River Bassin’ 2017: Simple, Fun, Fishing.

This is the article that you’ve been waiting for. An explanation about what is happening in 2017 on the River Bassin’ Tournament Trail presented by Jackson Kayak. Along with the general rules that all anglers are required to read, this is a great article to refer back to about some of great additions and slight changes for the 2017 season.

If you’ve never fished a River Bassin’ event you can find more information about the tournament series on this website; simply put it is a family-friendly kayak fishing tournament trail where participants fish in rivers/creeks for black bass! When you catch one you simply put it on a your measuring board, take a photo with your smartphone, release the fish and then upload your photo and its length LIVE to the leaderboard! Your best 3 bass will comprise of your total. If you finish “in the money” then you’ll have a chance to win some of the thousands in cash/prizes at each event!

The Events:

“Regionals”

There will be six total in-person “Regional” events across the country, that will have around $15,000 in cash/prizes given away (plus one national championship). Just like all River Bassin’ events these are open events, available for anyone to participate in. Regionals are the bigger events where you’ll see my wife and I (& dogs) there with the River Bassin’ RV along with the stage, sound system, kayaks, banners etc. that we all grew accustom to last year. Regionals will take place in the following locations:

  1. Rock Hill, SC – April 29
  2. Shell Knob, MO – May 13
  3. Bristol, IN – June 3
  4. Parkersburg, WV – June 17
  5. San Marcos, TX – August 19
  6. Wrightsville, PA – August 26
  7. Kingston, TN – September 23 (Championship)

The super fun and popular River Bassin’ Prize Wheel will also be back! All anglers not finishing “in the money” can choose to put a raffle ticket in for a chance to be drawn at random to spin the prize wheel!  They can win prizes or have the potential to lose even more by landing on “snagged” or “skunked,” which may not be funny for them, but in good fun it sure gives the crowd a nice laugh! We will also have a large number of random prizes to be given away, further making River Bassin’ Regionals fun events to attend because you never know if you’ll win something, even if you had a poor day on the water. Speaking of winning big, a door prize Jackson Kayak will once again be given away at random! Anglers will receive one free raffle ticket with their entry into the tournament, but, at most stops, you will have the option to purchase more raffle tickets to increase your odds. All proceeds go towards a “local” charity or conservation group listed on the specific tournament page.

We all know the way to a River Basser’s heart is either “free food” or when someone says “Hey man, I know a guy who has private river access.” Let’s face it, its nearly a tie, but while the River Bassin’ Trail can’t help with the latter, it will be offering free food again for all paid anglers! The River Bassin’ Store section will also be set up again, for those who are interested in purchasing River Bassin’ gear (hats, shirts, decals etc) or 13 Fishing rods/reels. We should have more options of hats/shirts this year so that you can pick the River Bassin’ lifestyle clothing that fits you best!

The entry fees for these events are the same as last year – $30 for youth division, $30 for the College Kayak Fishing division, $50 for individual division and just an additional $30 to enter the 2-person team division as well ($80 per person = $160 per team). Prizes are awarded in all divisions, so the more you can enter, the better your odds at finishing “in the money!” All prizes will be listed on the bottom of the tournament pages (prizes may not be finalized until mid-March so continue to check back).

“Qualifiers”

In 2017, our friends that run kayak fishing clubs and larger tournament organizations will be running River Bassin’ Qualifiers. If you’re new to River Bassin’ you may ask “well, what does this qualify me for?” It qualifies you for the chance to win the prestigious year-long angler of the year award that we call the River Basser of the Year (RBOY), or potentially win the River Bassin’ Team of the Year (RBTOY) title. In one of the next sections below we will explain how to win the RBOY award and how these Qualifying events are scored into the equation. All you need to know is that Qualifier events will award points in the RBOY race. All of these qualifying events will be listed on the River Bassin’ Schedule page (set to be done in early Feb) so that you can easily find the events near you. All of these events must have at least 50% of their eligible water be rivers and/or creeks. Some may be 100% river/creek, but you can find out all of the rules and specific fishing location (as well as the entry fee) on the event organizer’s tournament page. Keep in mind these events are being run by organizations that may have a different scoring, fish submitting process and/or rules as compared to River Bassin’. When fishing a qualifier, you are fishing their event and must follow their rules.

“Season-long Online Events”

There are two types of online events – online Regional events and online species-specific events. They start on March 1st and end on September 15th, about a week before the River Bassin’ National Championship.  These are laid back and fun because they are less expensive than the in-person events and they allow you to fish whenever you have the time to fish.

The online Regional event is a year-long event that is run with the same virtual stringer limit as the in-person Regional events (3-fish). This event type is fun and fair because it allows anglers to compete against anglers in their own region all season long. Who would pay to enter a national tournament if they lived further north and had to compete against the size of bass in Texas or Florida? This is why we split these events into four regions – southeast, northeast/mid-atlantic, central and midwest. On each tournament page you will be able to see which region you can call home based on a shaded map. However, since so many of you do love to travel, we are allowing anglers to register and fish in as many of these as they would like. “Locations Services” for your phone’s camera must be on when fishing these events because we have our borders set to make sure anglers are submitting fish within their region. The only rule on these events is that you must be fishing a “river,” and if you have any doubts about your area being a river (or lake) then please contact riverbassin@gmail.com with a link to your location so we can approve or deny it. We take these 4 events seriously because they are tournaments that earn RBOY and RBTOY points, which will be awarded the weekend before the championship. We’ll also have prize packages listed on their respective tournament pages, which should be ready by mid-February. Just like last year, if you are not previously registered for an online regionl event, but participate in an in-person Regional event and catch some nice bass; we will allow those bass to count retroactively for the online Regional as long as you register for the event within one week of competing in person. If nothing else, the online regional event is a great way to track your catches throughout the year and try to top your own personal score each year. The price for an online Regional event is $20 for Individuals, $45 for teams (which also includes you in the individual division), $20 for both youth and college anglers.

