Ultimate Bass

Tournament Directors Need to Know

I figure you have already decided to run a tournament, now it’s what do I need to know and how to do it that you are wanting to know. I have run a tournament trail for the last few years for a small club here in Michigan and found a few things that might make your tournament easier and more enjoyable for everyone attending it.

The things that top the list are the lakes you would like to fish, the style of tournament (team or singles), and the basic rules and guidelines that will help your tournament run smoothly. Getting a few good friends to help you figure this out is important. I have found that if you go about it by yourself you will miss some very important things.

In your first draft you will need to identify the type of tournament you will be holding, as in bass club, open tournament or possibly a fundraiser event. A club type tournament can be a bunch of men and women from work or people that you know. Bass Clubs in most cases limit the number of members that can join. They are normally smaller and easier to set up and run. Then there are the open style tournaments which is open to any one that would like to attend the tournament. The draw back to an open tournament is you don’t know how many people will take the time to get involved. You could have ten boats or two hundred boats that plan to fish with you, so you need to set up guide lines on how many entries you will accept.

Now to the lake and date of said tournament. One good way is talk to others that fish in your area and see what lakes are going to draw a group of fishermen. Even ask what type of other tournaments are going on in that area, if there is a couple other tournaments planed for that week end your turn out will most definetly be affected by it so be sure to rethink the date of your tournament. By planning a head you increase your chance of having a good turn out and avoid any possible problems. When you are checking out the potential lakes where you would like to hold your tournament keep in mind, how many boats can it handle with room for other boat traffic, check out the ramps, parking, and a place to do the weight in at. These items may seem small when it comes to tournaments but if it starts out with a bad feeling with your tournament anglers, it will carry over into what others think about your tournament.

Ok so now you got the type of tournament you want to do, some friends to help you set it up, the lake you want to fish, and the date of the tournament. You might want to have a few back up dates and time set up incase the ones you want are taken. Where do you go now, and what do you need to make it work out?

One of the first things you need to get is a good set of rules that have everything spelled out so no one will be miss lead. These are easy to get, most tournament trails have a set of rules that they will let you have a copy of. Now these rules should state things in a clear way to understand and are to the point, as in No trolling; artificial bait only and No littering. Other things like the time it starts and when and what happens if they do not return on time should be clearly stated. I have had members fish with us for a number of years try to pull saying “I was only two minutes late back to the landing area”, knowing they had a winning weight, do to that last fish they caught. So if the rules say you must be back by a set time fallow them to the letter and everyone will have a great day on the water.

Now with the rules in hand look them over and see if they fit where your fishing and the type of tournament you plan to run. Some rules are set for team tournaments while others will be set for a singles tournament. You will find that if you run it teams style it stops problems with matching up who fishes with whom and how long each person gets to run the boat. With the singles style most boaters do not want to let another person run there boat and even to say when or where to fish. So if its non-team style you will need rules like both members in the boat get to pick places to fish and that they have control of the boat for half of the tournament. Also thing like how is to bring what and does the non-boater need to give a cash payment to the boater for expenses of fish that day. These types of things keep the day on the water friendly and more enjoyable. At the bottom of this article I will add two different set of rules as done by the club I fish with so you can see what some clubs use for their guide lines when setting up their rules. I have taken out the amounts and names so it is easier to copy and use them in your next tournament.

Now that you have your rules it’s time to look in to your states guild line on when, where, and who can run a tournament in your state. Most times this is easily handled through the DNR in your state, and with a phone call long before the date of your tournament. If you need a permit for a tournament in your state it helps that you got some lakes and date in mind when you talk to them. You can now ask what the out look is on doing one on a said lake on the day you want to do it. If its open and they let you apply for it do it right then so you have it taken care of. Some states do not allow you to do open tournaments on holiday week end, do to much boating traffic, or other tournaments already on their schedule.

Sit down with your friends and figure out the details for the tournament and the flyer, as in the tournament’s name, date, time, lake, how many boats will be allowed to enter, some way to contact you as the time gets closer, and finally anything they may need to know. Always leave some space open to add a sponsor or two this make it easier to get help form sponsors if they see one with a space for their name to be shown on the flyer. At this time it might be good to figure out how and who will do what the day of the tournament. Some key items that will need to be set up are traffic control at the ramp, a person who will be handy to answer questions, who will take care of the entry fees collected, who runs the weigh-in and takes down the results from the weigh-in, who runs the handing out of prizes and lastly who will be the MC for the event.

Now is the time to get the word out to everyone you can, start with every tackle shop and boat dealer in your area. Hand them a pile of flyers to offer to visitors or for them to post on the notice board in their business. I know this sounds like you have not gotten every thing set up yet for the tournament but the sooner they know that you are having it the better. While your there talking to the shop owner, ask them if they would like to get some low cost advertising by sponsoring your tournament. You can always make new flyer if they do and add their name to it and bring in the new one at a later time. Now post your tournament anywhere you can in auto stores, local Mom and Pa’s even on the web. I found that a listing on Ultimatebass.com is one good place to get the word out to people that might not live in your area but like the lake you are going too.

