KBF Competition Rules Standard Revision Log

Changes listed by dates

Effective June 1, 2019

NOTE: this revision superseded all earlier iterations, and went into effect for KBF competition starting after the effective date. All earlier 2019 events and fish judged for 2019 were not rejudged or scores, rankings, and rewards adjusted.

  • For all Redfish competition, tail must lie in a pinched or compressed position; not splayed or fanned.
    Rationale: This requirement is consistent with other organizations competition rules and standards and prevents entry of Redfish that would be longer than KBF’s allowed slot limit to be submitted for scoring.
    Procedure: After the Redfish is laid on the measuring board, its caudal (tail) fin lobes should be pinched together and then released before the angler’s hand is removed (or moved forward of the anus) for the photograph. The fin may relax to some extent, but if the Redfish flexes its caudal fin so that it fans out, the angler should pinch the lobes together again until they remain in a somewhat compressed position for the photo.
    Revised sections; 2.D. (added text and illustration) and 10.F.t. (added pinched caudal fin and tips on measuring board to scoring criteria)
  • When present, the unique dark-pigmented spot on the left side of a Redfish’s body or caudal (tail) must be visible in photos.
    Rationale: This, too, is consistent with rules and standards of other organizations and permits reference to the unique marking to aid in positive fish identification.
    Procedure: Visually identify any spot present on the Redfish’s left side and, if the Competitor’s hand is in the photo, position it so that the spot is not covered in the photo.
    Revised sections: 9.G.ii. (added text specifying that spot must be visible, if present) and 10.F.w. Body (spot not covered added to scoring critera)

Effective February 19, 2019

This change superseded all earlier iterations and went effect for KBF competition starting after the effective date. All prior 2019 events and fish judged for 2019 were not rejudged or changed except that any fish that had been previously penalized 1” by the 2019 rule in the 1902 Feb KBF State Challenges, going on at the time the rule went into effect, were permitted to be culled and resubmitted.

  • 9: H: Returned to 2018 standard in which an open-mouth penalty of one inch is assessed when mouth is judged to be open 1/4″ or more. (Change also appears in Photo Scoring Criteria ae. Mouth.)

Effective January 1, 2019:

  • Global: Changed “bass” to “fish” where term generally applies to the fish targeted in competition (e.g., bass, redfish)
  • 2.B. Set minimum length for all KBF bass competition to 12 inches
  • 2. B. Inclusion of Redfish length limits
  • 3.A. “Launch” defined as the point at which an occupied boat is propelled away from shore. (Competitors may place their boats in the water, load them, and occupy them at any time provided the boat remains in contact with the shore, pier, or dock until the “Earliest Launch Time” stipulated in KBF Event Rules Addenda.
  • 8. Exceptions to prohibited watercraft standards; Blue Sky Boatworks 360 Angler and Biyak are now accepted for use in competition
  • 9.D. If judges, during photo review, identify situations that may possibly result in competitor disqualification, photos are escalated to Tournament Director or Series Director for review and are scored 00.01″ with comment reflecting final score or response is pending review by director into possible infraction. This includes photos that appear to have been cropped or modified (e.g, image enhanced or filtered) in such a way as to obscure infractions. In such cases, Director may contact Competitor to request original un-cropped, un-filtered photo for verification. Failure of the Competitor to respond or submit original photo will result in the photo submission in question being denied.
  • 9.G. Redfish acceptable photo standards include no-touch zones in front of operculum (hard gill flap) and behind anal fin.
  • 9.H. Redfish mouth clarification; mouth may be open or closed, unlike bass that are penalized for open mouth
  • 9.H.ii. Bass open mouth penalty changed to a deduction of 1.00 points for any bass that a judge rules has its mouth open. This includes bass with structural deformities, injuries, or features that make closing its impossible.
  • 17. Clarification of Event TD’s authority and responsibility to clarify and expand on rules. Competitors who disagree with TD’s ruling may submit a dispute, according to procedures outline in Rules Standard.

