米国テキサスのフォーク湖 (lake fork)にて先週、９月１８日~２０日に行われた Sealy Big Bass Splash トーナメントにて不正が発覚し、バスプロが逮捕されるらしい。この大会の優勝賞金は３０万円。詳細や詳しい経緯は発表されていないが、ニュースでの発表によると、フォーク湖にはデカバスの育成と保護の為に、スロットリミット(slot limit *40cmから50cmのバスはキープしてはならない）がある。つまりトーナメント中に釣ったスロットの魚はリリースしなけらばならない。しかしその男はこのスロットリミットの適用を逃れる為に、釣り上げた魚の尻尾をハサミでチョキチョキと切った疑いで告発された。トーナメントでの不正も重なり、テキサス州の法律で厳格に罪が課せられるらしい。警察側はこの男の引き渡し、及び捜査協力をトーナメント団体側に要求しているが、トーナメント団体側が拒んでいるらしい。その為に調査は保留中らしい。
During the recent Sealy Big Bass Splash on Lake Fork, Sept. 18-20, an angler tried to fraud the tournament organizers to win the under the slot prize of $2,500. He took a pair of snips and modified and trimmed the tail of a bass so it would measure under the slot limit and take the cash prize.
Lake Fork became a managed trophy bass lake many moons ago, and the 16 to 24-inch slot limit has been in effect for quite some time. Any bass between those measurements must be immediately released. However you can keep bass over and under those measurements.
So the Sealy Big Bass Tournaments setup over and under prizes, hourly prizes and of course their grand prize of a fully rigged boat, truck and $7,000 cash to the winner. Bubba Sadler of Gladewater, Texas won the grand prize with a bass weighing 9.48 pounds. He weighed that fish the first hour on the second day to also claim the hourly $2,000 prize.
On the last day of the event, in the last hour, an angler presented a fish for weigh-in. The fish was under the slot. As a general rule, TPWD Game Wardens requested that fish over and under be turned over to them to inspect, document and turn loose. Fish that don’t measure or fall into the slot limits are also given to the TPWD Game Wardens to try to understand what error or errors may have led to an illegal fish being brought to the scales.
They generally give the anglers the benefit of the doubt but upon inspection of this fish is was readily identifiable that the tail had been doctored. They questioned the angler who subsequently admitted to doctoring the fish to claim a large cash prize. No polygraph was administered to this specific perpetrator as the angler admitted to the wrong doing.
Sealy Big Bass officials let the TPWD Game Wardens handle the issue. They turned the fish over to them, the TPWD officials asked that this angler’s entries be pulled and it went from there. TPWD Game Wardens generally make a point to be on hand at Lake Fork tournaments to help with handling of fish and also educate the public on slot limits, measuring fish properly, etc., as many folks still don’t know there are slot limit son Fork and how to measure fish correctly.
Both Sealy Big Bass officials and the TPWD refused to give the angler’s name as the investigation was still pending. But he was said to be charged with FRAUD IN A FISHING TOURNAMENT under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code Sec. 66.023. The charge is a felony because the grand prize in the event in which the angler attempted fraud was more than $10,000.