Tournament Rules



Tournament Hours: 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM                           Check-in Period: 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM.

No On-Site Registration except to collect lunker money, parking or EPO fees.


Membership Requirements and Fees: All participants must be members of The North East Bass Association of Massachusetts, either as an independent member of or a NEBA of MA club member. NEBA of MA Association Membership Fee is $65 per person for the calendar year (which includes 1 state banquet ticket), paid directly with your tournament application, through your club or by mail. To qualify for Family Membership Husband, Wife/Significant other must reside at same address. Their children can live in any household and must be under 18 years of age as of April 1st.


Entry Fees: $130.00 for each event you want to fish


Launch Fees: If an EPO is needed a fee will be assessed at the site per team along with any additional ramp, parking, or launch fees which are the responsibility of the contestants.

Tournament Lunker Pool: $10.00 Big Bass Pot split LM/SM for largest (heaviest) bass LM/SM at each event.

Maximum Number of Entries: All entries are taken on a first-come, first-served basis using the formula in the notes above till all spots are filled or April 1st* whichever comes first.

Pre-Registration by Mail: Send completed applications to be received by first come first serve for all events you plan to fish.

All forms by mail only – no drop off  — NEBA of Mass, Tournament Registration, P.O. Box 202, Webster, MA 01570

Proof of Insurance Required: All entry forms must be accompanied by proof of valid $300,000 watercraft liability insurance (copy of valid insurance policy with expiration date) Incomplete Applications will not be processed! Rules pages must be signed and turned in as well!  No slots will be reserved unless all information and complete payment is provided prior to the April 1st deadline.

Refunds: No refunds will be issued for missed tournaments.

Tournament Officials: can be reached by telephone. (Wil Andrews (508) 865-7322).

Prize Money: $30 of each entry fee goes toward the state finals, with the remaining paid out in prize money.  For 20 boats, prizes for the top 5 places are paid out, plus places 6 – 8 will be awarded $100.  For 28 boats or more, a 6th place will be added and places 7 – 10 will be awarded $100.  For a full field of 35 boats, 1st place will pay nearly $1000.  Prizes are pro-rated based on actual number of entries.

Top Adult/Youth or Mix/Team at each tournament: Teams can only claim one prize whichever is of higher value and remaining prizes in that pool will fall to the next team in line and if 4 or more AY/MC teams participate an additional prize(s) will be awarded. For youth member prize, the youth must not be older than 18 years of age as of the April 1st deadline. Youth’s older than 18 prior to April 1st will be in the regular team prize pool.

CUTOFF – There will be a 6:00PM cutoff the night before any trail event. If contestants live on a body of water that the tournament is at then they can be on the water after 6:00pm but cannot fish and are allowed to travel to the tournament start by water.





North East Bass Association of Massachusetts Tournament Rules

Equitable Entry System (EES)

In order to fish the finals you need to be a NEBA of MA member and meet the criteria outlined below.
EES Equitable Entry System for INDEPENDENT NEBA of MA Members – 3 tournament minimum to qualify for the finals. If you are an INDEPENDENT member of the NEBA of MA and do not belong to a sanctioned club, you must fish 3 state trail events to qualify for the finals and your INDEPENDENT partner must do the same regardless of how many events you paid for. If your partner cannot fish the finals you can pair with a NEBA of MA club member in good standing or another INDEPENDENT member that has met the 3 state tournament minimum requirement. All entry fees will count towards the finals in the EES.
EES Equitable Entry System for NEBA of MA Club Members – NEBA of MA club members in good standing can fish as many or as few state tournaments as they wish with all their entry fees counting towards the finals. NEBA of MA club members can fish the finals with any NEBA member of any club or Independent member that has met the 3 event requirement.
EES Financial Breakdown – If you fish all 5 state trail events with the same partner then your entrance to the finals is free. The equitable dollar amount is $30 per team per event that is taken via the 70/30 split. That means that a team fishing all 5 events contributed $150 and that is the equitable number for this year. No money is ever lost if you participate in the finals which will be a 100% payout of the EES for that year. Example (1) If you are a NEBA of MA club member and you and your partner fished 2 state trail events you would have contributed $60 towards the finals and the EES number for 2019 is $150 so the finals would only cost you $90 to enter. Example (2) If 2 NEBA of MA members fished all 5 events and then decided to each fish the finals with another NEBA member from any club that didn’t fish any state trail events then they would have contributed $150 the EES number but because they split into 2 teams they each would bring $75 in EES money to their team and the entry fee for the finals would be $75 for each team. The team EES number simply has to add up to $150 so the more state trail events you fish, the cheaper the finals are.
ANGLER OF THE YEAR TIES – Ties in points will be broken by the biggest fish for each team.  If one team wins, then that team will receive 5 paid tournaments for the following season only.  If two teams are still tied, then each team will receive 2.5 paid tournaments for the following season.  If 3 or more teams are still tied, then the officers will determine, with input from each tied team, the best way to divide up the prize package for those involved.
LUNKER(S) OF THE YEAR – There will be special plaques issued to the angler that catches the biggest largemouth and the biggest smallmouth for the 5 tournament trail season. There will also be a special super lunker pool that will be paid to the angler at the banquet for big largemouth and smallmouth for the season. Anglers in this special pool must be paid on the date of the first tournament to be eligible. The super lunker pool is a cash award only and has no bearing on lunker of the year awards. A team’s big fish or lunker largemouth or lunker smallmouth at any NEBA tournament must be alive at weigh-in to be included in the pool(s).

