Tournament Rules


Special Events and Team Classics may have different and or special rules.  
Please check with American Bass for rules for specific special events.

1)These rules are for American Bass “Team Tournaments”.  In addition to these rules, each contestant MUST READ, UNDERSTAND, AGREE TO, AND SIGN an annual American Bass Waiver (each season).  American Bass utilizes several forms of communication methods including websites, social media, emails and texting.  American Bass does not use standard mail to communicate rules or other program information.  It is the responsibility of each individual to obtain program information (including sponsor contingency programs), event information, rule information, etc. through the methods utilized by American Bass.  American Bass can always be reached by phone to update contact information or to verify current communication methods.  (714) 423-4532.  Failure to “agree to”  “Truth Verification” provisions stated in the Waiver may result in ineligibility to participate in American Bass events and loss of membership status with American bass.  Separate or additional rules may apply for “American Bass Team Opens”, “Special Events” or non-team tournaments.  It is the responsibility of each entrant to know these rules.  Ignorance of the rules is not a defense for violation of them.  Regional Tournament Directors shall apply penalties for rule infractions.  American Bass encourages all parties involved in a rules dispute to photograph and/or video the incident at the time of the dispute to assist in resolving the issue with tournament authorities.  Do not use zoom functions when taking photos involving encroachment.  Protests must be made in writing within 30 minutes of the official check-in time of the final flight at each tournament.  The person(s) submitting the protest must be present and willing to identify the offender(s) in a face to face situation at the time the director confronts the named offender(s).  The Regional Tournament Director may assess a penalty/disqualification without a written protest.  The results of any event where protests have been filed or penalties or disqualifications have be assessed shall be considered unofficial until a review of the incident has been conducted by the Head Tournament Director of American Bass.  This review shall be completed within 72 hours of the event.  The exception to this 72 hour limit is for “Truth Verification” testing (see Truth Verification rule for additional information).  In the event of “Truth Verification” testing the final decision on tournament results are pending the outcome of the test.  The decision of the Head Tournament Director shall be final in all matters.  Adjustments to the results/paybacks, if necessary, shall be made after the final decision.  American Bass uses this procedure to assure fair and consistent application of rules and penalties in all regions and matters.  Our objective is to offer you the fairest most consistent handling of any problem.  To avoid protests, if you suspect a possible infraction is about to take place – Alert the would-be offender and check the rules!  I agree to only register for events that are “open” registration or events I have qualified for.  It is mandatory to provide American Bass with complete and correct name, address and Social Security number information for tax purposes.  Providing incorrect and/or incomplete information is grounds for denial of membership and denial for participation in any/all events American Bass conducts.  American Bass Rules may be changed or modified at any time with a 14-day notice on American Bass Social Media. American Bass takes the rules for our events very serious and will try to not have exceptions to any rule. However, there may be individual exceptions to rules due to extreme circumstances, life & death situations, unsafe conditions. American Bass will evaluate any such incident.
COMPUTER GENERATED RESULTS – In the unlikely event of a computer failure at any event where the tournament director utilizes a computer to generate the results, the director may choose to give the basic tournament results and payments at the awards ceremony but hold any option payments until the computer problem is resolved.  All results will be completed within 72 hours of the event and all results will be posted on the American Bass web site.  All option winnings will be mailed within 72 hours.  This procedure is necessary to insure respect for all of the competitors time.  The possibility of a computer failure exists.  All directors keep back-up data that will assure proper payment.  However, manual checking of this data can be time consuming and would not be practical at the weigh-in site.
2)SPORTSMANSHIP – Any contestant who displays poor sportsmanship and/or misconduct and/or violates these rules and/or violates the state fishing laws or lake rules may be disqualified and/or excluded from membership in American Bass.  This includes conduct on and off the water including improper fishing techniques, illegal fishing techniques, misconduct in and around the host facilities for any event including hotels, casinos, retail establishments, etc.  Misconduct is a bad reflection on organized fishing and American Bass.  This also includes public speech and/or postings that are deemed detrimental to American Bass or its sponsors.  Misconduct may be deemed as an infraction of our sportsmanship rule and is grounds for disqualification from any event and/or exclusion from membership in American Bass.  Any angler who engages in improper or illegal fishing techniques, either during a competition or not, may be disqualified from any event and/or excluded from membership in American Bass.  American Bass shall make the determination as to any sportsmanship, improper fishing techniques and/or misconduct issue.  American Bass reserves the right to refuse and/or revoke membership in American Bass to anyone, at any time.  If American Bass Membership is revoked during a season, that angler loses their right to continue competing is any future events.  Qualification for any Special Event or Championship is dependent on the angler being a “member in good standing” on the date of that event.
