New Jersey BASS Nation Tournament Rules
NJ B.A.S.S. Nation
Official Tournament Rules
The following rules shall apply to all NJBN tournament events. These rules may differ
for special (team, STQ) events and participants will be notified of such change. These
rules may be changed by the Tournament Director before an event. If such change must
be implemented, prior notice will be delivered at one prior membership meeting and
posted on the website (njbassnation.org). Interpretation and enforcement of these rules
shall be left exclusively to the Tournament Director (or his designee). In the event of a
rules violation, the Tournament Director may impose such sanctions as he deems
appropriate, including, without limitation, disqualification, forfeit of entry, forfeit of
prizes and prohibition of participation into future NJBN tournament events. The
decision of the Tournament Director shall be final on all matters. Rules violation must
be reported to the Tournament Director at least 15 minutes after the final fish are
weighed. There will be an official form for filling a protest available at each event for
anglers wishing to do so.
A. PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY:
(1). A NJBN tournament is open to all current members (in good standings) of the
NJBN who are 16 years or older. Proof of age must be sent to the Tournament Director
prior to the event being entered. Any candidate for competition, who in the judgment of
the tournament staff, is disabled in such a manner to unfairly hinder his partner or
cause an unsafe boating or fishing situation, shall not be eligible to participate.
(2). During the “Official Practice Period” and competition days of a NJBN tournament,
NO competitor may operate a boat unless that contestant has documented proof of a
minimum of $300,000 boating liability coverage for the boat being used in the
tournament. Proof of insurance must be on hand at all events. Random checks will be
conducted and any competitor that does not produce proof of insurance may be
disqualified. A copy of your boater’s insurance as well as a current boater’s safety
certificate must be sent in by the entry deadline of tournament #1. If your proof of
insurance is not received by that date and time, you will not be eligible to fish.
(3). A properly completed and signed entry form and entry fee must be received by the
Tournament Director BEFORE 11:59 pm of the posted deadline date. The accepted
method of payment will be electronically (credit, debit, PayPal) via the website, or some
form of check (personal, bank, M.O.). No cash will ever be accepted.
If entering by check, it must be in the delivered mail of the Tournament Director the day
of the posted deadline. There will be no postmark dates or postmarked checks allowed.
If payment is not received by 11:59pm on the deadline day, contestant will not be eligible
to fish. Once the partner draw is completed, THERE WILL BE NO REFUNDS. Refunds
will only be given out prior to the tournament draw, and notification of such refund
request must be given in advance of the pairings.
B. PRACTICE AND COMPETITION
(1). Prior to regular season points events, the Tournament Director will post a map
depicting areas to be deemed “OFF LIMITS”. It will appear on the website with the
posted pairings, available at the tournament briefing, and in the morning handout.
Contestants will be disqualified if found to be fishing in these areas.
(2). During the tournament and any official practice days, a competitor may not have
the assistance of anyone for the purpose of locating or catching bass. The competitor
may not enter the tournament waters with anyone who has been on the tournament
waters during the off-limits period including but not limited to, a professional guide,
state or federal wildlife agency employee, or any other person deemed an “expert” on
these tournament waters by the Tournament Director, unless they are a registered
competitor in the tournament.
(3). No competitor may buy or barter a fishing location from any other competitor for
use during any competition day.
(4), During the official competition days of the tournament, a competitor may not use a
CB radio, a VHF marine band radio, a cell phone, or any other type of communication
device for the purpose of locating or catching fish. Competitors are permitted to
transmit by cell phone or radio only in the event of an emergency. If so equipped,
competitor may listen to the marine band weather information.
(5). A designated tournament official must be granted access into a competitor’s boat at
any time during the official practice or tournament days. Failure to grant such access
may result in immediate disqualification.
(6). Each competitor agrees to report to the Tournament Director any violation or
infraction of any tournament rule. Failure to report violations, or false verification of
weigh in forms will be cause for disqualification.
