Rules Update: Tournament Measuring Boards

This post is an update/reminder concerning approved measuring devices, but it also contains an explanation of how those devices may affect scoring when a photo is unclear.

We have received several messages about which measuring devices are permissible in CKA events. The following rule applies to CKA events, per section 7c. of the KBF Rules standard:

“Acceptable measuring boards include the “Hawg Trough” manufactured by Hagen’s…., a FishStik Version 2 (with Bump Board Arrows and Lock Slide) and the Ketch Co Measuring Board.”

Anglers Denny Romero & Chris Ferguson (Chris is TD of the Plastic Pirates Trail) recently convened the directors of the 3 North Carolina Bass Kayak Fishing Trails to review how Denny and Chris compared the Hawg trough with a Ketch Board. After a careful discussion, CKA has renewed its commitment to allowing the Ketch board. The other Trails will follow different rules, so if you fish their events, contact them and ask about permitted boards (for example, Chris will only allow Hawg Troughs this season).

Pursuant to that discussion, the CKA directors want to remind anglers of a relevant rule regarding the scoring of fish, and what role a board plays in it. That rule is 10.f in the KBF Standard, and it is as follows:

“Blurry Photo/Length Unclear: Scored at the highest mark at which there is no doubt.”

In reviewing the Ketch board with a black design, we noticed low contrast between the fish tail and board.  As you can see in Figure 1 below (courtesy of Denny Romero), the tail appears to be touching the 11” line, but a judge may have doubt (is that a piece of dirt?) and the rule clearly states there can be no doubt. Because the tail loses contrast between lines where there is shadow on the board, a judge could not be  able to clearly determine where the tail ends. Therefore the “highest mark” applies, and the fish would be scored an 10.75″. By contrast, the fish in Figure 2 below is absolutely clear, there is no shadow and there cannot be any doubt about the length.

Figure 1: Ketch w shadow


Figure 2: Ketch without shadow.

In short, judges cannot score on faith: they have to clearly see the entire tail/caudal fin.

Some people might note that the dark colors of the Ketch board are setting up anglers for inaccurate judging. That is incorrect. In several photos we saw, the tail was clear. We would also add that the red Ketch board appears to have the best contrast in terms of the available colors so we advise anglers who are considering the board to purchase the red color.

Additionally, poor photos/unclear lines are common also on Hawg Troughs. See, for example, the fish below. In this case sun glare rather than a shadow triggered the “highest mark” ruling. This big LM Bass was caught this past Saturday at the KBF Trail event at Lake Camanche. As you can see, the angler colored the fence of the board on the left (as the Ketch board, above, has a white vinyl added to the fence). Excellent. But sun glare and worn lines made it impossible to determine where the tail ends. Is it a 22.25”? A 22.50”? There is no doubt that it is a 22”. Therefore, it was correctly scored as a 22″.

Tourneyx Camanche bass

In sum, we balanced several factors. The Ketch board is more durable and less prone to tampering, while the Hawg Trough is relatively inexpensive, less prone to sinking and most anglers already have them. In the end, we came back to square one: anglers largely determine photo quality. Be patient taking photos, take several photos at high angles above the fish and check the photos for clarity. Catch-Photo–Release (CPR) tournaments ask anglers to submit clear shots because the approved measuring devices are only as clear as the angler photographs them to be.

We appreciate your attention to the finer points and your feedback helps us run a great series. Indeed, this post began with an angler’s questions and extended through a productive discussion that helped us make a final decision.

We look forward to seeing everyone at Hyco on Saturday. The sign up link is:


Larry, Ralph, Hank, Wayne and Ron

CKA Tournament 1: The Burlington Battle

CKA Tournament 1

March 9th, 2019

Lake Mackintosh. Stony Creek, Graham-Mebane and Cammack

4 Lakes, 5 Launches…..

Central location, on both new and familiar lakes….

The 2019 CKA season begins…..

It’s time to fish!

Welcome Anglers to 2019 season. If you are new to the Trail, welcome aboard and good luck in the Rookie of the Year race. If you are a CKA regular then you know the battle for Angler of the Year will be long and difficult against some of the best competition in the entire country.

We begin our season with a multi-lake event in the Burlington area. The largest of those lakes is Mackintosh, a lake familiar to CKA. The other three lakes – Cammack, Stony Creek and Graham-Mebane – are new to the Trail. With the exception of Graham-Mebane all are Burlington City lakes with special restrictions. Please abide by all state and local rules. A few general points:

  • please bring exact change for launch fees. Lake authorities stressed this point, and it speeds up check in. Your launch fee is not included in the sign up.
  • If you contact lake authorities and ask them to open early, then any angler who is present at that time can enter, pay and launch.

We will release the identifier code across our social media (FB, Twitter, IG) on Friday night at 8 pm.  Contact: CKA on Facebook:

Note: The same time must and will apply to all ramps and lakes for lines in. As it stands, the time below will apply to all anglers, regardless of when gates open.

More information about each lake is available below the summary. Please read it all.

Event Info

Sign up:

Tournament Registration Fee: $50. Fee includes H.O.W. donation, Big Bass fee and Tourneyx fee. You can sign up on Tourneyx and pay later at the Get:Outdoors link, but all anglers must complete both steps (sign up and payment) prior to competition time.                   

