Cheaters Never Win: Five Times Cheaters Lost a Lot More Than Money in Fishing Tournaments

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If there’s anything in life worth doing, there’s always someone who’s decided to cheat at it. That’s especially true when there’s prize money involved.

Unfortunately, our beloved sport of fishing is no stranger to having people try to win tournaments by any means necessary. For a sport so focused on respect for nature and for fellow fishermen, it’s sad to see people who are willing to give themselves and everyone else who participates in fishing tournaments a bad name. Cheaters have made it to where any winners of many fishing tournaments out there are required to take a polygraph test to get their winnings.

These five cases of cheating are some of the most ridiculous we’ve heard of. We hope seeing where others have tried to cheat their way into the winners circle and failed miserably will stop other would-be cheaters from testing their luck.

Incidents via

1. Authorities charged Gary Minor Jr. and Robert Gillaspie with tampering with a sports contest for bringing bass to a Lake Guntersville, Ala., weigh-in that were caught prior to the tournament and held in a cage at a dock.


The anglers were sentenced to 30 days in jail, 400 hours of community service and fines of $1,000 each plus court costs.

2. Minnesota angler Alfred Mead, 72, pleaded guilty to theft by swindle for catching two northern pike at another lake and entering them into the Park Rapid American Legion Community Fishing Derby.

Mead went to jail for a week, and also was fined $200 and banned from hunting and fishing for two years.

The grand prize in the tournament was $10,000.

3. While fishing a tournament, Ronnie Eunice and Brandon Smith came across two anglers who had just boated an 11 1/2-pound bass. The anglers offered Dustin Miller and Sarah Demott cash in exchange for the bass in hopes of winning the tournament’s big-bass pot of $305, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division.

The agency charged the tournament anglers with illegal buying and selling of game fish, and also cited Miller for fishing without a license.

4. Officials charged Aaron Lauber and Jason Schuttler, both of Iowa, with felony counts of theft by deception after investigating a tip the men caught fish outside the duration of the Clear Lake Yellow Bass Bonanza, a state-sponsored tournament with a grand prize of $1,500 in cash and a $1,000 Cabela’s gift package.

5. If you need a bass that fits under a lake’s slot limit, you can either fish until you catch one or cut part of the tail fin off one you’ve already caught that’s too big. Texas officials said David Prickey went the latter route, which, of course, is illegal, during a Sealy Big Bass Splash tournament.

Prickey was charged with fraud in a fishing tournament with prizes greater than $10,000, which is a third-degree felony in the state.

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