National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. Official Rules and Regulations:

Revised 01/01/2024

Anglers participating in National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. tournaments are expected to be familiar with all items before entering an event. The following rules are subject to change if a board of directors meeting is called and changes are voted due to safety or federal, state or local laws conflict. Rule additions and revisions will be public before the next event after the revision is incorporated. It is the Tournament Directors decision to make a change where safety or cancellation is concerned. The decision of the Tournament Director and Tournament Officials will be final in all matters. Any rule changes must be made by a majority of the Tournament Committee.


A. PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY:
1.All Adult anglers 16 years and older with a current membership and an on-file signed release waiver may participate in any National Bass Fishing Trail event in any district. No pre-registration is required. Once a 16- or 17-year-old has declared as an adult they may no longer fish in the Junior Division.
2. Junior Angler Division: Anyone 17 years or younger at the time of signing up for a membership may compete in the Junior Division for that calendar year. Junior anglers will fish with either a parent or approved angler and will compete against other junior anglers.  If a junior angler 16 and over wishes to join the adult division, they will no longer be eligible to compete in the junior division. Junior anglers are not allowed any assistance in the act of casting and landing their own fish other than the adult netting fish. Junior anglers are only allowed to operate the boat using the trolling motor if allowed by State regulations.  Parents/guardians are allowed to serve only as boat captains with permission of the district director and as a paid member of NBT. A signed Parental/Guardian waiver will be required for a junior to fish, this waiver must be signed every year. In addition, a Liability waiver must be on file with the National Bass Fishing Trail Inc.
3.The size of the tournament field is to be determined by the tournament director.
4.To participate in any National Bass Fishing Trail Inc event, you must attend the safety meeting and be a part of the tournament launch, unless otherwise approved by the tournament director.
5.For an adult to be eligible for any District Championship you must fish 3 Qualifier tournaments. These Qualifiers may be fishing in any district. In order for a junior to be eligible for a District Championship they must fish in two Qualifier tournaments.
6.For an adult to be eligible to fish the Annual National Championship an Adult must fish in 3 Qualifier tournaments and a District Championship. For a junior to be eligible they must fish in two Qualifier tournaments and a District Championship.
7. A. Non-boaters will be allowed at the discretion of the tournament/district director.  There will not be a non-boater draw. Family members are allowed to be non-boaters at any NBT tournament. Family members are defined as spouse, parent/child, siblings, grandparent. All other non-boater options should contact the director prior to the tournament day for approval.
8. Maximum number of anglers per boat is 3, at least 1 must be a Junior Angler.
9. Professional Guides are prohibited from competing in any National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. Tournament. It is the discretion of the tournament director as to what will constitute a Professional guide.


B. MEMBERSHIP:
1.The membership fee is $20 per adult, $15 per Junior, per tournament season. Additionally, a 3-year adult membership can be obtained for $55, and an Adult lifetime membership for $200. If membership is not paid in full and current before fishing in a National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. tournament you may be disqualified from the tournament and 0 points will be awarded.
 2. In addition to the membership fee a release waiver is required. Once the membership application/release waiver, and membership fee are obtained by the Secretary of the National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. a membership card will be issued. This card can be used as proof of membership and may be asked for at National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. tournaments.


C. ENTRY FEES:
1.Entry fees for Adults in a National Bass Fishing Trail Inc One Day Qualifying tournament are $60 per adult, includes $5 big bass pot, and $20 per junior, includes $5 big bass pot.
2.Entry fees for Adults in a National Bass Fishing Trail Inc Two Day District Championship tournament are $120 per adult, includes $5 daily big bass pot, and $40 per junior, includes $5 daily big bass pot.
3.Entry fees for Adults in a National Bass Fishing Trail Inc National Championship tournament are $180 per adult, and $60 per junior.  1st place payout at the National Championship is based on yearly escrow.


D. DISTRICT REQUIREMENTS: Each District Director must host as least 6 Qualifier tournaments and one District Championship annually. Directors are responsible for the administration of these tournaments but are allowed to use other members for assistance.


E. CHECK-IN and OFFICIAL CHECKPOINTS:
1.Blast off procedures in qualifying tournaments will be determined by the tournament director. Contact your local tournament director for check-in sites, dates, and times. Membership cards must be shown at the tournament site if requested, or the angler may be disqualified.
2. Failure to follow check-in procedures pre and post tournament could result in disqualification. 3. In the event of an early or emergency check-in, anglers must contact the tournament director or member of tournament staff for the proper procedures, including the possibility of allowing daily catch to move to another boat.
4.A angler will be penalized 1 pound per minute late at weigh-in. After 15 minutes an angler is automatically disqualified.


F. TOURNAMENT HOURS AND PRACTICE RESTRICTIONS:
1.Tournament hours will be set by your Tournament Director. All anglers must check in with tournament directors prior to pre-tournament briefing, must sign in and receive a boat number before blast off. Anglers also must check-in at weigh-in time or notify the Tournament Director that you are off the water if you leave early. Failure to follow these procedures may result in disqualification and/or being banned from future events.
2. All tournament waters are off limits from sunset the day before until the official tournament launch. No angler may be on the water fishing during this time.
3.The off-limits times and areas of the National Championship will be determined by the board and made public in the official tournament registration form.


G. SPORTSMANSHIP:
1.All contestants are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation.
2.Alcohol, cannabis consumption, or illicit drug use during tournament hours shall be cause for automatic disqualification.
3.Anglers receiving three (3) sportsmanship protests may be suspended from the National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. Tournaments for one calendar year.
4.Flagrant sportsmanship violations will be permanent disqualification.
5.Any contestants' conduct reflecting unfavorable upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with tournament rules are grounds for disqualification and/or rejection of any future participation.
6.Any contestant found intentionally deceiving this or any other sport fishing organization will be banned from participation.


