Welcome to the New 2019 KATS website. Please pardon the dust.

Official 2020 KATS RULES

The 2020 Texas Kayak Angler Tournament Series will consist of 5 individual qualifying tournament events, and a two-day Classic Championship.

All anglers are invited to participate in the first 5 series events in one of two divisions (Pro or Social). Within the Pro Division a series-wide point system will be used to keep a running leaderboard based on individual event rankings.

The Texas KATS Classic will be the final showdown between the top 30 eligible anglers. The Angler of the Year Award will be given to the competitor with the most overall points from his/her best 4 out of 5 qualifying events (does not include Classic). Additionally, an award will be given to the King of the Fish, the angler with the 5 biggest fish scored over the entire series (including classic). To earn points towards participation in the Classic or for Kayak Angler of the Year, you must earn them by competing in the Pro Division.

We will make every effort to keep the 2020 KATS season a competitive and fun series regardless of your angling experience. We’ve had great series over the last fourteen years and look forward to yet another one!

To stay up to date on anything related to the 2020 KATS or to ask questions, please visit www.fishkats.com and/or contact us via the information on the last page of this rules packet. We look forward to seeing you at the all of the events!

Fish On!

Grant Heatherly – Program Director KATS 2020 Series

Joseph Sanderson – Tournament Director KATS 2020 Series


We strive to make KATS the best kayak fishing tournament available. Thanks to all of you that have provided feedback and suggestions over the last few of years! While we try to accommodate as many wishes as we can, we are only able to enforce rules that make sense to promote the growth of this group and the sport as a whole. Below are some key changes for the 2020 season.

-As a KATS competitor you are eligible for a discount in all ACK stores, make sure to let them know when you checkout.

-Complaints about free/donated prizes won in a tourney or in a raffle do not help our efforts in retaining and gaining sponsors. If a prize doesn’t suit your needs or you have no need for it, please return it to the staff so it can be raffled and donated to someone who will benefit from it. ​

-Any prizes won during the tournaments or received in the raffles may ​not​ be returned to ACK.

-Registration will still be done online on fishKATS.com. Anglers will be given a code in their confirmation email that they can use to join the event on TourneyX. MAKE SURE to SIGN UP ONLINE by the deadline (Thursday prior to the tournament at 11:59 p.m.)! This includes the purchase of any merchandise and raffle tickets benefitting the selected charity.

-Launch Procedure is streamlined to launch earlier. Competitors need to be in line, for check-in by 6:00AM. Once this line is checked in the Captain’s Meeting will begin and the Launch will follow. There will be a KGB member marking the end of the check in line at 6:00 a.m. All anglers in line after this KGB member will have to wait until after the captains meeting to check-in. For example, if all anglers in line are checked in by 6:13 AM, the Captains Meeting will begin, and Launch may happen as early as 6:20 AM.

NEW RULES FOR 2020 (Overview)

(Any new, altered, or otherwise changed rules/items for 2020KATS season will be listed here on this web page as they are approved by the KATS Governing Body.)

-PREFISHING RULES: Lakes will be off limits from Sunday at 11:59 p.m. prior to the tournament to Thursday at 11:59 p.m. prior to the tournament. Prefishing will be allowed from KAYAKS ONLY the FRIDAY before the tournament.

– Pre fishing or practice period from a ​POWER BOAT, is ​PROHIBITED​ for ONE​ week before the event. 

  • NO competitors are to be within 20 yards of each other during fish-time; except in the case of emergency when assistance is required.
  • In the event of a TIE, the following criteria will decide the winner:

  Biggest Fish, 2nd biggest fish, so on.

  If all 5 fish are the same, the pot will be split.

-The TOP 30 Anglers in points will be qualified for the KATS Classic Championship.

-The individual’s names who place in both divisions, Pro and Social, will be removed from the General

Raffle. This includes those who win prizes in lieu of a payout.

-Social Anglers who finished in the top 5 of the social leaderboard at the end of the 2019 season will need to move up to the pro division for 2020


First, we want to personally thank you for participating in this year’s KATS season! We are proud to say that this is one of the largest and most organized kayak fishing tournament communities in the world. This is ACK’s ninth year of owning/operating the KATS competition series. We are very thankful for the participation and support you have given us over the last few seasons and we hope you will love this season! Here are a few thoughts on what you can do on your part to help make this a smooth season.

