River Bassin Tournament Trail 2015 - Rules

Series Sponsors

Check out our Virtual Captain's Meeting to learn more about the trail. This must be viewed at least once by all anglers this season. CLICK HERE.



Anglers are responsible for following all rules below but if you would like to jump straight to the Bass Measuring Rules, CLICK HERE.



1. THE COMMON SENSE RULE: This whole trail is about getting river bassers out there to compete and have fun! Therefore, if anything in these rules needs to be changed to ensure the safety of participants, or the betterment of all anglers then we're going to change them at any given point in the trail, so long as it keeps the playing field fair and balanced. In this unique tournament format there could be unforeseen situations that may arise but participants will be informed of any changes on this site and on the Facebook page.



2. WHO CAN ENTER THIS THING?: Its simple, any man, woman or child (we call them young river bassers, and for future references in this document the term young river basser or child refers to a child 16 yrs and younger). See section 20, SPECIAL RULES FOR YOUNG RIVER BASSERS. There are three divisions of river bassers.



3. THE DIVISIONS: We wanted to make this a trail for everyone so we have a division that should work for you.


  • INDIVIDUAL RIVER BASSER DIVISION: In this division anglers compete as individuals for the title at each stop and earn "series points" in that division as well. If an angler competes in at least 3 stops they will qualify for the River Basser of the Year fish-off at the finale in Caney Fork, TN where they will have a chance to win the 2015 grand prize of $10,000 cash and become the River Basser of the Year! Anglers can compete simultaneously (and get a discount) in both the Individual River Basser Division and the Team River Basser Division, which is explained below. Young River Bassers 16 years and under will also be recognized with separate prizes, but will also be included in the Individual River Basser Division, giving them the option to take down their more seasoned competitors, so watch out! The top female participants will also be recognized at each event and eligible for Series Points at each event and of course in contention for River Basser of the Year.


  • TEAM RIVER BASSER DIVISION – This two-person team division is to help promote camaraderie among participants which shows what this past-time is all about – getting on the water with friends to have a good time! The way the division is scored is simply a combination of the two angler's 3-fish virtual stringers; 6 fish total. However, no more than 3 fish per angler may be contributed to their team's virtual stringer! Anglers don't have to fish together, but it is encouraged that they do. In 2015, the winning team will split a cash prize of $1,000 cash at each Regional and Super Regional Stop (See Section 4).

  • If two anglers stay together as a team and fish at least 3 stops they will qualify for the River Basser Team of the Year award, in which anglers will split a grand prize of $5,000 cash at the finale in Caney Fork, TN! The award is determined in the same way as the River Basser of The Year award, where points are awarded for top finishes, and they add up in the RBTOY standings/rankings. All teams will consist of two anglers and there will be no alternates on a team but an angler may fish on more than one team during the season. If an angler is on more than one team that qualifies for River Basser Team of the Year, he or she will need to choose the team which will be represented at the finale.


  • YOUNG RIVER BASSER DIVISION – This individual division is designed to help bring Young River Bassers into the sport. Young River Bassers can also participate as part of a team in the Team River Basser division. If a Young River Basser fishes at least 3 stops, he or she will qualify for the 2015 grand prize which is a guided one-on-one fishing trip with Drew Gregory but they'll need to remain in the top spot after the finale in Caney Fork, TN.




  • Local Stops: There are more of these stops and they're usually a little smaller than Regional Stops, but are more affordable, family friendly and laid back. Keeping with this goal, many of the Local Stops will also designate a lake to be "within bounds" for those who are not familiar with or intimidated by fishing moving water. These will also serve as a safe option for anglers should conditions on local rivers and streams be unfishable. Be sure to look out for Local Stops who have elected to offer a raffle kayak! Perfect for the beginner and also perfect for the more serious River Basser because they get "Series Points" at these stops as well. Unless stated otherwise, Local Stops may be fished on moving water that is in bounds based on either on a 60 minute driving radius or map if it exists for that event.


  • Regional Stops: At least one of the River Bassin crew will show up to the MC these events and put on a little bigger show. There are larger prizes and an opportunity for extra Series Points because Regional Stops carry a higher point total since they typically have a larger field of anglers. Each Regional Stop will offer a raffle kayak and each angler will receive 3 tickets for a chance to win. Unless stated otherwise, Regional Stops may be fished on moving water that is in bounds based on either on a 90 minute driving radius or map if it exists for that event.