3)PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY – Participation is open to all members of American Bass.  Membership in American Bass is open to everyone.  However, American Bass reserves the right to refuse membership and to refuse participation in American Bass events to anyone.  Any angler unwilling to provide accurate address and/or social security # information may be denied membership.  At least one (1) partner of each team shall be 18 years of age or older.   Those anglers under the age of 18 years must have written consent of parent or guardian.  No one under the age of 18 may fish alone without special provisions.  A “Team” consists of two anglers.  One member of a team may fish alone at any American Bass event, however, points will not be awarded if the other partner fishes the same event with a different partner.
4)BOAT/ENGINE REGULATIONS (TEAM TOURNAMENTS) – There is no minimum length or minimum horsepower requirements to compete in American Bass “Team Tournaments” or “American Bass Team Opens”.  No internal combustion engine is required.  Any propulsion must be created by a motor or engine that generates propulsion in the water.  No airboats or similar vessels may be used.  This restriction is to limit access to water not accessible by “conventional bass boat” style vessels.  Other American Bass tournaments will specify any specific requirements.  Horsepower shall not exceed the horsepower rating for that boat or the U.S. Coast Guard rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer.  Each boat must contain all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment.  Boats must contain a properly aerated or recirculating livewell to maintain alive a team limit catch of fish.  Ice chests with an aerator is acceptable upon approval of the tournament director.  Any vessel deemed “unsuitable” by a Regional Tournament Director will not be allowed to participate in that event.
American Bass is not responsible to track or in any way regulate boats used on waters with invasive species.  Lake, water district, state & local officials, etc. are solely responsible for determining launch eligibility of any tournament vessel.  If said officials allow or disallow a vessel to launch, American Bass will allow that vessel to participate.  Since the decision to allow or disallow a launch is not in the control of American Bass, American Bass will see this decision made by any governing agent as the final decision and will not allow any protest about that decision.
5)SAFETY – All boats must meet Coast Guard regulations.  Boat owners are required to have proper boat insurance that allows tournament participation.  Boat owners must carry a minimum of $300,000 single limit liability insurance.  Safe boating shall be observed at all times.  During competition, each contestant is required to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket anytime the combustion engine is in operation.  Anyone found operating a boat in an unsafe manner in the opinion of the Tournament Director may be disqualified.  All boats must be equipped with an emergency ignition shut-off device which must be securely attached to the drivers body whenever the combustion engine is in operation.  Any non-lanyard shut-off systems must be approved by the tournament director.  All boats 16 ft. must have a float cushion on board.  Each contestant is responsible to have proper safety equipment to meet state and local regulations.  It is not the responsibility of American Bass or any tournament sponsor to provide assistance in on-the-water repairs or rescues at any time.  Each contestant shall provide their own on-the-water assistance if needed.  American Bass and its sponsors are not responsible to assure that any contestant has returned at the end of any contest.  For safety, each contestant should inform another contestant as to the location(s) that they will be fishing and have that contestant check to assure that the other contestant has returned safely at the end of the contest and have a plan for assistance if needed.
6)PERMITTED FISHING METHODS AND TACKLE – All fish must be caught live in a conventional and sporting manner.  Trolling, also referred to as ripping / sweeping or jerking, is prohibited.  Cast and retrieve methods of ripping and jerking are legal.  Only artificial lures may be used with the exception of pork rind or deer hide.  No prepared or live bait may be used.  Chumming is prohibited.  Attractant products may be applied directly to a lure.  The intentional snagging of fish is strictly prohibited.  Landing nets are permitted in American Bass events.  Only one “rod and reel” may be used at a time.  Rods may not exceed nine (9) feet in length.  Number of hooks per lure and rules per rig will be restricted by each states regulations unless a lesser number is stated by the American Bass regional director.  Contact the Regional Director for details.
