Dedicated to Youth, Conservation, and Bass Anglers of Michigan

State Championship Tournament Rules (Adult)

Revised 5/19/2019 for St. Mary’s River State Championship

  1. RULES: Interpretation of these rules shall be left exclusively to the Tournament Committee and Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Board of Directors. Penalties up to disqualification may be assessed for being guilty of any infraction of these rules. All rules have “loopholes.” It is the intention of M.B.N. to provide an honest sportsman-like tournament. In the interest of good sportsmanship, contestants are reminded that the “spirit of the rules” shall prevail in all judgment cases. Note: Interpretation of these rules shall be left exclusively to the Tournament Committee. The decision of the Tournament Committee may be reviewed by the M.B.N. board and the Board of Directors shall have the final say in all matters.
  2. PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY: Participation in the tournament is by qualification through the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation, local Michigan B.A.S.S. Adult Clubs. Persons who are 16 years of age or older may be eligible to participate. Proof of age to the satisfaction of tournament officials is the responsibility of the prospective competitor. A properly completed official application form MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE DESIGNATED TOURNAMENT OFFICIAL NO LATER THAN MIDNIGHT OF THE DEADLINE DATE. Entry fees for each person entered are due with the application. Refund of the entrance fee will be made only if proper notification is made to the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation prior to the deadline of August 13, 2019 at 11:59 PM. Proof of insurance is also due upon request.

    The Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation State Championship will be a “Pro-Am” format. A competitive division for the Pro-Anglers and another for the Co-Anglers will be established. The High School and Junior Bassmaster members who are sixteen (16) years old by December 31, 2019 are eligible to participate as Co-Anglers and compete in the B.A.S.S. Nation Regional Tournament. A third competitive division for the Marshals may be established as well. Only Pro-Anglers and Co-Anglers will advance to the Central Regional tournament.
  3. PRE-TOURNAMENT REGISTRATION MEETING: There will be a pre-registration meeting the evening prior to the first day of competition. The time and place will be announced by the tournament committee. Each competitor must register in person, at the designated time and place. Emergency exceptions may be made if the competitor contacts the Tournament Director prior to the registration check in deadline. Failure to register in person during the prescribed hours may result in disqualification. Marshals are required to attend the meeting if they plan to participate in this event. All Marshals should arrive at the pre-designated Tournament location the morning of at the time noted in their Marshal packets.
  4. PAIRING OF CONTESTANTS: Two (2) anglers will normally be assigned to each boat. Whenever possible, no two (2) anglers from the same club will be paired, nor shall two competitors fish together more than one day. Likewise, no Marshal associated with the same club will be paired with their Pro-Angler. Two Pro-Anglers may be paired together and share fishing time, due too mechanical breakdown. Announcement of pairings for day one (1) will take place at the pre-tournament meeting at the banquet. Pairings for day two (2) will be provided on your Day 1 weigh-in slips. It shall be the responsibility of each partner to appear at a mutually agreed-upon location with sufficient time remaining to check-in at the official check-point and start on time. Tournament officials shall have no responsibility for finding missing partners. When two contestants check-in at the beginning of the day they must stay together and within sight of each other and each other’s catch throughout the day until the weigh-in is completed. A contestant must not allow any bass caught by him/her to be counted on the score of any other contestant. Both contestants will be disqualified. During a breakdown situation, with a Tournament Official’s permission, Pro-Angler or Co-Anglers may transfer their catch to another competitor’s boat and ride to check-in. They may leave their partner with the disabled boat. In such cases, the angler transporting the fish must stay with their catch uninterrupted and assist with verifying their partner’s catch. None of the above rules shall prohibit a properly designated tournament official from approaching or boarding any competitor’s boat at any time during the practice period or during competition. It is the boater’s (pro-angler) responsibility to ensure their boat is fully operational before start of the tournament. If a boat breaks down at some point during the tournament, the boater (pro-angler) is still required to fish both days. If the boater (pro-angler) can obtain another boat (from their club’s Alternate Boater or another source), that boater may use that boat if the replacement boat meets the criteria set forth and we are provided with proof of adequate insurance coverage. If no boat is available, the boater must go as a non-boater (co-angler) for the remainder of the tournament, and the club would be responsible to provide an Alternate Boater to replace the original boater.
  5. SAFETY: Safe boating must be observed by all tournament competitors. Each competitor is required to provide their own and wear a Coast Guard-approved chest type life preserve to be worn any time the outboard is running. If an Inflatable Style Life Preserver is used, it must be in working order. If it is taken off at any time while on the water, it is not considered a legal life preserver and there must be another standard Coast Guard approved Life Preserver on board. Wearable life preservers must be readily accessible to count as a Life Preserver. This life preserver must be properly strapped, snapped, or zipped securely any time the combustion engine / outboard is running. Violation of the rule shall be grounds for immediate disqualification. All boats must be equipped with a working KILL SWITCH, which must be attached to the driver when the combustion engine / outboard is running. It is highly recommended that the Pro-Angler have a safety check with the Co-Angler prior to launch to familiarize the Co-Angler with the location and operation of the boat and safety equipment. In the event of an EMERGECNY SITUATION, competitors should first CALL 9-1-1, then notify Tournament Officials as soon as possible. Competitors can leave the boat and seek safe shelter in the event of bad weather where danger may be imminent.
  6. BOAT AND MOTOR: Only fishing boats that are at least 18 (eighteen) feet in length may be used during the tournament. No barges or similar cumbersome craft will be permitted. Every boat must have properly operating State and Coast Guard-required equipment, which shall include either a set of handheld flares or the required distress Flag. Boats must have properly operating live well space to SEPARATE and adequately maintain alive two (2) limits of fish for one hour after the boat is trailered after the Tournament. Maximum horsepower for all outboard motorboats used in a M.B.N. tournament shall not exceed the horsepower limitations set by the B.I.S./U.S. Coast Guard horsepower rating plate attached by the manufacturer. Every boat used during competition shall have a functional trolling motor, live wells, kill switch, and lights. Boats are not considered operational unless all this equipment is functional. Each competitor agrees that the boat and motor used in the tournament may be inspected by factory trained personnel and/or tournament officials if there is any reason to suspect the horsepower is more than the rating. Normal maintenance to increase the performance of your engine is allowed. Changing or altering standard factory parts of your engine to increase the horsepower over the factory horsepower rating is forbidden. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower rating numbers on the motor or boat would be grounds for immediate disqualification from Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation tournaments. Each boat may be inspected by a tournament official prior to the start of each day.