-Please read the rules carefully and be familiar with them.

-Social Division will launch a delayed 15 minutes after Pro division launches.

-PFD and Hawg Trough Check will take place during check-in, please bring with you

-To qualify for Kayak Angler of the Year as well as the KATS Classic Championship will be based on the score of your top 4 out of 5 tournaments.

-Please note that only the PRO division will earn series points towards the Classic Championship and Kayak Angler of the Year. If you switch divisions you will only earn points for the tournaments you compete in the Pro division. There are no requirements for changing from social to pro. Pick your division based on entry fee, the payout/prize structure that appeals to you most, your desire to take a chance at competing in the Classic and Kayak Angler of the Year, and your skill. However, anglers that have placed in the top 5 in the pro division at any event during their KATS career are prohibited from competing in the Social division.

-Please be meticulous with your CPR process. We have provided a comprehensive guide to doing this the proper way.

-Please be on time, bring what you need, and make sure you have registered online.

-There are Mandatory Captains Meetings for everyone at a designated place including road runner events.

-Designated Launches are announced for non-roadrunner events at start of season. Maps will be provided prior to the event. For roadrunners, equal access, public launch points are the only acceptable launch locations. If your launch point is in question, please contact the tournament director.

-If you are utilizing TourneyX, be sure to register for the event on the app via the code in your registration confirmation. Also plan ahead for possible technical or service issues. If you are unable to turn your fish in via TourneyX, you may still turn them in, in person at the weigh in site.

-Darken the ruler lines on your Hawg Trough with a sharpie.

-If you are turning your pictures in in person, please fill out the scorecard completely and correctly. Mark the length of each fish, the number of photos taken, have your unique identifier in the top corner, circle your top 5 fish and total your inches at the bottom. Turn in NO MORE than 2 pictures for each fish. ​Incomplete, lost, or blank scorecards make scoring take longer.

-Anglers can increase their payout by entering into the KATS Angler Advantage optional program.

-Keep in mind that KATS is not a moneymaker for ACK or the KGB. KATS costs more to put on and manage than it brings in and it wouldn’t be possible without the help of our sponsors, volunteer staff, and community members. Please help make KATS possible by supporting sponsors and ACK by choosing them for your outdoor gear needs.

-Have fun, after all that’s why we are all here! Leave the profanities, drugs and alcohol, cheating and any other unsportsmanlike conduct elsewhere – it will not be tolerated!


-The Series is open to ALL anglers provided they meet the Requirements and honor all Rules and Regulations listed below.

-There are NO membership fees or dues aside from individual event registration fees and optional side pots or raffle tickets.

-Anglers who have finished “In the Money” for the pro division during their KATS career will be prohibited from fishing the social division.


-ALL competitors must agree to a liability release prior to start of the event, this will be completed during your online registration.

-ALL competitors ​UNDER the age of 18​ must provide a liability release signed by a parent or guardian before the start of the event. Parent or guardian must be present. This will be completed during your online registration.

-ALL competitors ​MUST​ have a valid Texas Freshwater Fishing License or be exempt under TPWD regulations.

-For current regulations and information on fishing licenses visit: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/licenses/index.phtml


-ONLY​ human powered vessels will be allowed.

-Kayaks, canoes, rowboats, inflatable boats, paddleboats, stand up paddleboards are acceptable.

-A “Blue Sky Boatworks Catamaran” is an approved vessel that can be used to participate in KATS.

-NO gasoline or electric motor propelled boats, sail boats, airboats, float tubes, or poled boats may be

  used except as noted below.

-Only ONE paid entrant per vessel.

-NO pier/shoreline/wade/jug/trot line/hand line/cast or drag net/bow fishing allowed.

-Disabled or Special Medical Needs: Competitors will be allowed to use kayaks or canoes with maximum of 12V trolling motors, or Kayak Manufacturer Motors, for competitions with prior approval from Tournament Director.