  • Super Regional: These are for hosts that have hosted an event before and want to go over and above the requirements for holdng a Regional Stop by providing additional cash and an upgraded raffle kayak for which anglers will still receive 3 tickets each. Unless stated otherwise, Super Regional Stops may be fished on moving water that is in bounds based on either on a 90 minute driving radius or map if it exists for that event.


  • Joint Event: We're always looking to partner with not only hosts but local clubs as well. We realize that many of the kayak fishing communities which are alive and well today started right here so we're working with several other tournament directors to execute joint events and give anglers a chance to not only experience a River Bassin event but to also fish an event put on by a sponsoring club. and use a single stringer of fish to be in contention for both. You'll get the prizes and the much needed Series Points by registering for the River Bassin event as well as the prizes offered by the local club. Be sure to check the event pages to find a joint event near you! Unless stated otherwise, Joint Events may be fished on moving water that is in bounds based on either on a 60 minute driving radius or map if it exists for that event.


  • National Championship: Held on October 24th-25th in Caney Fork, TN at Caney Fork Outdoors. A great reason to head south for those in cooler climates, during this two-day event we'll find out who will be crowned champion for each division, award another $5,000 cash to our Open winners and celebrate the season that was.


5. REGISTRATION AND FEES: We wanted to provide a low cost sport with a low cost tournament trail so that all can afford to enter. Prices have not changed as compared to 2014.


Individual Angler (includes entry to the individual division only)


  • $30 for "Local Stops:"


  • $50 for "Regional/Super Regional Stops"


Team & Individual (includes entry to both the team and individual divisions)


  • $100 for "Local Stops"


  • $160 for "Regional/Super Regional Stops"


Young River Bassers (includes entry to both the team and individual divisions)


  • $20 for "Local Stops"


  • $30 for "Regional/Super Regional Stops"


Late Registration: Registration will open roughly 2 months in advance of each event. It is important for hosts to know what level of participation to expect. For that reason, add $10 to the prices above if signing up within 7 days of the event date.Joint Events: When the River Bassin Tournament Trail teams up with another entity, that entity may have their own entry fees. Please see the individual event pages for more information.Payments for the River Bassin Tournament Trail portion of the event can be made by credit card or via PayPal on RiverBassinTrail.com at any time once registration is open. Without full payment, registration forms, and signed waiver, an angler will not be eligible to participate. Please see each individual tournament page for more details on each tour stop.


6. SCHEDULE: Please visit the schedule page here



7. ELIGIBLE WATERCRAFT: This is a trail that is predominately propelled by man power and his use of the river's natural propulsion, the current, to get the job done. The only exception is the senior citizen exception which permits any senior citizen 62 and older to use an electric motor so long as it does not exceed 50lbs of thrust. Anglers can share a two man watercraft so long as both are entered into the tournament. An angler can bring a friend, spouse or child along in a two-man watercraft so long as that friend, spouse or child does not assist the competing angler in any way, most notably paddling, landing fish, untangling lines, lures or anything that can be seen as an advantage. The following is a list of approved watercraft for the trail. If you feel your watercraft is not listed but should be eligible then you will need to clear it with the tournament director, Noah Heck, before you enter. The list is in order of most commonly used: •Kayaks •Canoes •Pontoons •Float tubes •Your two legs (watercraft must still be in photo, per Bass Measuring Rules)



8. ELIGIBLE WATER: Each tournament stop is held at a "host" location and the eligible water corresponds with that location.  Regional and Super Regional event types along with the National Championship will have a corresponding map outlining eligible waters. Anglers fishing Local events will need to stay within 1 hour of the host location. If a map is made for a Local event and published on the event page, it supersedes this generic rule.  Times are based on the normal traffic flow.Some events will specify a lake as in bounds. If not, all lakes and ponds are off limits, including natural lakes and beaver ponds. If you have any doubts about whether an area you are fishing is lake or river then feel free to email or call the tournament contact for that stop to get their opinion so you'll have a clear conscience about it.The River Bassin staff reserves the right to disqualify participants who were fishing waters which were not in bounds during the event.



9.PRE-TOURNAMENT CAPTAINS MEETING: While this meeting was a requirement for participants in 2014, it will not be in 2015. That said, refer to individual event pages because some hosts will choose to have a get-together the Friday before the tournament. Anglers are responsible for obtaining their identifier which will be at the host location the night before the event and the morning of the event and also published online allowing you to print a copy of your own. If you will be picking up your identifier at the host location outside of normal business hours, they will be left near the door. Anglers are also responsible for reading and complying with the event rules and returning to the host location by 3:30 PM on event day.



