1968 B.A.S.S. Rules

Picture courtesy of Ray Scott.

Here’s a little piece of history I thought you all would like to see – the Official B.A.S.S. Rules circa 1968. To be a little more exact, they are the actually rules used for the ’68 Seminole Lunker Tournament.

There are a few interesting rules that I’ll make note of. First off, under “Participants and Eligibility,” they make a note that sponsors may pay your entry fee. I wonder how many anglers had sponsorships back in those days?

Second, and probably one of the most interesting was the ineligibility of Georgia and South Carolina guides from the contest. Not only that, but if you’d been a guide within the last four years, you couldn’t play.  How ‘bout them apples? I guess professional fishermen didn’t want to compete against professionals?

But that’s not all.

If you lived in the counties around the lake you couldn’t fish either.  Huh?

From there on the rest of the rules are pretty straight forward and made sense. In fact, a lot of them are still valid today. It may sound like I’m making a joke out of this but it seriously amazes me that the eligibility rules were on the books. What do you think? Do you find these rules a little too strict too?

  • Chad Keogh

    I can kind of see how they were trying to make it a level playing field for the majority of bass anglers. The majority don’t have home-lake knowledge of the waterbody, and aren’t guides.

    They obviously weren’t catering specifically to pro anglers, or the pro anglers wanted nothing to get in the way of their advantage…

  • Harold Sharp

    You must remember that when Ray Scott started Bass Tournaments in 1967 there were no Professional Bass Anglers, the nearest thing were local guides and local anglers who knew the lakes very well. Ray’s thinking was , other amature anglers would not risk money to fish against the local hotshots, that knew where all the Bass were or against the local guides who also knew the lakes, so he excluded them from the early events. Very soon after the start several anglers from all over became Bass Pro’s, they discovered they could competite against the locals, in fact the locals were not doing to well on home waters, they fished old water for a few bass while the new Pro’s were finding Bass in new waters. So , soon after BASS was organized Ray saw the new Pros could hold their own against the locals and dropped the restrictions on locals.

  • Jeff Hahn

    Back in the day of pro on pro draws, I remember B.A.S.S. having a rule that two pros from the same state could not be paired together. I assume that the reasoning behind this rule was that anglers from the same state might be friends and that this could potentially lead to dishonesty. When was this rule changed? Perhaps Harold can shed some light on this.

  • Harold Sharp

    The rule to not pair anglers from the same state was a method to be sure you didn’t pair two old buddies together that may be inclined to share their catch. But soon everyone knew everyone and this possibility didn’t seem to be a problem so this rule was dropped. In the early days Big Bass contest had a bad name and Ray was concerned about any kind on cheating going on in BASS events, but he soon discovered the anglers he was attracting were interested in a clean run event, so he relaxed a few early rules.

    • Jeff Hahn

      Harold: Thanks for clarifying that for me.