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Qualifications and Rules

Qualifications - Print Qualifications

Best Bass Tournament Trails Qualifications 2024

Participants and Eligibility:
A team may be deemed ineligible to fish the BBT if they have finished in the top 10 in the points race in a Pro-Am event (as a Pro) or a Team event, during that anglers calendar year. Money won from the back seat of a Pro/Am event and or any TOC may also deem you ineligible. Any individual(s) that are found to be a highly qualified team in any one Region may be asked to compete in a different Region of the BBT Circuit. All participants must be current members of the BBT to be eligible to participate. The BBT also reserves the right to ask any team that is found to be overly qualified to move up and fish at the next level, and not participate in the BBT events. Final decision of all contestants being allowed to participate will be at the tournament director’s discretion, and or BBT Advisory Board. BBT has the right to refuse a team or individual for ineligible and or unsportsmanship ( Rule 5 ). 

BBT Advisory Board:
Advisory board will be comprised of but not limited to; People in and out of our industry, Anglers, and Directors of the BBT. Board will meet every September to discuss procedures, Rule changes and Angler Eligibility for the up and coming year. Full discloser of all Decisions and Topics will be made Public i.e.; BBT newsletter, BBT website.

Rules - Print Rules

Best Bass Tournament Trail Rules 2024

To fish in a BBT Region event you must become a member. A membership per individual is $60. A Family Membership, defined as living under the same roof, is $90 and an add on, if more than two people living under the same roof, is an additional $20 per person. A Membership is good for one year of your first purchase date (anniversary date). This date will never change unless you skip a year. If you started with the BBT in March 1st, your due date will always be the following year on that date, even if you fish 1 or 20 events.

1) All Anglers must Acknowledge and understand rules for the BBT Tournaments.

2) RULES: These rules shall remain unchanged throughout the season. Interpretation and enforcement of BBT rules shall be left exclusively to the tournament director’s discretion at each event. Federal, state, local, lake laws and rules must be obeyed at all times and shall supersede BBT rules when in conflict.

3) SAFETY: Video Link - Boating safety must be observed at all times during practice and competition. A U.S. Coast Guard approved chest type life preserver (PFD) Type III or higher, must be worn and properly fastened any time the combustible engine is operative and the kill switch must be attached to the driver with a lanyard no longer than forty-eight (48) inches. All boats must be equipped with the minimum recommended USCG safety devices. These requirements can be viewed online at

4) INSURANCE AND LIABIILTY: It is the sole responsibility of all BBT boat owners to carry and maintain the mandated, state required minimum liability coverage for themselves and their passengers. Contestants also need to be aware that not all insurance policies cover tournament participation, therefore all parties involved with the BBT must consult with their insurance company prior to competing in any BBT event.  

4a) WAIVER & RELEASE AGREEMENT:  The undersigned understands and agrees that as consideration for being allowed to participate in any BBT event, whether prior to commencement, during the actual event and/or during any post-event festivities, he or she is doing so at his or her own risk.  BBT and its owners, managers, employees, agents and sponsors (collectively “BBT”), shall not be liable for any damages, claims or causes of action arising from personal injuries or property damage sustained in, on or about the premises or waterways used for any BBT event, specifically including, but not limited to, all boat launches, bodies of water, parking lots or other public or private areas used for any BBT event.  The undersigned assumes full responsibility for any injuries or damages which may occur during any BBT event, however caused, regardless of whether such injuries or damages are caused by the negligence of BBT or any of its employees or agents.

4b) On the Entry Form:
The participant also expressly acknowledges that by signing below he or she is relinquishing all rights he or she may have to file a lawsuit against BBT for injuries arising out of his or her participation in any BBT events or activities.  This release is intended to be interpreted as broadly as allowed under California law.

5) SPORTSMANSHIP: All anglers are expected to act and conduct themselves in a professional manner. Displaying of poor sportsmanship, willful violation of rules and Local, State or Federal laws, and bringing unfavorable publicity to the sport of bass fishing shall be grounds for disqualification. If one team member is disqualified, the team shall be disqualified. BBT reserves the right to revoke membership at any time without remuneration. BBT also reserves the right to refuse service to any angler seeking to participate in sanctioned events. BBT participants are required to cooperate with tournament official’s boat for the purposes of boat inspection, photography, sponsor and media requests.

