5 Rules That Would Change Bass Fishing Tournaments Forever.

Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay

In the world of tournament bass fishing, rules have always evolved with the times, as technology improves, and people continue to evolve in reverse, most rules are updated for the safety of our beloved anglers, and the new rules are no longer about creating an equal playing field.

Granted, our playing fields are living, self-sustained but always changing ecosystems, we can’t change the fields themselves, but we could add 5 rules to improve “equality” in the tournament fishing community. For the sake of another long-winded, social media temper tantrum, front-facing sonar will not be discussed in this story.

1. one tank of fuel for the entire week including pre-fishing.

In other sports that use a motorized propulsion vehicle to compete, they strategize how much fuel is needed in between pitstops. Giving anglers one opportunity to fill up, before pre-fishing begins, and making the fuel last the entire tournament, would be a test of their mental capacity, and strategic excellence.

This rule would change the game, would anglers consume more fuel during pre-fishing, trying to find where the fish are, or would they conserve fuel for tournament weekend? Of course, there would have to be a no-fuel tank modification rule, the organization knows better than to leave a loophole for the backyard engineers to jimmy up a 300-gallon “live well”.  

The only real solution is to sell your boat and buy a kayak.

2. No waypoints.

The no waypoints rule combined with the limited fuel situation from rule change number 1, would put us one step closer to the goal of equality and inclusion. I mean, who really wants to compete with the old dudes who have been fishing the same circuit of lakes for the last 50 years, their depth finder screens are littered with waypoints, in all different colors to differentiate between weather patterns, time of year, B.C. and A.D.

“How would they enforce it” you ask, easy, tournament directors would hang out new screens, the same model you use on your time, without an SD slot, in exchange for your cell phone, monitor, and truck keys. “Why do they need my truck keys?” I don’t know, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

3. The 5,5,5, rule.

This rule might even make things easier for the competitors, with less mess, less to organize, and fewer decisions to be made. You bring 5 poles, and 5 tackle boxes/bags, and you get to retie 5 times. That’s a pretty generous amount of tackle, and there wouldn’t be a rule on the size of tackle boxes, but they must fit in under the deck of your boat, otherwise, it defeats the purpose of the less messy aspect of the rule.

Again, anglers would be forced to think about strategies and rely less on pure athleticism.  Again, when we focus on our main goals, equality and inclusion, sacrifices must be made.

Not all anglers can retie their own tackle, feel free to help a buddy out, tying on a lure for your competitor is encouraged and will not count against you.

4. Can only use your sponsor’s baits.

This rule would never be enforced, could you imagine being a marshal and having to know what every bait from every manufacturer looked like?

There are people out there who could identify every bait, but chances are they are not lining up to be marshals on the weekend. Luckily nobody is more honest than a fisherman, the honor system is the system of choice for equality. 

5. Single Barbless Hooks only.

This rule’s only purpose is to make me feel better, as a salmon angler in the Pacific Northwest, I have spent many hours in therapy talking about the “one” that got away, it’s more likely the “dozens”, but who’s counting? It would bring joy back into my life watching others go through the same defeat, the same mental anguish the WDFW has caused me. I would get the last laugh as I cash in the referral rewards from my therapist, as we all suffer equally.


These rules would destroy bass tournaments and are not recommended for use by any tournament directors. This article is the result of starting a bass fishing media company at the end of the tournament season, the first of many other genius ideas to come. Winter is coming, stay safe, stay dry, and if you haven’t booked a guide for winter steelhead, you are running out of time.  

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