H. SAFETY:
1.Safe boating must be always observed.
2.All boats must have the appropriate Coast Guard approved safety devices as required by law. 3.Each contestant is required to wear a chest type life preserver anytime the boat is operated under engine power.
4. Maximum horsepower for all outboards used in tournament competition not to exceed the horsepower limitations as set by the U.S. Coast Guard. Each boat must have an U.S. Coast Guard horsepower rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer.
5.Officials reserve the right to refuse any rig, which is extremely overpowered or deemed dangerous.
6. All boats must be equipped with an emergency kill-switch device securely attached to the driver's body whenever the boat is operated under engine power.
7. All boats must be a minimum of 14 ft in length and have a 20 Hp motor.
8.Boats must contain a properly aerated live well space to keep alive, a limit catch by all contestants occupying the boat.
9.Fuel may be carried only in the U.S. Coast Guard approved mounted or secured fuel tanks.


I.  PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS:
1.You must fish water that is available to everyone.
2. Boats must remain in the water during tournament hours, and only removed at tournament launch location. Exceptions may be made if a medical or mechanical issue arises, and then the boat and trailer may not leave the parking lot at the official launch site. At any time if the boat leaves the parking lot of the tournament site or leaves the water at other ramps, the angler or anglers will be disqualified unless otherwise approved by the tournament director.
3.No fishing within 50 yards of a marine gas pump or 50 yards of another competitor's boat first anchored down unless agreement between the competitors.
4. No Locking through Dams unless authorized by Tournament Director and announced as tournament waters.


J. POINT SYSTEM:
1.All tournaments are scored in pounds and hundredths of pounds with points awarded for the place of finish.
2. Qualifying Tournaments are worth a total of 200 points each. There is a two-point difference between places of finish for anglers weighing in fish, anglers that do not weigh-in fish will receive 50 points.
3.District Championships are worth 400 Points each. There is a four-point deduction between places of finish for anglers weighing in fish; anglers that do not weigh-in fish will receive 100 points.
4.The National Championship is worth 600 Points and there is a five point deduction between places of finish for anglers weighing in fish, anglers that do not weigh-in fish will receive 150 points.
5.To get full points for a tournament there must be a field of 10 Adults for the Adult division and 5 Juniors for the Junior division. There will be a single place deduction per entry below these numbers for first place decreasing from there. Example: A qualifier tournament with 8 adults will be worth 196 for first place and 194 for second, etc.
6.An angler's national point standing will be determined from their top 4 qualifier results in any NBT district, their top District Championship result and the National Championship result with Angler of the Year honors going to the angler with the most points in each division

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K. SCORING:
1.Only Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass will be weighed.
2. The official length will comply with state rules and regulations. The Director of each district will announce the lake size/length of each tournament. Any angler weighing in a short fish will be penalized the loss of the short fish and 1 pound of remaining weight.
3. The official tournament bag limit will be 5 fish unless state regulations say otherwise. If an angler has more than the bag limit in their possession, fish will be removed starting with the largest and moving down until the bag limit is reached. The tournament director will have the right to adjust the daily limit due to high water temperatures during summer months. (ex. 3)
4.Fish will be measured on a golden rule board with mouth closed and tail fanned.
5.Angler with fish that appears to be altered will be disqualified.
6.Tournament director will have the Official measuring board.
7.Your fish must remain in your possession from catch to weigh-in.
8.Dead fish penalty is .25 lb per fish.
9. Fish become property of NBT and are to be released by anglers after they are weighed in.  Trophy fish may only be kept with the approval of the tournament director.


L: CATCH AND RELEASE
1. Culling is allowed if permitted by state regulation.
2. You must cull immediately upon catching your 6th fish (or corresponding number if the tournament bag limit is below 5) so that at no time do you violate the tournament bag limit.
3. The culling of Dead Fish is prohibited.


M. TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT:
1.Only artificial lures except for pork trailers may be used.
2.Only one rod may be presented and in the water at one time.
3.All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner.
4.Use of a landing net is permitted
5.Fish may only be caught and landed from a boat.


N. TIES:
1.In case of a tie, positions shall be resolved by equal points for that position, and the next position or positions skipped. Awards for the tied position and the next following position shall be combined and divided equally between tied contestants.
2.Should two contestants tie for first place for the National Championship or Angler of the year, the tournament director may decide to break first place ties with a fish off.


O. PROTESTS
1. Any angler wishing to protest the actions or scoring of another angler must do so in writing 30 minutes before or after their scheduled weigh-in time. The tournament director and/or NBT will then decide any protests, rules interpretation or misconduct and take appropriate action.
2. The tournament director may form a committee of anglers to review any protest and determine the outcome based on the interest of NBT and fair competition. All major violations of NBT rules will result in disqualification as listed in these rules.  Other violations deemed minor by the director or said committee will result in a penalty of: lbs or time. (Minor Penalties 1lb. penalty)


P. POLYGRAPH EXAMS:
At the director's option, any contestant shall receive a polygraph exam for any tournament. In the event any contestant does not successfully complete the polygraph exam, he/she may be disqualified and forfeit all winnings and points, and/or he/she may be prohibited from further competition.


Q. LIABILITY:
1.Liability insurance is required in a minimum of $100,000.00 per accident of all contestants utilizing their boats while fishing any National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. Tournament.
2. It is to the discretion of the tournament director and the NBT board that proof of insurance be requested at the first tournament, and a copy of policy must be always kept in the boat.

R. PAYBACK INFORMATION
80% at the ramp
10% to National Championship Escrow
10% to NBT and Directors
100% Junior payback at the ramp



National Bass Fishing Trail Contact Board of Directors