6) ALCOHOL & DRUGS:  Alcoholic beverages, narcotic drugs, illegal drugs or any other substances that may put yourself or other anglers safety at risk will NOT be consumed or allowed in the boat before and during the tournament. Operator must be coherent at all times.

7) REGISTRATION: All tournaments will require a payment of entry fees in advance of the tournament blast off. Deadline for electronic registration through the BBT website prior to 12 pm on the Thursday preceding the event will receive the discount. Checks need to be received by the BBT Director no later then Wednesday the week of the event. This applies to all BBT team tournaments. Entry forms must be filled out completely and mailed to your appropriate tournament director with checks made payable in your tournament director’s name – NOT to “Tournament Director”. Please see your region’s home page for mailing addresses and director’s name. Late sign-ups will be accepted the night before the event from 4 PM to 6 PM or the morning of the event at the designated location.

8) START OF TOURNAMENT: A random draw will be done to determine the starting boat position, the day of each event.

9) PARTNERS: A member may fish the first two events of a trail’s season solo without a designated partner. Members accumulate points for the designate team when fishing alone providing the other team member does not participate in that same event. Either member of a team is allowed to fish up to 2 events alone and representing the team, providing that the team fishes at least 4 tournaments together. No substitution of partners will be allowed except in cases of partner death, catastrophic illness and military duty. BBT Team events are just that – team events. Once you choose your partner, you must fish with that partner throughout the season for championship qualifying and points accumulation.

10) TACKLE & EQUIPMENT: Intentional snagging of fish will not be allowed. Trolling with the aid of combustion or electric motors is not permitted. Only artificial lures may be used. No live bait or prepared bait permitted with the exception of pork rinds. Liquid fish attractants are allowed. Only one (1) rod may be used at any one time by each angler. Other rods may be in the boat and ready for use, however, every cast and retrieve must be completed before another cast is made. Rods may not exceed eight feet in length. The use of underwater cameras is not allowed during competition. Nets may not have a handle in excess of eight (8) feet in length.

12) BOAT AND MOTORS: All boats in BBT events must be a minimum of 12 feet long and Coast Guard approved. All boats will be equipped with navigation lights, killswitch and an aerated live well. 

13) BOAT & LIVEWELLS CHECK: It is the responsibility of the anglers to have their boat and live wells checked by a BBT official or staff member immediately prior to competition. A RIBBON will be placed on your trolling motor once your boat has been checked. You will NOT be able to weigh in your fish without the ribbon on the trolling motor or you will be disqualified.

14) LICENSES: Each contestant must have in possession a valid and current fishing license with appropriate stamps governing the fishable waters of the event. Permits and local quagga mussel stickers. Penalty for such an offense is disqualification of the day's catch.

15) GUIDES: Guides May Not be used on official practice days, such as the Tournament of Champions pre fish days. Guides who guide for the same species that BBT tournament weigh in, will not be allowed to fish in the BBT Events.

16) SPEED-RESTRICTED AREAS: No boat may pass another contestant's boat in a restricted speed zone, in an effort to gain an advantage. No participant will swap, speed up to or run by the check in boat. Speeding in a 5 MPH zone is grounds for disqualification if you are protested.

17) PERMITTED FISHING WATERS: No fishing is allowed inside the host marina unless lake specific rules allow for such. If fishing is allowed within the marina, no boats may fish within 100 feet of the launch ramp. No fishing is allowed within 25 yards of another anchored or tied tournament boat with trolling motor out of the water, without the anchored boat's permission. Both team partners must fish from the same boat. Unless otherwise directed by the tournament authority, only contestants may be in the boat during the tournament hours. Having anyone hole-sit for anyone shall be grounds for disqualification. Contestants cannot leave the boat to land a fish or gain access to a fishing area. Restricting natural movement of fish by any means is automatic disqualification. Navigable waters are the only waters to be fished during a tournament and restricting boating access to an area by any means shall be grounds for disqualification.

18) LAKE OFF- LIMITS: There is No off limits period for any BBT regular events with the exception to the off limits for the championship/TOC event or Open. You may not receive or solicit fishing related information from anyone who has fished the Championship waters during the off limits period. In a 2 day event you may not fish or scout while returning to where you are staying.