PARTICIPATION AND ELIGIBILITY – The NEBA of MA Tournament Trail is open only to members of the North East Bass Association of Massachusetts. Any person under the age of 18 must have the signature of their legal guardian. Watercraft (Marine) Liability insurance is required with a minimum of $300,000 coverage. Professionals: Individuals that have fished two or more tournaments requiring an entry fee of $500 or more in the preceding six months are not eligible to fish.
REGISTRATION – PRE-REGISTERED PARTICIPANTS – In all state tournaments, all pre-registered participants must check-in with the Tournament Officials by apprx.6:30 AM and have their boats inspected and in the water by 6:45 AM. Participants not checked-in by 6:30 and launched by 6:45 AM may not be allowed to fish unless special arrangements are made with the tournament director.
REGISTRATION – ON-SITE – No Onsite registrations.

PRE-TOURNAMENT FISHING – CUTOFF – There will be a 6:00PM cutoff the night before any trail event. If contestants live on a body of water that the tournament is at then they can be on the water after 6:00pm but cannot fish and are allowed to travel to the tournament start by water. NEBA of Ma. Club Tournaments are prohibited on Trail Tournament Waters for 6 days prior to each Trail Tournament.


SPORTSMANSHIP AND COURTESY – All participants in NEBA Tournaments are expected to follow the highest standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety, and conservation. Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles may be deemed cause for disqualification. The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and/or drugs in a participant’s boat or on their person during official tournament hours will be cause for immediate disqualification. Anyone on medication under a doctor’s order must notify the Tournament Officials prior to the start of the tournament. Tournament hours extend from the start of registration until the scales have been officially closed by the Tournament Officials. Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially in regards to the general public. No competing boat may fish within 50 feet of another occupied boat, regardless of whether the other boat is a tournament contestant without consent of the other boat. Any act of a participant which reflects unfavorably upon the NEBA’s efforts to promote fisheries conservation, clean water, and sportsmanship will be reason for disqualification from the current tournament and/or all future NEBA of MA Tournaments. Protests can be submitted to the Tournament Officials  in writing or verbally but must be done before the scales are officially closed. The protesting participants must be available to confront the accused with the Tournament Officials.
WAYPOINTING – This is the practice of setting another competitor’s fishing location on your GPS unit.  While this practice is not considered a rules violation, it is a practice that the tournament committee considers to be somewhat of an unsportsmanlike act and is strongly discouraged.

SAFETY – Safe boating must be practiced at all times. Each contestant is required to wear a chest-type, Coast Guard approved life preserver (PFD), fastened securely, at all times that the combustion engine is running. Anglers must be seated in the main boat seats when the boat is on plane. No angler will be allowed on any deck of the boat while the boat is on plane. Suspender-type vests must be worn on the outside of all garments, and cannot be removed unless there are other acceptable Type III vests readily accessible in the boat. All boats must operate in a safe and sane manner and observe any and all speed zones that are posted on tournament waters. The maximum speed limit for all tournaments is 45 MPH, unless lower or higher speed limits are posted on the tournament waters, required by law or local rules and regulations, or required by the Tournament Officials. Ignition kill switches must be used properly, and attached to the driver at all times that the combustion engine is running. Boats on plane must maintain at least 150 feet of distance between each other and or applicable local law. NO POWERLOADING AT ANY RAMP.
FUEL/REFUELING – Each team is responsible for insuring they have sufficient fuel to fish the tournament waters.  Refueling will only be permissible from an authorized fuel dispensing location, such as a marina.  Taking on fuel from any source other than an authorized fuel location shall be grounds for disqualification.

