KBF Judge Certification Program

Fulfilling KBF's Commitment to Competition Consistency, Equity, and Excellence

KBF Judge Certification Process

Among the objectives of every competitive event directed by or affiliated with Kayak Bass Fishing are Consistency, Equity and Excellence. We start with a bedrock of rules, the “KBF Competition Rules Standards,” upon which KBF and its Partners are building a framework of trust, integrity, and fair play. Each competition augments KBF”s Rules Standard with additional rules, restrictions, and guidelines, the “Competition Rules Addenda.” In preparing for their own events, KBF Partners frequently add restrictions to the KBF Rules Standards; however, they do not relax or eliminate them. In this way, competitors across the US may compete in Challenges and Tournaments conducted by KBF and its Partners, confident that the rules will be fairly consistent and that any deviations from the standards will be clearly documented.

The rules promote nationwide standardization if they’re communicated, understood, followed, and enforced. Tournament Directors are responsible for ensuring that the Competition Rules Addenda are developed and communicated to competitors. They work with event planners to make sure schedules, logistics, facilities and communications needed to conduct the competition are in place and working efficiently. They’re also responsible for compliance, overseeing the judging, and proper distribution of awards. They make decisions that affect the safety of competitors and make decisions regarding circumstance that were not anticipated in the event plans or rules.

Competitors commit to review, understand, and follow the rules, both the standards and event-specific addenda. Before they click the registration box to sign up for an event in TourneyX, they check a box that verifies that they agree to abide by all the Rules, to abide by the tournament organizers’ Terms and Conditions, and to be bound by the terms of the Liability Release & Waiver Agreement located at the end of the KBF Competition Rules Standards.

Judges, too, must familiarize themselves with the Event Rules Addenda, and they apply the Rules Standards and Addenda in evaluating and scoring fish submitted by competitors. Judges must understand not only the rules and scoring standards but the intent of each rule. They not only are the rule-wardens but are also the chief advocates for competitors, doing whatever they can within the letter and intent of the rules to maximize the score for each photo submitted in CPR competition.


KBF has developed a certification program for individuals desiring to judge KBF and KBF Partner events, the KBF Judge Certification Process. Tournament Directors may appoint anyone as a judge for their tournaments and Challenges; however, by engaging KBF-certified judges, they are assured of expert, consistent, fair, objective and predictable evaluation and scoring. This increases the confidence level among competitors, increases participation, and reduces disputes and complaints during and after the event.

Engaging KBF-certified judges also permits the Tournament Director and all the Partner’s members to compete in their own events, since none of them must sit out in order to handle judging duties.

Certification Training is a combination of self-directed study, online group sessions, and on-the-job coaching. It culminates in a certification test. The proposed training curriculum is below.

KBF Judges Pool

When certified, judges are added to the bench or roster. TDs call upon them as needed to judge their competition. KBF will develop a process where judges are able to show when they’re available for duty so that TDs can, at a glance, see who is able to commit.

Judges may get to the point where they’re able to handle multiple concurrent events; however, the challenge there comes when the Rules Addenda for those events vary. It would be difficult to bounce back and forth between events if one allows lures to remain hooked in the fish’s mouth and the other prohibits it, or if in one event inking the measuring board lines is mandatory and not in the other. Initially, therefore, judges may commit to concurrent events only if the Rules are consistent. For example, one judge with time to spare may bite off and chew twenty KBF State Challenges in a single month since they all follow the same Rules Standards and Addenda.


Federal and State governments consider compensation for services as taxable events. KBF does not propose to institute a pay scale for Judges. However, the time, focus, energy and expertise that judges bring to competition are definitely of value to KBF and KBF Partners, and we would like for that to be reflected in the rewards they may receive. KBF is investigating the tax implications of several alternatives now.

One option KBF is considering would be to institute a points system that increases rewards commensurate with the work load each judge shoulders. A judge working ten events in which 1000 bass are submitted for scoring would receive more points (leading to greater rewards) than his counterpart working a single event with 100 bass photos to score. Points would be redeemable for items of value (e.g. promotional products, perks, privileges, Gift Certificates, Entry Fee Waiver Coupons, and other swag) that could be provided by KBF and its Sponsors and Partners.

Judge Certification for Tournament Directors

In order to effectively direct, TDs should know as much or more than the judges they manage. KBF recommends that all KBF and KBF Partner Tournament Directors earn KBF Judge Certification. In dedicated online group meetings, Tournament Directors will learn more about the range and extent of their authority and responsibilities and will find opportunities to raise issues they encountered. In some cases, those will feed into the KBF Competition Rules Standards continual improvement process.

