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    Got this frm Bassfan. Hit their site here:
from Wackoman  
5/25/2012 10:41:18 AM



Wrong-Box Issue Has Disastrous Potential

Thursday, May 24, 2012
by John Johnson

The debate about the relative merits of co-anglers competing in professional events will rage on for as long as this sport exists. Is it better to be all-inclusive and allow amateurs to fish against each other from the back of the pros' boats (as the FLW Tour) does, or eliminate them and their influence on a pro's day entirely (as the Bassmaster Elite Series did several years ago).

My opinion, as I've stated in this space in the past, is that no one other than the pro should wield a rod and reel in a pro's boat on a competition day. Having somebody else fish simply brings in too many additional variables, and that position was reinforced last week.

Two pros fell under tremendous co-angler influence at the Potomac River FLW Tour Major. One was Jim Moynagh, the eventual 4th-place finisher, and the other was the legendary Roland Martin. Both had co-anglers who inadvertently dropped fish into their side of the livewell.

Martin's incident occurred on day 2 and caused him to take a zero for the day. He ended up finishing 143rd (third from last) in a tournament won by his son Scott.

Photo: Jim Moynagh
Jim Moynagh was both helped and hurt by his co-anglers en route to a 4th-place finish at the Potomac River FLW Tour Major.
Moynagh had the same thing happen to him on day 3. Because there were still several hours of fishing time remaining, he and the co-angler were able to dump their fish, return to the launch and start their day over from scratch. Moynagh estimated that the snafu cost him approximately 2 pounds his final total was 1-15 shy of the younger Martin's 66-06 winning mark.

Ironically, Moynagh (a likable sort who thoroughly enjoys the attention his cartoonish M&Ms graphics draw from the pre-teen crowd) freely admitted shortly after the final weigh-in that he'd been helped by his day-2 co-angler. He started that day fishing a swimming worm while the back-seater was throwing a jig. The co caught as many fish as he did, and the co's were bigger. That caused Moynagh to hop on the jig train and stay on it, and he rode it all the way to a Top-5 finish.

The fish-in-the-wrong-box issue is one I'd never encountered before, but a lot of people have heard of it now. And that's a problem.

We all know there are unscrupulous competitors at every level of this game. The fields are merely a cross-section of our society, and our society has more than a fair number of sewer rats who have no qualms about cheating if it improves their chances at a big payday.

The wrong-box thing can't be used to boost a potential cheater's own weight, but it could dang sure be employed to sandbag a competitor. What's to stop an angler in contention for the victory in a multi-day tournament from going into cahoots with another contender's money-hungry or vengeful co-angler? Nothing other than his own value set, and the law of averages dictates that there are some out there who are lacking in that department.

And what could possibly be an easier route to influencing the outcome than pretending to make an honest mistake and releasing a fish into the wrong side of an enclosure toward the end of the day. "Whoopsy-daisy! My bad, bro! So sorry. Guess you're disqualified now."

If such an incident were to occur accidentally in a weekend event, the principals could likely sort it out amongst themselves to the satisfaction of both. But a professional tournament is a different matter entirely. People fishing for their livelihood shouldn't be subjected to such man-made disasters whether they were perpetrated unintentionally (as the occurrences at the Potomac undoubtedly were) or on purpose (even the most trusting among you have to admit that the potential is there).

Photo: Roland Martin Productions
Roland Martin had his day-2 weight at the Potomac DQ'd because his co-angler inadvertently inserted a fish into the wrong side of the livewell.
I sincerely hope that the instances at the Potomac were akin to two bolts of lightning striking in the same place and that we'll never hear of such a thing again. If we do, though, my larger-than-average eyebrows will instantly jump toward my hairline. If it happens to a contender, the cynic in me will wonder whether it could've been a nefarious act. That would be unlikely, but the possibility unquestionably exists.

The circumstances, of course, could be reversed and a pro could inadvertently insert a fish into the co-angler's side of the box. If the competitors played it by the book, then the consequences would be identical.