    Boaters (pro-angler) must make a back seat available for Co-Anglers each competition day.

    A numbered device will be given to each competitor. This device must be displayed on the boat until the end of competition each day, then returned to tournament officials at afternoon check-in.
  7. PRE-TOURNAMENT PRACTICE AND ASSISTANCE: Once the tournament commences and until the final weigh in a competitor may not have the assistance or advice of a professional guide, state or federal wildlife agency employee, or any other person deemed a “professional expert” on these tournament waters by the Tournament Committee. Competitors may share general information with other club members if they are also competing in the tournament (see stipulation in Section XI about specific details). Each competitor agrees to report to the Tournament Officials all violations or infractions of the Tournament Rules. All practice fishing shall cease at 4:00 p.m. the evening prior to the scheduled start of the first day of tournament competition. No tournament contestant shall be allowed on the tournament waters, once competition has begun, outside the designated tournament hours.
  8. BOAT OPERATION, INSURANCE AND RIDER FEES: The boater (pro-angler) has full control of the boat during completion. The Co-Angler or Marshal shall not be allowed to use the trolling motor or drive the boat with the combustion motor unless a justifiable emergency. A Co-Angler may operate the trolling motor only to prevent running aground or to avoid obstacles while boater is retying, or otherwise occupied. A co-angler / marshal may NOT fish or be in possession of any angling device while on the front deck. All violations will result in disqualification. Co-Anglers and Marshals must fish from the back of the boat. Co-Anglers and Marshals may assist the Pro-Angler with netting fish during completion. Likewise, the Pro-Angler can assist the Co-Angler or Marshal in the same manner.

    During competition days of any Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation tournament no contestant may operate a boat unless that contestant has submitted documented proof of a minimum of $300,000 boating liability insurance to the Tournament Director. This documented proof must show an effective date and expiration date.

