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Hooker Bait and Tackle Team Tournament Trail (HBT4) Rules

Effective January 1, 2020


The following rules apply to the 2020 Hooker Bait and Tackle Team Tournament Trail (HBT4) tournaments. These rules may be changed by HBT4 at any time. Rules changes become effective immediately upon notice by HBT4 to its members; which notice will be published on the HBT4 website. Interpretation and enforcement of these rules shall be left exclusively to the Tournament Director or his/her designee at a tournament. Each competitor agrees to immediately report to the Tournament director any violation or infraction of any tournament rules.


In the event of rule(s) violation, the director, or his/her designee for a tournament, will impose such sanctions, as deemed appropriate, including, without limitation, disqualification, forfeiture of prizes and/or entry fee, probation and prohibition from participation in subsequent tournaments.


Failure to report violations, or suggestions to another competitor that they violated the rules, or false verification of weight verification forms, will be cause for disqualification.


Participation and Eligibility:

Participation is open to all current members in good standing of the Hooker Bait and Tackle Team Tournament Trail. Participants must be at least 18 years of age or older. If under 18, Participants must execute a waiver, release of liability, and a name and likeness release as a condition to compete/participate in each tournament. The wavier can be found on the HBT website.

Hooker Bait and Tackle Team Tournament Trail reserves the right to refuse membership and participation in any or all events to any individual or team at the discretion of the tournament director. 


All teams are required to have a valid fishing license for tournament waters and are required to obey all federal, state and local laws and regulations.



70 teams will be considered a full field for each points qualifying event and registration will be closed when 70 teams have registered for each event. Request for refunds or transfers will only be accepted prior to 6:00 pm the Wednesday before the event and will be assessed a $25 processing fee. After 6:00 pm the Wednesday prior to the event no transfers or refunds will be given. Entry forms submitted after 6:00 pm the Wednesdays prior to the event will be assessed a $25 late/processing fee. 


Boat Numbers:

Boat numbers will be assigned based on the order in which payment is received. Teams paying for the entire season will have precedence over teams only paying for part of the season.


Onsite Check-In:

All teams must check-in the morning of the tournament at the HBT4 Trailer prior to the start of each event. 



All Hooker Bait and Tackle Team Tournament Trail tournaments are team events, with all points/awards going to the team. A team consists of two (2) anglers, one of which must be designated as the “captain.” A team may substitute one alternate partner during the year for one event and retain all points earned. A team must fill out and sign a form prior to fishing the first event declaring captain and partner for the 2020 season. Should a break up occur, all points earned will stay with the designated captain, unless the partner fills out and signs a form designating himself/herself as “captain” for the remainder of the season.



Liability insurance with coverage in reasonable amounts is required of all boater participants in each HBT4 tournament.



Safety is paramount. Boating in and of itself is inherently dangerous. Safe boating must be observed at all times by all teams. Each team member must wear a fastened U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device anytime the combustion engine is in gear during each HBT4 event. In the event a boat is being towed, all persons in the towed boat must wear a flotation device. 


Posted speed limits must be observed and all boats must be operated in a safe manner. It is the responsibility of each tournament participant to identify no-wake zones and to observe the laws and/or regulations regarding these zones. Any participant who is issued a citation for any reason will be immediately disqualified.


At the discretion of the tournament director a tournament may be delayed, shortened, postponed, canceled or tournament waters restricted due to unsafe weather or other factors that would compromise the safety of tournament participants. Participants may leave their boat and seek shelter in bad weather or when danger is imminent, however, they must cease all fishing during this time.


In the event of an emergency, teams should call 911 immediately and then notify the tournament director. 


Boat Requirements:

All boats must be propeller-driven 


All boats must comply with all the applicable federal and state regulations. Each boat must have all required U.S. Coast Guard safety equipment. Horsepower cannot exceed 250hp or the limits set by the U.S. Coast Guard or the manufacturers rating plate.


No barges or similarly cumbersome crafts will be permitted. Each boat must have a U.S. Coast Guard horsepower-rating plate attached to the boat by the manufacturer. Falsifying information on entry forms or altering the horsepower numbers on the motor or rating placard will be cause for disqualification from the tournament. Fuel may be carried only in factory-installed (built-in) fuel tanks.


Permitted Fishing Methods:

Only artificial lures may be used with the exception of pork trailers and biodegradable soft baits. Only one fishing rod per angler may be used at any one time. Additional rods may be in the boat and ready for use; however; each cast and retrieve must be completed before another cast is attempted or rod is used. Trolling as a method of fishing is prohibited. Switching or sharing fish with other teams or individuals will result in immediate disqualification. All bass must be caught alive in a conventional and sporting manner. When sight fishing for bass, all fish must be hooked inside the mouth to be counted as a legal fish (this may be a polygraph question). All angling must be conducted from the boat. At no time may a Contestant leave the boat to land a fish, or to make the boat more accessible to fishing waters.


Sportsmanship and Conduct:

All teams are required to follow high standards of sportsmanship, courtesy, safety, and conservation. Any infraction of these fundamental sporting principles will be deemed cause for disqualification. Maximum courtesy must be practiced at all times, especially with regard to boating and angling in the vicinity of non-competitors who may be on tournament waters. Any act of an angler, which reflects negatively upon HBT4’s effort to promote fisheries conservation, clean waters, and courtesy, shall be reason for disqualification. The following conduct will not be permitted and cause for disqualification:


  1. Consumption and/or possession of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs of any kind during tournament hours.