-Competitor must provide a medical athletic exemption note from licensed physician notifying that the competitor qualifies for a temporary exemption and may use a motorized kayak due to disability, health risks, and other medical situations that otherwise impair the ability to participate in a standard paddling event. Exemption note must include a time period of exemption not to exceed the current season (a new note will be required for subsequent seasons).  Please contact the TD with ample time (see below) to make these arrangements.

-Exemption Form to be found on ​www.fishkats.com​ and must be submitted at least 2 business days prior to event.


-ALL competitors must launch from shore at designated launch spot.

-ALL competitors will launch at designated launch time.

-If a tournament is designated as “Roadrunner” event boats may be launched at any legal and public

launch site on the boundary waters of that particular event.

-Legal and Public Launches are determined by equal access. All anglers must launch from

a public launch site, if the launch point charges an entry fee that is acceptable as long as any other angler can pay the same fee and use the launch point. Please email KATStexas@summitsports.com​ or contact the tournament director with any questions about launch points.

-Competitors will be released at a specified time from Captain’s meeting. You may leave and drive once the captains meeting is over and you have been checked by the staff for PFD and Hawg Trough. You must attend Captains Meeting, and you must adhere to normal Scoring and Weigh In times.

-Transporting vessels/competitors via power driven boats (including towing) is strictly prohibited​ EXCEPT​ in the case of an emergency as determined by the tournament director. These cases will be reviewed individually to determine if DQ of fish will occur.


-ONLY​ artificial baits/lures/flies and hand-tied flies will be permitted.

-NO live or dead bait may be used.

-Rod and Reel and Fly Rods are the only devices acceptable.

– NO downriggers allowed, trolling under human power is acceptable.

-Wade Fishing is PROHIBITED. You may exit the boat to land a fish, but you must maintain contact with the boat while in the water.



-A 360 Light is required under TPWD regulations when fishing 30 minutes before sunrise or 30 minutes after sunset or anytime in between and will be required when our launch times fall under these guidelines. ​Supernovas or LED light strips DO NOT meet these requirements. ​ You will be held back for launch or DQ’ed if launching without a 360 light prior to safe light.

-PFD (lifejacket) ​MUST​ be worn at ALL times while on the water. NO exceptions. Violators will be immediately disqualified if spotted not wearing a PFD.

-Competitors must meet all TPWD regulations. http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/fishboat/boat/laws/

-Competitors must meet all US Coast Guard Regulations. http://www.uscgboating.org/

-KATS official spotters will be present during competitions.


-NO competitors are to be within 20 yards of each other during fish-time; except in the case of emergency when assistance is required.

-NO fish are to be kept on stringers.

-Any ONE fish can only be submitted ONCE.

-Angler is responsible for ensuring that no fish is submitted twice for scoring. (Even if the same fish is caught twice in one tournament)

-All fish submitted through TourneyX and initially “accepted” by tournament manager/director are subject to final approval after official fishing time closes and before the award ceremony.

-Tournament manager/director reserves the right to disqualify a fish after it was initially approved via TourneyX if they believe one or more of rules have been violated.

-In case a fish that was initially approved and it is then disqualified, and no foul play is suspected by the TD, the angler will have the opportunity to replace the fish with a “culled” fish, if available. THERE WILL BE NO DEDUCTION FOR THIS. Once again, this will be enforced on a case by case basis. It is encouraged that you submit more than 5 fish for insurance.

-Captain’s Meeting attendance is MANDATORY.


-The use of mobile communication devices such as mobile phones, marine radios, or walkie-talkies is strictly PROHIBITED during fishing hours. Communication between anglers ​without electronic devices is permitted. Emergency calls are permitted, and the Tournament Director is to be notified.

-Emergency, family, and employment related calls are allowed.

-This rule is in place to cancel out any “unfair advantages” and the sharing of information that may create

an unfair competitive advantage during the competition.


-ALL​ fish must be caught within boundary waters during the tournament time.

-ONLY​ the following species will count towards your total.

-Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Spotted Bass and Guadalupe Bass.


-CPR​: Catch, Photo, and Release alive ​only​.

-Sharelunker Exception:​ a competitor may use a stringer or attachment system to temporarily hold a fish

that qualifies for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Sharelunker Program. It is the angler’s responsibility to decide whether they can continue to compete while meeting the TPWD guidelines or if it is wiser to concede and exit the tournament for that day. All decisions should be based on the safety, health, and capability to care for the fish in the best way possible.