    During pro-am style competition, Boaters (pro-anglers) will fish from the front deck, Non-Boaters (co-anglers) / marshals from the rear deck, NO EXCEPTIONS. During both official practice and competition, Non-Boaters (co-anglers / marshals are only allowed to drive (outboard engine) the Boater’s (pro-angler) boat in emergency situations except for loading and unloading from trailers. During official practice, non-boaters (co-anglers) not practicing with a Boater (pro-angler) competitor, may practice, drive, and fish from the front deck of the boat. Any Boater (pro-angler) that, (in the judgment of tournament officials), operates the boat in such a manner as to unfairly handicap their Non-Boater (co-angler) partner, shall be disqualified. At no time may a Boater (pro-angler) competitor request that the Non-Boater (co-angler) competitor, to not fish. The cost of gas and oil for the competition days must be settled within your own club. In B.A.S.S. events where observers replace anglers as the official rider, observers cannot assist the competing angler in any way. Observers are not required to help with gas and oil expenses.
  9. TACKLE & EQUIPMENT: Only artificial lures shall be used. Only one casting, spin-casting, or spinning rod may be used at any one time. Trolling and fly rods are not permitted, (Trolling is defined as “dragging” or moving any lure with either the trolling motor or combustion motor), however an electric motor may be used for slow maneuvering. The maximum length for any rod will be 10 feet, butt to tip. CB, marine radios, or mobile telephones and similar devices are intended for emergency use only during tournament hours. At no time during the tournament hours will these devices be used to gather any type of fishing information for the tournament. Underwater Cameras are not allowed during tournament hours. If a contestant has justifiable reason to make or receive a call during tournament hours, they will place the phone in” speaker mode” so that both contestants are able to hear the conversation.
  10. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT: There shall be only one official check point for check-in in the morning unless tournament officials determine for safety reasons multiple launch sites would be in the best interest of everyone involved. There will be only one return check-in location and weigh-in site in the afternoon. That post tournament check-in location will be announced at the pre-tournament meeting.
  11. OFFICIAL CHECK-IN & FISHING LOCATIONS: Official check-in is at least forty-five (45) minutes before tournament starts for boat (pro-angler) owner and co-angler. Tournament starting, and check-in times will be announced at the pre-tournament meeting. Contestants must check-in before the posted time. If a contestant is late for check-in in the morning, that competitor may be penalized 1 (one) pound from that day’s weight. All contestants must start from the designated location each morning. Both competitors must remain in sight of each other’s catch for their catch of the day to be scored in the tournament. No competitor’s boat may block a narrow waterway. OFF-LIMITS water so designated and posted by State, Federal, or announced by Tournament Officials, must be honored by all competitors during official practice and competition. Minimal Off-Limits for Day 2 competition shall be determined by Tournament Officials. Failure to adhere to off limits areas will be cause for disqualification.

    No competitor shall in any way impede or deny any other angler the right to fish a general area. All anglers should respect all other anglers during the competition.

    Anglers cannot return to or share their day 1 partner’s specific fishing locations with their day 2 partner or other club members unless given permission to do so. All specific fishing locations shall be considered those of the angler that first choose the location, regardless of the other angler’s prior knowledge of the location. Violation of this rule may result in disciplinary action up to disqualification.

