National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. Official Rules and Regulations:

Revised 04/23/2020


RULES : The Angler is expected to be familiar with all items before entering a National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. 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 CHANGES : Rule additions and revisions will be public knowledge before the next event takes place from the time 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.  


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.Any junior 17 years or younger at the time of signing up for a membership may compete in the Junior Division for that calendar year and will fish with either a parent or approved angler. A signed Parental/Guardian waiver will be required in order 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.In order to participate in any National Bass Fishing Trail Inc event, you must attend the safety meeting and be a part of the tournament launch.

5.In order 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.In order for an adult to be eligible to fish the Annual National Championship an Adult must fish in 3 Qualifier tournaments and a District Championship. In order for a junior to be eligible they must fish in two Qualifier tournaments and a District Championship.

7.Non-Boaters Involvement is at the Directors discretion. If allowed, boat assignment will be determined by the director.

The following are exceptions to this rule for any tournament:

a.Junior members must fish with either their parent or assigned adult angler, either one of which must a National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. member in good standing.

b.Family members may choose to fish together. Family members include: Spouse, Parent, Siblings, Grandparents.

c.Anglers with special needs that will be determined by the tournament director

8. Any boater operating in a manner to limit the ability of the Non-boater to fish will be disqualified. Non-boaters are also expected to pay at least 30$ to cover the expenses of the day prior to take off.

9.Maximum number of anglers per boat is 3, at least 1 must be a Junior Angler.

10.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.

11. Boat usage is guaranteed, if you bring an eligible boat to a tournament you have the option to fish from it.  


1.The membership fee is $20 per Adult, 15$ per Junior, per tournament season. Additional 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 will be disqualified from the tournament fished 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 must be shown at every National Bass Fishing Trail Inc. tournament.  


1.Entry fees for Adults in a National Bass Fishing Trail Inc One Day Qualifying tournament are $60 per adult (90% payback) that includes a $5 big bass pot - (100% payback), and $20 per junior (100% payback) that includes a $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 (88% payback) that includes a $5 daily big bass pot - (100% payback), and $40 per junior (100% payback) that includes a $5 daily big bass pot.

3.Entry fees for Adults in a National Bass Fishing Trail Inc National Championship tournament are $150 per adult (100% payback) with a $10 daily big bass optional pot - (100% payback), and $45 per junior (100% payback) with an $10 daily big bass optional pot.  


Each District Director must host as least 6 Qualifier tournaments and one District Championship annually.  


Anglers will take off in qualifying tournaments by method determined by tournament director. Contact your local tournament director for check-in sites, dates, and times. Membership card must be shown at tournament site if requested, or the angler may be disqualified.  


1.Tournament hours will set by your Tournament Director. Failure to check-in at weigh-in time or notifying Tournament Director that you are off the water may result in being banned from future events. All anglers who fish must sign weigh-in form or no points will be awarded.

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.  


1.All contestants are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation. 2.Alcohol Consumption or illicit drug use 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 might be banned from participation.  


1.Safe boating must be observed at all times.

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 and in gear, either forward or reverse.

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 emergency kill-switch device securely attached to the driver's body whenever the boat is operated under engine power and in gear, either forward or reverse.

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 maintain alive, a limit catch by all contestants occupying the boat.

9.Fuel may be carried only in U.S. Coast Guard approved mounted or secured fuel tanks.  


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 location ramp. Exceptions may be made if a medical or mechanical issue arises, and then the boat and trailer may not leave the parking lot of the official launch site. At any time if the boat leaves the parking lot of the tournament site 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 competitors boat first anchored down.

4. No Locking through Dams unless authorized by Tournament Director.  


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 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.In order 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 anglers national point standing will be determined from their top 4 qualifier results, 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.  


1.Only Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass will be weighed.

2. The official length will comply with state rules, regulations, and laws. The Director of each district will determine the lake size/length of each tournament in compliance with the State Laws. Any angler breaking the State size/length rule will not be allowed to weigh any fish for the day and will only receive the 50 participation points for that day. If State size/length rule does not apply, 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 or lake regulations are below that number, then State or Lake regulation will take precedence.  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.

4.Fish will be measured with mouth closed.

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 0.50 lb per fish.

9.Catch and release only, except for trophy fish!


1. Culling is allowed if permitted by state regulation.

2. You must cull immediately upon catching your 6th fish (or corresponding number if 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.


1.Only artificial lures with the exception of 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.  


1.There will be only one official checkpoint for boat check-in in the morning and one official checkpoint for check-in in the afternoon. Failure to go through boat check and checkout in the morning or failure to check-in at the check-in point will result in disqualification. Early or emergency check-in must be reported to tournament director or member of tournament staff. Contestants' failure to comply will forfeit his/her show points for tournament.

2.A angler will be penalized 1 pound per minute late at weigh-in. After 15 minutes an angler is automatically disqualified.  


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 places ties with a fish-off.


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.


1.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 any and all winnings and points, and/or he/she may be prohibited from further competition.


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. Touranment .

2. Proof of insurance must be shown to the tournament director at first tournament and copy of policy must be kept in the boat at all times.





88% Total Payback

100% Total Payback

76% at the ramp

67% at the ramp

12% Goes to the Classic

44% Goes to the Classic

Pay out 20% of the field

Pay out 20% of the field

National Bass Fishing Trail Contact Board of Directors