Now since the rough part is figured out plan weekly or biweekly meeting of the key people running this tournament. It might be at the local fast food joint or a person’s house, anywhere you can bring up anything that might come to mind as time draws closer. Have one person write down anything you all think of for future questions some one might have, or things that need looking in to.

As time draws closer and things get going faster you got to remember in the end everything you do will show how much care you took in the set up of this tournament. You have gotten who is doing what figured out and how things are going to be handled and by who. So now as the day gets closer think of having everyone involved in the running and set up meet at the ramp for final plans. This is good to see if anything was missed, I like to have everyone say what they plan to do and when. As we go through it some one can jot down any notes on anything that is noticed, but do not stop the whole thing for it. You will have something that got missed and later you can figure out how to handle it. In most cases it was not over looked just the person handling it forgot he said he had it covered.

Here is a list of duties that you might like to set up for someone to handle, if it need more then one person then they can set up a team to handle it.

Watch over the parking lot for tow vehicles and parking of them
To watch over the loading and unloading of the boats at the ramp
To collect tournament fees / figure out the winning when the tournament is over
Some one to do boat and live well checks
A question and answer person / a fill-in person to cover if some one needs to leave for a minute

Now for some key things to watch over as you go about the tournament
1. stick to the rules
2. no exceptions treat everyone the same
3. greet everyone and welcome them to the tournament
4. thanks them for sharing their day with you
5. and enjoy the event

Hope this help you with your first tournament and if you need any help now or in the future feel free to ask me I’m always will to help out.

Team tournaments
1 No trolling; artificial bait only.

2 No consumption of alcoholic beverages during tournaments.

3 No littering.

4 All fishermen must wear lifejackets while the boat is on plane. Each fisherman is responsible for providing his/her own lifejacket.

5 Tournament is form 6:00 am till Noon on Saturdays (except for the classic which go 6 am till 2 pm)

6 All watches will be synchronized with that of the tournament director.

7 Tournaments will have staggered starts. One boat will leave every 15 seconds.

8 If a competitor arrives after the published start-time of the tournament, he must check in with another club member, and allow his live wells to be inspected.

9 In general, a fifty (50) yard perimeter must be allowed other boats. Be courteous. If a boat is headed along a shoreline, fall in behind it or go well ahead of it.

10 Anyone who (a) offers fish to a member; (b) asks for fish from anyone; or (c) accepts fish from anyone will be disqualified from the tournament and expelled from the club.

11 Size limits and creel limits are dictated by the laws of the state. Anyone bringing more than a legal limit of fish to the scales will be disqualified from that tournament. (five fish limit)

12 If a competitor fails to return to the tournament weigh-in site by the designated finish-time, he shall be disqualified from that tournament, unless acceptable justification is received by the tournament director.

13 Each team will draw for start boat and launch order

14 All fish must be transported to the weigh-in scales in a bag with adequate water and the fish returned to the lake immediately for release after their being weighed. The only exception will be for trophy fish.

15 All members must strictly obey all State and local fishing, game and watercraft laws and regulations. Failure to do so can result in tournament disqualification, other club sanctions and/or removal from club membership.

16 All member agree to carry Liability Insurance on their boat at all times

17 Kal-valley Bass Club will not be responsible and / or liable for loss or injury

FALL CLASSIC

1 To earn the right to participate in the Fall Classic, each member must attend 50% of the regular season tournaments (typically there are eight per season).

2 The Fall Classic will award cash prizes by the weight as well as a ¼ of pot for “Big Bass” of the Fall Classic.

3 No one is allowed on the Fall Classic Lake for five (5) days before the tournament.

4 All other rules used during the regular season tournaments will be followed during the Fall Classic.

Fees

1 Registration fee is $0.00 per year per person (mandatory to fish)

2 Membership Fee is $0.00 per year per person (optional)

3 Tournament fee is $0.00 per member boat

4 Tournament fee of $0.00 for non-member boat

5 Big bass pot $.00 per boat

SCORING

Points for Weight Scoring will be based on total weight and will be measured by scale in 1/100’s of a pound for each legal bass caught.

Measured With mouth closed

Tiebreaker Each contestant’s largest bass will be weighed individually and the weight recorded to act as a tiebreaker in the event of a tie.

Penalties Anyone weighing a fish less than 14 inches (or State size limit) will be penalized 1/2 (50%) of the weight of his largest fish that day. Additional “short fish” will not be weighed. Dead fish penalty is half of the weigh of the dead fish form the total weight brought in.

Rules Interpretation The Tournament Directors, along with club officers, if necessary, shall make all decisions regarding the interpretation of these rules; that decision shall be final. All disputes involving scoring shall be settled at the tournament, if possible.

AWARDS

Payouts % pay back at the ramp

Places Determined by the number of boat in each tournament

Big bass pot From each boat entered in that tournament

Gift card or prizes By drawing for members only

Non-team style set of rules

1 No trolling; artificial bait only.

2 No consumption of alcoholic beverages during tournaments.

3 No littering.

4 All fishermen must wear lifejackets while the boat is on plane. Each fisherman is responsible for providing his/her own lifejacket.