Effective May 1, 2018:

5. Competition Area / B. Competitors may launch from any public-access shore directly onto Eligible Water or may launch and then paddle or portage to Eligible Water. Crossing restricted property to reach Eligible Water is not permitted. Tributaries, canals, sloughs or estuaries separated from the rest of eligible water by temporary obstructions (e.g., fallen trees, log jams, beaver dams) that, if removed, could be entered by floating/paddling are considered eligible waters in which competition is permitted, and competitors are permitted to drag or portage watercraft over or around such obstructions. Those separated by obstructions of a permanent nature (e.g., levees, earthen or concrete dams, berms, roadbeds, spillways, waterfalls) are ineligible water, and competition in such areas is prohibited. Violation will result in disqualification from the Event.

9. Photo Standards: Add: “Except where covered by hand or fingers, the entire bass, from its mouth/jaw to the tip of its caudal (tail) fin, must be visible in photos. If either end is covered or cropped off, the photo will be denied.”

9. Photo Standards / H. Mouth / i. Bass’ lip or jaw must be in contact with measuring board fence (bump board, upright), and the fence must be visible in the photo. Violation will result in denial of photo.

10. Scoring / B. If any portion of a bass’ caudal (tail) fin extends off the measuring board, the score will be determined by the highest 1/4-inch measurement reached or crossed by the portion of caudal fin on the Measuring Board. Any portion of the caudal fin extending off the Measuring Board is not considered in scoring.

10. Scoring / F. Photo Scoring Criteria Table: Add “Entire fish not in picture…DENY”


Effective January 14, 2018

  • Compressed and rearranged topics for better continuity.
  • Standardized outline format.
  • Changed “Hawg Trough” to “Measuring Board,” unless used to specify that brand.
  • Changed “Protest” to “Dispute” as the name for judgment or scoring disagreement notification and process
  • Changed “TourneyX” to “Tournament Management System” or “TMS,” unless used to specify that particular system
  • Clarified rules for which an infraction results in disqualification, photo denial, and points deduction.

Removals (Not highlighted in red, because they are no longer present)

  • 1.E. Removed paragraph regarding how payments are processed throught PayPal as not directly relevant to competition.
  • 1.H. Removed section regarding distribution of KBF Identifier Form at Captains Meetings
  • 2. Removed section on Tournament Format as redundant; addressed in other sections.
  • 8.A. Added “canoes” as approved watercraft for KBF competition.
  • 8.C.d. Removed prohibition on dual-prop electric motors.
  • 9.F.iii. and 10.C. Removed penalty for pinching a bass’ caudal fin (tail fin) or positioning the bass on the measuring board so that one caudal fin lobe extends 1/2″ or more past the other. In photos, fingers may be touching the caudal peduncle (fleshy, scaled base of fin) but no portion of the fin itself.
  • 10.A. Removed references to State Adjustment Factor
  • 10.F. Changed “open mouth” penalties to 1.00 points (inches) deducted when a bass’ mouth is open 1/4″ or more; no deduction when the mouth is open less than 1/4″.
  • 11.E. Removed section stipulating that competitors who witness violations are required to report them or risk being disqualified.
  • 11.I. Specified KBF Director of Operations as having responsibility for requiring a polygraph exam and removal of section stating the Competitor may be responsible for the costs of the polygraph test. Also added that the results of a polygraph test may be one, though not the sole, determining factor to which KBF Management refers in considering a Competitor’s eligibility for awards and qualfication for future participation.
  • 17. Simplified and clarified section on Competitor’s responsibility to pay taxes on winnings.

Significant Additions

  • 1.B. Professional Fishing Guides are prohibited from competing in an Event if they guide on Eligible Water within 30 days prior to the Event.
  • 4.B. Competitors are prohibited from paying a professional who guides on a tournament’s Eligible Eater for guide service or expert advice within 30 days prior to competition
  • 8.A.a. Added dimensions of watercraft eligile for use in competition
  • 9.D. Identifier Form may not cover any potion of the bass, which means one cannot lay the card on the fish in photos, which obscures identifying marks and patterns. It must be strapped to the competitor’s hand or arm, or positioned above, below, or beside the fish.
  • 10.D. Clarified that any section of a bass’ caudal fin off the measuring board does not affect its score; that the score is determined by the greatest distance from the fence of any section of the caudal fin on the board.

