Bass Club Rule Suggestions

Here at Ultimate Bass we are often asked how to start a bass club. One of the most common questions is where do you get the rules for your club and are they really necessary.  I have personally found that a club does need some rules but typically they operate better when the club rules are kept simple and to a minimum.  In the early years Ultimate Bass started out as ’94 TEAM BASS, a California tournament circuit.  When we were creating the rules for the circuit we used a combination of club rules and the rules from other tournament circuits in operation at that time.  I have added them to the bottom of this artilce to give you a starting point in building your own set of bass fishing club rules.

When you are building your bass fishing club rules keep in mind the areas that you will be fishing and the type of tournaments that you will be holding.  If you have a team club you will need a few rules to govern how the teams are chosen; some clubs use a draw format and others allow their club members to choose their partners.  You may want to establish how often the club will fish together and if there will be club dues.  These are just a few ideas to help you form a set of rules for your bass club.  You are welcome to use what you find helpful from the rules below. Good luck with your new club!

Laurie Cork


  • 1. Member dues will be $10 per person, and $15 per family (same address) for membership.  Member dues are used to help with the cost of the newsletters and publications.  Member dues will be valid for only the current year of sign up from Jan.-Dec(1996).  Payment of Cork’s TEAM BASS membership dues entitles the member to fish all Cork’s TEAM BASS events in which he / she meets the requirements of the event.  Paid members will receive publications which will include event results, sponsor information, and information that concerns upcoming tournaments and events.
  • 2. A member in good standing may elect to bring a guest to any specific event.  A weekend pass fee of $5 will be assessed in addition to regular tournament fees.  The guest (non-member) must fish with his sponsoring member.  A non-member may fish only once during the current season using a weekend pass he will be required to pay membership dues in full prior to fishing his second tournament.
  • 3. Minor children will be allowed membership only with the express written permission of a parent or guardian.  The parent or guardian must present this written notice to a Cork’s TEAM BASS official, at which time the minor will receive a member number.



  • 1. INSURANCE – All Cork’s TEAM BASS members are required to maintain liability insurance on their vessel.  This is the sole responsibility of the boater fishing in any event sponsored by Cork’s TEAM BASS, and is in no way an indication of responsibility by Cork’s TEAM BASS, it’s owners or staff.  If it is found that a vessel is not insured it will not be allowed to participate in any Cork’s TEAM BASS events until proof of coverage is provided.