  2. Any previous conviction, charge, arrest, or investigation for a felony, a crime, involving moral turpitude, or a crime related to, arising of, or involving any fishing tournament or event.

  3. Actions or words which reflect unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, and fair competition;

  4. Disqualification from HBT4 or other fishing organizations that resulted from rule violations that result in the questioning of angler’s honesty, integrity and character.

  5. Upon review of any questionable circumstances by HBT4 and the tournament
    director, the tournament director shall have the right to refuse any application and/or deny a confirmed application. HBT4 reserves the right to place an official observer in a contestant’s boat at any time during competition hours.

Further participation requirements:

  1. Boats must be at least 14 feet or more in length and powered by at least a 25 HP engine (Maximum 250 HP).  An operating live well is required. All Live wells must be inspected by Tournament Officials.

  2. Off Limits – Chickahominy Lake and any waters posted as off limits/no fishing by State/Federal agencies.

  3. Life Jackets must be worn and zipped anytime the gasoline engine is in gear. Results for not following this rule will be disqualification from the tournament.

  4. Kill switch must be attached to the boat operator anytime the gasoline engine is in gear.

  5. Running lights on your boat must be in place and on in the morning.

  6. Creel and length will be 5 bass. All fish at least 12 inches in length.

  7. Dead fish penalty will be 4 oz. (.25lb) per dead fish.

  8. Short fish penalty: Short fish will not be weighed plus your big fish will not be weighed toward big fish or total weight.

  9. Bringing more than 5 fish to the dock will result in a disqualification, i.e., no culling or measuring of fish is permitted at the dock.

  10. You cannot cull dead fish large enough for scoring.

  11. Alcohol will not be permitted in your boat at any time or at the weigh in site.

  12. You cannot fish within 50 yards of an anchored boat and when the trolling motor is out of the water.

  13. Live or natural baits are prohibited.  Trolling is not allowed.

  14. You cannot leave your boat or come in contact with another boat unless it is an emergency or a breakdown.  Bathroom breaks are allowed.  Person remaining in boat may not fish.

  15. Every boat must check in at the check in site even if you will not weigh in fish.

  16. If you check in late, a 1 lb. per minute penalty will be assessed for the first 15 minutes. After 15 minutes there will be no weight posted.  The Check-in Official will let you know if you are late.

  17. Communication devices may not be used for the purpose of locating or catching fish.

  18. If for any reason you choose to leave the tournament and return home, please notify a tournament official first. 

  19. All ties for cash prizes will be split equally among the teams involved and duplicate points awarded to each team.

  20. Protests can be made at any time during the tournament to the Tournament Committee/Official or within 15 minutes after arrival at the check in site, followed by a written protest within 15 minutes after closing of the scales.  The Tournament Director’s decision is final.

  21. Polygraph examinations may be made if the Tournament Committee deems it necessary.  Participation in the Tournament implies consent and agreement to a polygraph examination, if denied you will be disqualified.

  22. Any participant issued a citation by a law enforcement officer will be disqualified.

  23. No smoking in the weigh in line.

Remedies/Penalties That May be Imposed:

  1. Loss of fish in question.

  2. Loss of catch for the day.

  3. Disqualification from the tournament in question.

  4. Disqualification from future HBT4 tournaments, which may be a specific period of time, a specific number of tournaments or a lifetime disqualification.

  5. The Tournament Director may also impose additional penalties, but without limitation, to be monetary fines, probation and or loss of angler of the year points.


Truth Verification Test:

Each contestant agrees to submit, by signature on the tournament entry form, to a polygraph or voice stress analysis examination and to abide by its conclusion. Failure to pass an examination will result in disqualification from the tournament. Truth verification tests will be used a HBT4’s sole discretion, and the determination of the meaning of the results will be made solely by HBT4.


Classic Qualification:

Four points qualifying tournaments must be fished in order for a team to qualify for the two day Classic Championship Tournament.

The June 13th, 2020 tournament will serve as a double qualifier tournament, meaning it will count as two points qualifying tournaments out of the four needed to qualify for the 2020 two-day Classic Championship Tournament.


Tournament standings, auxiliary awards and final winners shall be determined by the pounds-and-hundreds weight of each team’s catch during the competition days. Largemouth and Smallmouth bass will be weighed. The limit for each team shall be five (5) of the above species and varieties. Upon catching a 6th fish team must immediately cull to the tournament limit. In the event tournament officials observe a team with more than the allowable limit in their position (in live-well) or if angler presents more that the allowable limit at weigh-in, tournament officials will cull down to the prescribed limit beginning with the largest fish. The official length for bass shall be a 12” minimum. Only bass as described above which measure the official length or more on the longest straight line. Any bass that appears to have been mangled, mashed, mauled or otherwise altered will be weighed and credited only at the discretion of tournament officials. Bass must not be placed on a stringer at any time during the tournament. Culling tags or clips are allowed. In the event of a mechanical failure (boat is inoperable) teams may have their catch of the day weighed and counted by one of the following methods ONLY:1) Boat is towed to the weigh-in site by another boat; 2) One team member may take catch and board another competitors boat only for a ride to weigh-in. A team must not allow any bass caught by them to be counted on the score of another team. In such a case, both teams will be disqualified. Mechanical failures do not extend established weigh-in times.


*The points will start at 200 for first place and will drop by one until all boats weigh in. All teams that did not weigh in will receive last place points.

Entry Form

Entry Form
Entry Form 2 copy.png
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