Our Tournament Rules



PREFACE: These rules shall govern the creation, format, and operation of the Palm Bay Bassmasters tournament trail, and define both the method for modifying the rules as well as the authority to interpret said rules.

All references to “board” or “board members” herein are to be interpreted as meaning “Executive Committee” or “Executive Committee members” as defined in the PBBM Constitution and Bylaws.

  • RULE CHANGES: These rules shall remain unchanged except by majority member approval during a regularly scheduled club meeting. Rules applying to the current tournament season that may affect the outcome or standings of a specific tournament or of the AOY race, or the prize payout of either, cannot be changed after the club meeting prior to the first tournament of the season. Rule changes made for the purpose of clarification or to correct discrepancies may be made throughout the season. Exceptions to these rules may be made for Special Tournaments as approved by the Executive Committee.
  • INTERPRETATION: Interpretation of these rules is the responsibility of the Tournament Director with input from board members present.
  • TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE: A suggested tournament schedule for the upcoming season will be prepared by the Tournament Director and presented to the membership as soon as possible after being elected. The Tournament Director will make a good faith effort to avoid scheduling tournaments that conflict with Florida BASS Nation and BFL tournaments. The membership may provide input and comments on the proposed schedule. Final decisions are made by the Tournament Director.

Once the tournament schedule is set, the Tournament Director has the authority to cancel, reschedule or change venue of a tournament in the event of natural disasters, dangerous weather, dangerous water level or other unforeseen circumstances. Any member or guest unable to fish a rescheduled tournament shall have the option to roll over their tournament fee or receive a refund.

  • PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY: Participation is open to all members of Palm Bay BassMasters (PBBM) 16 years or older and in good standing. The entry fee for regular tournaments is $30, and must be received prior to start of the tournament fished. Tournament fees are to be paid to the Treasurer, Tournament Director or club official. If a participant has paid for a tournament and is unable to fish, the entry fee will carry over to the next scheduled tournament providing the individual notified a board member of their intentions. No refund or roll over will be made if no notification is given.
  • PARTNER PAIRING: Partner pairings will be held at the club meeting prior to a scheduled tournament. If unable to attend pairing meeting, a club member present must have been informed of your intention to fish. To be eligible to fish, contestants must be included in the draw for pairing. Once a draw has started there will be no additions. Tournament Director may change pairings in the event of unforeseen problems, after conferring with board members.
  • CONSECUTIVE FISHING PARTNER DRAW: No angler shall fish two consecutive, regular club tournaments with the same partner. During tournament draw, if a boater and non-boater are drawn together and they had fished the previous regular tournament together, non-boater will be re-drawn and original non-boater will be put back in the draw.
  • PRECEDENCE FOR NON-BOATERS IN THE DRAW: At no time shall 3 or more anglers be allowed to fish from one boat. In the situation where it appears there may not be enough boaters in a tournament to accommodate all of the non-boaters wishing to participate, the following procedure will be followed:
  • Members who may otherwise be classified as a boater but wish to fish as a non-boater will be asked to reconsider.
    • If the member is present at the partner pairings meeting, he will be given the opportunity to explain his request to not bring his boat, and the Executive Committee members present shall make a decision on the validity of that request. The member will then be classed as either a “valid” or “invalid” non-boater.
    • If that member is not in attendance at the meeting, and has not sufficiently explained his request to a member of the Executive Committee prior to the meeting, he will be classed as an “invalid” non-boater.
  • An order of precedence will then be set for non-boaters in the draw. Order of precedence is set by 1) membership status, 2) valid vs. invalid non-boater status, and 3) YTD club participation:
  • Club members (assigned precedence over non-members/guests)
    • Valid non-boaters (those who have a valid reason for not bringing their boat)
      • Club participation ranking (YTD number of meetings attended plus tournaments fished)
    • Invalid non-boaters
      • Club participation ranking
  • Non-members & guests
  • GUESTS: Non-members, or guests, may fish based on availability of space.

