Cheaters, Vandals or Haters?
By Luigi De Rose
Once again the team tournament format gets a nice black eye. Similar to the two hidden baskets found at the 2015 TOP BASS Classic, a similar cage was discovered in the Scugog River outside of Lindsay, Ontario, Canada this past weekend. Cages are used to store bass caught outside of the official tournament day then the fish are collected during the tournament to ensure a win. Cheating is always a concern anytime money is involved and competitive fishing is no different. This is a wake up call that the bass fishing community must police itself and utilize the laws of the tournament organizations and province fully. Only when these laws are enforced and punishment fits the crime will the desire to cheat dissolve. The CSFL organization seems to have handled this problem well.
Here's the official CSFL statement regarding this situation. I advise you to read the entire document.
Stouffville, Ontario | Wednesday, August 10, 2016: The Competitive Sport Fishing League announced today a homemade device for holding fish was located in the Scugog River during the Lake Scugog, BM Central Tour event this past weekend.
It was brought to the attention of the organization by an event competitor that they came across an empty homemade device for holding fish, similar to the ones found in other events.
As the exact location cannot be disclosed at this time, as it is part of an ongoing investigation, what can be shared is that the basket was found in an obvious area on the main river in a very sparse lily padded location and is believed to have been meant to be found.
The device was then surrendered to CSFL officials at the weigh in site where the First, Second and Third place teams were shown the device and notified, based on Rule #3, that they would have to do the polygraph test, which they were all in favour of. At the end of the awards presentation the 12 teams on stage were all told what had happened. A press release was prepared with a non-biased, non-competing competitor and a CSFL official and was handed out to the rest of the competitors.
It was not until early the next morning, the day after the event, that it was brought to the attention of the CSFL that the reporting team was not the first team in the area to witness the device. It was not long after that the individual was contacted by the CSFL and asked to join the others at the Monte Carlo Hotel in Markham for testing. This was done in order to ensure fair play and the upmost integrity within the CFSL events and tournament officials acting accordingly with Integrity Alliance Polygraph Services from Orillia, Ontario were now to administer four Polygraph Tests.
As they all unquestionably passed, it was then pieced together that the area was the first spot the first angler went to from blast off therefore it would have been next to impossible for a team to come in and take the fish and move on with other boats also running the river at that time. This leads us to believe the device was placed in an area to create havoc on the organization and its anglers. As previously mentioned, there will be an ongoing investigation that will bring this to an end.
Andrew Pallotta of the CSFL confirms that there is zero tolerance for this type of unsportsmanlike conduct and will not hold back to obtain full conviction. Competitive anglers should not feel that this is a growing concern as the CSFL truly believes that this is part of a twisted way of redirecting accusations as this incident will only allow the CSFL more right to refuse an application to fish.
Please contact Andrew Pallotta of the CSFL directly at 416-802-2277 or 905-640-2277 for any further information.