10. SCORING: Scoring is done by the "catch-measure-photo-release" method. Participants must use a digital camera or smart phone (preferred) to take a photo of the bass on the standard measuring device that is on the "approved list." SEE PHOTO RULES PAGE FOR MORE A BETTER UNDERSTANDING ON HOW TO SCORE YOUR CATCH.


•Anglers may score up to 3 black bass. Fish are scored via length (inches) and the longest combined length will win.


•Anglers may access the water 30 minutes before sunrise, but cannot make their first cast until official "sunrise" as stated by http://www.TimeAndDate.com


•Fish measuring cannot begin until the sun is up and photos deemed to be taken in the dark will not be accepted.


•The bass' nose or lip must be touching the front of the measuring device and a deduction should be expected if it is not.


•The tail can be pinched or natural and the mouth can be open or closed; we encourage you to get the most out of your fish!


•The bass must be facing to the left when measuring it to prevent a competitor from trying to score it twice.


•The bass must be on an "approved" measuring device with the front of the device and the device beyond the tail in the photo. Approved devices are on this page.


•The tournament identifier for that tournament must be present in the photo


•In the event a photo submission does not meet the stated rules length will be determined by judge.


•There is an 8-inch minimum length on fish.


•All fish must be released back into the water system where they were caught.


•If not using mobile device, upon return to the host location anglers will go to that tournament's web page and click on "Submit Fish Photos" to submit their catch photos and scores.


•Submitted fish measuring the same length must have distinct differences in appearance or the angler may be subject to disqualification.


•The tournament committee will review all photos to verify validity of the catch and the length to determine place winners.


•Length is rounded down to the nearest quarter of an inch.


•Late check in penalties: 3:31 to 3:45 equals a 5 inch penalty. 3:45 and beyond is a disqualification.


•Ties: Ties are broken by whichever fish were submitted to the site first. Yes, this does give those with a smartphone an advantage if they submit from the water. We're encouraging that so that we have live results/scoring coming in throughout the day which helps the fans follow along and ensures timely judging.


•Polygraph: Each contestant may be required to submit to a polygraph examination at a time and location determined by the tournament director following the end of the competition in each tournament and abides by its conclusion. Failure to pass the polygraph will result in disqualification.


•To be eligible for prizes you must catch at least one fish.



11. ELIGIBLE FISH: Anglers can score up to 3 BLACK BASS SPECIES on their "virtual stringer." The eligible species are as follows:


•Largemouth bass


•Smallmouth bass


•Spotted bass (Alabama or Kentucky)


•Shoal bass


•Redeye bass


•Suwannee bass


•Guadalupe bass



•Choctaw bass



•Or a hybrid of any of the previously mentioned species.



12. ELIGIBLE FISHING METHODS: All fish must be caught alive on a conventional rod and reel in a sporting manner. Only artificial lures may be used during competition. Commercially sold pork trailers or scents may be added and used. An intentional foul hooked fish may not be scored. If a fish misses your lure and gets hooked in the side then so be it, but if you are sight fishing and foul hook it then that fish cannot be scored. A foul hooked fish is defined as a fish that does not have at least one hook in its mouth, and it must be released. Anglers may not catch fish or measure and submit fish that have been caged or confined in an area prior to the tournament, including fish deliberately displaced into a small pool prior to the event All fish must be caught during the hours of competition. Trolling is allowed. Fly fishing is allowed. No cast nets allowed, but anglers may use a landing net. More than one rod can be in use at a time only if the angler is trolling.



13. ACCESSING THE ELIGIBLE WATERS: All anglers must access the rivers they fish legally and not until 30 minutes before sunrise the day of the tournament. The first cast cannot occur until official sunrise. In other words, no river camping that requires you to get on the water during the dark. You can certainly camp along the river if you can drive to your riverside campsite. The state laws where the angler is fishing are what the angler will be required to comply with.



14. SAFETY: Safe boating will be observed at all times. During competition each contestant is required to comply with all state boating and fishing laws. Tournament days may be canceled due to unsafe weather or water conditions. The decision to cancel will be made by Friday morning, the day before the tournament. All participants will be notified immediately via the tournament page and/or Facebook page. We will try to avoid cancellations whenever possible and that is part of the reason we are designating specific lakes for some of our events.



15. THE RIVER BASSIN RESULTS: Starting at 3:30 at the end of the event. Winners will be announced and awarded prizes for their efforts that day.Prizes will be awarded for at least the following finishes at each tournament:














*Contingency Prizes: Sponsors may at their discretion award contingency prizes for anglers winning or placing using their products.