Species-specific events are only $20 and last throughout the entire season as well (March through September 15th). In these events you can fish any public water type ( lakes, ponds or rivers), and the winners will be determined by their biggest 5 bass of one species. With so many cool black bass species, we wanted to have fun and highlight them by putting on these species specific events again this year. The categories are as follows: Largemouth – Smallmouth – Spotted & Shoal bass – Guadalupe & Suwannee bass. The prizes for these events are not as grand as the in-person Regional events, but for $20 and a year of fun they are well worth their prize packages! Also, we will be setting a reasonable 5-fish limit of inches and all anglers who hit that mark will be eligible for a random cash prize, which will be determined by the participation level of each event.

“National Championship”

The national championship, held (somewhat) centrally, in Kingston, TN, will basically be as it has been in years past – a Regional event on steroids in terms of the cash/prizes given away! We will likely have over $40,000 at this one event and the entry fees will be the same as the other in-person Regional events. Again, this is an open event that anyone can enter. We will award the RBOY & RBTOY awards at the end and announce the winners of all season-long online events (and award their prizes if they are there) as well. If  you’re looking to end your fishing season with a bang, this is certainly an event you will not want to miss!

River Basser of the Year (RBOY) and River Bassin’ Team of the Year (RBTOY) explained:

Anyone can have a great day on the water and win one event, but determining who will consistently be the best angler and team throughout an entire year takes proper planning, dedication, and river bassin’ skill. These are the most coveted and lucrative awards handed out each year.  So, how do you win the RBOY & RBTOY trophies?

Your RBOY & RBTOY points are tallied by combining your single best Qualifier score (100 points for 1st place) with your two best Regional scores (200 points for 1st). The online Regional may also be used as one of your two Regional scores. At the championship, this cumulative 3-event score is added to your championship points total (300 points for the win). The Qualifiers will be awarded down from 1st place (100 points). For any Regional that has 50 anglers or more the points will drop in 2-point increments (100, 98, 96) down to 20th place, while any Qualifier event that has between 20 and 49 anglers will drop in 5-point increments from 1st place (100, 95, 90…etc) and be awarded down to 10th place. Regional events will also be awarded down in 5 point increments, but starting at 200 points for the win; 200, 195, 190…down to 20th place. However, the championship will be awarded in 10 point increments, and the win is worth 300 points (300, 290, 280 etc), which means more teams and individuals have the potential to be “in the hunt” during the grand finale. I would guess that if you’re within 125 points or so of the leader(s) then you or your team still have a decent shot at winning it all. It may take a win on your part and a flop from the majority of the anglers above you, but all anyone can ask for is a shot at the RBOY awards, which will make it that much more exciting!

In theory, since the online Regional event counts as one of your two best Regional scores, an angler shouldn’t have to travel too far during the season in order to get in enough events to be in mix. At a minimum, all you would need to do is fish your closest in-person Regional, the online Regional and your closest Qualifier to earn your 3 tournament RBOY scores leading up to the Championship. This should make the RBOY title attainable for most anglers, even those who have families, busy work schedules and have other hobbies as well. If you do happen to have more time and motivation to win then you are allowed to fish several Regionals, the online Regional and several Qualifiers. The more you fish the better your odds of having 3 great finishes. There is no limit to how many Qualifiers or Regionals you can fish. Let’s look at a couple examples below so everyone understands.

Angler A fishes 9 total events – 3 Qualifiers, 5 Regionals and the Championship:
Q: 92* (5th place) | 75 (6th) | 0 (13th)
R: 185 (4th)
R: 170 (7th)** 155 (10th) |  125 (16th) | 115 (18th)*
=  447 
C: 210 (10th place in championship)
= 657 total 2017 RBOY or RBTOY score

Angler B fishes just 4 events on the year – 1 Qualifier, 2 Regionals and the Championship:

Q: 100(1st place)
R: 180 (5th)**
R: 150 (11th)
=  430 
C: 270 (4th place in championship)
700 total 2017 RBOY or RBTOY score

Angler C fishes 6 events on the year – 2 Qualifiers, 3 Regionals and the Championship:

Q: 75 (6th place) | 78 (12th)*
R: 195 (2nd)
R: 180 (5th) | 0 (22nd)
=  450
C: 260 (5th place in championship)
710 total 2017 RBOY or RBTOY score

* Qualifier had over 50 anglers so increments dropped by 2, each place down from the 1st place angler’s 100 points.
** Points for the online Regional, which can be included in your Regional points scores, will not be awarded until the event is over on 9/15.

The RBOY prize will be at least $10,000 in cash/prizes and the RBTOY prize will be at least $5000 in cash/prizes, so these are certainly titles that you’ll want to attain! Hopefully that all that makes sense; we feel it make take a couple looks but is fairly easy to understand. Updates on exact prizes will be ongoing throughout the year on the RBOY pages of the site.

Registration & Event Information:

Event registration will take place on each tournament page, which should be open at least 2 months prior to each event, if not sooner. You can find them by clicking on the schedule menu option on this site. You can also find more information about each event on their event page as well, such as the specific venue location, map of eligible water, link to all rules, prize list, sponsors list and lodging specials/deals being offered by the local tourism departments.

Stay tuned to the River Bassin Facebook page for more information, online giveaways and other tips and tricks to help you catch more river bass in 2017!

See you on the trail!

Drew Gregory