7)PERMITTED FISHING WATERS – Contestants may fish anywhere accessible by boat, except areas designated as “off limits” or “no fishing” by the tournament director, local, state or federal officials or the service area for any gas pump, operational or non-operational.  Marina’s may have additional areas off limits near gas docks due to fuel lines in the water.  All angling must be conducted from the boat.  At no time may a contestant leave the boat to land a fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters.  No contestants are permitted to leave their boat in an effort to propel or float their boat to fishing waters they could not otherwise reach, however, the use of push poles is permitted.  The boat must remain in the tournament waters during the tournament day.  Contestants must leave and return to the official check-in by boat.  Some events have “off-limits” periods preceding the event.  Special Events such as Team Opens and Team Classics may have specific rules governing Off-Limits times and/or conditions to the Off-Limits.  Each angler is responsible to comply with the Off-Limits rules for each event. Consult the schedule or call the Regional Director for details.
8)ENCROACHMENT – A “25 yard rule” is in effect at all times during competition.  No contestant’s boat may move within 25 yards of another contestant’s boat at any time for the purpose of fishing without the consent of all contestant’s involved.  A boat moving from one area to another may infringe upon this zone as long and the parties that are moving do not fish and do not intentionally disrupt the area.  Judging distance is very difficult on the water.  As a general rule of sportsmanship all anglers should give all others enough room to make a reasonable cast to fish an area.  Exception: In the case of fishing docks or piers, no contestant’s boat may “tie up,” or “protect” more than a single dock at one time regardless of the distance involved.
9)EQUIPMENT FAILURE OR EMERGENCY – In the event of equipment failure or emergency, contestants boat may be towed to the check-in.  If it is necessary to transfer fish to another boat, it must be another contestants boat.  At least one member of the team must accompany the fish to the weigh-in site.  
10)FISHING HOURS AND LATE PENALTY – Official fishing hours will be announced at tournament sign-up prior to each event.  All contestants must check in at the weigh-in site.  Contestants who are not at the official check-in area at the appointed time will be disqualified.  DON’T BE LATE!  No culling of fish in the host marina or weigh-in area.
11)LIVE FISH –  Contestants shall make every effort to keep all fish alive through the use of a properly aerated livewell.  American Bass strongly recommends the use of chemical additives in livewells.  .20 lbs will be deducted from the total weight for each dead fish presented for weigh-in.  Night tournaments, “special” events or any specific event or region, may have a different dead fish weight penalty.  The Regional Tournament Director or a designee will make all judgements of fish mortality.  Culling of dead fish is prohibited and may result in disqualification.
12)SCORING – Scoring will be determined by the total weight of each teams catch.  The limit shall be five (5) fish per two angler team, five (5) fish for an angler fishing alone.  (Some lake limits may be less count or other modifications)  Once a tournament limit has been reached, any angler landing an additional fish must stop fishing until a fish is culled to bring the number of fish on board to the tournament limit.  The partner may complete their cast during the culling process.  (Some lakes/regions/states may have a different regulation for this process.  Official regulations will take precedence.)  Teams presenting more fish than the stated tournament limit will lose their entire weight for that day.  Check for legal species at each event.  The official minimum length for bass shall be thirteen (13) inches unless otherwise stated at sign-up or if the lake limit is greater than thirteen (13) inches.  Bass will be measured laying down, mouth open / tail fanned, on a FLAT board.  The Regional Director will have the official board for measuring.  This is the only board that will be used in determining length.  (Some lakes may require different measuring techniques)  Bass presented for weigh-in which fail to measure the prescribed minimum length limit shall be removed from the catch and a penalty of one (1) pound will be deducted from the remaining weight.  Each team’s catch must be presented in an official weigh-in bag.  The official penalty for “dead fish” is .20 lbs per dead fish.  This penalty may vary by lake and/or region.  “Team Tournaments” will award 100 points for first place, 99 points for second place and so on.  All ties will be broken by the team weighing the heaviest bass at that event.  Ten (10) “Show-up” points will be awarded to each team in attendance at American Bass “Team Tournaments”.