  • 1.ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES/NARCOTICS – Drunkenness will be cause for automatic disqualification.  No illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages will be tolerated to any extent prior to or during tournament fishing hours.
  • 2 .ON AND OFF THE WATER – Participants will be required to remain a min. of 50 (fifty) yards from other participants while fishing any Cork’s TEAM BASS event.  Fishing inside the host marina will not be allowed under any circumstances as well as inside the 5mph buoys that serve as our launch sight, if said buoys end in the back of the cove or marina that area remains off limits.  All members are expected to exhibit the highest standard of sportsmanship, courtesy to others, safety, and conservation on and off the waters.  This is to include obscene language while participating in any Cork’s TEAM BASS event.
  • 3.PARTICIPATION & RESTRICTIONS – There will be no restrictions as to race, color, creed, gender or age.  However, participants must be members of Cork’s TEAM BASS.  Those who wish to enter and are under the age of 18 must have written permission and a waiver of liability signed by a parent or legal guardian and in the hands of a Cork’s TEAM BASS official prior to launch.
  • 4.LICENSES/LAWS – Each participant will observe State Fish and Game Laws and any other State, Federal, or Local laws and have in their possession a valid state fishing license, if over the age of 15 yrs.  As of March 1994, you will be required to display on your person and above the waist, a valid Calif. fishing license.  Violation of these or any other law will be reason for disqualification.
  • 5.SAFETY – Safe boating must be observed at all times.  Each participant is required to wear a chest-type U.S. Coast Guard approved life preserver at any time the combustion engine is running.  The preserver must be fastened securely until that engine is shut off.  All participants must have all required U.S. Coast Guard equipment on board the vessel, there will be no exceptions to this rule.  All boats must be equipped with an ignition kill switch and it must be fastened to the boat operator while the combustion engine is on.  Each boat is also required to have an operating bilge pump installed(as of Jan. 1, 1996).
  • 6.REGISTRATION – We require that you register by the Wed. prior to the event date, so that care is put into the number of people required to run the event smoothly.  There will be sign in at the registration site the morning of the event, starting at 4:30am.  There will be a $10.00 late fee for sign ups taking place after the cut off date.
  • 7.STARTING POSITIONS – Starting positions will be determined by entries paid in full.  There will be a number assigned to each entry as it is received.  You will receive your number at check in the morning of the event.  If you wish to make an early conformation you may call (916)788-1139 to request your launch number.  Their will be no refunds after the entry fee deadline which will be the Wed. prior to the tournament.
  • 8. ROLL – OVER – Any member may call to cancel his/her entry.  They must call by the Fri.(12PM) prior the tournament however, to receive a roll-over of their fees to a future event.  Upon receiving a roll-over they must complete and mail an entry form for the next tournament entered, to receive a launch number for that tournament.  All roll-overs must be redeemed within the current season unless otherwise stated by the tournament director.
  • 9.ENTRY FEES/PAYBACK – The fee for entry for each team will be $70.00.  $50 will go to the field , $10 to big fish and $10 will go to the TOC fund.  The field will receive pay back at 80% after tournament expenses, with one out of every seven boats accounting for a place.  The remaining 20% to pay for permits, lake fees, etc..  No less than 3(three) places will be awarded during any one specific tournament.  Big fish will receive pay back at 100% to the top two places (1st big fish, and 2nd big fish) when participating boats number 65 or less, top three places (1st big fish , 2nd big fish, 3rd big fish) when participating boats number 66 or more.
  • 10. AWARDS – Qualification for trophies or plaques will be determined by total points.  Plaques and certificates will be given at each tournament through out the year.  Plaques to top ten will be given at the at the TOC.
  • 11.BOAT INSPECTIONS – Boat inspections will be done by a tournament official before entering the water.  If your boat is not inspected prior to blast off you will be disqualified.
  • 12.EQUIPMENT/TACKLE – All boats used to participate in a Cork’s TEAM BASS event must have properly functioning aerated livewells.  There will be a limit on horsepower of 25hp min., Coast Guard rules apply. Stick and or tiller steering may not be allowed.  Each boat must have all Coast Guard required equipment.  Any boat equipped with more motor horsepower than the factory rating will not be allowed to participate in the event.  Only artificial lures, with the exception of pork rinds, will be approved for use.  Fish “attractants” will be allowed.  Trolling as a method of catching fish is prohibited.  All bass must have be caught alive during the tournament hours in a conventional sporting manner.  Only one rod may be used at a time.  No rod shall exceed eight feet in length.  Intentional snagging of fish is strictly prohibited and will be grounds for disqualification.
  • 13 .CARE OF FISH – Once the fish have been weighed they will be returned to the participant.  It is the sole responsibility of the participant to release the fish according to lake requirements.  Failure to release your fish properly can be cause for disqualification.  All fish must be released, with the exception of only trophy fish and this is at the discretion of the tournament officials.
  • 14.SIZE/SCORING/CULLING – Scoring will be determined by pounds (break down will be no more than .05 hundredths of a pound).  Only largemouth, spotted, red eye, and smallmouth bass will be weighed.  At no time shall a participant possess more than the tournament limit, this will be grounds for disqualification.  The tournament limit will be 7 fish per team per day.
    The official length for bass, shall be 13″ mouth closed on a Will-E-Go (flat) board.  No pinching of the tail will be allowed.  Bass presented for weighin which fail to measure the minimum length limit will be penalized at the rate of one (1) pound for each such bass from the remaining total catch.  Any bass that appears to have been smashed or tampered with in any way will be weighed only at the discretion of the tournament official.  Should local or state regulations specify a different method of measurement, minimum length, or total limit than the Cork’s TEAM BASS tournament standard, the more stringent standard will be used for that event (example Oroville min. 15in.).  Once fish are presented to the weigh master they immediately become the “Official Catch” of the participant and become the possession of the weigh master to measure, weigh, and record as such.  The decision of the weigh master is final in all of these matters.
    Culling (replacing a live caught bass with a larger live caught bass) is permitted during the fishing day, but must be done so immediately once the boat has reached the prescribed tournament limit.  At no time during the tournament hours may an individual participant continue to fish while possessing more than the tournament-regulated limit.  No culling nor measuring of bass is permitted inside the designated host marina boundaries.
  • 15.DEAD FISH PENALTY – We as a whole must take every effort to preserve the life of our catch.  One half (.50) of a pound will be deducted from the total weight for each dead bass weighed in.  During any two day tournament, if you are found with dead fish in your livewell or are known to have not properly released your days catch, you can be penalized for those fish at weighin (this is also grounds for disqualification).
  • 16 .PROTEST/TIES/LATE RULE – All protests must be received within 30 min. of weigh in start time.  ANY DECISION MADE BY Cork’s TEAM BASS OFFICIALS WILL BE FINAL IN ALL MATTERS.  If a tie exists the big fish will be the tie breaker.  If big fish is the same for both teams the money will be awarded by adding the money for that place and the next and then divided evenly between the tied contestants.  The late rule applies to any situation.  Participants who weighin late will be deducted one (1) pound for every minute they are late up to 5 minutes, at which time they will be disqualified.
  • 17. OPTION – A FIELD option will be offered at the cost of $10 per team per tournament paid out at 100%.  Option money will be due at time of entry.  This money will be paid out to the top three to five places in the field (1st, 2nd, 3rd Place etc..) that entered in the option.  There will be two (60-40 split)places paid when there are 30 teams or less entered in the option and three (50-30-20 split)places paid when there are 31-50 teams entered in the option and there will be five (30-25-20-15-10 split)places paid when there are 51 teams or more entered in the option.  If there is a tie the big fish will be the tie breaker.  This is not a Big Fish option it is for the field.



  • 1. TOC QUALIFICATIONS – Positions will be determined by total points accumulated from 7 events with one throw out.  Total points being taken from 6 events.  To qualify for the TOC you must designate a team (one non-boater and one boater).  The boater, non-boater position may be switched but only within the designated team.  Points will not be transferred if a substitution of partners is made.  The top ten teams at the end of the year will fish in the Tournament Of Champions (TOC).  The TOC will also allow for three wild card teams, the top parent / child team not in the top ten, the top man / woman team not in the top ten, and a team picked at random from all teams that have fished every points tournament, who is not in the top ten to fish, allowing for 13 teams in all to participate in the TOC.
  • 2. WILD CARD TEAMS – Wild Card teams must fish as a team in at least 5 Cork’s TEAM BASS events, unless additional requirements are specified.
  • 3. TOC FUND – Funds for the TOC will be collected through out the year by taking $10 from each team entry(not to include family day), and set aside for this purpose.
  • 4. POINTS – Points will be awarded to teams according to their weight.  The first place weight will receive 100 points, and second place will receive 99 points and so on.  There will be 2 bonus points for pre-registering by the deadline.
  • 5.TOC AWARDS – Qualification for prizes, trophies, and/or plaques will be determined by total team points at the end of the year, at which time the top ten teams will be eligible to fish the TOC.  The TOC pot will be paid out at 100% after plaques and tournament expenses to first second and third place field.

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