(1). Each competitor must register by the time and place listed on the tournament
schedule posting. Failure to register by the deadline posted by the Tournament Director
will result in the contestant not be eligible to participate in the tournament. Deadline
will not be altered or extended for any reason. In the event of a tournament cancellation,
competitors may request a refund, or have the entry transferred to the next tournament
or the rescheduled event.
(2). NJBN points tournament trail are a pro-am format. Boaters fish against boaters and
riders fish against riders. The non boater can only come to the front of the boat for the
purpose of landing a fish or to run the trolling motor to avoid a non safe boating
(3) . In the event that there are more non boaters registered than boaters, the non
boaters who entered last will be turned away in chronological order. Any boater who is
drawn with no partner, will not be allowed to fish alone AGAIN during the season, until
all competitors have had that same solo opportunity. The exception will be tournament
officials. A registered non boater may switch to the boater division for an upcoming
tournament, but must report such action prior to the official practice days, but must pay
the balance of the tournament fees, before practice starts.
(3). Any competitor who registered in a respected boater or non boater division must
compete there for the entire season. If there is a reason for a competitor to switch to
another division, his or her points will be taken from the division he or she fished the
majority of tournaments in. The points from the departing division will be forfeited.
(1). Safe boating conduct must be observed at all times by all competitors. During the
official practice and tournament days, each competitor must wear a Coast Guard
approves chest type life preserver. The preserver must be worn any time the combustion
engine is running. The preserver must be snapped, strapped and zipped securely and
maintained in that position until the gas motor has been shut off. Violation of this rule
will result in immediate disqualification of the person sited for the infraction.
(2). Tournament officials reserve the right to delay, shorten or cancel the official start of
a tournament day because of weather or any other factor that would endanger the safety
of any competitor. Tournament waters may also be altered due to bad weather or unsafe
(3). The Tournament committee may also alter the speed limit on any body of water due
to unexpected conditions. Failure to adhere to such alteration will be grounds for
immediate disqualification for both Boater and Rider.
(4) Any summons given to a competitor by a state or municipal officer for any
infraction, including speed, no wake, reckless driving, Private property etc. will be
grounds for immediate disqualification for the Boater. Additionally, any summons given from a Fish and Game warden for any reason, (except license infractions)will result in
immediate disqualification for both contestants. If a contestant receives a Fish and
Game summons and fails to report such infractions, both contestants will be disqualified
when and if the infraction becomes public knowledge.
(5). In the event of an emergency situation, the contestants must first call 911, then
contact the Tournament Director. Competitors are allowed to leave the boat and seek
shelter or safety when danger is immanent.
(1). All contestants in a NJBN tournament are expected to follow a high standard of
sportsmanship, safety, courtesy and conservation. Any infraction of theses fundamental
sporting principles may be cause for disqualification.
(2). Use of Alcohol or illegal drugs ( except for prescription or over the counter drugs)
by any competitor during the official practice or during the tournament will not be
tolerated and shall be cause for immediate disqualification from said event and any
future NJBN sponsored tournaments. No alcoholic beverages or other stimulants or
depressants, prescription or otherwise, shall be allowed in the boats of any contestants,
during official practice or tournament days, or in the weigh in area.
(3). Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating
and angling in the vicinity of a non-competitors boat who may be on the tournament
(4). All competitors are bound by the prevailing statues and regulations of the various
states within they are fishing.
(5). Conviction of a felony or other crimes involving moral turpitude, substance abuse
or addiction or other conduct which may place any member of the NJBN in harm’s way,
may not be allowed to enter a NJBN tournament.
F. TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT:
(1). Only artificial baits may be used. No “live bait” or “prepared baits” will be permitted
during official practice or tournament days. Pork rind or Pork strips are permitted.