If we're going to call this a professional sport, then those scenarios shouldn't be within the realm of possibility. A pro athlete must be allowed to go about his business without such potential outside influences.

It might help if co-anglers didn't bring their fish back to the weigh-in site and instead used one of the various methods of determining their weight onboard before immediately releasing them. That brings other questionable hypotheticals into play, though, and problems would surely arise.

There's simply no solution that will satisfy everybody. And as for the two major pro circuits, the status quo isn't likely to change anytime soon.

John Johnson is BassFan's senior editor.

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   This makes me think twice. from Oneeyedjack #13663 #13663  5/25/2012 10:58:25 AM
 I posted a simplistic answer on this earlier. But after rethinking this, I'm inclined to agree with this writer that the Pro should be the only one fishing in the boat. Its sad that we have a element that would cheat in such circumstances, but it is what it is.

   To put a fish in the wrong box from DaveT  5/25/2012 11:22:50 AM
 on purpose, MAN what is the world coming to. I hope this is not happening.

   co-anglers shouldn't be allowed at top tier events from Beartrap   5/25/2012 11:57:20 AM
 they affect the outcome in many different ways.....I ended with 6 fish at the All American and I'll never know whther it was a stupid mistake on my part or my co-angler mistakenly put one of his fish in my livewell but if I had an observer and 6 fish in the livewell,there would be no question....and my co-angler affected my fishing that day by constantly trying to throw ahead of the boat and across my line.....we got that straightened mid morning but I stayed pissed off and distracted all day...
and IMHO disqualification is too severe a penalty.....throw the fish out,penalize both of them a pound and be done with it....

   Size of Fish from Cougarcat  5/25/2012 12:00:33 PM
 On some of the lakes we fish there is a 12 inch size limit. We have had it happen where one of those small fish crossed through the holes in the barrier between the sides in the live well. I think we just figured out which fish we thought was whos.

   co-anglers are just evil from MikeF  5/25/2012 1:05:47 PM
 Personally I agree with not letting anyone else affect the outcome but the real issue seems to be why can't the pro's be trusted.

If nobody cheated there wouldn't be a need to put hall monitors in the boats.

   Biometric locks on the livewell from Fisherboy #10852 #10852  5/25/2012 1:29:25 PM
If it isn't your thumb on the latch, it doesn't open. Problem solved without kicking Co-anglers to the curve.

   mike-you left out one word from Beartrap   5/25/2012 5:54:27 PM
 should be "a necessary evil" and probably a source of profit for FLW....

   Go read the story on FLW web site from billsp from NJ #10585  5/25/2012 8:57:49 PM
 Stuff happens and the simple solution is for one person to mark their fish.

   Fish are tagged all the time. Contest, conservation folks, etc. from Bill Hunter  5/25/2012 10:09:46 PM
 Why not have a simple tagging system where the co's tag their fish thru a fin before placing their fish in the live well. MM

   billsp from Beartrap   5/25/2012 10:17:02 PM
 which article you talking about-the one which moynaugh explains what happned?

   BT - Yes, that's it from billsp from NJ #10585  5/26/2012 6:41:47 AM
 The one thing that was confusing was that the coangler also had to release his fish, two I recall, before the witnessed restart. In a round about way, guess some people would think he was being rewarded if he kept his and the boater had to release all his untagged fish. As I said in another post, it came out that Roland Martin suffered the same problem. I'd like to hear the first person story of his day.

   Billsp, I would love to hear Roland's comments... I bet from Bill Hunter  5/26/2012 7:05:19 AM
 somebody got ate alive in that incident. MM

   Rowland's Comments from Skipper  5/26/2012 10:28:50 AM
 I bet they would have to be aired on Showtime after Midnight.

   why not tag the fish? from Randy B  5/27/2012 8:07:07 AM
 the co-angler and the pro can have separate tags. This doesn't seem like a hard problem to solve. I feel bad for the two guys that got screwed during the "learning", but just figure out a scheme to prevent it 100% and move on. "Nothing to see here folks". Ha



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