You catch a nice largemouth and don’t have a scale. By your best estimation, it weighs three pounds, but when you show the photo of the catch to your buddy, you add a pound. No harm no foul, right? Well now that buddy can report you to authorities and get you tossed in the slammer. OK, breathe easy…I’m kidding. But according to this story on, a bill recently approved by the Texas State Senate may just make lying about fish size in a money tournament a misdemeanor, and in some cases, a felony.


In the full story in the New York Times, Senator Glenn Hegar who sponsored the bill says it was put in place to thwart rampant cheating in high-stakes bass tournaments, but also applies to any other freshwater or saltwater tourney with a cash prize. From the story:

Many anglers are happy with the bill, which extends existing fishing laws to include saltwater as well as freshwater tournaments and adds the provisions about misrepresentation. A violation would be a Class A misdemeanor, unless the tournament prize offered was more than $10,000, in which case it would be a third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

I think this is a fantastic idea, as there is no denying the unfortunate number of low-life tourney anglers that cheat or attempt to cheat. Believe me, I’ve seen my share on the docks back in the day doing tourney coverage for a local saltwater magazine. But why stop with making lying in a tournament a punishable crime? I’d like to add:

– Trolling through a school of birds and busting fish while other boats are casting into the fray

– Fishing within 60 feet of another angler on a trout stream

– Kicking carp or bluefish back into the water because they’re “trash.”

Any new laws you’d like to add?