19) RESERVED AREAS: No person may "hold" or "reserve" a fishing area for a contestant at any time. Infraction of this rule will result in disqualification of all parties involved.

20) INFORMATION SHARING: Once an event has started it is against the rules for any contestant to receive help or information about how/where to catch fish from someone else outside of their own boat. This includes help from another contestant.

21) RADIO OR PHONE TRANSMITTING: Transmittal of information via phone, radio, and text messaging or other means concerning any aspect of fishing during a tournament is prohibited. Communication between contestants and/or land lines may be used for breakdowns, emergencies, business, or personal reasons.

22) OFFICIAL BOATS: Officials may be on the water during contest hours and can approach or observe any contestant’s boat while taking photo or videos. Each contestant is required to cooperate with all reasonable requests from media representatives or officials. Official boats may not be used as contestant replacement boats.

23) FISH TRANSPORT: Restricting natural movement of fish by any means such as but not limited to: use of nets, tanks or dams will result in immediate disqualification. Restricting access to waters normally accessible to anglers by any means such as but not limited to: felling of trees or placement of obstructions will result in disqualification. Transporting live gamefish taken in one area and releasing them in another area for the purpose of establishing a population in the new area during the practice period, during the tournament, or 30 days prior to the tournament is strictly prohibited and grounds for disqualification.

24) SIGHTFISHING: This rule concerns "sight or bedding" bass and is in effect at any time either of these conditions exist and is designed to eliminate illegal snagging of bass. Intentional snagging of fish will not be allowed. A sight or bedding fish is defined as one that can be seen and watched as it approaches the lure. Fish caught under these conditions must be caught by hook and line and by the fish ingesting the lure. Any bass caught that is either a "sight" or "bed" fish must be caught "hook in mouth with the hook point entering from the inside of the mouth" - and must be verified as a legal catch by the angler's in-boat partner. Any "sight" or "bed" fish caught by snagging or with hook starting from outside the mouth shall be deemed an illegally caught fish and must be released. This same fish may be caught again by the legal method - with the hook starting from inside the mouth. Any angler catching a fish under these conditions and not verifying the hook location with the other person in the boat may be disqualified from the tournament. Standing on seats, or motor or the use of ladder or raised platform for the purpose locating or fishing for bedding fish in not permitted.

25) LIMIT and WEIGH-IN: During all BBT events, teams will weigh in a maximum of five (5) fish for the days catch measuring Thirteen inches (13”) laying flat on a flat board. No other game fish may be on board during all BBT event unless permitted by the state and BBT. BBT may allow for a larger or smaller tournament limit on waters where state or lake limits are greater. Any team weighing in a fish shorter than the legal tournament length will be assessed a one (1) pound penalty plus the loss of the short fish. Any team bringing more than five (5) fish to the scales will be disqualified. A penalty of .20 lbs per dead fish will be deducted from the total weight. Once you leave your boat and come to the scales you may not return to the boat to retrieve a missing fish. Any team asking for a re-weigh big fish or their limit will be given one; however no matter the outcome that team will take the re-weigh weight for their official weight.

26) CULLING FISH: It is the responsibility of each team to not have more than the local laws allows of fish in a live well. If more than the local laws allow are present in the live well during the event you will be subject to disqualification. However, a team may not possess more than a five (5) fish limit once inside the host marina. No culling is allowed in the host marina/5 MPH area inside where you check in is being done.

27) BIG FISH: The big fish award is an option at all BBT events. You may not weight in a DEAD fish to claim the big fish award, however, a dead big fish will be counted toward your overall weigh with dead fish penalty applied.

28) BREAKDOWN-EMERGENCIES: Anglers are not permitted to leave their boats nor touch another boat, with the exception of an emergency or major equipment failure during the tournament. In this case, it is permitted to be towed either to safety or back to the weigh-in area by any safe means available. You may not transport fish by land if you choose to trailer back to the weigh-in area; however, you may have your fished transported to the weigh-in by another tournament boat participating in the same event. Transported fish must be held separate from another contestant’s fish or identification pins must be used. At least one person must stay with your fish at all times and neither angler is permitted to fish while under the assistance of another boat during the breakdown period.

