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This past Saturday, May 29, 2021, I was tickled to not only participate in the annual "Reelin' For the Kids" benefit bass tournament on Caddo Lake, but was asked if I would emcee the weigh in, and I happily accepted.

Though my partner and I found fishing conditions tougher than we had hoped and only caught one legal fish during the course of the day, several others did extremely well.

However, two local anglers could have possibly tainted the entire tournament, had their illegal deeds gone un-noticed.

As I was announcing each team's weight for the day, I noticed a couple anglers being escorted towards a couple of waiting LDWF agents.

To many in the crowd, it was completely inconspicuous and very professionally handled, and it wasn't until the information come out on social media, did many realize what had just happened.

In a Facebook post on the NW Louisiana Tournament News page, one of the tournament organizers, Mike Cork, announced the following:

Officially: Phillip Purcell and Hunter Moss admitted to Wildlife and Fisheries Agents, during the weigh in of the Benefit Tournament on Caddo Lake, of weighing bass they did not catch. Wildlife and Fisheries cited them for gaming law violation. The evidence in this case is because anglers spoke up about suspicious activity. They were caught because anglers were vigilant and reported. Those involved know who they are and I want to say thank you. Tournament Directors, get a photo of these guys and don’t let them fish your events. Everyone is welcome to share this post to get the word out…

Okay, let's take a second for this to sink in. This was a bass tournament organized to benefit local foster children and these two thought it would be okay to cheat?

I've fished bass tournaments for a long time, and certainly this isn't the first time someone was caught cheating during competition, but it's the first time I've actually heard of someone doing this in a benefit tournament, for children.

For crying out loud, first place was only $1,500 and these guys didn't even have enough weight to win.

Our local tournament fishing community is widespread and extremely loyal, and because of the efforts of some of these observant, dedicated anglers, this deed was immediately reported and local LDWF agents immediately took legal action without hesitation.

Bass tournaments got a black eye for issues like this many years ago, so it's pleasing to know that actions like this won't be tolerated by those who are truly dedicated to the real sportsmanship of the competition and situations like this should serve as notice to any in the future who might consider breaking the rules, that their actions can and will be caught and justice will be served.

 

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