Cheat stirs fishing community

By Ryan Peterson - bio | email

QUITMAN, TEXAS (KLTV) -  There was a big catch at a recent Texas fishing tournament and it wasn't a bass.  A Garland man was caught cheating at the Bud Light Trails Big Bass tournament on Lake Ray Hubbard.  The man put a one pound lead weight into what was thought to be the prize winning fish.  The news has everyone in the fishing community talking, including here in East Texas.

Brooks Rogers, a guide at Lake Fork, says he's seen other cases of cheating.

"There's been everything from weights in fish, to instances of people catching A bass 3 to 4 days before a tournament and putting them in a pool."

Rogers says those cases are rare.  He believes 99.9 percent of anglers are honest competitors.  That's why this recent scandal has become headline news in the fishing community.  A thread on the Texas Fishing Forum website has received over 80 thousand hits.  Many wanting the man caught, to be banned for life.  Some want jail time.

"That's cheating," said Tournament Angler and Lake Fork Guide Hollice Joiner.  "It's just like lying or stealing or anything else. If I was in a tournament he'd be stealing my money. As far as I'm concerned, prosecute him."

"It is serious," said Rogers, who's competed in over 70 pro angler events.  "I hope if the man is found when charges are pressed, I hope his punishment is to the fullest extent of the law."

It's still too early for punishment.  The man caught cheating, has not yet been charged, as an investigation continues.  Authorities are keeping his name under wraps, but many anglers already know who he is. The big question everyone's asking, had he done it before?

"I don't know if this guy has done this over the years," said Rogers.  "A lot of people seem to think he has done (it before). I don't know how he got away with it this long. Whoever could do this and get away with it has no conscious what so ever."

Hollice Joiner says it's worse than cheating.

"That's just like stealing and going and robbing a bank."