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Black (Largemouth) Bass Tournament Exemption

  • To provide Bass Clubs holding tournaments a temporary exemption to bass size limits.
  • To ensure the health of Florida freshwater resources and positive interactions with the general fishing public, Tournament Organizers and Sponsors need to emphasize the proper handling and care of fish to their participants.
  • Tournaments also need to closely adhere to live release guidelines stipulated in tournament exemption permits.
  • The future of our freshwater fisheries depends on our being good custodians of our resources.

What This Permit Allows:

  • An exemption to bass size limits, when the requirements and conditions of the permit are met.

What This Permit Does NOT Allow:

  • Fishing without a Freshwater Fishing License unless you are exempt by law from needing one.
  • Exceeding the daily bag limit.
  • Culling dead fish. All dead fish are a part of your bag and must be part of the weigh-in.
  • Keeping any of the fish after the weigh-in.

Requirements and Conditions:

  • An application for an exemption permit must be made at least 1 day (but not more than 365 days) in advance of the scheduled tournament date.
  • The number of registered anglers fishing during the tournament shall not be less than 6 or the permit will be null and void.
  • The following documents are legally required at all times during a permitted bass tournament: (1) the permittee or a tournament official must be present and possess a valid Bass Exemption Permit, (2) a valid Participant Permit (or a copy of the original permit) which has been signed by the permittee must be possessed by all participants, and (3) a valid Florida freshwater fishing license (unless the angler is exempted by law) and personal identification must be possessed by all anglers fishing in the tournament.  The names of each of the participants shall be filled in on the proper documentation by the permittee or a tournament official.
  • All fish caught in the tournament are to be handled as stipulated by this permit and are to be live released back into tournament waters or disposed of to a charitable organization as specified in the application for this permit.  Dead fish are not to be culled by a participant and must be part of the weigh-in.
  • Each boat will have one or more functioning aerated livewell(s).  A functioning livewell is defined as a one that has a working aeration or oxygenation system or a flow-through system to pump fresh water into the livewell.  Each livewell shall be inspected by the permittee or a tournament official prior to the tournament’s starting time to ensure they are operating properly.  Anglers not meeting this requirement may not participate in the tournament. Tournament participants may not possess or weigh-in more than the total daily bag limit for black bass, regardless of the number of weigh-ins.  The daily bag limit per angler is five bass per day, unless otherwise restricted by Commission rules or the conditions of this permit.
  • The permittee or a tournament official shall be present at the start of the tournament and weigh-in.
  • All bass taken over land must be transported in water-filled containers.  Bass shall not be kept in water-filled containers longer than two minutes prior to, during, and after weigh-in without supplemental aeration and/or water exchange.
  • Once the tournament weigh-in has begun and up to forty-five (45) minutes following the final weigh-in, one angler holding completed valid exemption cards for himself and a second angler may temporarily possess up to two (2) bag limits to transport bass to open water for release. All efforts shall be made to release fish unharmed or in a manner that does not cause injury or death to the fish.
  • If fish are not immediately released following the weigh-in procedure, weigh-in holding tanks shall meet the following criteria and the permittee will conform to the following management practices:
    • Each tank shall hold a minimum of 100 gallons of water.
    • Each tank shall be equipped with aeration, air injection, or oxygenation system.
    • Un-ionized salt (rock salt or artificial sea salt) shall be used at a rate of 0.7 ounces/gallon of live-well water (or 1/3 cup salt per 5 gallons of live-well water) to aid in recovery of the fish’s slime coat. 
    • Holding tank water temperature shall be maintained at the lake surface water temperature or no more than five degrees Fahrenheit below the lake surface water temperature. 
    • The number of bass confined shall not exceed one pound of bass per gallon of water.
  • A penalty of at least 0.25 pounds (four ounces) must be imposed on a participant for each dead fish weighed in.
  • The permittee and tournament participants shall not keep or transport to an unpermitted site any bass caught during the tournament.
  • Within 30 days following the tournament, the permittee shall submit a completed tournament activity report. Failure to submit the report will result in denial of future permit exemptions.

How to apply for this permit (User Guide):

  • An application for an exemption permit must be made at least 1 day (but not more than 365 days) in advance of the scheduled tournament date.  The FWC encourages tournament directors to please apply well in advance of the scheduled tournament date to allow for application review and processing time.
  • Black Bass Exemption Permits are good for 1-day, multiple day, or overnight tournaments. A separate permit is required for multiple day tournaments not on consecutive days. A separate permit is required for each night for multiple overnight tournaments. 
  • A Permittee (Tournament Director) cannot have multiple permits for the same day. 
  • Click on the "Bass Tournament Application" button below. 
  • This will take you to a login screen. If you have not applied for a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission permit before, click on "Create Account" at the top of the login screen. Enter the requested information to open an account. 
  • Enter your log in info.  
  • Select “Customer Applications” from the home page and “Apply” for a Bass Tournament Permit.  
  • Enter the requested information. Print the Permit and Participant Permits. 
  • If you cannot locate the water body or ramp/landing that is to be used for your tournament, contact the appropriate Regional Office to have it added. 

Completing the Tournament After-Action Activity Report:

  • The “Tournament After-Action Activity Report” needs to be completed within 30 days after the tournament date. 
  • Click on the "Bass Tournament Application" button below. 
  • Select “Season Reports”   It will have a Status of "Report Due". 
  • Click on the "Report" button. The After-Action Activity Report button will not be active until the day after the tournament date. 
  • Fill in the required information. 
  • Click on the "Submit" button. 
  • The Permit Status will change to "Completed" when all the after-action report information is entered correctly. If the status remains "Report Due" you have not filled in all the required information. 
  • Having any Permit in "Report Due" status 30 days after the tournament date will prevent you from getting another Permit.  

Apply for Bass Tournament Application Now 

Additional Black Bass Tournament Permit Stipulations