Payment link:

Format: 3 longest fish (8” minimum length), submitted on approved measuring device (Fish Stik, Hawg Trough or Ketch Board only), entire fish and correct ID entirely in photo. ID will be available for download and printing in the days prior to event.

Event Schedule

Lines in: 8:00 am

Lines out: 3:00 pm (photo cut off is 3:05 pm. Upload your photos early – No Exceptions!)

Check in: 4 pm at Get:Outdoors. Must sign in or lose AOY points. Anglers must pay CKA member fee to keep AOY points.

Read more “CKA Tournament 1: The Burlington Battle”

CKA Pre-Season Updates

Hi everyone, this is our annual pre-season update. Please read it carefully as there is important news below. If you have questions of a specific nature, please message us on Facebook.

We are very excited for this season and we have been working hard to put the final touches on the schedule and other plans. For example, we have re-instated the team event and paired it with a regular tournament, and the joint event with VKBC is going to be a big event and will only get bigger after KBF finalizes the prizes for it. Additionally, we are discussing a 10th event, in coordination with H.O.W., which would be a fundraiser for their local chapter. We welcome new sponsors and continue with our tried and true sponsors, too, and we will announce some more of those as we enter the final build up to the 1st tournament. We have other surprises in store and will unveil the first at the check-in at Get:Outdoors on March 9th. Like last year, CKA is changing and growing, and we are grateful for your support that allows us to make this an accessible and competitive series.

And now, two announcements:

In the first place, CKA is requiring an annual membership fee of $20 from anglers who fish for AOY/ROY points in 2019. Here is how it works: you pay the fee, you keep your points. It will also qualify you for CKA discounts at Get:Outdoors, coverage from KBF insurance and other extras. When do you pay it? After the first event you fish. Let’s say an angler begins fishing at the 2nd event of the season – if he or she doesn’t pay at the post-event check in for that event, the points come off the board and will not be reinstated. Can you fish and win a single event, and not pay your fee? Sure, but you won’t keep the points from that event.

We have to do this for several reasons. First, we want to keep payouts at the current level, but the cost of running the series is making it difficult for us. We have fees to pay for using various platforms (the website, Tourneyx, Paypal) and also operating costs (banners, the Tournament of Champions, end of year angler prizes). We don’t ask for financial support from outside so we can keep this an angler-based series – so to maintain our payouts, we have to collect a fee this year.

In the second place, after extensive discussion, we will allow the use of electric motors in competition. We’ve made our decision and the reasons for it clear elsewhere, and will briefly restate those reasons here:

  • Motors allow anglers who cannot paddle or pedal to fish events
  • Motors do not have any direct effect on results: a bad angler with a motor will still be a bad angler

Any angler who uses a motor must be in full compliance with all state laws regarding motor use on watercraft. Additionally, anglers will follow KBF limits on motors, too. We spot check for valid fishing licenses and will do the same for motors: if you fish an event with a motor and don’t have the state-issued permit on your kayak, you will be disqualified.

Finally, there have been some small but significant changes to the KBF open mouth rules for submitted fish. We won’t be adopting them, and we will stick with last year’s judging method. We are also retaining the 8” minimum length for catches. For full rules, see here:

KBF Southeast Region Trail at Santee Cooper

Every season, dozens of CKA anglers divide their efforts between our  series and the national KBF trail and major tournaments. The results have often been spectacular –Rick Rowland simultaneously won the KBF Open on Kentucky Lake and also placed 3rd at the 2017 KBF National Championship, Jamie Denison won the 2018 AOY and the 2019 events at Toledo Bend, Cory Dreyer won the “Ten” at Bienville and extended his legendary streak of placing in the money at consecutive Open and National Championship events. In these examples and others, CKA anglers have performed at a high level at KBF events from the start.  

KBF has reconfigured its 2019 Trail schedule, dividing states into regions and reducing the number of Trail events. Lakes are big and the stakes are bigger, with Regional Championships, National Championship qualifying and the new Pro Series category all in play.

And it all begins nearby for the Southeast region, on February 23rd at Santee-Cooper.

Renew or begin your KBF membership. Book your rooms, load your gear and step up your game to become the next CKA angler to gain national recognition this season.

Sign up and tournament details here:

CKA Welcomes On the Water Innovations as an Official Sponsor

From our partnership with KBF to our fundraising for Heroes on the Water, CKA proudly supports businesses and charities owned and run by U.S. military veterans. This season, long time CKA angler and U.S. Army veteran Denny Romero has generously offered a special prize to CKA anglers through his company On the Water Innovations.

On the Water Innovations will donate a custom kayak trailer to be given to one angler who has fished a minimum of 6 events. The angler will be selected at the Gate City Classic on September 28th, 2019. The prize is the NEW Tourney Double, a compact trailer that is built to hold 2 kayaks side by side.


  • 2 Custom Rod Tubes 
  • 4 Self-Retracting Ratchet Straps
  • Adjustable Bunks
  • 13” Aluminum Wheels
  • All Welded Steel Construction
  • LED Lights 
  • Custom “Built Like A Tank” Fenders
  • Removable T-Bars (not included)




















Here is how it works:

  • Anglers receive an entry for each event they fish
  • Eligible anglers must fish at least 6 events
  • Anglers must be present at the Gate City Classic post-tournament check-in

This prize was donated to reward the anglers who donate the most to Heroes on the Water through their tournament fees. We are grateful to Denny and OTWI for this great prize. Thank you!

Visit the OTWI website:






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