There are three different ways to participate in a tournament: as a driver/boater, a Co-Angler and an Observer. With each comes varied responsibilities and privileges.
Driver/boater: at this level, the driver owns the boat to be shared in a tournament, takes control of the gasoline engine as well as the trolling motor, and generally has a good idea of where the fish are supposed to be hiding. Operating expenses, such as gas, oil, launch and permit fees are split with the rider on tournament days. Time is also split with the Co-Angler when choosing fishing locations for the day, with the Co-Angler having control of the boat half the day.
The driver/boater is required to possess all necessary licenses, permits and boat equipment for the day’s fishing. Proof of liability insurance coverage in the amount of $100,000 must be presented at application time.
Tournament entry fees are a driver/boater’s responsibility and points can be collected that are applied to qualifying for the NJ State Team.
Co-Angler: while the Co-Anglers brings less equipment to the day’s fishing, this is probably the most important element in tournament fishing. Co-Anglers bring the guarantee of legitimacy and honesty to the boat since both partners are responsible to watch the other and make sure no illegal actions take place. It is a requirement of tournament angling to report any violations to the Tournament Director immediately following the tournament, thereby insuring the integrity of the event.
Along with sharing expenses for the day, Co-Anglers get to share the time on the water with fully half the day belonging to the rider. Choice of location and control of the boat on those locations are both within the realm of the Co-Angler and exercising these rights is encouraged. A discussion of these issues with your driver on tournament day should precede the launch so there will be no misunderstandings later.
Co-Anglers must supply a Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device, personal food or beverages for the day, a valid fishing license, and tackle and lures for the day. A discussion with the boater prior to the tournament will ensure bringing the proper tackle for the day’s fishing. Co-Anglers are responsible for tournament entry fees in their category and compete for prizes only against the other Co-Anglers in the tournament. Co-Anglers can collect points toward qualifying for the NJ State Team.
Observer: this position has the least privileges but provides an opportunity to try tournament fishing with the least investment. Observers have no say in location choice or boat control. They are not responsible for boat expenses or tournament entry fees and do not qualify for points. Of course, a PFD, a license, food, drink and tackle must be supplied for the day.
While the observer is the only position without a NJ Federation membership requirement, riders and drivers must be Federation members.
So, choose the area that appeals most to you and sign up today! Contact us with your name, mailing address and telephone number to receive a membership application so you can begin angling with the best bass fishing organization in the state
An alternative method and most useful way common to become a member
While becoming a Federation member is easy, there is more than one way to get there. The most common method is to join or form a local chapter. These are individual Federation affiliated clubs scattered throughout New Jersey with their own officers and tournament trail. Search this list of chapters for one close to home and find the listed contact person for chapter information.
As a chapter member, you can attend Federation meetings as your chapter representative, qualify for the Top Six Tournament, continue to divisional and national tournaments, and finally, the prestigious All American tournament itself! You are eligible for all tournament payouts and qualify for the points circuit when you enter Federation events. This is the true beginnings of professional fishing.
Another method is to sign up as an Affiliate member. This allows you to fish the New Jersey Bass Federation point circuit. To qualify for the divisional and national events and try for the All American, an angler must belong to the FLW as well as THE Bass FEDERATION.
The final method is to fish tournaments as an Observer. In this situation, your privileges are very restricted since you are not a Federation member, but there is no tournament entry fee. Of course, the tournament payouts do not apply to the Observer.
The Observer slot is the ultimate entry level for would-be tournament anglers who are unsure of whether or not to take the jump. An angler can fish a tournament with an experienced tournament fisherman, ask questions and learn how it all works, participate in a weigh-in and possibly take home some prize money. Talk about trying something before you buy!
So, pick the method that most appeals to you, and fill out an application. Send a check or money order to the person shown on the application and you are there.
Tournament fishing awaits