-Proper care and handling of the fish must be employed (see link below for information on Sharelunker Program)

-TPWD Sharelunker Guidelines:  Call (903) 681-0550 to report catch


-The Hawg Trough is the only acceptable measuring devices for all KATS events.

-Competitors must use their own measuring device (no sharing).

-Your device may be checked by KATS staff at any time.

-If the judge cannot clearly see the markings, that fish will not be scored. ​At a minimum, 1⁄4 inch increments need to be visible​. ​Consider marking your lines with a black sharpie on the Hawg Trough. DO NOT MAKE THE LINES THICK.

-Fish are to be measured Mouth CLOSED and touching the bump board, to Furthest Tip of Tail

-See “CPR How-to Guide” online and examples of acceptable photos


-The lake where the current event will be held is strictly OFF LIMITS to any contestant participating in KATS starting 11:59 pm Sunday one week prior to tournament until the Friday before the tournament

-ANY angler caught and reported (with proof) on the lake during off limits period will be disqualified and forfeit their entry fee. NO exceptions.

  • Example: Tournament is on Saturday January 26th 2020. You cannot fish on that lake starting at 11:59pm on Sunday, January 20th until January 25th at 12:00 a.m. The lake is off-limits between these times. Note: the entire lake is off-limits to the angler whether fishing or not, no scouting, paddling, or recreational use on the lake can take place during the off limits period.

-Pre fishing or practice period from a POWER BOAT is PROHIBITED starting on Sunday 11:59pm leading to the event. 

-Fishing in OFF-LIMITS areas will result in ​disqualification​. ​OFF -LIMITS areas are defined as but not limited to any and all areas marked by buoys, signage, or barriers with the intent of keeping people out. Any posted, legal, private property, or otherwise off-limits areas plus any specific areas as determined by KATS staff are strictly OFF-LIMITS to anglers. ​Anglers may NOT fish, cast a line, or be in the off-limits areas.

-30 Day OFF limits of hiring guide services before the DAY OF the tournament. This includes on the water services and paid for verbal information. Ex: If event takes place on 1/31, Guide Services are OFF limits after 12/31, 11:59pm.


-INCLEMENT WEATHER: The Tournament Director may delay, reschedule, or cancel the event.

-The first option will be a delay to be determined by the tournament director.

-The reschedule date for any event is the following day (same time/place/launch).

-If both days are rescheduled, the following weekend will serve as make-up event.

-If canceled or rescheduled, entrants can be refunded or have fee applied to next event.

-No refunds for prepaid entrants will be given for non-attendance regardless of the reason.


-Contestants grant KATS and ACK and the sponsors the unconditional right to use their name, voice,

photographic likeness and biographical information in connection with KATS and ACK tournaments, production, promotion, and/or articles and press releases, and shall not be entitled to receive any royalties or other compensation in connection with such use.


-DRUG and ALCOHOL use during the tournament is strictly PROHIBITED.

-ANY competitor found to be under the influence will be disqualified and will receive a score of ZERO.


-All rules are decided and interpreted by the Tournament Director.

-Any rule violations must be brought to the Tournament Director’s attention IMMEDIATELY after the tournament. Any scoring protests must be submitted within 48 hours of the conclusion of the tournament.

-The Tournament Director retains the right to make any changes at ANY time, and the FINAL decision.

-Not having read the rules is NOT an exception.

-Tournament Director may consult with the KGB members for any rulings as needed and determined by



-The KATS competition is intended and will be a competitive and professional event. It is also designed to be lots of fun. That being said, ALL anglers are encouraged to be good sportsmen throughout the series. Any disorderly conduct, violation of rules, illegal activity or disregard for the KATS Code of Conduct may result in your disqualification.

-Any report of cheating will be investigated. Any cheating reported with proof will result in ​immediate disqualification​. Anglers found cheating will be barred from ALL future KATS events and the incident will be reported to both TPWD and the local law enforcement. KNOW THE RULES!

-We reserve the right to polygraph anyone entering in the KATS tournaments to determine foul play. We also reserve the right to disqualify anyone from the results of the tests including inconclusive test results.