FUEL STORAGE – Fuel can only be dispensed into the boats internal fuel tank or tanks.  In the event the boat does not have internal fuel tanks, then external fuel tanks are permissible, BUT they must be properly secured to the boat in such a manner as to remain stable and not interfere with the safe boat operation or fishing.  External gas tanks are defined as those tanks where the fuel line clips onto the fuel tank and goes directly to the motor, and are properly vented.  GAS CANS OR ANY OTHER CONTAINER CANNOT BE CARRIED ON BOARD OR USED FOR REFUELING ON THE WATER DURING TOURNAMENT HOURS.

TACKLE AND EQUIPMENT – Only artificial lures may be used. No live or prepared bait is permitted, with the exception of pork strips or chunks and rinds, etc. Only casting, spin-casting or spinning rods and reels may be used. All others are prohibited. Any number of fishing rods may be rigged in the boat but, only one rig may be used at a time. Nets, with a maximum overall length of 6 feet (72 inches), are allowed. Trolling as a means of fishing is not allowed. No underwater listening or vision devices of any kind are allowed. Cell phones and two-way radios may be used for emergency/non-tournament purposes only.
LIVE WELLS – All boats must have a functional live-well space, of proper and adequate size, and properly aerated to maintain alive a team’s limit of bass. Tournament officials shall have the sole responsibility for determining whether aeration and capacity are “proper and adequate”. Stringers are not allowed.
EMERGENCIES – Contestants must remain in their boat at all times during tournament hours, except in the case of dire emergency. If toilet facilities are available then contestants may leave their boat to relieve themselves during tournament hours at the designated locations without checking with other teams. It is mandatory that a courtesy bucket is aboard for all participants and it is to be used if the need arises. No boat shall approach within reaching distance of another boat during the tournament except for sharing of food/drinks/tackle/sunscreen or an emergency.


OFFICIAL CHECKPOINT – There shall be only one official checkpoint in the morning and afternoon, and this point shall be designated at the pre-tournament briefing. At the time of check-in, all competitors and their boats shall be in full compliance with all the rules set forth herein and by the Tournament Officials. All boats must proceed directly past, within 50 feet of, the launch boat at tournament check-in. All boats must check in, regardless of whether they have fish are not. At check-In, all boats shall identify themselves by means of their boat number and proceed immediately to the designated weigh-in area. The check-in boat will remain on the water for 15 minutes after the official check-in time. Check-in and weigh-in procedures will be as defined at the pre-tournament briefing. At least one team member must stay with the team’s catch until the catch has been weighed and recorded.
BOAT AND MOTOR -Every boat must have all Coast Guard required equipment. The minimum boat length is 14 feet. Canoes, barges, and similar cumbersome or unstable craft are not allowed. The horsepower rating of the motor must not exceed the horsepower rating of the boat. Tiller steering is allowed, but stick steering is not allowed. All boats must have a functioning ignition kill switch, which must be used properly.
Boats allowed for tournament usage – If your team starts the season in a propeller driven boat then you must fish all events in a propeller driven boat. If you start the season in a jet type boat then you must fish all events in a jet type boat.
Tournament Workers – Do Not Impede Tournament Workers – From 2:45pm -3:00pm the entire ramp facility shall be free and unencumbered for the tournament workers get dropped off and for them to pull out their boats.  What this means is this… We need the workers to perform the weigh-in. You cannot interfere with this. You cannot have your truck/trailer in line during this time because then the tournament workers cannot get out of the water and the weigh in will be delayed. There will be nobody other than workers dropping people off or getting their trailers in line between 2:45-3:00. If you want to get out early and drop your teammate off prior to 2:45 you can. But, between 2:45 and 3:00 the entire ramp facility shall be free and unencumbered for the tournament workers. While we hate to assess penalties, in this case failure to yield the ramp facility to the workers during this time will result in a penalty.
WEIGH-IN AND SCORING – Tournament scores will be based on the total weight of bass caught by each team. Only black bass (largemouth and smallmouth), caught during tournament hours on the tournament waters shall count toward a team’s catch. Daily limits and size will be established at the pre-tournament briefing. If more than the legal limit of fish is found in a team’s possession, that team will be disqualified. If in the judgment of the Tournament Officials any bass presented for weigh-in has been mashed, mauled, mangled, or altered, that bass will not be counted toward the team’s score. Bass presented for weigh-in that fail to meet the established minimum length will not be weighed-in and shall incur a one-pound penalty for each short bass. Due to the variance in measuring devices, all participants may check their measuring device against the official ‘Golden Rule’ prior to the close of the morning registration period (6:30 AM). There will be no ‘courtesy checks’ of fish. Competitors are expected to keep their bass alive if at all possible. Dead fish may not be “culled”–they must be weighed-in with the team’s catch. Four ounces (.25 lb.) will be deducted from the team’s score for each dead fish weighed-in. The determination of a ‘Dead Fish’ will be based on the Tournament Officials’ judgment of the fish’s likelihood of survival. All fish must be caught during the day of the event during tournament hours at the tournament location by the anglers in the event for use by their team only.
TEAM ACCUMULATES TRAIL POINTS FOR ANGLERS OF THE YEAR – 200 points awarded for first place; 2 points less for each place after first; 20 points less than the last team with fish for teams that check-in with no fish; 0 points for teams that do not check in or are disqualified. A change in partners constitutes a new team and new points however each team may engage the use of a substitute 1 time only per season per team as long at that substitute meets all the NEBA of MA qualifications and as long as 1 team member is present. A substitute receives no EES value towards the finals. A team can fish with 1 member any time.
SUBSTITUTE FEES – Substitute fees will be $35 for a onetime participation and do not include banquet or state finals participation. A Substitute can sub for another team or join NEBA of MA by paying an additional $30 and becoming a full member. The substitute would still need to fish 3 times or join a NEBA of MA club to be eligible for the state finals. This is a team trail and if one member cannot fish, you must use your 1 time substitute first and then a team member may fish alone for a trail event remembering that each partner must fish 3 events to be eligible for the state finals. Teams can have multiple substitutes but would be considered a new team if using a 2nd substitute. The tournament director will determine the limit in the event only 1 angler is present based on the location, time of year and state and local laws.