Next Steps

KBF is developing its certification criteria and training now. A small project committee is being convened. That group will be comprised of a few individuals with special skills in curriculum design, content experts, a project manager and project coordinator. If you have project management experience, extensive experience in judging, and considerable expertise in curriculum design, please contact Joe Haubenreich to volunteer. Joe will also be recruiting individuals who have demonstrated these attributes.

Below is a straw man KBF Judge Training Curriculum. It reflects the KBF Rules Standards in some parts. It is also derived from interviews over the past six months with tournament directors and judges who told what they’d had to learn or wish they had known up front in order to do the best possible job of judging kayak bass fishing tournaments.

This is a work-in-progress. As we receive suggestions from KBF Advisers, we will be modifying this draft over the next weeks, so what you see today may be a little different the next time you return.

Certification Training Curriculum

1. Objectives
2. Certification Process
3. Rewards & Compensation
4. Judge’s Role & Responsibilities
4.1. Reporting Relationships
4.1.1. Tournament Director
4.1.2. Organization Authority (KBF Partner Officers, KBF Management)
4.2. Availability
4.2.1. For Event
4.2.2. During Event Rapid Response gives competitors time to upgrade Response Time Standards
4.3. Rules Application
4.3.1. KBF Competition Rules Standards
4.3.2. KBF Scoring Criteria
4.3.3. Competition Rules Addenda
4.3.4. Escalation
4.4. Second Opinions
5. Evaluation Process
5.1. Photo Acceptability
5.1.1. Image source Camera GoPro/Video Still-frame Images Second-generation images Alternate transmission channels TourneyX Control Panel Uploads Text Private Message (Facebook) Email Manual Uploads Competitor requirements Procedure
5.1.2. Species
5.2. Photo Scoring Criteria
5.2.1. Identification Authorized Identifier Form Event Validation/Verification ID code or marks UAID (Unique Angler ID) 4-character code Position of ID marks, code on Identifier Form. Position/Staging in photo
5.2.2. Authorized measuring device Type Condition Permitted Modifications Inked lines Preferred Sloppy Shortening, cutting down Reinforcing/Repairing Fence markings, decals Attachments
5.2.3. Orientation Rotating Images Direction Side up
5.2.4. Visibility Cropping Jaw Tail Poor Image Quality Low Camera Angle Covering
5.2.5. Body Condition Evidence of viability Evaluating evidence of damage, mangling Position Alignment on measuring device Curved Upper, lower caudal fins uneven Adjusting for missing lobe Centered Restraint Clips, straps, bands Fish lure or hook attached Tail Pinched; how much is too much? Raised Deformed/Missing Gill Flap/Operculum
5.2.6. Mouth/Jaw Contact with measuring device fence Open mouth penalties Dislocated
5.3. Measuring
5.3.1. Touching or not?
5.3.2. Ink and ridges
5.3.3. Reading between the lines
5.3.4. Overhanging Measuring Board Edge
5.3.5. Cropped image at tail
6. Competitor Feedback/Comments
6.1. Change in score submitted by competitor
6.2. Penalties
6.3. Suggestions & Advice
6.4. Equitable, Fair Treatment
7. Challenges
7.1. Questions
7.2. Disputes
7.3. Appeals
8. Tournament Director Roles & Responsibilities
8.1. Event Setup
8.1.1. Event Rules Addenda Eligible Waters Competition Dates and Times Competitor Eligibility Restrictions, Standards Registration Options Prize Structure
8.1.2. Identifiers Design Posting Publishing
8.1.3. Judge Recruitment
8.1.4. TourneyX Event Setup
8.1.5. Facebook Event Page
8.1.6. Website Event Page
8.2. Venue Host Alignment
8.3. Sponsorship Alignment
8.4. KBF BONUS BUCKS Alignment
8.5. Rules Interpretation, Application, & Enforcement
8.5.1. KBF Partners Commitment to KBF Competition Rules Standards
8.5.2. Areas and Process for Deviation from KBF Competition Rules Standards
8.5.3. Competitor Eligibility Compliance
8.5.4. Oversight of Judges
8.5.5. Address of Situations Not Covered by Rules
8.6. Contingency Planning; Safety & Emergencies
8.7. Insurance
8.8. Dispute and Appeal Process Management
8.9. Event Registration Process
8.10. Bookkeeping, Revenues, Costs, Disbursements
8.11. Pre-competition briefings
8.12. TourneyX Procedures
8.13. Managing Leader Board View