-KATS is a TWO division series:

-The Pro division is geared towards the experienced kayak angler that is confident competing

against the best of the best in the area. This is where we track series points and you earn your way into the Classic Championship, Kayak Angler of the Year, and King of the Fish.

-The Social division is geared towards the semi-experienced or the “newbie”. You are participating not only for a competitive non-cash certificate prize but also fun and good times. You are not interested in competing for Kayak Angler of the Year or in the Classic. Any size bass counts.

-Please see the rules for more details on prize payout, structure, etc.

-PRO Division (You ​Do Not​ have to be a professional to fish this division)

-SOCIAL Division (The Social Division is not eligible for series points or the KATS Classic.)

-Anglers are encouraged to choose the division that fits best with their skill level. Anglers who have finished “in the money” (1st – 5th) in the pro division at any point of their KATS career are prohibited from competing in the Social division. Additionally, anglers who finish in the top 5 on the Social division leaderboard at the end of the 2019 season will need to move up to the pro division for 2020.

-If you move up from Social to the PRO division, you will only accumulate series points from that point forward.


-ALL participants MUST have paid entry fee prior to fishing.

-Entry Fee for this KATS season is as follows (first 5 events):

-Entry will be paid online by deadline posted:

-Online Registration will end on the Thursday night prior to Tournament.

-Entry fees will be as follows:

  • Pro Division $60
  • Social $30
  • Big Bass $10
  • KATS Advantage
  • TourneyX fees are included.

-KATS Angler Advantage is optional. Each competitor is able to put $30 into this additional payout program.

-Classic Championship:

  • Entry Fee: $250 (Big Bass $25 included)
  • $30 KATS Advantage (optional)

-Payout Details TBD

-There are no separate divisions for this event.


-PRO Division Payout Schedule:

The cash prize pot will be divided as follows:

-Total cash pot will go to 1-5t​h​ places

-45-25-15-10-5% payout

-6t​h ​and 7t​h ​place will be Sponsor gift cards/prizes

-SOCIAL Division Payout Schedule:

-Prize money (prize pot) will be awarded in the form of ACK (Austin Canoe and Kayak) gift certificates. This allows you to have more flexibility in choosing the gear you want for your winnings.

-1st, 2nd, and 3rd Places Payout 55-30-15%

-4th and 5th will win vendor gear

-4th payout for 30-39 anglers (in your division)

-5th payout for 40+ anglers (in your division)

  • Big Bass Pot

-Competitor with biggest bass wins entire prize. Ties are determined by the TIES rule stated below.

-KATS Advantage ​Payout formula for 2020​. Anglers in the Pro Division will have the option to increase their entry fee to be entered into this program. For an extra $30 you are entered in an ​additional ​payout option in which the top 20% of the Advantage field will be paid out. See below for some estimated payouts based on a number of entries. ​100% Payout

KATS Advantage.png


-1s​t​, 2n​d​, 3r​d​ will split Classic Payout 55-30-15%

-King of the Fish will receive their award at the Classic

-The KATS Classic Champion is automatically entered into the following years’ Classic. This angler

will take the 26th spot in the Classic by meeting minimum 3 qualifying event participation requirement.

-KGB Mystery Tackle Bag

-Enter ($5) for your chance to win a gift card (value of all Mystery entries – 100% payout) to TackleWarehouse.com. Sign up is offered online during registration. Both the PRO and Social division are allowed to sign up and qualify to win. One winner, take all, at the end of each tournament.



-Anglers will have the option of scoring their fish via TourneyX or turned in on a memory card at the weigh in site.

-All fish submitted through TourneyX and initially “accepted” by tournament manager/director are subject to final approval after official fishing time closes and before the award ceremony.

  • Tournament Director reserves the right to disqualify a fish after it was initially approved via TourneyX if they believe one or more of rules have been violated.

-All fishing must stop at 3:00 p.m. All fish must be submitted by 3:00 p.m. on TourneyX and manual submissions must be in line for submission by 3:00 p.m.  

-Anglers will have until 4:00 p.m. to appeal a disallowed photo to the Tournament Director.  The Tournament Director has the sole discretion to allow an alternate photo to be submitted.