Only ONE (1) casting, spin casting, or spinning rod and reel (10 ft maximum length from
butt of handle to tip) may only be used at any one time. All bass must be caught live and
in a conventional sporting manner. Any contestant guilty of snagging or snatching
visible fish will have his or her catch disqualified. When a contestant is visibly fishing for
bedding bass, all bass must be hooked inside the mouth, and witnessed by your partner
before said fish is unhooked to be counted as a legal catch. See B.A.S.S. rules regarding
A-rig type baits. Their use is prohibited. The use of a gripper in landing a bass is not
G. HORSEPOWER REGULATIONS:
(1). The maximum horsepower allowed on all boats during official practice and
tournament days shall be 250 HP. Horsepower cannot exceed the limitation set by the
U.S. Coast Guard. Each boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard horsepower rating plate
attached to the boat by the manufacturer. The horsepower on the boat must not exceed
the Coast Guard rating plate nor the horsepower limits set by the NJBN. If, for any
reason, a competitor alters the horsepower of the outboard motor other than factory
settings, such competitor may be subject to disqualification. Posted speed limits must be
observed and all boats must be operated in a safe manner.
H. BOAT AND MOTOR:
(1). For the safety of all competitors, ALL BOATS MUST BE EQUIPPED WITH AN
APPROVED TYPE OF OPERABLE IGNITION KILL SWITCH. The ignition kill switch
device must be attached to the driver’s body any time the gas engine is running. Any
time the gas motor is running and in gear, there must be a driver in the driver’s seat and
in full control of the boat. Only boats measuring 16ft or larger can be used for official
practice and tournament days. Standing on the outboard or seats while fishing is not
allowed. An electric motor may be used for slow maneuvering, however trolling as a
method of fishing is prohibited. All bladder tanks or any other tank that is not installed
by the boat manufacturer is not allowed. Boats that do not have a factory installed gas
tank are restricted to 18 gallons of gasoline in tanks that meet U.S. Coast Guard
regulations. Gas tanks must be properly secured or strapped in a boat.
I. BASIC BOAT EQUPMENT:
(1). Every boat must have all required Coast Guard safety equipment as well as a
functioning bilge pump and Livewell space, properly aerated, to adequately hold two live
limits of fish. NJBN recommends live wells be maintained at full levels and aerators on
manual mode. The tournament committee will determine whether a boats livewell meet
such criteria. Boaters must have a back seat available for non-boaters for each
J: BOAT IDENTIFICATION:
(1). When a contestant arrives to the launch site, a NJBN tournament official will inspect
the boat for any unsafe conditions. Live well doors must be open, so the official can
inspect the size and condition if the livewell and confirm that no fish are present.
(2). Each day, a contestant’s boat will be given a key fob with the boats official
tournament number on it. The number must be kept with the boat all tournament day
and returned to the check in boat at the contestant’s designated return time.
K. BOAT OPERATION AND EXPENSES:
(1). All NJBN points tournaments are boater , non-boater fishing tournaments. Boaters
fish from the front deck and non boaters fish from the back deck. Non boaters are only
allowed to drive the boat in emergency situations, with the exception of loading or
unloading the boat at the launch ramp. Any boater who operates the boat in such a
manner to unfairly handicap the non – boater, shall be subject to disqualification. At no
time will a boater tell a non boater not to fish. In view of the large expense involved in
operating a tournament boat, it is suggested by the NJBN, that all tournament day
expenses be split by the two competitors.
L. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS:
(1). Tournament waters shall be determined by the Tournament Director for each
tournament. Each competitor must be responsible to obtain such information from the
NJBN tournament committee. Any water within these boundaries posted “OFF LIMITS”
or “NO FISHING” by state or federal agencies as well as the release area established by
the Tournament Director, will be OFF –LIMITS. Such areas will be posted on the NJBN
website, announced at the pre tournament briefing, and contained in the tournament
morning handout. Only waters open to ALL public fishing will be considered
tournament waters. All angling must be done from the contestant’s boat. No anglers
must leave the boat to land a fish. Such a fish landing is an illegal catch and cannot be
(2). Competitors must not leave the boat. During the tournament day, competitors may
not leave the boat to land a fish or to make the boat more accessible to other fishing
waters. Boats must remain in the official tournament waters during the tournament day.
Competitors must leave from and return to the official checkpoints by boat. In case of an
emergency, contestants can be removed from the boat by either a boat operated by
another competitor or by a rescue boat approved by the Tournament Director.