  Team Definition:  A team may be one single angler or two anglers.  American Bass will assign a Team ID number to each team.  That team ID number will not change.  Any time an angler competes with a different partner, a new team ID number will be assigned.  There are no substitutions to team members.  Points are awarded to the team that participates at each event and cannot be transferred to a different team ID number.  The only exception is if an angler competes in an event by them self and requests that the points be transferred to a team that they are a member of.  To receive transfer credit, the partner must not be entered in that event with a different partner. Each team member must attend and compete in a minimum of two qualifying events during the season, representing the qualifying team, in order to be eligible for AOY and/or Team Classic qualification.  In order to qualify for any American Bass Team Classic, a team must meet the qualification criteria outlined in these rules.   
  Team Classic Qualification: A teams best 5 finishes in a single region will count towards their year-end final points total for that region.  All teams that enter in a minimum of 5 events during a single season, which may include designated “Special Events”, are qualified to compete in one American Bass Team Classics of that team’s choice at the end of that season.  All teams that enter in more than 5 events, using the same criteria, are qualified for all American Bass Team Classics at the end of the season.  Each event entered earns a team one (1) “Event Credit” toward Team Classic Qualification.  Teams must have a total event count of 5 event credits each season to qualify for 1 Team Classic each season, or 6 event credits each season to qualify for all Team Classics each season.  A team’s “worst” finish(s), including the “Show-up” points for that/those event(s) will be dropped for the final standings calculation in that region.  The best 5 finishes for each team in each region will be counted to determine the regional “Angler’s of the Year” title.  “Angler’s of the Year” info is provided below. Starting with the 2018 Season, a team may “buy-in” to a maximum of two events per season.  To “buy-in” to a tournament, a team shall pay a $250 basic entry fee (no options required).  This will give the team an entry into the event.  One basic entry fee will be added to the chosen event for payback to the field at that event.  The team shall receive the “participation” points only, and one event credit, for that event which will be added to their total points in that region and in the Traveler’s region if they are in Traveler’s.  The team must still qualify under the same qualifying criteria as all other teams.  If a multi-day event is awarding 2 Qualification Credits, a Buy-In to that event will only receive 1 Qualification Credit.
  Traveler’s Regions: A team will be automatically entered into Traveler’s when they compete in more than one American Bass Team Region during a tournament season.   Anglers competing in the American Bass Traveler’s region must compete in a minimum of 5 “Qualifier” events to qualify for one American Bass Team Classic.  Points will be accumulated by totaling the best 5 finishes with no more than 3 finishes counted in any one Region.   100 points will be awarded for first place with 10 or more teams competing in any event.  Only 90 points will be awarded for first place with 9 or less teams competing in any event.  Each event fished will count towards the 5 event minimum but the “points total” will be limited to only allow a maximum of 3 events from a single region.  Any team competing in more than 3 events on the same body of water for Traveler’s will receive points based on a 90 point scale for a 4th or 5th event on that same water.  This occurs when more than one region shares common waters.  All teams that have competed in a minimum of 5 events during a single season will qualify for one Team Classic.  In addition, any team that competes in 6 events in the Traveler’s region will qualify for all American Bass Team Classics that season year, regardless of their position in the final Traveler’s points standings.   The “Angler of the Year” title in Traveler’s will be awarded to the team that accumulates the most points from their best 5 finishes, no more than 3 in a single region (100 or 90 point criteria, as listed above, will be applied).  Some, but not all, American Bass “Special Events” award Traveler’s points.  Be sure to verify if a Special Event awarded Traveler’s Points if you are planning to count that event to qualify.  Additional information is available on 
  Multiple Team Classic Qualifications: Any team that enters 5 American Bass “Qualifier” events during a single season earns an invitation to one American Bass Team Classic that season.  The Team may choose the Team Classic they attend.  Any team that enters 6 or more American Bass “Qualifier” events during a single season earns an invitation to all American Bass Team Classic’s that season.
