Washington State
B.A.S.S.  Nation
2019 Qualifier Rules

2019 Tournament Rules & By Laws

1. RULES CHANGES: The following rules of this tournament will remain unchanged, except for special tournaments conducted by the Washington BASS.  Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to the President and Board of Directors.  In the event of a rule violation, the President/Board of Directors may impose such sanctions, as he/they deem appropriate, including, without limitation, disqualification, fine of prizes and prohibition from participation in subsequent tournaments.  The decision of the President and Board of Directors shall be final in all matters.

2. PARTICIPANTS AND ELIGIBILITY: This tournament is open only to members of the Washington BASS who are 16 years of age or older and who are active members of a Washington BASS-affiliated chapter.  Proof of age to the satisfaction of tournament officials is the responsibility of potential competitor.  DURING THE OFFICIAL PRACTICE AND COMPETITION DAYS OF ANY Washington BASS TOURNAMENT NO CONTESTANT MAY OPERATE A BOAT UNLESS CONTESTANT HAS PROOF OF A MINIMUM OF $300,000 BOATING LIABILITY INSURANCE AVAILABLE IN BOAT.  THIS DOCUMENTED PROOF MUST SHOW AN EFFECTIVE DATE AND EXPIRATION DATE AND MUST BE AVAILABLE ON OR BEFORE THE APPLICATION DEADLINE DATE.  CONTESTANTS WILL BE CHECKED AT RANDOM AND ANY CONTESTANT WITHOUT PROOF OF INSURANCE WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.  Any candidate for competition who, in the judgment of the President/Board of Directors, is handicapped in such a manner as to unfairly hinder his partner or endanger the safety and well being of his partner or himself shall not be eligible.

3. TOURNAMENT/PRACTICE: There shall be no off limit period.

4. REGISTRATION: All registration must be post marked by April 1, 2019 or a late fee will be assessed  **This rule will be strictly enforced.**

5.  SAFETY:  Safe boat conduct must be observed at all times by tournament competitors.  During the official practice and the tournament, each competitor is required to wear a Coast Guard-approved chest-type life preserver any time the combustion engine is running.  This preserver must be strapped, snapped or zippered securely and maintained in that condition until the combustion engine is not running.  Violation of this rule shall be reason for disqualification.  Tournament officials have the right to delay or cancel the start of an official tournament day because of bad weather or other factors that would endanger the safety of the competitors.  Tournament waters may also be restricted at any time because of bad weather.  The Washington BASS reserves the right to impose boat speed limits and the area covered by the speed limit on any or all tournaments.  Such decisions are  exclusively at the discretion of the President/Directors.

6. SPORTSMANSHIP: Competitors in Washington BASS tournaments are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety and conservation.  Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification.  Use of alcohol or drugs (other than those purchased over the counter or prescribed by a licensed physician) by any competitor during the official practice or during the tournament or weigh-in will not be tolerated and shall be cause for disqualification from this and all future Washington BASS tournaments.  Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non-competitors who may be on the tournament waters.  Any act of a competitor, which reflects unfavorably upon efforts to promote fisheries, conservation, clean waters, and courtesy, shall be reason for disqualification.  The prevailing statutes and regulations of the various states within which they fish bind all competitors.  Chemical-substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or other crimes involving moral turpitude, or other conduct reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with tournament rules shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation and for disqualification.  Any disqualification or suspension from, or other disciplinary action regarding any tournament or fishing organization, shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation and for disqualification.

7.  TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT: Only artificial lures may be used.  No “live bait” or “prepared bait” will be permitted, with the exception of pork strips, rinds, etc. .  Only  ONE casting, spin-casting or spinning rod (8-foot maximum length from butt of handle to rod tip) and reel may be used at any one time.  All other  types are  prohibited.  All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner.  Anyone guilty of snatching or snagging visible fish will have their day’s catch disqualified.  When visually fishing for bedding bass, all bass must be hooked inside the mouth and must be verified by your partner before removing hook to be counted as a legal fish. No gaffs or grippers may be used to boat bass or permitted in boat at any time.