* Prizes are subject to change (grow), see individual event pages for specific and up to date prize packages.



16. RIVER BASSER OF THE YEAR: In the Individual River Basser Division and in the Team River Basser Division participants will compete to have a shot to become RIVER BASSER OF THE YEAR (RBOY) or the RIVER BASSER TEAM OF THE YEAR (RBTOY)! How this will work for the RBOY and RBTOY is simple; anglers/teams get points based on how they finished via the scoring system listed below.


Local Events


1st place = 100 points


2nd place = 95 points


3rd place = 90 points


4th place = 85 points


5th place = 80 points


6th place = 75 points


7th place = 70 points


8th place = 65 points


9th place = 60 points


10th place = 55 points


Regional/Super Regional Events


1st place = 120 points


2nd place = 115 points


3rd place = 110 points


4th place = 105 points


5th place = 100 points


6th place = 95 points


7th place = 90 points


8th place = 85 points


9th place = 80 points


10th place = 75 points


11th place = 70 points


12th place = 65 points


13th place = 60 points


14th place = 55 points


15th place = 50 points


National Championship


1st place = 200 points


2nd place = 197 points


3rd place = 194 points


4th place = 191 points


5th place = 188 points


6th place = 185 points


7th place = 182 points


8th place = 179 points


9th place = 176 points


10th place = 173 points


11th place = 170 points


12th place = 167 points


13th place = 164 points


14th place = 161 points


15th place = 158 points


16th place = 155 points


17th place = 152 points


18th place = 149 points


19th place = 146 points


20th place = 143 points



Anglers and teams competing for RBOY and RBTOY must fish at least 3 events, but can fish as many as they want. Their top 3 finishes, based on the scoring system above, will equate to their total series score as shown in the standings.



17. SPORTSMANSHIP: We realize there are cash prizes involved but it is important that all anglers adhere to a high standard of sportsmanship that portrays our sport in a positive light.


•The possession or use of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs is prohibited. Any possession or use of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, participation in criminal activity, or other conduct reflecting unfavorably upon the tournament and its sponsors will be subject to disqualification


•All anglers will sign a statement of honor that they will abide by all the rules. If found guilty intentional, predetermined cheating they are subject to be disqualified from the entire trail, surrendering any monies gained up to that point during the season.


•Any angler may be subject to a polygraph test at any time to verify their catch and any other rules. If an angler is requested to take the test and chooses not to, it will result in their disqualification, surrendering any monies gained up to that point during the season.


•Proper river etiquette should be adhered to while competing. This includes anglers not cutting in front of another angler, giving plenty of space when passing another angler so as to not disturb their fishing location. Essentially, treat other anglers as you expect to be treated on the water and if you are unsure if you are too close to another angler or potentially cutting them off, just ask!



18. PROTEST: All protests must be submitted in writing (riverbassin@gmail.com) along with a $100 deposit, within fifteen (15) minutes of the last angler check-in. The protester also agrees that if there is a question of verifying the charge of a protest that he or she also may be subject to take a polygraph and agree to testify in a court of law if necessary. If the tournament committee, or polygraph, upholds the protest, the cash deposit shall be returned to the contestant submitting the protest. Even if there is not an official protest the rules committee will follow up on any accusations and there will be a serious price to pay if an angler has been found to purposely cheat. As mentioned above, fraud charges may be filed against the angler.



19. SPECIAL RULES FOR YOUNG RIVER BASSERS: Children under the age of 18 must have their parent or guardian's signed consent to enter the river bassin' tournaments. An adult must accompany any child under the age of 16 on the river. The adult may be entered in the tournament as well.



20. PHOTO/VIDEO RIGHTS: All photos, video, data, audio and angler profile information shall be used by the River Bassin Tournament Trail indefinitely and may be used by any of its tournament partners in future projects, promotions, articles or media releases. There will be no compensation for such use of these photos, video, voice or data. Anglers will be allowed to keep their photos/videos and use how they please as well.



21.FINAL DECISIONS: Any decisions that need to be made in relation to the event will be done so by the tournament committee and their decisions are final.



22.RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE: all participants must sign a waiver, release of liability, and covenant not to sue before competing in any tournament. It is required that all participants take responsibility for themselves while participating in event activities.



23.HAVE FUN: Remember, winning is not something you can completely control, because there is no way to play defense in this sport. All you can control is your fishing and your attitude so relax, have fun, and enjoy your time on the water. No amount of money is worth more than your name.