TOURNAMENT DROP POINTS – No points will be awarded for dropped or missed tournaments.
TIES – In the case of a tie for any place, the tie will be broken in the following manner: (1) biggest fish, then (2) Total number of live fish. If still tied, the prize money and points of both places will be divided equally between the teams.
LATE PENALTY – There shall be no excuse for tardiness. A late penalty of 1 pound per minute will be assessed for teams that check-in after the official check-in time, and the team will be disqualified if more than 15 minutes late. All fishing must cease upon check-in. After proper recognition at the check-in point, competitors will have ample time to proceed to the weigh-in site at a slow idle. The official starting and check-in time will be announced at the pre-tournament briefing.

Late Penalties and Breakdowns: This year we will have an assigned officer monitoring for boats returning late. Should you have a breakdown or are assisting someone with a breakdown please understand no teams should be late. The reason is we have to weigh-in fish and close the scales in a timely manner. Here’s what should happen. If you have time to tow someone in great, if you don’t… You need to get everyone to the scales on time and this can be done numerous ways. Making sure the boat and people are safe, you can take a team member from the disabled boat on your boat with their fish  and get them to the scales. You can leave the other team member with the disabled boat or if the boat is able to be parked and both members want to go with you, they can. (Be cognizant of your max person capacity on your boat). If you are assisting a boat in this manner please let us know so we can weigh you in first and allow you to get on your way to either go back and tow the disabled boat or trailer to an alternate site. Please remember that if one member is going with you that they have the keys to the tow vehicle if they need them.

VIOLATIONS – Any ticket or citation issued for speeding, fishing violations or improper boating operation during a NEBA of MA event will cause immediate disqualification from the event. Other violations will be at the tournament committee’s discretion for disqualification. If a contestant was stopped by a law enforcement agency or involved in any type of boating accident or incident, they must report this immediately to the tournament director.

POLYGRAPH TESTING _ The NEBA tournament officials reserve the right to ask any competitor(s) finishing in the top 5 spots to submit to a polygraph test. Since all events are team events, both team members may be required to take the polygraph test.  If any of the angler(s) being asked to take a polygraph refuse or fail to show up for the test, or take the test and fail, this will result in immediate disqualification of that team from the tournament and potentially all future NEBA events.  No refunds for prepaid tournaments will be given.  Since some or all of the tournament payouts may be affected, payouts will be withheld until after the polygraph test(s) have been completed.

TOURNAMENT RESULTS – Results are official as soon as scales are closed except where a protest is being resolved, in which case the results will be official after the protest resolution.  Any errors found in the scoring after the payouts will be corrected and may end up changing the results or standings, but will not result in a change of the payout distribution.

INTERPRETATION OF RULES – All decisions in interpretation of these rules by the Tournament Officials’ are final.