8.  HORSEPOWER REGULATIONS:  When required, each boat MUST have a U.S. Coast Guard horsepower rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer.  The horsepower of the outboard engine must NOT exceed the rating specified on this rating plate.  Any  boat manufactured prior to Nov. 1, 1972 must adhere to the ratings set by the U.S. Coast Guard for similar boats.  Each competitor agrees to submit, by his signature on the official entry form, the boat and outboard motor used in the tournament to an inspection by factory-trained personnel, if there is any reason to suspect the horsepower is in excess of the rating.  Changing or altering standard factory parts of your motor to increase the horsepower over the factory horsepower rating is forbidden, and will result in disqualification.  Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower-rating numbers on the motor also would be cause for immediate disqualification from Washington BASS  .

9. BOAT AND MOTOR: ALL BOATS MUST BE EQUIPPED WITH BILGE PUMP, AERATED LIVE WELL SPACE FOR TWO CONTESTANTS, AND SOME TYPE OF OPERABLE IGNITION KILL SWITCH.   IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE NON-BOATER PARTNER TO CHECK THE EQUIPMENT. The ignition-kill device must be attached to the driver’s body any time the combustion engine is operating.  Anytime the combustion engine is operating and in gear, there must be a driver in the driver’s seat in full control of the boat.  Fishing boats may be used that are 16 feet or more in length.  Any raised platform or decks cannot be higher than the gunnel of the boat.  A small electric trolling motor may be used for slow maneuvering.  All BLADDER tanks and any other type of AUXILIARY gas tanks that are not installed by the boat manufacturer are prohibited.  Additional gas tanks that are factory options and installed by a manufacturer’s authorized dealer are legal.  Boats that do not have factory-installed gas tanks are restricted to a maximum of 18 gallons of gasoline in tanks that meet U.S. Coast Guard regulations.  Gas tanks must be properly secured or strapped in a boat.  During the official practice and during the tournament, no portable gas tanks or containers capable of holding gasoline can be placed anywhere on the tournament waters or shoreline for use by any tournament competitor.  No “barges” or similar cumbersome craft will be permitted.  NO BOAT EQUIPPED WITH “STICK STEERING” WILL BE ALLOWED DURING THE OFFICIAL PRACTICE OR DURING THE TOURNAMENT.  The President/Board of Directors shall make the definition of “stick steering”.  A competitor answering affirmatively the question, “Will you bring a boat and motor?” will be expected to make that boat and motor available for tournament use by himself and his daily partner, if so requested by tournament officials.  Those answering the same question negatively will be presumed not to have a boat and motor available and will be paired with one who does when possible.  It shall be the responsibility of the fishing partners to mutually agree on whose boat to use and a basis for sharing operational expenses.  If partners are unable to agree, the President/Board of Directors shall make such determination, which shall be binding upon the partners.

10.  BOAT OPERATION AND EXPENSE: The boater has control of the boat for the day.   Any contestant who, in the judgment of the officials, operates the boat in such a manner as to unfairly handicap their partner shall be disqualified.  In view of the large expense involved in operating and maintaining a tournament bass boat, it is suggested that the non-boater share part of the cost of gas and oil for the competition day.

11. PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS: The President/Board of Directors shall establish Tournament waters for each tournament.  Each competitor must obtain this information from the Washington BASS. Fishing on the tournament waters is permitted anywhere except: within 50 yards of another competitors boat which was first anchored or secured in a fixed position with the trolling motor out of the water.  All such boats are required to advise any other competitor when such boat believes the competitor is close to being within this 50-yard radius.  No such boat shall permit selected competitors to fish within the 50-yard circle claimed by him, to the exclusion of any other competitor.  Any water within these boundaries posted Off-Limits or No Fishing by state or federal agencies will be OFF-LIMITS.  Also, the live-bass release area established by the President/Board of Directors will be OFF-LIMITS and will be announced at the Tournament Briefing.  Only that water open to all public fishing will be considered tournament waters.  All angling must be done from the boat.  Competitors wishing to change fish habitat by placing any object in the tournament waters may do so if such action does not violate state or federal regulations.

12. CONTESTANTS MUST REMAIN IN BOAT: Contestants must not depart the boat to land fish or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters.  Boats must remain in tournament waters during tournament days.  Contestants must leave and return to official checkpoint by boat.  Both competitors must remain in boat at all times except in case of dire emergency.  In such an emergency, competitors may be removed from their boat to: A BOAT OPERATED BY OTHER COMPETITORS OR A RESCUE BOAT.  Partners must remain together at all times, in sight of each other and each other’s catch under the conditions cited above, in order for their catch of that day to be scored in the tournament.  If a competitor must violate 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 a tournament official must verify their catch in order to be counted in the tournament.  If the emergency situation is resolved by tournament officials competitors can continue and their catch will be counted. ( If a contestant must leave the boat for restroom the other contestant must cease fishing, if contestant is seeking a restroom please make it a public restroom no wear near a back water pond or slough that is not accessible by boat.)

13. OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT:  Partners must stay together at all times until check-in is complete with or without any fish.  There shall be only one official point for checkout in the morning and check-in in the afternoon and this point shall be designated at the tournament briefing.  At the time of checkout, all competitors and their boats shall be in full conformance with all rules as set forth by the President/Board of Directors; at check-in, all boats shall identify themselves to the check in person and proceed immediately to the weigh in area.  Competitors not at check-in at the appointed time shall be penalized at the rate of 1 pound per minute, to be deducted from the total weight of his catch that day, including any weight to be counted toward a “BIG FISH award.”  Competitors more than 15 minutes late shall lose  that day’s catch. 

14. SCORING: Tournament standings, auxiliary awards and final winners will be determined by the pound and hundredths weight of each competitor catch during the competition days of the tournament.  Only Largemouth, Smallmouth, bass will be weighed.  The limit shall be 5 of the above species and varieties per day, unless the prevailing state limit is less than 5, or a special limit is established for a particular tournament by the tournament officials, in which case the state limit, or special limit, shall be the tournament limit.  At no time shall a competitor have reduced to possession more than the tournament limit.  Tournament officials will conduct checks for violation of this provision, and in the event a competitor has reduced more than the above-described limits to possession, shall cull the largest bass first, down to the limit described.  The official length for bass shall be determined by the President/Board of Directors and announced at the tournament briefing.  In most cases it will be the state limit covering the tournament waters.  Only bass as described above which measure the official length or more on the longest straight line, shall be weighed-in.  Bass presented for weigh-in, which fail to measure the official length, shall accrue penalties at the rate of 1 pound for each such bass.  This penalty shall be deducted from the total score of the competitor.  Any bass that appears to have been mangled, mashed, mauled or otherwise altered will be weighed and credited only at the discretion of tournament officials.  After a competitor checks-in at the official checkpoint he MUST present all LEGAL fish in his possession to a tournament official to be counted, measured and weighed.  For each legal dead bass presented to weigh-in officials, the competitor shall be penalized 4 ounces of weight.  A contestant must not allow any bass caught by him to be counted on the score of another contestant.  In such a case, both contestants shall be disqualified from this tournament and from all future tournaments conducted by Washington BASS.  When a competitor’s catch is measured, counted and verified by a tournament official that contestant may not return to his boat until his catch has been weighed and recorded. The signature of the competitor must certify his catch.   The participant with the largest weight will receive 100 points.  The next highest weight will receive 99 points and so on.  All participants that do not weigh fish will receive zero points.  The final state team standings will be determined by adding the points earned in each of the qualifying tournaments. 
15. TIES In situations where participants have the same weight the tie will be resolved by the number of live fish weighed in, then total weight and finally big fish. Ties for the final state team standings will be resolved by total number of live fish weighed in, then the total weight for all qualifying tournaments and if still tied than the largest fish caught in all qualifying tournaments.

16. PAIRING OF CONTESTANTS: Two contestants will be assigned to each boat.  Wherever possible, contestants from the same club will not be paired, nor shall two competitors fish together more than one day.  Announcement of your first-day fishing partner shall be made at the tournament briefing, which MUST BE ATTENDED by each competitor.  It shall be the responsibility of each partner to appear at a mutually agreed upon location with sufficient time to be at the official checkpoint and start on time.  Tournament officials shall have no responsibility for finding missing partners.  The President/Board of Directors, at their sole discretion, may reassign partners prior to the morning take-off. 

17. JUNIOR or HIGH SCHOOL TOURNAMENT and QUALIFIER PARTICIPATION:  If participant has not fished the previous year with the WSBFN he or she must help out during the juniors tournament if asked, either with a boat or just helping out at the weigh ins. Failure to help out if asked could mean disqualification of fishing as a state team member and or competing in future WSBFN qualifying events.  Any angler qualifying for the Nationals will be required to fish the subsequent year Qualifiers or forfeit travel money to the Nationals.