    At no time, during practice or competition, shall any angler intentionally fish an area with the intent of catching fish and potentially hindering another angler’s capability of catching fish during competition.
  12. COMPETITORS MUST REMAIN IN BOAT: During the competition days, competitors must not depart the boat to land fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters. Competitors may not shift a majority of their weight outside the boat and onto a dock or other object outside the boat for landing a bass or accessing a fishing spot. A bass that cannot be landed without the angler leaving the boat or shifting his weight outside the boat must be released immediately. While keeping most of weight in the boat anglers are allowed for boat protection to push or shove off objects while landing a fish to be counted as legal. Competitors can leave the boat to retrieve a lure. All fishing by that competitor must cease until the competitor is back in the boat. Only then may another cast be made. Boats must remain in tournament waters during tournament days. Competitors must leave from and return to official checkpoints by boat. Both anglers must remain in the boat always, except in case of dire emergency, or with permission from the Tournament Director. Exceptions spelled out in rules 5, 15, and 18. In such an emergency, or with permission of the Tournament Director, competitors may be removed from their boat, either to a boat operated by other competitors, or a rescue boat designated by the Tournament Director. Partners must remain together always, in sight of each other and each other’s catch, under the conditions cited above, for their catch of that day to be scored in the tournament. In the event of a needed restroom break or refueling situation at a marina gas pump, contestants can leave the boat, at which time all fishing must cease until partners are back together in the boat. If a competitor violates any of the above conditions (to contact a tournament official by phone or other means, or to report an emergency or breakdown), both competitors must cease fishing at this point and their catch must be verified by a tournament official to be counted in the tournament. If, after the emergency is resolved by tournament officials, and enough time is left for the competitors to resume fishing, a restart will be allowed, the competitors will continue, and their catch will be counted. This applies only to dire emergency situations as determined by the Tournament Director or his/her designee. Towing boats on trailers during tournament hours is prohibited, except by the direction of tournament officials.
  13. LEGAL FISH: Largemouth and Smallmouth bass minimum length of 14 inches in the longest straight line, with the mouth closed. A flat, straight rule will be used to determine the 14-inch length. The Tournament Committee will make the official measuring device available to competitors prior to the beginning of the competition, to allow the anglers to verify their own measuring devices.
  14. CONSERVATION AND DEAD FISH PENALTIES: Each competitor is expected to keep their bass alive by use of a proper live well. All fish must be transported to the scales in designated fish weigh-in bags. It is the full intention of this organization to ensure that all bass are released alive and with their best chance of survivability. Every effort will be made by all competitors and Tournament Officials to ensure the live release of all fish caught during the tournament. Only designated Tournament Officials will be allowed to handle fish once the fish are turned over for the weigh-in, unless instructed so by a Tournament Official. The final decision on the “Live” status of the fish is at the discretion of the designated Tournament Official. A live fish has good color and the fish is still breathing with their gills still moving and still has a chance of survival.

    Culling of dead fish is prohibited. For each legal bass weighed in dead, the competitor shall be penalized Eight (8) ounces of weight (or 0.50 pounds depending on the scales used).
  15. SCORING AND CULLING: The final separate standings for the Pro-Anglers division and the Co-Anglers division shall be determined by the final total weight of each competitor’s catch during the tournament. The limit for the Pro-Anglers/Boaters shall be Five (5) legal fish of the above species and varieties per day. The limit for the Co-Angler shall be Three (3) legal fish of the above species and varieties per day. A separate, optional competition may be established for the Marshals. The limits for the Marshals are determined at the discretion of the Tournament Officials each year. Marshals may enter a Marshal-only competition or can just go along and fish at their discretion.

    Tournament officials may conduct checks for violations. In the event a competitor is found to have more than the above described limit in possession, the penalty shall be disqualification for that day. Bass presented for weigh-in which fail to measure 14 inches, will not be weighed and shall accrue a penalty of one pound for each short bass plus the loss of the short fish. The penalty shall be deducted from the daily total score of the contestant. Any bass that appears to have been mangled, mashed, mauled, or otherwise altered, will be weighed only at the discretion of tournament officials.

    Culling down to a limit of fish must occur before an angler commences fishing again and prior to the conclusion of fishing time. Culling shall not be done at the dock or weigh-in area.
  16. TIES AND TIE BREAKERS: If a tie of the total weight of more than one competitor occurs, the tie breaker will be as follows:
    1. Biggest sack of fish weighed by the respective angler during this competition.
    2. Second biggest sack of fish weighted during this competition.
    3. Coin Toss. In the case of a tie for the last position of the Central Regional Team determined from the State Championship Tournament, the final position will be determined by a flip of a coin.
  17. STARTING TIME: The starting time for each day of competition will be determined by the Tournament Director or a designated Tournament Official set forth by the Tournament Director. Safety is the only reason that the official tournament starting time will be delayed. Delays are at the discretion of the Tournament Director and the Tournament Committee.
  18. CHECK-IN: You and your partner MUST check-in at the end of each day, even if no fish were caught. Failure to check in may require a search for you and result in disqualification from the entire tournament. Emergency conditions will be up to the tournament director or the tournament committee. All contestants will be penalized one (1) pound per minute up to fifteen (15) minutes late. If more than 15 minutes late, they will be disqualified for that day only.
  19. CHEATING: Anyone accused of cheating will be brought before the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Board of Directors within thirty (30) days for a hearing. If found guilty, they will be suspended from Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation for life and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Any potential winnings awarded will be held by the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation until the issue is resolved. Each competitor agrees to report to the Tournament Director immediately any violation or infraction of any tournament rules. Failure to report violations, suggestions to another competitor that they violate these rules or false verification of weigh-in forms may be cause for disqualification.