Tournament boat partners must remain together at all times. Partners must stay within
sight of each other for the duration of the tournament for their catch to be legal. In the
event of a bathroom break, when a contestant leaves the boat, all fishing must stop until
the two partners are back together in the boat. If a boating emergency should arise and
the boat goes back to the dock or is taken out of the water, all fishing must stop and their
catch must be verified by a tournament official, to be counted as legal. If enough time
remains in the tournament after the emergency is taken care of, the anglers can resume
fishing and allowed to fill their limit, if they did not have a limit at time of emergency.
Towing boats on their trailers to additional tournament waters is prohibited, except as
per the direction of the Tournament Director.
M. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT:
(1). There shall be only one (1) official take off point and one official check in point as
determined by the Tournament Director. Official points will be chosen and reported to all tournament anglers via the NJBN website, tournament briefing and morning
handouts. At time of “take off “all competitor and their boats must be in full compliance
to all tournament rules set forth by the official Tournament rules. All competitors must
align themselves in designated number order, with running lights on and livewell doors
open and pumps running. As they pass the start boat they will receive a numbered key
fob. After passing the start boat by 25 yards, the boater must demonstrate the kill switch
to his partner. At check -in, all boats must identify themselves by boat number and
return the key fob back into NJBN possession. At this point, the competitor’s
tournament day has ended. Each tournament may have a different procedure, and all
contestants will be notified of any changes to the normal. ALL BOATS MUST BE IN
THE WATER AND READY FOR TAKE OFF 15 MINUTES PRIOR TO THE OFFICIAL
START TIME. There will be no waiting for a competitor, if he or she is not in their
number slot in line. If you are not ready to start, you will go to the back of the line.
(1). Tournament winners and angler’s standings shall be determined by the pound and
ounce weight of each competitor catch during the competition days of the tournament.
Only Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are eligible to be weighed. All contestants must
request to have their big fish weighed in the event there is a tie in weight. There shall be
a five (5) fish limit of Largemouth or Smallmouth or the combination of both species,
unless stated other by the Tournament Director. At no time must a competitor have
more than the legal Tournament limit in his possession, except at the time of a cull. At
no time shall there be more than five (5) fish in the competitors livewell. CULLING OF
DEAD FISH IS ILLEGAL. The tournament committee can conduct random checks
throughout the tournament day. If a competitor has more than the legal limit, the angler
must cull down to the legal limit, starting with the largest fish first. If an angler comes
to the scales with more than the legal limit in his tournament bag, their limit will be
culled down, starting with the largest fish first. There shall be no culling down to
another competitor. All legal bass weighed must be caught by the angler who is weighing
the fish in. The size limit (official length) of fish will be determined by the Tournament
Director and reported to all Anglers via the three outlets, website, tournament briefing
and handout. Fish shall be measured on the official NJBN rulers. A courtesy board will
be available for an angler to measure his fish before coming to the official scale ruler. All
Bass must measure the legal limit set forth for each tournament, by keeping the mouth
closed, and the tail fanned or waved to reach the legal limit. Tail will not be squeezed or
any way altered as to contort the fish to anything but it’s natural state. After the angler
decides if his fish is legal or not, and he hands off his catch to a tournament official, his
catch becomes the property of the NJBN. If any bass fails to measure the official
tournament length, a one (1) pound penalty will be assessed to each fish that does not
reach the legal limit. The total amount of the penalty will be deducted from the total
weight of the competitor’s daily catch. Once a competitor leaves his boat with his catch,
he or she must proceed directly to the weigh in. The competitor cannot return into his or
her designated boat or any other competitor’s boat. After the competitor’s catch has
been weighed and recorded, bass must be immediately released and the angler cannotreturn to his boat with any fish. If any angler does not immediately return his days catch
(minus picture opportunities), they may be subject to disqualification and their catch
erased. During the course of the tournament day, if a bass has expired, it cannot be
released back into the water, and must be taken to the scales to be weighed in. NO
CULLING OF DEAD FISH. A penalty of .25 pounds will be given for one (1) dead fish. A
penalty of .75 pounds will be given for two (2) dead fish, 1.5 pounds for three (3) dead
fish, 2.5 pounds for four (4) dead fish and 3.75 pounds for five (5) dead fish. Keep your
(1). Point will be awarded to NJBN contestants in the boater and non-boater divisions
for their respected finish in the tournament that they have just participated in. 200
points will be given for a first place finish, 199 points for a second place finish, 198 for a
third place finish and each remaining position will receive one less point for each spot.
