Bass tournament officials: Angler caught cheating

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A professional angler found to have stuffed lead sinkers down the throats of fish he submitted for weigh-ins has been banned from competitions.

Mike Hart, a successful Southern California pro whose career earnings total more than $200,000, was accused of cheating during the recent $100,000 U.S. Open held at Lake Mead.

An official with the Western Outdoor News bass tour said Hart confessed after he was caught, reports.

Western Outdoor News will not pursue criminal charges against Hart, but the episode has tournament organizers around the country speaking out against cheating and seeking ways to prevent their events from being similarly tarnished.

“On the one hand, it was a day of infamy for organized bass fishing in America,” Harvey Naslund, director of the circuit, told “But on the other hand, it was a major victory for all who have long cared for and taken steps to protect the integrity of bass-fishing tournaments.”

In all, nine sinkers were removed from bass that Hart turned in. Naslund said each sinker was torpedo-shaped and weighed 2 ounces. Each was attached to a short line and tied to a small treble hook, presumably to catch in the throat and hopefully keep the weights from entering the belly and be detected if the bass was cut open.

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11 comments on “Bass tournament officials: Angler caught cheating

  1. Anthony Cavallo

    This is a shame that we trust these people,
    He should be made to give back all the $ that he has won from the start of the season, till now, and be banned from fishing in any tournament,and if he won a new boat in any tournament, give it back, Show the fishing comm. that we will not stand for this kind of Fishing..
    Thank You   Anthony  

  2. Guillermo

    what a despicable fisherman. he is as bad as the ZEBRA MUSSELS and should be banned from any Bass Fishing….(p.s. maybe he planted the zebra mussels..)

  3. Bob Maxwell

    He must have the brain the size of a Fish. What a sick  cheating Butt Head. Dept of fish and game should revoke any Fishing licsence he may have,If he ever had one.What a Low life SOB he is. Who does he work for? Maybe they should question his Morals. If he has any. maybe he can Run for Congress.

  4. Jon Dunn

    Every body want’s to be on the pro tour, This guy just made Fishing look bad. Who in their right mind would cheat at something so much fun, it makes you wonder who else is being a crook. I hope this never happens again, If if this guy loves Money more than he loves Fishing then he is not a real fisherman. I hope this is resolved and i never have to see it on the head lines on my yahoo web page again.

  5. Bottom Line Mike

    I run the King Of The Glades Open team Series out of South Florida and there are teams that just kick butt week in and week out that those who cant keep up yell cheater cheater to the point I had to take funds out of the pot to do a lie detector test after the events and no one has failed any so some guys can plain out out fish the rest but events like this tarnish the great sport we all have come to love and what they should of done is file charges and had some jail time givin to send a clear message to the fishing world that this isnt going to be a slap on the hand and thats what this guy got !!!!
    Bottom Line Mike

  6. Rustyhook

    Since he cheated at a bass tournament (friends of mine active in west coast tournaments have suspected him of doing so for a long time) is there anything else he wouldn’t, or hasn’t, cheated on.  His employer (if he works)?  His wife?  His daughter?  His neighbors?  Too bad charges aren’t being pursued.  I don’t understand why they’re not.

  7. wezie

    Too much money at stake. Get used to the life style and have to maintain the $$$. Sort of like Congress, the “professional thieves”.

  8. Charlie

    Seems to me a simple metal detector on site at the weigh in would have prevented this from the beginning. 
    Could the officials not scan with the detector and pick up the lead or any other metal that was used?
    Too simple!

  9. saltwateranne

    Catching the rule breakers and the cheating is something all tournment directors wrestle with.  First hand experience, as an angler and as a tournament director,  has shown me the dfferent sides of the issue.  I’ve met some fishermen who just are better, and then falsely accused of cheating.  I’ve also learned that lie detectors/polygraphs are not always accurate – have 1 beer to celebrate “lines-out” or suffer extreme exhaustion after fighting a huge off-shore fish and you can fail a lie detector/polygraph even though you are truthful.  I’ve fished release tournaments where  you have to have a photo of the fish boat-side, others where a t-shirt is held near the fish and you take a photo before the release, and others where it is as simple as a signed score card; plus various other efforts at tryng to keep things on the up and up.   For the most part, people in tournaments are honest and abide by tournament rules.  We sometimes find the exception: a so called  ”professional” who is far from it.  What  on earth was he thinking?  I’ll fudge the rules just a little then enjoy the negative fallout and gain a bonus  entry into the Fishing Hall of Shame?  It is very sad that someone is so desperate they have to cheat in a sport that is loved for it’s fish tales and old timer’s yarns, yet respected for it’s character(s).

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