  Anglers of the Year: “Anglers of the Year” for each region will be determined by the team that has the most points based on their best 5 finishes in any one region. The team must compete in a minimum of 5 events in that region to be eligible for the “Anglers of the Year” title. If a team fishes more than 5 events in a region, their lowest finish(s), including the “Show-up” points for that event(s) will be dropped for the final standings calculation for “Anglers of the Year”. A minimum average of 10 boats throughout the season is required in any region to qualify for “Angler of the Year” awards. Ties in the “Anglers of the Year” final standings will result in the “splitting” of awards between the tied teams. Not all regions listed in the event schedule award “Anglers of the Year” awards at the end of the season, even if the average participation is greater that 10 boats. Many “Special” regions do not award “Anglers of the Year” awards. Call for specific details on these regions. The “Anglers of the Year” awards may change from year-to-year and have no replacement value.  “Category Anglers of the Year” teams may receive recognition awards.  No special Championship Event qualification is awarded for “Category Anglers of the Year”.
13)OFFICIAL BOATS – Officials may be on the water during tournament hours and can approach, photograph or observe any contestant’s boat.  Each contestant is requested to cooperate with all reasonable requests.
14)WAIVER AND RELEASE – Each contestant must sign an annual American Bass waiver / release form prior to entering their first event each year.
15)PRETOURNAMENT PRACTICE (PRE-FISHING) – Most regions allow pre-fishing on the tournament lake prior to each tournament.  However, some regions have restrictions for pre-fishing.  Check with the Regional Tournament Director for each event.  At no time during the “closed period” will contestants be permitted to “fly the lake” for the sake of scouting the waters.  No SCUBA diving or snorkeling will be permitted by contestants during the off-limits period or on any specified practice rounds or on any competition day.  Any tournament that is preceded by a major National holiday on the Monday prior to the event will allow pre-fish on that Monday.  Call American Bass for conformation on “legal” Monday pre-fish days.
16)ALCOHOL/DRUGS – Use of alcohol or drugs (other than drugs purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by and angler during competition could be subject to disciplinary action., including automatic disqualification.  No use of cannabis during competition is allowed, even if prescribed by a licensed physician.  No alcoholic beverages are allowed in any tournament boat.
17)BOAT INSPECTION – Boat inspection instructions will be given at the sign-up site.  Failure to obtain a sign-off at boat inspection may result in disqualification.
18)LOST WEIGH SLIP – The loss of a weigh slip during tournament hours may result in disqualification.  Check with the Regional Tournament Director at each event.
19)COOPERATION WITH MEDIA/PROMOTION – Within the framework of reasonable requests, all contestants in American Bass events will cooperate with media representatives covering said event.  Likewise, participation in the tournament grants American Bass the use of any pictures of contestants, accounts or interviews with contestants it gathers for the lawful promotion of American Bass and its tournament operations and sponsors.
20)TOURNAMENT PROTECTION RULE – Any act or inflammatory statement by any contestant that, in the opinion of the Tournament Authority, is detrimental to the operation of the tournament, damaging to organized bass fishing, to American Bass or any of its sponsors, or to permitting agencies or their officers (such as rangers, wardens, fishery biologists, tournament officials, etc.) during the practice round or tournament, may result in the temporary or permanent suspension from all future American Bass tournaments.  Disrespect and or defamation to American Bass as a company, any tournament staff member, or sponsors of American Bass, may result in immediate disqualification, or loss of membership privileges with American Bass.  This also includes public speech and/or postings during or not during events that are deemed detrimental to American Bass and/or its sponsors.  This includes the elimination of any and all points an individual may have accrued during an active season.
21)CITATIONS – A contestant cited by officers for violation of State or Federal fishing or boating regulations may be disqualified.
22)TRUTH VERIFICATION TESTING – All contestants, by virtue of their entry into any American Bass event, are subject to testing by any “Truth Verification” method by authority of the management of American Bass.  The cost of testing may be assessed to the challenger.  Failure to comply to taking or failure to pass a “truth verification” test, either at the tournament site or at any time after the tournament is concluded may result in forfeiture of any or all awards.  This may also affect your membership status with American Bass.  See the waiver for additional details.

If you have any questions,
CALL AMERICAN BASS (714) 423-4532