Other Significant Changes

  • 14. Updated restriction on advertising for sale of product prizes through KBF Facebook pages.
  • 17.A. Standardized the Dispute Window for all KBF Events to 48 hours following completion of judging for each Event.

Effective August 9, 2017

At the end of Section 17.B. regarding wearing of PFD Usage in Competition, the following sentence was added: “When an infraction, as described above, is verified by the Tournament Director, the competitor is disqualified from participation in the event.”

Commentary: This rule applies to all KBF Competition, including tournaments and Challenges. Competitors must wear a PFD that meets KBF approval at all times while on the water during competition. For tournaments, that is throughout the entire time from start to end of competition. For Challenges, it’s whenever one is in “competition mode.” Although KBF recommends PFD usage whenever in a kayak/SUP, compliance with this rule is required only while the individual is competing. When in doubt, wear your PFD!


Effective June 20, 2017

Changed Rule 19. Disputes and Appeals, paragraph A from:
A. Any Competitor who wishes to dispute or protest a rules violation penalty, a judge’s scoring decision, or other action that materially affected the Competitor’s ranking or prize eligibility must file a protest with the Tournament Director in writing or via email within 24 hours from the time and date of the protested action. Only Competitors in the Tournament where the protested action occurred may lodge protests. Protests must be handled privately. All parties of interest will be provided a copy. The Tournament Director will review the Competitor’s claims, thoroughly investigate the disputed decision, and issue a ruling.

…to this:
A. A Competitor who wishes to dispute or protest a rules violation penalty, a judge’s scoring decision, or other action that materially affected the Competitor’s ranking or prize eligibility must file a protest with the Tournament Director in writing or via email within the following time limits:
• 24 Hours (1 full day) following the close of a KBF TRAIL Series Tournament or Special Members-Only Competition (e.g., 100 CHALLENGE, KBF Bienville Bassin)
• 48 Hours (2 full days) following the close of a KBF State Challenge or KBF Special Challenge
• 72 Hours (3 full days) following the close of a KBF OPEN Series Tournament or Championship

Except for situations involving fraud or other law violation, any protests submitted after the deadline will be reviewed without affecting the outcome of an event. No change in rank or reward will result from protests submitted after the deadline. Only Competitors in the Tournament where the protested action occurred may submit protests. Protests must be handled privately. All parties directly involved will be provided a copy of the protest. The Tournament Director will review the Competitor’s claims, thoroughly investigate the disputed decision, and issue a ruling.


Effective March 20, 2017

A new rule was inserted before Rule 8, which now reads: Cooperation and Assistance: Up until the end of the established pre-fishing period, competitors may fish with and receive direct assistance from other anglers and professional guides on the eligible waters. Before and during this event, competitors may (a.) share gear, tackle and equipment, (b.) assist in photographing a fish for submission, and (c.) may communicate with and fish in proximity to other people, including competitors; however, then may not receive assistance in catching fish, including boat positioning, casting, retrieving, hooking, playing, or landing a fish.

Rule numbering after new Rule 8 was adjusted accordingly.

Rule 8.H. (new 9.H.) on assistance was eliminated.

Rule 9 (new rule 10) changed to read: Watercraft and Propulsion

A. Watercraft acceptable for use in KBF Competition are:

a. Small, narrow watercraft that the manufacturer identifies and sells as a kayak, including inflatable kayaks and modular kayaks

b. Stand-up paddleboards (SUP)

c. Other watercraft specifically approved in advance of competition by KBF Management. If unsure about the acceptability of a watercraft, contact KBF Management in advance for eligibility determination.

d. Under no circumstance will the following watercraft be approved for use in competition:

i. Gas- or liquid-fueled motorized or hybrid fuel/electric powerboats or personal watercraft

ii. Sailboats

iii. Jon boats

iv. Canoes, pirogues, coracles, and rowboats

v. Dingies and skiffs

vi. Float tubes, inflatable rafts, and rigid inflatable boats (e.g., Zodiac)

vii. Pontoon boats, pontoon-style pond boats, or similar.