    By entering a State Championship, each Contestant agrees to submit to a polygraph test should the angler be accused of any Rule Violation. The administration and interpretation of the polygraph test shall be solely the responsibility of the polygraph operator and shall be used (or not used) at the discretion of the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation Board of Directors. Without limiting the foregoing, the Board of Directors shall have sole discretion to select the place at which such polygraph test shall be administered, the individual who administers such polygraph test, and the scope of the questions which may be asked during such test. The Participant shall be available, at their own expense, at the location selected by the Board of Directors, and shall cooperate in all respects with such examination. The cost (in advance) of the Polygraph Exam will be the responsibility of the contestant(s). The cost will be refunded if they pass the exam. If the angler(s) refuse to submit to the test, they may be disqualified by the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation and may have additional sanctions imposed.
  20. ABSENTEEISM: Each competitor must take the responsibility to report their anticipated absence from fishing at the second day of competition in a timely manner. Failure to report such absence in advance to the Tournament Director or Tournament Committee member may be causing to disqualify the competitor from fishing the State Championship Tournament the following 2 (two) years. Contestants are required to submit a written form if they withdraw from the tournament at any time for any reason. Failure to do so would result in an automatic disqualification from the State Championship for the next 2 years.
  21. PROTESTS: Any Angler may file a written protest anytime they feel a rule has been violated or another Angler has put them at a distinct disadvantage during the tournament. Written Protests must be filed with a Tournament Official within 15 minutes of the close of the scale for the tournament day.

    Tournament Officials will establish a Protest Resolution Committee. The Committee will consist of the Tournament Director, the Michigan B.A.S.S. Nation President (or their designated representative) and 3 Club Presidents or representatives. None of the members appointed to the Committee shall be in the club(s) involved in the protest.
  22. STATE CHAMPIONSHIP LAKE SELECTION: When considering the location for the annual State Championship, the following criteria for a rotation will be considered to allow for even distribution among the following 4 “Regions” of Michigan:

    1. Southeast Region
    2. Upper Peninsula Region
    3. Northern Lower Peninsula Region
    4. Southwest Region

    The lines of demarcation for these regions are established as a straight line straight drawn across the state from Bay City to the west (Saginaw Bay would be considered part of “Northern Lower Peninsula Region”) then roughly the middle of the state for the Southeast/Southwest split. Every attempt will be made to rotate the State Championship location around the four regions.

  23. OFF LIMITS: Fishing will be in MICHIGAN waters only. Additional Off Limits maps will be handed out at the pre-tournament meeting/banquet.
  24. CODE OF CONDUCT: Anglers participating in any B.A.S.S.-sanctioned event shall observe this Code of Conduct and the applicable rules for the specific event in which they are participating. Anglers shall always conduct themselves in a professional manner that demonstrates integrity, honor and respect toward fellow competitors, tournament staff and the public, and does not reflect unfavorably on B.A.S.S., its members, officers or representatives, tournaments or sponsors. Anglers are frequently in the public eye and are considered role models by young people; therefore, it is imperative that tournament competitors demonstrate good sportsmanship in fishing. Sportsmanship is defined as fair play, respect for opponents and polite behavior while competing in the sport. Following are examples of unacceptable behavior by competitors in B.A.S.S. events that will be cause for penalties as outlined in this document.
    1. Heated public disagreements with B.A.S.S. officials, other competitors and fans and volunteers during an event.
    2. Public attacks through media, including social media, upon the integrity of B.A.S.S. rules or officials.
    3. Public comments that an angler knows, or should reasonably know, will harm the reputation of B.A.S.S., B.A.S.S. officials or its sponsors. Displays of anger and displeasure for reasons related to fishing competition where members of the public, including other anglers, spectators and the media, are present.
    4. Publicly questioning or criticizing a tournament official or official decision, ruling or penalty except through the proper channels.
    5. Abuse (physical, verbal, threatening or slanderous) of tournament officials, volunteers, fellow competitors or others connected with a B.A.S.S. event.
    6. Offensive or slanderous comments with racial, cultural or sexual overtones regarding event officials, event personnel or fellow anglers.
    7. Intentionally interfering with a fellow angler’s ability to compete.