weigh-In


All fish present in a -competitor’s boat when he checks in at the check-in point become the property of the Tournament Director. Discarding or transferring any fish will result in immediate disqualification. The practice of culling and measuring after check-in is prohibited. All fish shall be placed in containers supplied by the Tournament Committee for transport to the scoring area. The containers may be placed in landing nets for added strength. Water shall be added to reduce injury. All fish that are alive at the completion of the scoring procedure shall be returned to the water by tournament officials except that the requests of governmental, education and research agencies may be honored, and trophy fish may be returned to the participants who caught them when they request them for mounting and display. Fish not judged by tournament officials to be alive shall be protected from spoilage, and disposed of as food, or otherwise in a manner, which complies with the law if; they are unfit for use as food.


Section 27:  Tournament Creel And Size Limit


At no time shall a team continue fishing with more than five fish in the live well. To continue fishing with more than five fish in possession may result in disqualification. The minimum acceptable length of fish will be 12 inches with the exception of those bodies of water with a slot limit or a 14/12 law (example 2 – 12” and 3 – 14”).   On bodies of water with a slot limit, the minimum length will be determined by the longest state limit covering the tournament waters.  Any fish which does not meet the minimum acceptable length will be removed from the competitors catch and the competitor will be assessed a one pound penalty for each short fish deducted from the total weight of his remaining legal fish. Any fish presented for weigh-in, which is judged to be dead will result in an eight-ounce penalty for each such fish, deducted from the total weight of fish.  The Tournament Director or Designated Board member shall record and announce all weights during all weigh-ins.  This weight shall be final and recorded on weigh-in slip which shall be initialed by both team members.  Weigh-in scale setup shall be witnessed by second designated board member for accuracy using known weight verification process.


Section 28:  Scoring


Each competitor’s score will be the weight of the legal bass, minus penalties caught and kept during competition hours. The competitor with the greatest accumulated weight will be the winner. Total weights will be arranged in descending order for other places.


Section 29:  Ties


All ties will be determined first by the number of fish caught, secondly big fish and then by the flip of a coin.
Section 30:  Violations. Protests And Penalties


Participants shall honor the letter and the intent of the Tournament Rules or they shall be judged to have violated them. All judgments are reserved to the Tournament Director with approval of a Board Member. Participants who suspect that the Tournament Rules have been violated may protest to the Tournament Director at any time during the tournament or within 15 minutes after arrival at the tournament sight followed with a written protest within 30 minutes after closing the scales. Protests shall be decided by the Tournament Director and Board members present through any means available within the Constitution and By-laws and Tournament Rules in consideration of the statements and other evidence presented by the concerned parties and witnesses. Polygraph examination, administered by a qualified examiner who is duly licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, shall be included among the methods available to the Tournament Director and Board members for consideration in their deliberations. All participants shall be presumed to be familiar with the Tournament Rules and to have implied their consent and agreement to submit to polygraph examination when they affix their signatures to the official registration list. Polygraph examination may be requested only by the Tournament Director and shall be provided under his supervision and at the expense of the chapter or region. Refusal to submit to such examination reasonably requested and provided may be considered during protest deliberations. Participants held by the Board of Directors to have violated the principles of fairness, sportsmanship and ethical conduct explicitly or implicitly included in the Tournament Rules may be declared ineligible to compete in present and future tournament events. Participants held by the Tournament Director to be in violation of the Tournament Rules shall be penalized as specified in the rules. When a penalty is not specified for a violator the Tournament Director and Board members have the discretion of determining what degree of penalty is appropriate for the violation.


Section 31:  Communication


During competition days of the tournament, a competitor may not use a cellular phone, a CB radio, a VHF marine band radio, or any other type of communication device for the purpose of locating or catching fish. Contestants are permitted to transmit by radio or telephone only in the event of an emergency. Violators will be disqualified for that day’s competition.



Section 32:  Premature Withdrawal From Tournament


Any team that leaves a B.A.S.S. Nation of Virginia Region sponsored tournament prior to notifying a tournament official will not be eligible to participate in any Region sponsored tournaments in the remaining year of the violation nor in the following calendar year. Those individuals may appear before the Board of Directors in order to appeal their suspension to present their reasons for leaving the tournament not later that the next board meeting after the occurrence. The regional director will notify the respective chapter officers of the violation.


Section 33: Multiple Tournaments During Tournament Hours


Fishing multiple tournaments during the same tournament hrs. shall not be allowed without prior approval of Tournament Director.  This will only be considered if the same launch ramp is used, both members agree to participate and the weight is recorded using B.A.S.S. Nation Region One scales certified by the Tournament Director of said tournament.  Under no circumstance shall this be allowed if the fish are put under any undue stress or potential harm so deemed by the Tournament director or Board member representative.


Section 34:  Declaration


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 competition day.


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CERTIFICATION: The above Tournament Rules were presented to the membership for adoption as part of the Constitution and By-Laws, in its entirety, by a majority vote. It supersedes all previously approved written or verbal policies.