29) CHECK IN FOR OFFICIAL WEIGH IN: It is the responsibility of each team to check in with the BBT staff or BBT staff boat, you CANNOT bypass staff check in and go straight to the weigh in sight. Late check in is grounds for disqualification.

30) SCORING: Is determined by the total weight of each participants catch for the overall event, less any penalties or dead fish weighed in. There is no bonus for live fish. Points are awarded to each entrant of the event on a declining scale. (Each Region will have its own points system based on participation average from the last few years to keep AOY race closer) … Five participation points will be awarded to all entrants of the event. Participation points are not revocable.

31) WINNINGS/MONEY: Each division will compete only within their own division for points. Payback for all events will be in cash/check and will be based on paid entries, a 1 in 5 format. W-9 Forms will be required to be fill out and SSN or tax identification number will be given before receiving winnings. Information must be completed the same way you file your taxes. If you are NOT PRESENT to receive your winnings, you can apply it to your next event or it can be brought to your next event ( YOU MUST CALL US TO LET US KNOW WHERE THE WINNINGS ARE TO BE APPLIED ). We can mail out a check with your half of the winnings, a $5.00 charge will be deducted.

31a) Options and Big Fish Options - Will be paid back 100% of the amount that was paid in.

32) PRIZES: Awards during all BBT Events require the winners to be present at the awards. Winners who are not present at the awards ceremony will forfeit any and all prizes selected for them. This does not include money won as a result of placement in the tournament. Any prizes not awarded during a specific event will be carried over and awarded at the BBT Team Championship.

33) ANGLER OF THE YEAR: Will be determined by the team with the same partner having the most points accumulated at the end of the year, based on ALL 6 events in one region. In case of a tie for AOY, BBT will throw out the highest finish and the lowest finish add the 4 events together to determine the AOY for that year.  (T.O.C. Qualifications are different then A.O.Y. see rule 34, 34A & 34B)

34) TOC: The TOC will be a separate event, to be held at the end of the season. BBT anglers are eligible to win a grand prize given away to the overall winner of the event. All other BBT money will be kept separate.

34A) T.O.C.: Qualification - Video Link - BBT will take the top 40% of the following teams who have fished a minimum of (4) four event and no more the (5) five will be counted in one REGION. If you fished the (6) Six events in that same region, a bonus of 5 points will be added to your score. Travelers are a team fishing 7 events or more from any of the six BBT regions with four events with the same partner. This will qualify the team that fished the four together and 7 or more total. for the TOC, you must fish more as a team then an individual. (Opens are not included). Teams qualifying for the TOC will be announced at the conclusion of the full BBT schedule of all regular season events for the year.

34.B) Best Bass Tournaments 2024 TOC RULES and All BBT Rules Apply - Additional T.O.C. Rules.  1) This event starts on Monday, October 9th, at 12:01am, this means you are not to talk to anyone that is NOT in this TOC event throughout this week. 2) Off Limits are Monday, October 9th and Tuesday 10th. You are NOT allowed to be on this body of water.  3) Official practice days start at safe light on Wednesday, October 11th, Thursday 12th and Friday 13th, until Check in time, 2 PM to 4 PM. If you show up after 4 PM we will not check you in. You will have to do this on Saturday morning at 5 AM.  4) Guides, family member(s) and/ or friends, cannot be in your boat or you in their boat during this week.  5)  All safety Rules apply on Tournament days AND during practice days.  6) First Place wins the $20,000.00 and forfeits all cash winnings including Option money and Big Fish money. Second place and down receives cash and options in accordance to their position placed.  

35) TOC PARTNER: An angler who qualified to fish the TOC but has a partner who cannot attend can be placed with another qualifying angler with the same situation. Partners will be determined by a random draw. These situations will be reviewed and approved by the tournament director.

36) PROTEST: All protests must be submitted in writing within 15 minutes after the official closing of the scales.

37) POLYGRAPH: All contestants are subject to a polygraph test. Failure to submit is grounds for automatic disqualification. Any contestant who has failed a polygraph test in any bass tournament or contest or whose results are found to be inconclusive shall not be eligible to compete in the BBT. Polygraph and voice stress testing are performed at the discretion of the tournament director.

38) Photograph and Video: All photos and or video taken at a BBT event are the property of the BBT and may be used for promotional purpose.