-All anglers must check in, via phone or in person, after tournament, no matter if they are submitting fish or not. Anglers must check in by 4:00 p.m. Failure to do so may result in the disqualification from future events.

-KATS is not responsible for any technology issues including lack of service. Plan ahead for submitting your fish, if you have issues uploading them to TourneyX you still have the option to submit them in person.

-KATS is not responsible for failed or corrupt files.

-TourneyX leaderboard will not be visible past 2:00PM

-Anglers who opt to submit fish via TourneyX will need still need register for the tournament on fishKATS.com. They will then be given a code to join the tournament on the TourneyX app.

In Person Submissions:

-Anglers who choose to submit photos in person must be in the weigh-in line by 3:00 p.m.

-You MUST provide whatever cables, cords, software, etc. required to download photos via a USB port to judge’s laptop.

-While we have a universal card reader, it is highly recommended that you bring a USB cord that is compatible with your camera. It is ​YOUR ​responsibility to make sure we can download your pictures.


-See the info graphic on proper CPR process.

-Each fish photo MUST include ALL of the following criteria:

-The whole fish, tip to tail.

-Laying with the tip of the lip at beginning of Hawg Trough.

-Mouth CLOSED to Furthest Tip of Tail

-Fish MUST be left side UP.

-Measurement markings must be clearly visible

-Assigned unique identifier must be visible


-Fish must be clear of any devices. Fins/tail/head cannot be obstructed in photo.

-Hand may NOT be under gill plate to push fish to close mouth.

-You MAY leave the hook in the mouth AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT IMPEDE MEASUREMENT

-ALL criteria must be met or photo will not be scored.

-Fish not meeting criteria will be DISQUALIFIED. You may submit a different picture of the same fish that may meet criteria. 

-Per the rules, fish tail and head cannot be obstructed. The image below shows clearly where hand should be placed when holding a fish. The red areas indicated must be visible for your photo to be approved.


-All fish photos are to be submitted by 3:00PM

-ALL competitors ​must return​ to the weigh in by 4:00PM.

-ONLY​ the Tournament Director and KATS designated staff will be involved in the judging process.

-LATE CHECK-IN will be permitted until ​15​ minutes after tournament ends; however, a penalty of 1” per minute will be deducted from the competitor’s total.



-Your 5 (five) ​LONGEST​ verified lengths will be totaled for your score.

-Pro division fish must be at least 14”, social division has no minimum length.

-Rounding will be ​DOWN​ and to the nearest 1⁄4 (quarter) inch.


-In the event of a TIE, the following criteria will decide the winner:

-Biggest Fish, 2nd biggest fish, so on.

-If all 5 fish are the same, the pot will be split.


-A points system will be used to determine the overall SERIES RANKINGS.

-Each event will produce a ranking list scored as such:

  • 1s​t​ place-200points
  • 2n​d place-199points
  • And so on for all competitors, however, you MUST catch at least one LEGAL fish to score any series points.

-Competitors who do not catch any legal fish or who do not turn in a scorecard will score 0.

-The Social Division is not eligible for series points or the KATS Classic.

-Classic Championship eligibility will depend on the leaderboard, from best 4 out of 5 events

-The TOP 30 Anglers in points will be qualified for the KATS Classic Championship.

-The classic will only pay out 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

-Previous year Defending Champion is eligible for Classic Elite Series by meeting minimum 3 qualifying

event participation requirement.

-The Junior Angler of the Year will be awarded the 27th spot into the Classic if not already qualified.


-Ties will be decided by a 4-hour FISH-OFF at a later date.

-Total length, 5 fish limit, 14” minimum

-Time and place to be decided between involved competitors and Tournament Director.

-The winner takes 1s​t​ place, the loser takes 2nd, pushing 2nd to 3rd, and so on.


-KATS reserves the right to use polygraph test at any time throughout the season and reserves the right to disqualify an angler from that event based on a failed or inconclusive polygraph test. The runner up will either automatically take the win or be liable to also take and pass polygraph test. Points are forfeit for the event if disqualified. NO refunds or compensation of any kind will be provided as a result of a failed or inconclusive polygraph.


You may contact the KATS Staff of the Tournament Director for questions or concerns (please read all rules and postings on ​www.fishkats.com first).

Email: ​katstexas@summitsports.com