National Crappie League - Official

Tournament Rules 2023

Tournament Rules 2023

Last update: May 2023


Team members must be a member of NCL in good standing to fish a NCL event.


You may enter the tournament if you have NOT earned $5,000.00 in crappie national tournaments in the previous 2 years or have NOT placed in the top 5 of these major pro division tournaments (ACT, Crappie Masters, Crappie Elite, or Crappie Expo). NOTE: Placing in the top 5 in an ACT Amateur or CUSA Pro or Amateur event does not disqualify you from competing in a Division I event unless you have earned $5,000 in the previous 2 years. You may NOT enter if you are a fishing guide. A fishing guide is anyone who guides, is a licensed guide or advertises themselves as a guide.

2A. Teams fishing Division I may launch from any public ramp that all other anglers may use.
2B. Teams may launch their boat on the day of competition 30 minutes prior to safe light (posted sunrise) but may not leave the boat ramp area until safe light (posted sunrise). which will be announced at the pre-tournament meeting.
2C. Off Limits: Waters are off limits at 4:00 pm on the day of the pre-tournament meeting.


Are open to all anglers/teams regardless of previous earnings/placement.

3A. Open Division tournaments will have a shotgun/blastoff start that will be listed on the tournament details page and announced at the pre-tournament meeting.  Tournament director may change the start due to weather and safety issues at his discretion. 
3B. Off Limits: Waters are off limit at 4 p.m. the day of the pre-tournament meeting.
3C. During practice, teams may only have immediate family or sponsors in their boat and must notify tournament director of such.
3D. Teams must enter the tournament no later than midnight the Sunday prior to the tournament. There is no late entry for the open division, no late entry.


At the Classic, Division I teams will compete against other Division I teams. Open division teams will compete against other Open Division teams.

4A. The top 5 of each tournament will qualify for the Classic
4B. Fishing three events will automatically qualify a team to the Classic.
4C. Points system will determine the remaining Classic qualifications.
4D. Bump down will occur for Classic qualifications.
4E. Angler of the year will be determined on your best 4 qualifying finishes plus your championship finish.


Pre-Tournament meeting time starts at 6 pm with late registration (Div. I Only) and/or voucher pickup from 5 to 6 pm. The pre-tournament meeting will be held the evening prior to tournament day. One team member must be present for the meeting. The anglers are responsible to know any changes announced at the pre-tournament meeting.


May be 1 or 2 anglers. A team may have a 3rd partner if the third partner is under the age of 16. Pole limits a team with a youth third member, are the same as a two partner team. Spectators are not allowed in the boat with a team during tournament hours.


Teams may weigh in up to 5 LIVE CRAPPIE. Once you enter the weigh in line your fish will be check. A team entering the weigh in line with more than 5 crappie will be disqualified.

6A. Teams may only have 7 fish in live well during competition and only 5 in the weigh in line.
6B. Crappie must be caught during tournament hours, on the legal tournament waters, by the team presenting the crappie
6C. Crappie must be hook in lip or through the mouth.
6D. Crappie must be legal in length as stated in the State Regulations. Violation results in NCL RULES disqualification.
6E. Dead fish: If a team presents dead fish, all dead fish will be removed and team may weigh the remaining fish. If fish have been checked by the tournament official and any fish dies after the check, the fish will be weighed.


Shall be defined as areas open to all participants of the event and accessible by normal navigational means only. Fishing within 50 feet of a marina gas pump or within 50 feet of a competitor’s boat is prohibited. Any violation of off limits water will result in disqualification.


In the case of extreme weather/water conditions, NCL reserves the right to postpone or delay the start of a tournament. Cancelled tournaments due to weather will have teams entry fee returned by mail.


Tournament Start times-Stop times will be listed on the tournament information page and announced at the pre-tournament meeting. No team will be able to enter the weigh in line after the announced weigh in line “closed” time that is announced at the pre-tournament meeting.


Teams must comply with ALL state fishing and boating regulations.

11A. Including but not limited to the use of PFDs and kill switches.
11B. Fishing and boating licenses are the responsibility of team members.
11C. Fish length regulations. Bringing fish a fish to the weigh in line that is in violation of state length regulations results in disqualification.


Scales will be set up and open two hours before the stop time of each tournaments. NCL reserves the right to open the scales earlier if conditions are such that fish are stressed. Only allowed one weigh-in.


 Prizes will be awarded after the tournament.