B. Watercraft propulsion is restricted to paddle, pedal, pole, or electric motor. (See electric motor restrictions, below.)

C. Unless specifically prohibited in the KBF Rules Addendum, use of electric motors in KBF-sanctioned competition is approved with the following restrictions:

a. Electric motor must be attached to the kayak in a safe manner for operation.

b. An electric motor used to propel a watercraft may not exceed the lesser of (a.) manufacturer’s labeled Maximum HP/Thrust Capacity, (b.) 3 HP, or (c.) 155 foot-pound thrust.

c. Competitors must comply with all boating regulations pertaining to motorized kayak/electric-propulsion watercraft registration, use, and operating restrictions for the designated fishing area.

d. No more than one electric motor may be attached to a kayak regardless of combined horsepower/thrust/power rating. Motors with dual props operated by a single power source are permissible as long as the unit is manufactured and sold as a single unit.

D. Towing, transport or relocation assistance from another watercraft is NOT permitted except in cases of emergency, as when pulling a kayak from a danger zone or restricted area. Once the emergency has ended, the Competitor may resume fishing only if no appreciable relocation occurred.

E. Trolling (i.e., lure(s) attached to a single rod and towed behind a watercraft while underway) is permitted in KBF Competition.

Rule 17.B. (new rule 18.B.) changed to read: PFD Usage: t all times while on the water during competition hours, Competitors must wear a chest-type, inherent-flotation or inflatable USCG-approved PFD, properly positioned and adjusted to conform with USGC and manufacturers’ instructions, with the following exception: If all of the following conditions exist, Competitor may briefly remove his PFD while afloat in order to take off or put on articles of clothing:

(a.) no fishing lines are in the water; and
(b.) the watercraft is not underway; and
(c.) weather and water conditions permit one to do so safely; and
(d.) Competitor is over the age of 12.

When finished changing his attire, Competitor must immediately put the PFD back on before resuming navigation or fishing.


Effective February 14, 2017

Rule 11.E.: Ties are broken by big fish. The tied competitor’s “biggest” (top-scored) bass are compared, and the tie breaks in favor of the competitor with the biggest (top-scoring) bass. If the biggest bass are equal, the second-biggest bass are compared and determine which competitor wins the tie. If the second-biggest are identical, the third bass is compared, and if they, too, are identical, then the fourth bass breaks the tie. If all four of the tied competitors’ highest scoring bass are identical, then the tie breaks in favor of the competitor whose last Leader Board photo was uploaded earliest.

17.F.: Night Tournaments that take place between April 1 and September 30, in which boats leave or return after 10:30 P.M., must comply with the following six stipulations in order for the event(s) to be eligible for Event Liability Insurance coverage provided through the North American Tournament Association’s policy.

  1. All participant boats must be equipped with working Coast Guard approved running lights. Running lights must remain on in accordance with the governing state regulations. [Note: Kayaks are categorized by USCG as “oar-driving craft” and meet USCG requirements by having an “electric torch” (a.k.a. flashlight) that can be used to signal other boaters. While anchored, all watercraft must display a 360-degree white light. Some states impose additional requirements.]
  2. The tournament director shall have predetermined the availability of cell phone or radio coverage to assure reasonable communications in the event of an emergency. [Note: All competitors should make sure their cell phone numbers are entered in TourneyX and the Tournament Director should have a list of all competitors with cell phone numbers for texting or calls.]
  3. The tournament director shall have on hand the contact information for emergency rescue and medical services and must maintain the ability to make contact at all times during the tournament.
  4. The governing authority, as required by law or ordinance, shall be notified of the tournament date and hours.
  5. The tournament rules shall mandate an on the water speed limit of not more than 35 miles per hour between sunset and sunrise. [This should pose no problem for our competitors.]
  6. The tournament director shall have in place a system of accounting for the return of all participants. [Note: This includes not only an end-of-competition check-in but also a way for competitors who leave early to notify the TD.]

