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 Gawker.com, 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?