As this community grows, we’re seeing a lot of new faces at our events, which is a great thing. On the negative side of that coin, we’ve also had to disqualify or give deductions to a number of fish submitted during our tournaments. So it’s time we discuss it…

First, and this should go without saying, READ THE RULES! Please. We follow Kayak Bass Fishing’s rules for the most part, and you can find a link to them on all of our event pages, either here on our group page or on TourneyX. Reading them is worth your time.

And that’s not just a suggestion for anglers new to our events, we’ve had to disqaulify and deduct length from a number of submissions uploaded by veterans of our group. KBF does update/clarify the rules throughout the season, so it’s worth going over them now and then.

But let’s talk about some of the things we commonly see at our events.

The fish’s eye is covered. This is probably the most common rule infraction we see, especially with smaller fish. Covering the eye is an immediate rejection.

The fish is facing the wrong way on the measuring board. Easily the second most common mistake anglers make.

To ensure this does not happen to you. Here is how you measure the fish on the board: With, for instance, the measuring board oriented on your lap left to right, the fence/bump facing left, the bass must be placed on the board with its head left, nose/lip touching the vertical fence/bump, caudal (tail) fin right, dorsal fin facing up (away from you).

This is how the fish must be oriented regardless of how you position your board when taking a photo (so “up” may be “down” for you, “left” may be “right,” and so forth). Don’t let that confuse you.

The fish’s mouth is open more than a quarter inch. Another common mistake. If any mouth is open more than a quarter inch (tie goes to the angler in MAKB, not KBF), you will receive a one-inch deduction. If your fish is anywhere between 8 and 8.75 inches, it will then be denied after the deduction is applied because it will now be below our minimum allowed length of 8 inches.

The picture is blurry. We must be able to see the numbers, or at least one number, on the board. We’ve had to deny big fish for this reason, and in at least two instances it cost the angler money. We don’t want to do this, but if we cannot see any number on the board we have no choice.

As long as we can see something—a number, at a minimum—we will score it as best we can. The ideal photo, of course, is one that is clear, so do not release your fish until you are sure you have taken a quality photo.

Those four examples are what we commonly see, but there are some outliers.

Hand under the gill plate. This has only happened a few times. Anything—hand, identifier, etc.—under the gill plate is an automatic denial.

Hand touching the caudal (tail) fin. A less common mistake, but one that does happen. You may touch the fleshy base of the tail, but not the fin itself. Be careful not to block with your hand where those two parts of the fish meet. If we cannot determine if you are or are not touching the caudal fin because your hand is in the way, we will deduct an inch.

Anyway, the last thing we ever want to do is deny a fish or deduct length. This has often caused an angler to lose out on money and even the victory. We don’t feel good about doing that, and I’m sure the angler feels much worse.

For those new to tournament fishing, or new to MAKB, I’m sure it doesn’t encourage some of them to fish with us again because, as we all know, some of these rules are seemingly extreme.

A one-inch deduction for a mouth open a hair past a quarter inch? Yeah, that’s extreme, but it’s a penalty, and it’s part of the game we signed up to play. And as long as we all endeavor to read and follow the rules, this sort of thing should never be an issue at our events.

Mistakes will be made, though, from time to time. I’ve screwed up before and I know the rules well. So please take a moment to read the rules. Then read them again.

We don’t adhere to all of these rules, so you can find a rules addendum in the FILES section of our Facebook page. Please read those as well.

Below are are some examples of submissions that received deductions, the reasoning listed underneath the photo. Scroll through them and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes…

This blurry fish cost the angler first place and lunker.

Even with what would have been a one-inch deduction for an open mouth infraction, this blurry photo cost the angler a second-place finish.

Luckily for this angler he had another, better quality photo, otherwise this blurry photo would have cost him the lunker prize.

This fish is facing the wrong way and cost the angler a second-place finish. It was the anglers first tournament with us.

This fish is facing the wrong way and, at the time of its rejection, cost this veteran angler the lunker prize.
Luckily for him he rallied and put two even bigger fish on the board to not only still win the lunker prize but the entire event.

First-time MAKB angler. Both of his submissions during this tournament were rejected for his hand covering the eye.

Denied for covered eye. Veteran angler.

Denied for covered eye. Had the angler not covered the eye, this fish would have received a one-inch deduction for a wide-open mouth.

Typically we see this rule infraction with smaller fish, but it happens with bigger fish as well. It was denied.

Denied. Angler is touching the caudal fin.
FYI: There is a very good reason for this seemingly silly rule.

This was denied for obvious reasons. The entire fish and bump/fence portion of the measuring board is not visible in the photo.

Multiple issues here:
1. Eye covered.
2. This was during our month-long No Limit event a few years ago which had a 12-inch minimum. This fish does not touch 12 inches.
3. Both of those things were reason for rejection, but had neither been the case, the entry would have received a one-deduction for its mouth being open more than 1/4 inch, dropping it below 12 inches, which would have resulted in a rejection.

Denied. This picture exemplifies why KBF instituted its ban on having anything under the hard gill plate.

Denied. The nose/lips of the bass are not touching the bump/fence of the measuring board. By about three inches.

This one was given a one-inch deduction for touching the caudal fin, which very likely did not happen. However, we could not make that determination because of the angler’s hand placement, so it was penalized. Luckily for him, though, he had another picture where his hand was not near the tail.

If you have any questions, just ask.