Guest Boaters – must be a past PBBM member, must provide proof of current boat registration and insurance, and must have an active PBBM member as co-angler, acquired either through the regular partner-pairings draw, or arranged ahead of time and pre-approved by the Tournament Director.

Guest Non-boaters – two types: Family members & friends who would NOT be entered into the partner pairings draw because they’re fishing with the member-boater, and non-boaters who WOULD be entered in the partner-pairings draw, for example, potential new members.

Members who wish to bring a guest on their boat and thus not be included in the partner-pairings draw must notify the Tournament Director prior to the draw. The TD will assess the availability of space and disallow the guest if allowing them would prevent a member from participating. At no time will a member be bumped or excluded from fishing due to a guest.

In the event a boater withdraws from a tournament after the pairings draw, the co-angler will be assigned to the next available boat. If no boat has available space the co-angler will replace any guest.

Guests may fish no more than 2 tournaments per season.

Entry fees for all guests are $15. Guest entry fees go directly into the club general fund, and are not included in the tournament prize pot.

Guests are not eligible for any prize awards, but any fish caught by the guest may be included in the total weight for the boat. In the event that a guest fished in one of the boats that qualified for a boat prize, the entire boat prize shall be awarded to the club member in that boat.

Guests are expected to share the cost of boat operation, including gas, oil, and transportation to and from the tournament lake.

