Anglers are set to battle for undisclosed cash prizes and better tournament standing as the Buddy Bass Tournament Series by Horizon Trike and Marine returns to Lake Dardanelle. The upcoming event on Saturday, March 16, 2024, is the 2nd installment in the 5-part series leading up to a 2-day classic championship in September.
The bass fishing tournament is open to all fishing enthusiasts, and interested parties can register online, mail a filled registration form, or drop it off at the Horizon Trike and Marine Center. There’s a $250 entry fee per boat, and participants can pay via check or PayPal. Payments made through PayPal must include a $5 service fee.
While there’s no penalty for late registration, early registration is encouraged. The date on the registration form dictates a participant’s starting position during the tournament. Anglers can turn in their registration forms and fees until 5:45 am on the material day.
All participants must abide by the tourney rules by Horizon Trike and Marine. A team will comprise two anglers who must fill out a joint registration form. Since the Bass Buddy tournament is a catch-and-release event, all bass caught during the tourney belongs to the organizers and must be released after the weigh-in.
To ensure a safe catch-and-release, live baits and trolling are prohibited. Contestants may only use fishing rods to hook the bass through the mouth.
All participants are liable for their launch fee at the Dardanelle ramp, the launching point for all the series in the tournament. There’s a five-bass limit per team, and each boat must have a livewell to keep the fish alive until safe light. All anglers must wear life jackets and remain in the boat for the event.
The official weigh-in starts at 3:00 pm and will be conducted at 15-minute intervals if more than 80 teams turn up. Any team that misses the weigh-in deadline will be disqualified.
Unlike most bass fishing events, only two bass species — largemouth and spotted — count during this tourney. Only live largemouth bass over 14” and spotted bass over 12” will count as legal fish. Any attempt to weigh short fish carries severe penalties. The fish will be disqualified and not weighed, while the contestant will face a 2-pound deduction from their catch.
All participants must consent to a polygraph test, and the organizers reserve the right to administer it at their convenience. Anyone who declines or fails the test will be banned from the event.