13A. Both team members must be present at the time of weigh-in to be eligible for prizes.
13B. Big fish entry is included the tournament entry fee. Big Fish award will be paid out as 1st Big Fish 70% of the pot, 2nd Big Fish 30% of the pot.
13C. Big Fish Tie: Pot will be split 50/50
13D. A tournament tie for first place will be decided by Big Fish. Ties for other places will split the purse for those places.



Official practice time is 7 days prior to the tournament.  For the safety of all contestants, all boats must be a minimum of 16 feet in length, propeller driven and equipped with an operable ignition kill switch. Rubber Rafts, Canoes and Go-Devils are not allowed in practice or during official competition. Two-person teams (one boat per team) must stay within 25 feet of each other while fishing.


Limit of eight (8) poles per team during tournament applies except where a state limit is set at a lesser number. Teams may use rod and reel combos, hand-held pole and reel combos or hand-held poles.


A maximum of two baits per pole may be used during tournament hours if in accordance with Local and State laws. Live and/or artificial bait may be used. STINGER HOOKS are PROHIBITED. Trailer Hooks are PROHIBITED. Crankbaits with treble hooks are allowed.


Binoculars and other magnifying devices are not allowed during pre-fishing or tournament at any time. The use of mobile communication devices such as cellular phones, marine radios, walkie-talkies, CB’S, etc. to communicate fishing information during tournament hours is prohibited.


NO ONE can be hired or compensated in any way to fish with you or mark fishing spots for you, 60 days prior to any tournament.


During tournament hours no one may spot fish for you or mark fishing spots for you. Open tournaments: There is NO sharing information in any way including but not limited to the sharing of way points, coordinates or any other method for locating fish.


A team may transfer fish to another boat to get to the weigh in on time, only in the case of boat or motor damage.


Beverages, drugs or substances that can impair anglers are not allowed in the boat or during NCL competition hours and until polygraphs are given. Anglers on medical subscription must notify the tournament director.


Shall only be made in a life threatening emergency or death in the family. Entry fees maybe moved and credited to another event with 2 full week notice and payment of $25.00 transfer fee. (NO TRANSFER OR REFUND WITHIN 14 DAYS OF EVENT FOR ANY REASON – NO EXCEPTIONS)


NCL reserves the right to have a spotter and/or observer and/or a tournament film crew staff member on any team’s boat at any time during the tournament phases.


Must be made in writing to the tournament director within 30 minutes following the end of the official weigh-in. All protests must cite the rule number(s) allegedly broken.


Instances of poor sportsmanship during the tournament or using social media posts in a negative way towards the trail, its competitors or its sponsors may be grounds for disqualification or banned from competition if circumstances require.


Any team having a member who has failed or refused to take a polygraph test or was on a team that was disqualified or denied a prize because either member of that team failed or refused to take a polygraph or who has ever been denied a prize because he or she misrepresented compliance with a tournament rule will be disqualified.


By your participation in this tournament, you agree to comply with the rules and agree to submit to and pass a POLYGRAPH TEST or similar truth test in order to qualify for the receipt of any prize. Tests may be given to teams at random at any/all events. A contestant who fails to pass a polygraph test or whose condition does not permit the administration of a test because of the contestant’s use of alcohol / drugs will be disqualified and the team will not be allowed to participate in any future NCL events. At the request of NCL, one member of each team that qualified for a prize must submit to and pass a POLYGRAPH TEST and/or any other test deemed necessary to determine compliance with tournament rules. Polygraph tests will be given at random at all events. Only one member of the team selected by the tournament director will be tested. If that member passes the test, the prizes earned by the team will be awarded. If that member fails the test the team will be disqualified and neither member of the team will be awarded a prize. The test will be given only once, and no contestant will be eligible for a second test under any circumstance. The decision of the test examiner as to the contestant’s compliance with tournament rules will be the final decision as to eligibility for any prize. Contestants agree to release National Crappie League LLC, NCL and all sponsors of these events from any liability arising from the administration of the test and/or the decision of the test examiner. Participants in NCL events agree to release NCL and its sponsors from any obligation for using names and photo likeness in promotional materials and/or video productions.

All decisions regarding compliance with these rules and the interpretation of these rules will be made by the tournament director and NCL which reserves the right to make additional reasonable rules for the conduct of its tournaments if circumstances require, including placing spotters in a team’s boat during competition. NCL tournaments do not discriminate for reasons of race, creed, color, national origin, and we abide by all rules set forth in the American Disabilities Act.

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