2018 KBF TRAIL Series Overview

KBF Members can pit their skill against world-class kayak bass anglers in regional tournaments relatively close to home. KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments are stepping stones to the 2019 KBF National Championship (March 2019) and the KBF TRAIL Championship, the “End on the Bend” on Toledo Bend in October. Tournament Entry Fees have increased in 2018 to $75, 10% of which will go into the prize pot for the KBF TRAIL Championship in late October.

Prizes—Guaranteed $1,000 Minimum for each First Place finish, with additional payouts to 10% of the field (three for 30-39, four for 40-49, five for 50-59, etc.) The prize payout is structured so with each increase in registrations, every paid place increases, and there are no drop-offs as the number of paid places increases. To accomplish this, residual funds to into Big Bass Pot, minimum, $25, which is awarded to the Competitor who has the highest-scored bass on the Leader Board at the end of judging. Ties are broken in the usual way; by second big bass, third, fourth, etc. [See TRAIL Payout Chart PDF]

Winners who receive $600 or more, cumulative for the year, are required to provide KBF with a W-9 form, and then winnings are paid via PayPal Funds Transfer (or by mailed check, if no PayPal account). [View the 2018 KBF TRAIL Payout Table PDF file.]

KBF BONUS BUCKS participants can win additional cash and sponsors’ product bonuses, too.

NuCanoe will be awarding a Pursuit fishing kayak as an additional First Place Prize at every KBF TRAIL Series Tournament with 100 or more registrants.

Pursuit Pro Angler Lime Camo

KBF Angler of the Year Points will be awarded according to performance to every KBF Member who registers to compete in TRAIL Series Tournaments, from 600 for First place down to 120 for every active partcipant and 60 for those who register and are unable to compete. Each KBF Member’s top five scores contribute to his Angler of the Year total.

KBF-NC Qualification—KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments are qualifying events for the 2019 KBF National Championship. Assuming at least 30 competitors register, one slot will be awarded for every ten registrants with a mininum of five.

KBF Partners (KBF-affiliated clubs and circuits) are invited to host and staff these events. KBF provides judges who will objectively and fairly review, score, and provide feedback to competitors when appropriate.

Interested in hosting a KBF TRAIL Series Tournament in your area? Reach out to other kayak bass anglers and KBF Partners in your region, gauge the interest level, and contact KBF to get the ball rolling. TRAIL Tournaments require 30+ participants to register at least 10 days in advance of competition. The hosting KBF Partner designates tournament director and recruits event staff to handle logistics. Partner liaisons coordinate with Venue Hosts and KBF Management to arrange for Tournament HQ facilities, merchant discounts and other KBF Member amenities. KBF-certified judges from other regions of the country will judge the event, freeing up KBF Partner directors and officers to compete in the event and ensure complete objectivity in scoring. If you have the support of kayak anglers in your area and can commit to run a KBF TRAIL Tournaments in 2017, please email Kristi at KBF.

10-day MRT (Minimum Registration Threshold)

For 2018, KBF has established a requirement that any KBF TRAIL Series Tournament must have 30 registrations 10 days prior to start-of-competition date. “30” is the minimum registration threshold (MRT). That number is made up of paid (“Active”) registrations and committed-but-not-yet-paid (“Inactive”) registrations by KBF Members only. (Inactive registrations by non-KBF members do not count toward the MRT.)

Why is KBF doing this? Basically, it’s to increase participation. Last year, in many cases, registration numbers were lower than expected because some competitors waited until the eleventh hour to commit. We want competitors to register (commit) earlier this year, when there’s still plenty of time for everyone to arrange days off for pre-fishing and travel and make camping or lodging plans.

Many KBF members and other kayak angling guests from surrounding states consider fishing each KBF TRAIL Series Tournament. Competing in a tournament a state or two away requires a significant financial commitment. Frequently, prospective competitors hold off signing up until they’re sure the event will reach the 30 registrations needed for it to count as a TRAIL. When it does they register, schedule days off work, make hotel reservations, and plan their travel. If the event doesn’t reach 30 until Thursday or Friday before competition, that’s just too late for them to make their plans. Establishing a 10-day MRT removes the “limbo effect.”

So now, if we have a total of at least 30 (a.) “Active” registrations plus (b.) “Inactive” registrations by KBF Members no later than 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, ten days before a Saturday start of competition, then the event will go forward as a KBF TRAIL Series Tournament. KBF will commit the staffing to administer and judge the event and will fund the guaranteed $1,000 minimum first place prize.