  • AGREEMENT TO FISH: Any member that agrees to fish in a tournament must attend.  If a member can not fish a tournament that he has agreed to fish, he must give proper notice to a member of the Executive Committee.  If a member fails to do this and does not show up at the boat ramp he shall be responsible for the full entry fee for that tournament.
  • SAFETY: Safe boating must be observed at all times. Each contestant is required to wear a properly fastened, chest type life preserver anytime the boat is travelling “on plane.” Failure to properly wear life preserver, as described, will result in disqualification from the tournament. All boats must be equipped with an ignition kill switch that is securely fastened to the driver any time the boat is travelling on plane. All legally posted NO WAKE zones and NO FISHING areas must be obeyed. Violation of these rules will result in disqualification.
  • BOAT AND MOTOR: Boats must be 15 feet or more in length. Outboard motors of 40 hp or more that do not exceed the USCG rating of the boat may be used, except aircraft type. Each boat must be equipped with all USCG required safety equipment. Boat must have operating livewell/livewells, capable of maintaining, alive, 10 legal size Bass for at least 8 hours. Tournament Director has the right to reject any boat determined to be unsafe or incapable of maintaining fish alive.
  • INSURANCE: Any boat used in a club sanctioned tournament shall have valid insurance coverage that either meets or exceeds the prescribed level set by the Florida BASS Federation Nation for participation in state or regional tournaments.  The owner of the boat is responsible for obtaining and keeping up to date the insurance policy.
  • BOAT OPERATION AND EXPENSE: Partners must discuss a schedule of boat operations prior to the morning take-off. Partners are entitled to equal time in front of the boat and trolling motor operation. Each partner is entitled to an equal number of hours to fish his/her select water (within reason, based on boat capability, fuel limitations vs distance). Any contestant who, in the judgement of tournament officials, operates the boat in such a manner as to unfairly handicap their partner shall be disqualified. Non-boat partner is expected to assume 50% of the tournament operating costs of the boat including gas & oil.  The non-boat partner is also expected to share the cost of transportation to and from the tournament, if the boat owner offered that transportation and the parties agreed on a mutually convenient meeting location. Partners must agree on expenses prior to start of a tournament and should be paid by conclusion of said tournament, disagreements should be presented to board members present for discussion and settlement.
  • PERMITTED FISHING METHODS: Only artificial lures may be used. No live or prepared bait, except “pork style” baits are allowed. Only one casting, spinning, spin casting or flipping rod and reel combination may be used at a time. Additional rigged rod and reel combinations may be in the boat for substitution purposes. Rods longer than 8’ are not permitted. Trolling as a method of fishing, is not allowed. All fish must be caught live and in a conventional, sporting manner. Snag hooking bedding fish is prohibited and grounds for disqualification.
  • SPORTSMANSHIP: All contestants are expected to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety, fellowship and conservation. No alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs shall be permitted in boats during any PBBM sanctioned tournament. Any contestant showing signs of being under the influence or reported for consuming alcohol or illegal drugs, or any extreme violation of the sportsmanship rule will be subject to disqualification and possible removal from club.
  • PERMITTED FISHING LOCATIONS: Contestants may fish anywhere on tournament waters reachable by boat but not within 50 yards of any marina gas pump or within 50 yards of another competitor’s boat which is anchored or secured in a fixed position, with the trolling motor in the stowed position. No angler shall permit select competitors to fish within the 50-yard radius of said boat to the exclusion of any other competitors.  All fishing must be done from the boat, contestants may not depart boat to land a fish. Boats shall remain in tournament waters during prescribed fishing hours, however, boats may be removed from water prior to check-in time but must remain at the check-in area.
  • EMERGENCY SITUATIONS: In an emergency, partners may enter the boat of another competitor or rescue boat. Partners must remain together at all times, in sight of each other and each other’s catch of that day to be scored. The momentary condition of being out of each other’s sight to use the restroom is permitted. If a mechanical situation arises, the boat owner may opt to stay with his vessel and have his fish weighed in by the Captain of the rescue boat, the Tournament Director must be notified of this before weigh-in starts.
  • FAILURE TO CHECK IN: If a boat can not check in on time, or is going to be more than 30 minutes late, the boater must use all resources possible to notify a member of the Executive Committee.  Failure to comply will result in a loss of five (5) points from the club standings. (Note: This rule is for people who may leave early, or people who decided that they are going to stay out and fish by their own choice.)
  • SCORING: Scoring shall be determined by pounds and hundredths of each competitor’s catch at the end of each tournament day.  Only black bass may be weighed-in. Daily creel limit is 5 bass per day or as directed by Tournament Director based on State, Federal or Local regulations. Fish shall measure a minimum of 12 inches from closed mouth to tip of pinched tail and only 1 fish shall exceed 16 inches, on a golden rule, unless exempted by FWC permit and stipulated by Tournament Director. At no time shall a contestant have more than 5 bass in their creel. Culling of fish must be done immediately, and culling of dead fish is prohibited. Any contestant exceeding their creel limit, except while culling, will be disqualified. Contestants must keep their fish separated from their partner. Bass may not be put on a stringer at any time during a tournament. Each contestant must present his own catch for weigh-in. The Tournament Director will accept no fish unless presented in a weigh-in bag. A penalty shall be assessed for any bass presented for weigh-in which fails to meet prescribed size limits; such penalty shall be loss of largest bass plus short fish. A “courtesy measurement” may be done at the scales, using the club’s ruler, prior to presentation for weigh-in, without penalty. To qualify as a courtesy measurement, an angler must make this request specifically to the Tournament Director. If this request is not made and the Tournament Director subsequently declares a fish to be short, then short fish penalty(s) will apply. Any bass that appears to have been mutilated, mashed or stretched to reach size limit will disqualify the contestant. Every effort must be made to keep fish alive. A .25 (4oz) penalty will be deducted from total weight for each dead bass. The Tournament Director shall be sole judge for viability of live release. All fish shall be released immediately after being weighed.
  • LATE PENALTY: There shall be only one official check point for check-out at start and check-in at conclusion of said tournament. All contestants must check-in at or before the official start time, and return to the checkpoint before the official stop time, even if they have no fish to weigh. Contestants are considered “on time” for afternoon check in if they are down off plane and no longer fishing. For each 1 minute or portion thereof that a contestant is late checking in for official weigh-in, he shall be penalized 1 pound. Any contestant checking in more than 15 minutes late shall lose all weight for that day. All fishing ceases at official check-in time. In case of mechanical breakdown, the Tournament Director or another club officer should be notified immediately. If a boat is being towed in by another competitor, they will be allowed to weigh-in upon arrival. If the tow operation is going to exceed 30 minutes past official weigh-in time all fish should be tagged, transferred to the rescue boat and brought to the scales. Once a boat is under tow all fishing shall cease at official check-in time.
  • TIES: In the case of a tie for any place, number of fish in the creel will determine the winner. Should a tie still exist, the largest bass of each contestant shall be weighed. If this method fails to break the tie then a coin flip shall do so. In the event there is a tie of overall points at the end of the year, total accumulated weight will be the tie breaker with total number of bass accumulated during the year as the second tie breaker. In the event a tie should exist after points, weight and number of fish, the biggest fish of the year shall be used to break it. If no big fish is recorded by either party then the tie will be broken by coin flip for positions 2 thru 10. If there is a tie for Bassmaster of the Year, the above method shall be used, except the coin flip will be replaced with a sudden death fish off at the final tournament lake. Sudden death winner will be the first contestant to present, for weigh-in, a legal bass.
  • PROTESTS: Protests affecting tournament results must be made within 30 minutes following check-in time of the tournament being protested.
  • TOURNAMENT PRIZES/AWARDS: Prizes are awarded based on the results of each regular tournament. The prize payout structure, listed as a distribution of the total pot, is as follows:

1st Place Individual 20%

2nd Place Individual 10%

3rd Place Individual  5%

1st Place Boat 20%

2nd Place Boat 10%

3rd Place Boat  5%

Big Bass Award 10%

Club Portion 20%

Total          100%

The “total pot” is the number of club members fishing, multiplied by the tournament entry fee. Guest entry fees go directly into the club general fund and are not included in the tournament prize pot.

The big bass award goes to the angler who catches the largest bass, by weight, net of any dead fish penalty.

  • SHARING OF KNOWLEDGE: Prior to issuing of checks and trophies, the first, second, third, and big bass winners will discuss at the next regular club meeting following the tournament on how, when, and where they caught their fish.  The information will be verified by their partners. There will be no coercion with partners and the absolute truth is a must. Any violation of this rule will constitute disqualification from the tournament and possible expulsion from the club.
  • ACCUMULATED POINTS SYSTEM: For the purpose of establishing a ranking of anglers at the end of the tournament season, a point system shall be used. Anglers will be awarded points based on their performance in individual tournaments, and their accumulated points at the end of the season shall be the basis for the ranking.

Starting in the 2021 Season we will be implementing a new 30 point scoring system for our tournaments. The points will be assigned as follows:

  • CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT: Following the last regular tournament of the season, the top 10 anglers will be invited to compete in a Championship tournament. If any of the top 10 anglers cannot or choose not to fish the Championship, the the next-in-line angler(s) in points standings may elect to fish until 10 slots are filled.

In addition, observers will be selected from the 11th place working down the standings until the ten observer positions are filled.

Tournament waters shall be off-limits to all fishing and boating activities between announcement of the tournament location and the day of tournament itself.

The payout for the Championship Tournament will be as follows:

  • $300.00 for first place,
  • $200.00 for second place,
  • $100.00 for third place, and
  • $50.00 for top observer.
  • ANGLER OF THE YEAR: The PBBM Angler of the Year shall be the top ranked angler as established by the accumulated points system described above. Performance in the Championship tournament is not a factor in deciding the Angler of the Year. Prizes awarded in the Angler of the Year race are as follows.
  • 1st Place $300.00
  • 2nd Place $100.00
  • 3rd Place $50.00
  • Big Bass $50.00

The big bass award will go to the angler who catches the largest bass by weight, net of any dead fish penalty, during any of the regular season tournaments, not including the Championship tournament. In the event of a tie for big bass the award will be split between the anglers.

  • INSUFFICIENT FUNDS FOR AWARDS: If total club funds available for awards as of the end of the regular tournament season are less than the combined total payouts listed above for the Championship and Angler of the Year awards, these awards shall be reduced and pro-rated as percentages of available funds.
  • ADDITIONAL YEAR-END AWARDS: The Executive Committee shall determine the nature and size of any Angler of the Year plaques or trophies to be awarded in addition to cash prizes.