5 Two (2) fishermen will fish in each boat unless there is an odd number of fishermen for the tournament in which case, one (1) member will fish alone to avoid having three (3) men in a boat. A coin toss will determine which fisherman fishes alone. Final discretion is left to the tournament director.

6 Boat partners must stay together until the weigh-in.

7 Pairings for the regular tournaments will be selected by random draw for the first tournament of the season and a round-robin system for the remaining regular scheduled tournaments. After all boaters are paired with non-boaters, remaining boaters will be paired as boaters/non-boaters. Boaters that are required to pair up will be able to use the highest starting position that either boater in the pair was assigned. The tournament director must be notified at least three (3) days in advance of the tournament, as to who is the boater and who is non-boater.

8 All watches will be synchronized with that of the tournament director.

9 Tournaments will have staggered starts. One boat will leave every 15 seconds.

10 Starting positions will be determined by the order of the draw for partners. The last boat drawn will be the starter.

11 Non-boaters are obligated to share expenses with the boat owner. The non-boater must pay a nonrefundable minimum fee of $15.00 to the boater as his/her share of the expenses on the day of the tournament. Launch fees will be split 50/50 between boater and non-boater.

12 If a fisherman cannot make a tournament, he must call the tournament director and his partner as soon as possible so that other arrangements can be made.

13 If a competitor arrives after the published start-time of the tournament, he must check in with another club member, and allow his live wells to be inspected.

14 In general, a fifty (50) yard perimeter must be allowed other boats. Be courteous. If a boat is headed along a shoreline, fall in behind it or go well ahead of it.

15 The non-boater has the right to direct the boat for one-half of the tournament. It’s a team effort, speak your mind.

16 Anyone who (a) offers fish to a member; (b) asks for fish from anyone; or (c) accepts fish from anyone will be disqualified from the tournament and expelled from the club.

17 Size limits and creel limits are dictated by the laws of the state. Anyone bringing more than a legal limit of fish to the scales will be disqualified from that tournament.

18 If a competitor fails to return to the tournament weigh-in site by the designated finish-time, he shall be disqualified from that tournament, unless acceptable justification is received by the tournament director.

19 Awards will be given for first, second, and third places at each tournament; if two or more are tied, the biggest bass determines the winner. If still tied a coin toss will decide the winner.

20 All fish must be transported to the weigh-in scales in a bag with adequate water and the fish returned to the lake immediately for release after their being weighed. The only exception will be for trophy fish.

21 There will be a one (1) pound bonus for each contestant for “early-arrival” at every tournament. Early arrival is defined as 15 minutes before official start time that day.

22 All members must strictly obey all State and local fishing, game and watercraft laws and regulations. Failure to do so can result in tournament disqualification, other club sanctions and/or removal from club membership.

23 Any boater refusing to fish with a non-boater, for whatever reason, is in violation of Club By-laws (Article V, Sect. 1e.) and is subject to removal from club membership by club officers.

SCORING

Points for Weight Scoring will be based on total weight and will be measured by scale in 1/100’s of a pound for each legal bass caught.

Tiebreaker Each contestant’s largest bass will be weighed individually and the weight recorded to act as a tiebreaker in the event of a tie.

Penalties Anyone weighing a fish less than 14 inches (or State size limit) will be penalized 1/2 (50%) of the weight of his largest fish that day. Additional “short fish” will not be weighed. A bump-board will be available for each member to measure length before the weigh-in. The Tournament Director or the Assistant Tournament Director will determine every fish’s length. There is no courtesy bump at the scales by the Tournament Director. Once the Tournament Director or the Assistant Tournament Director hast the fish, it is considered to be entered into the contest and will be so judged.

Rules Interpretation The Tournament Directors, along with club officers, if necessary, shall make all decisions regarding the interpretation of these rules; that decision shall be final. All disputes involving scoring shall be settled at the tournament, if possible.

FALL CLASSIC

1 To earn the right to participate in the Fall Classic, each member must attend 50% of the regular season tournaments (typically there are eight per season).

2 The Fall Classic will award cash prizes for only the top five (5) places as well as a cash prize for “Big Bass” of the Fall Classic.

3 No one is allowed on the Fall Classic Lake for five (5) days before the tournament.

4 All other rules used during the regular season tournaments will be followed during the Fall Classic.

AWARDS

1 Awards will be given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places at each tournament; if two participants tie for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, the largest single bass will determine who receives an award. If that doesn’t break the tie, a coin toss will be used to determine the winner.

2 The fisherman with the greatest total weight from the eight tournaments will earn the club’s fisherman of the year award — Club Angler of the Year. If a tie occurs for first place, Club Angler of the Year will be determined by the largest single bass of the year from a regular season tournament.

3 The Most Improved Fisherman will be determined at the end of the year by comparing the final rank for the current year with the final rank of the same group whom fished the previous year. To be eligible, the member must participate for two consecutive years to be eligible. No member may receive this award twice and previous Club Angler of the Year winners are not eligible.

4 The annual Big Bass award will be determined from among the fish caught during the regular season tournaments. He who catches the biggest is awarded the plaque.



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