Anglers who do not have a legal Bass for weigh in will be awarded show up points in the
amount of one less point than the final competitor who had a legal bass scored. Only
anglers who are members in good standing are eligible to fish in a NJBN event.
P. LATE PENALTY:
(1) Competitors who fail to return the official check in point before their designated time
shall be penalized at the rate of one (1) pound per minute. This penalty will be deducted
from his total tournament days catch, and will be deducted directly from any “big fish”
weight. Any competitor that is more than fifteen (15) minutes late shall lose all credit for
that days catch. There will be no excuses for tardiness, and in no case shall a competitor
make up lost time. After proper recognition at the check point, there will be ample time
giver for a competitor to proceed to the weigh in scale. However, after check in, all
fishing must stop. Weigh-in will start approximately one half hour after the end of the
first flight check in, unless otherwise noted by the Tournament Director. The official
flight time, start and finish, will be posted on the website, stated at the tournament
briefing, and highlighted in the morning handout. It is the competitor’s responsibility to
confirm the daily check in time that corresponds with his or her boat number for each
day of any tournament.
(1) Payouts will be based on the number of boats entered and the percentage of the
amount paid back will be 80% (minus tournament expenses) of that field. The
baseline entry will be a 50 boat field. If such a field is reached, then the top 4
boaters and top 4 riders will be awarded prizes. If 60 boats enter, then 5 spots
will be paid, if 70 boats enter then ,6 spots will be paid. The NJBN will round to
the higher payback as the field moves to the next plateau. Example: If 55 boats
enter, the NJBN will pay 5 spots and so on. Monies collected for each division will
be paid out to that division. Lunker for the boater side will be 10% of the boater’s
entry fees, and lunker for the rider side will be 10% of all rider entry feescollected. That 10% collection will be paid at 100% to each division. Before
receiving any prize money, competitors must provide your social security
number, boaters safety certificate, and a valid B.A.S.S. membership card.
R. PAIRING OF COMPETITORS:
(1). Two competitors will be paired in each boat, unless otherwise instructed by the
Tournament Director. The partner draw will be posted on the website, and will be
included in the morning handout. It will be the responsibility of all competitors to
retrieve your partners name and make contact with that person. It will also be the
responsibility of all contestants to have a meeting plan in the morning before the boat
launch period. It is NOT the responsibility of the Tournament Director to find a missing
partner for a contestant.
(1). In the event of a tie (same exact weight), the angler with the heaviest one (1) Bass
will be the top angler. If a tie still exists, then an absolute tie will be the outcome. Points
will given to both anglers at the highest level and the sum of the two place prize money
will be split evenly. If the tie outcome is with a money and non-money place, then the
money for that higher place will be split evenly.
T. WAIVER AND RELEASE:
(1). As a condition of participation in each tournament, each competitor must execute a
waiver and release of liability, complete application and a name and likeness release.
(1). Any competitor who feels they have witnessed an infraction of any tournament rule
and if any rider feels that his or her fishing opportunity has been comprised they may
submit a protest. There will be a protest form available at the weigh in trailer for any
angler who wishes to file one. The protest will then comply with the following actions:
a. The person wishing to file a protest should immediately notify the Tournament
Director upon arrival to the weigh in site. The protest must be submitted within 15
minutes of the official end of the weigh in procedure.
b. The tournament Director will then make a determination as to the validity of the
c. All such valid protests shall then be considered. The Tournament Director, after
consultation with the Board of Directors, shall determine a possible action. If a
conclusion cannot be reached for any set of circumstances, the protested angler shall not
receive any prize money or points until the matter is resolved.
d. The use of Polygraph test will be made available and put to use if deemed necessary.
The protester shall be responsible for the cost of the test if the result of the tested person
THE DECISION OF THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR SHALL BE FINAL IN ALL