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The interpretation of these rules and all final decisions will be made by the Tournament Committee. The West Virginia Bass Federation has the right to refuse any and all entries.

Participants and Eligibility: Tournaments are open to the general public. Individuals under the age of 16 cannot operate the gasoline motor other than in an extreme emergency. This is a team tournament, no more than two contestants per boat. (No extra passengers.)

Buddy Trail State Championship Qualifying Criteria: To qualify for the WVBF State Championship both team members must be WVBF members in good standing. To qualify for the WVBF State Championship through the Buddy Trail, you must adhere to the following:

  1. Must be a member of TBF/FLW and present an up-to-date card and be 16 years of age.
  2. Must be a member of a West Virginia BASS Federation Chapter (WVBF).
  3. Must fish five of six tournaments with the same partner. However, you may use a substitute partner for (1) one tournament only. Anyone fishing with a child under the age of 16 is not eligible unless the person under 16 is the one time alternate.
  4. The top WVBF team will be eligible to compete in the WVBF State Championship. It will be the responsibility of each qualifying team to determine who will be the boater and non-boater.

Advance registration is required. A fee of $100.00 must be received with a properly completed entry form by Wednesday the week of the tournament. Fees are non-refundable. Mail entry form and fee to: West Virginia Bass Federation, 298 Tiffany Lane, Elizabeth, WV 26143. Entries will not be taken at the ramp. You must supply the Federation with a copy of your liability Insurance coverage of a minimum of $300,000 and it must show the expiration dates. This is the responsibility of the boater. You cannot fish our tournaments unless you have proof of liability insurance on the boat that will be used for that particular tournament.

Pre-Tournament Practice:
Due to the size and accessibility of the tournament sites, there will be no restriction on practice prior to the tournaments.

Check in Point:
The official morning check in headquarters will be the West Virginia Bass Federation trailer parked in or around the ramp area. All boats and contestants should be in the water by 6:45 a.m. Teams will receive boat numbers at the morning check in which will have been determined by the tournament software (TAYSYS). This number will be used to check-out in the morning and check-in in the afternoon. Boats will be started promptly at 7:00 a.m. (weather permitting). All boats must return to the weigh-in site and check in no later than 4:00 p.m. for first flight and 4:30 p.m. for second flight, unless otherwise stated by tournament officials. All fishing must cease once a team has checked in. Contestants who have not checked in on time will be penalized 1 pound per each minute late and disqualified after 10 minutes. NO EXC– USES.

Safe boating conduct must be observed at all times by all tournament participants. Caution and safety on the morning ooze-off must be observed. Each contestant is required to wear a chest-type life preserver, Coast Guard approved. This preserver must be worn any time the combustion engine is operating. This preserver must be strapped, snapped, or zipped securely and maintained in that condition until the participant reaches his fishing location and the combustion engine is shut off. Also, all creeks as designated by tournament officials will be no wake, idle speed only. Violation of these rules shall be reason for immediate disqualification.

Sportsmanship, courtesy, safety, and conservation are expected from each participant. Drunkenness on the part of any participants shall not be tolerated. No alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs shall be allowed in boats or at the weigh-in area. Also respect another competitor’s immediate fishing area.

Tackle equipment:
Only artificial lures may be used. No live or prepared bait will be permitted, with the exception of pork rind, strips, etc. Only ONE casting, spin-casting or spinning rod and reel may be used at any one time. All other types are prohibited. Other rigs as specified above may be in the boat ready for use, however, only one is permitted in use at any given time. All bass must be caught live and in a conventional sporting manner. Stocking (transporting fish in any manner to make them more susceptible to being caught) is prohibited.

Boat & Motor:
Boats may be used that are 14 feet or more in length. Horsepower limit will be BIA rating plate not to exceed 250 horsepower. A small additional gasoline or electric motor may be used to maneuver the boat while casting, however, “trolling” as a method of fishing is prohibited. Stick steering shall not be allowed on any contestant’s boat. Operational kill switches are required on all boats. Every boat must have all required Coast Guard Safety equipment. In addition, each boat must have an operational bilge pump, and livewell space, properly aerated, to adequately maintain alive a limit catch of bass by contestants in the boat. Storing or having fuel delivered onshore during the tournament is prohibited.

Permitted Fishing Locations:
All fishing must be done from the boat. Contestants must not depart the boat to land fish. Contestants must not depart boat to access fishing waters. Boats must leave the official check point by water and return by water. Both contestants must remain in the boat at all times, except in case of emergency or where safety is involved. Trailering of boats during the tournament hours is prohibited. In case of a boat breakdown, one team member can bring the team’s catch to the weigh-in site in another competitor’s boat as long as each team’s catch can be identified.

Care of Catch:
Each contestant shall be expected to keep his bass alive by use of the boat’s livewells. It is expected that at least 95% of all bass will be released after the tournament. For each dead bass weighed in, an eight ounce penalty will be imposed.

Scoring shall be determined by pounds and ounces. The tournament winners shall be determined by the total pounds and ounces weighed for the event. A limit of five bass, largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted, per boat shall be weighed. At no time shall a competitive boat have more that 5 (five) bass in their possession. Each team must present their own catch to the weigh-in officials. No person shall touch said bass except tournaments officials. A bass must be 12 inches in length on a Gator Grip Golden Rule to be weighed. Fish shall be measured with the mouth closed: tail may be stroked to meet the required length. A one pound per fish penalty shall be invoked on all bass not measuring 12 inches in length and the short bass will not be weighed.

In case of a tie, the winner will be determined by the weight of the largest bass. The second tie breaker will be number of fish. Any other tie shall be resolved by the means selected by tournament officials.

Any contestant wishing to protest the score or conduct of another must file a written protest, stating reasons for protest within 30 minutes after the weigh-in scales are closed.

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