  1. Why are there differences in rules from one KBF TRAIL Series Tournament to the next?
    KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments are usually hosted by KBF Partner clubs and circuits that combine the KBF-sanctioned event with one of their own. When the club tournament is a qualifying event for a state or regional championship and the championship imposes guidelines on rules in qualifying events that differ from KBF rules, then the TD and Richard Wohlwend-Penny, KBF’s Director of Operations, review the requirements and adjust the KBF rules to conform in some respects with the Partner’s own rules. Additional restrictions may be added, but no KBF standards are relaxed. For example, if a slot limit is in effect and the state DNR rules that it includes CPR fish, then the TD would probably add that size restriction.A TD cannot eliminate or weaken a KBF restriction, like doing away with the penalty for hand under gill plate, mouths open 1/4″ or more, or tail lifted off the board. KBF TRAIL Series Tournament rules can be made stricter—not more lenient.

    Here is a representative list of restrictions that host organizations and Partners may impose:
    • Prohibit electric propulsion/motors
    • Prohibit trolling
    • Prohibit wade- and bank-fishing
    • Fishing Rod and Reel Restrictions
    • Prohibit lure/hook attached to fish in photos
    • Prohibit TD from competing in event

    When he fills out a TRAIL Planner Form, the TD checks any of those that apply and types in additional ones, which Richard must approve on behalf of KBF. Those prohibitions or restrictions are then listed in the Event Rules Addendum.

  2. Why must KBF Member “Inactive” registrations count toward the MRT?
    A. It’s because KBF has little or no leverage to persuade non-members to honor their commitment to complete their registration and pay their Entry Fee. If a KBF Member commits (signs up) but doesn’t complete his registration by paying, then KBF is able to disqualify him from future competition until he honors his commitment. Not so with non-members. If several non-members merely signed up to help the event make the 30-registration threshold, yet do not complete the process by paying their Entry Fees, KBF would still be obligated to pay out the guarantees, but without sufficient entry fee revenues to cover it.
  3. I want to compete in a TRAIL and am willing to register, but I won’t have the $75 Entry Fee until pay day—on Thursday before the event. Should I still register but just stop when I get to PayPal?
    A. Yes, that’s how TourneyX works. When you click the boxes accepting the terms and conditions and submit your registration, you’re registered but “Inactive.” The TD can see your name on his roster, but you won’t be on the public leader board on TourneyX. Whether you pay right then or come back a week later and resume where you left off, when you pay the $75 Entry Fee, your status will change from “Inactive” to “Active” and your name will show up on the TourneyX Leader Board for all to see.
  4.  If I register and pay my entry fee, and it doesn’t meet the MRT requirement, can I get my money back?
    A: Yes. If fewer than 30 register by the MRT deadline, KBF will first discuss options with the TD and decide if the event will be cancelled or changed to a local event without KBF AOY Points, KBFNC and TRAIL Championship qualifications, guaranteed first place payouts. Then we will notify all competitors by email, explain the options, and offer a refund.
  5. How can a TD know the number of Active and Inactive registrations before the MRT?
    A: KBF will monitor the numbers and send progress reports to the TD at 30, 20, 15, and 10 days before the event.
  6. If I register and pay for a KBF TRAIL Series Tournament, can I withdraw and get a full refund, assuming the TRAIL event makes the 30 required registrations?
    A. Yes, but the refund deadline is also the MRT (10 days before start of competition).
  7. What happens if, say, a TRAIL gets 15 Active and 15 Inactive registrations by KBF Members, but by start of completion only 10 of those Inactive have paid and converted to Active, so 25 competitors show up for the event?
    A. The tournament is run as a KBF TRAIL Series Tournament, with 600 AOY points, 10% (minimum 5) KBFNC qualifying positions, $1,000 minimum guaranteed for first place, and then KBF will follow up with the five members who didn’t pay their $75 Entry Fee and request payment…and will disqualify them from future KBF competition until they’ve honored their commitment.
  8. Just because I’m a KBF Member, if I sign up to help my buddy make his 30 MRT but don’t fish the event or pay the Entry Fee, KBF will be coming after me for the $75?
    A. When anyone registers for a TRAIL tournament, by checking the boxes he commits to participate by the rules, terms, and conditions, including payment of the Entry Fee. Based on that commitment, KBF will cover his potion of the Prizes. We consider the Inactive registrant honor-bound to pay the debt. KBF won’t turn the account over to a collection agency, but until the debt is paid, we’ll add his name to a “KBF Member IOU” list. When he pays us back, we’ll remove his name from that list so he can again participate in KBF competition. He’ll still be a KBF Member… still enjoy member discounts, still engage in the Members-only Facebook page and all the rest. But before he commits to or competes in any other KBF competition, he must first satisfy his earlier commitment. If an Inactive Registrant who is not a member backs out, there’s not a lot we can do to influence him, other than block him from any other KBF TRAIL or OPEN. That’s why we don’t count non-Member Inactive Registrants in our 30.
Bending Branches
2017 KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments

2018 KBF TRAIL Series Tournaments

World-class kayak bass fishing competition close to home