Effective September 14, 2016

Rule 10.A. Regarding clarity and legibility of a photo and the identifier, the phrase “…positioned in the photo and…” is being deleted and the following sentence added: “After carefully examining photo details and cross-referencing other photos submitted for scoring by the same angler in the same event, if the event judge is NOT able to verify with 100% confidence that the KBF Identifier Form and ID Codes or Marks in the photo are valid for both the competitive event and the competitor, then the photo will be denied.”


Effective July 31, 2016

Rules Change Notifications: Process has been expanded to include announcements on the KBF Company Facebook Page and the KBF Advisory Committee Facebook Page. Also, changes will be listed in this revision log and most recent revisions highlighted in red in the body of the rules, below.

Rule 1.E.: Eliminate rule pertaining to KBF requirement that competitor provide proof of personal liability insurance coverage.

Rule 4.C.: Competitors who could not or did not upload their photo submissions to TourneyX are no longer required to be in Judges Check-in line at Tournament HQ one hour prior to the Competition End Time, unless otherwise stipulated in the KBF Competition Rules Addendum for a specific event.

Rule 6.: Edited and notes added (in an expandable box) to clarify that to be considered ” eligible,” a body of water must be publicly-accessible, regardless if it is owned or regulated privately, corporately, or by a government or regulatory agency, during the hours of competition. Ingress to and egress from the water may not be across access-restricted property. Usage fees are irrelevant, provided that anyone willing to pay the user fee has equal access to the water. Basically, if everyone doesn’t have the right to get to and fish the water, then no one does.

Rule 5: Prefishing end time will be specified, if applicable, in the KBF Competition Rules Addendum. If not stipulated in the Addendum, then the pre-fishing deadline is six hours prior to competition start time.

Rule 8.B.: Hawg Troughs may be shortened only by removing inches from the upper end opposite the fence. For instance, one may be shortened by cutting it off at the 26 inch mark in order to fit crossways between the kayak gunwales. However, it may not be broken, snapped, or cut apart and then reassembled at any point between the two ends. A crack that does not separate the Hawg Trough into pieces and does not affect the accuracy of the Hawg Trough may be repaired and reinforced for use.

Rule 10.A.: Clarified that the identifier with the required ID Codes and marks must be visible and legible in the photo.

Rule 10.D.v.: Added that no restraining device, clip, or band may be used to secure the fish being photographed, and that securing the fish with any portion of a hand under the fish’s operculum (the hard flap covering the gills) is prohibited. (NOTE: this “gill flap” rule went into effect in September.)

Rule 11.E.: Ties are broken according to the time the last fish photo contributing to a competitor’s score is uploaded by the competitor to TourneyX or received by a judge, if the photo is to be manually uploaded.

Rule 11.F.: According to Rule 10.D.ii, a fish’s jaw and/or lips must be touching the Hawg Trough Fence. If a judge can ascertain with certainty that the fish is not in contact with the fence (for example, when the joint of the fence and measuring surface is visible in front of the fish’s jaw), the photo will be disqualified. If a judge is unable to determine with certainty whether the fish is in contact with the fence due to a photo’s lighting, focus or other condition, he may approve the photo but impose a one (1) inch penalty.

Affix a decal, tape, or sticker to the fence to block back-lighting and make it easier for a judge to recognize that the fish’s lip or jaw is in contact with the fence.

Rule 11.F: Added that any portion of a hand under the fish’s operculum (hard gill flap) will result in disqualification of the photo.

Rule 13.B.: “Open Mouth” rule was modified to be consistent with scoring criteria in Rule 11.F.


Effective April 8, 2016

Rule 10.D.iii. Tip of tail must be in contact with the Hawg Trough for the fish to be scored. If the tail is lifted off the Hawg Trough, the photo will be disqualified.

KBF does not allow fish to be entered when the fish’s tail isn’t clearly lying in a natural position. “Curled up” isn’t a natural lay. Every photo of a fish with its tail off the board will be disqualified. Make it your habit to snap multiple photos before releasing a fish, then review them an upload the clearest one that complies with rules.

(End of Revision Log)