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UPDATE: The duo was found guilty and sentenced. To see the sentencing information, visit this link

Well another cheating story around bass fishing has reared its ugly head, this time on one of the most famed bass fisheries in America, unfortunately. Gary Minor Jr. of Albertville, Ala. and Robert Gillaspie of Boaz, Ala. were arrested and charged with Tampering with Sport Contest after authorities received a tip that the duo had been holding bass in a pen at a dock and using the previously captured fish to dupe competitors in local evening jackpot bass fishing tournaments on Lake Guntersville in Alabama.

Sources say authorities setup a sting operation Thursday, May 8, 2014 to watch the dock in question and caught the duo in the act and made the arrests. Apparently reports have confirmed that the duo was actually using aquariums to pen up bass to later be used for weigh-ins in jackpots. FLW Tour professional angler Richard Peek was the first to witness suspect activity by the duo and alert authorities.

Capturing fish and holding them in holding tanks to be later taken out and put in your live wells and then trying to pass them off as fish you caught by sporting methods during tournament hours to win a few hundred bucks is consider fraud and tampering with a sporting contest in most states.

This obviously isn’t the first cheating duo in a bass fishing tournament. And certainly not one of the largest cases of cheating in bass fishing tournaments. There have been guys who cheat in other ways around fishing.

There was some speculating of involvement of local guide and recent Rayovac Series champion, Johnathan Henry who owns and operates Bass Whacker Guide Service on Lake Guntersville.

Henry was apparently duped by the duo as well, even fishing one time with Gillaspie after talking fishing with the duo at a boat ramp one morning. According to Henry, he had no idea the duo had plans to cheat in local tournaments when they would occasionally call asking what the fish were doing, etc. He gets hundreds of those calls a month and thought nothing of it. Especially since both men are perceived to be successful business owners in the area and did not appear to need the money.

Here is what Henry had to say about the speculation that he might somehow be involved:

“I met these guys about a year ago. I did some business with both of them, mostly Rob. I was in his shop 8-10 times in the year we knew each other, having my boat worked on or cleaned, and I was around him personally 8-10 times outside of work, mostly out to eat with our wives and so on. With Gary, I have been around him in person 5 or 6 times. I actually considered them my friends on a personal level, but these individuals were in no way ever employed by my company, or part of any pro-staff or promotional team.

“They had seen my shirts around and asked me if they could buy some. So the next time Rob worked on my boat, I gave him a few, and likewise, when Gary finished concrete at my house, I gave him some as well. I have given shirts to hundreds of prospective clients, just like the ones these guys were eventually wearing in several tournament photos that are now circulating with their arrests. I even posted photos of these guys after they won tournaments, only because I was proud for them. I never imagined they were winning unethically.

“For the record, I had absolutely nothing to do with this scheme, and I absolutely despise the events that have transpired on my home lake. I would never be knowingly associated with anyone who was involved in the crimes these two are accused of. I feel as hurt and betrayed as anyone.” — Jonathan Henry BassWhacker Guide Service

Bond was set at $6,000 for each of the busted anglers. The duo was found guilty and sentenced on Monday Sep. 15, 2014. Here is a link to their sentencing.

 

50 thoughts on “Fishing Tournament Cheaters Busted on Lake Guntersville

  1. They should be charge with a felony for theft, kidknapping a game species, animal cruelty and anything else. Then every piece of fishing equipment including boats and vehicles used to tow the boats should be given as raffle prozes at future tournaments or sold at auction. They should have to pay the runners up in all those tournaments all the money and prizes they won and hand them the trophies in person. They should furthermore be ruled to ever own a or licence another boat.
    However it’s probably just a minor mistimeeaner and will likely get deferred adjutication and be fishing other tournaments by the end of the year!

    • They need t-shirts now that say… “Bass Hackers”. lol Doesn’t get any lower than that in tournament fishing. Should ban them from buying a fishing license for 1 year plus fines. Their names are dirt now as far as fishing tournaments go.

  2. I do feel sorry for the guide service, assuming he’s telling the truth, because these two goons are bringing negative light to his company. However, I am definitely glad they where caught

  3. How can you say they are shedding negative light on his guide service? Did you read the story…better yet, do you at all know Jonathan? His reputation alone will speak volumes in this matter! If I rob a bank wearing a Nike shirt I doubt it will be questioned whether Nike was involved in the robbery. Jonathan puts his clients on Guntersville toads on a daily basis…and I can guarantee they aren’t coming out of an aquarium

    • Jonathan was just clarifying for potential future customers and those that don’t know him. All locals know that Jonathan is an ethical fisherman and is not involved in the scandal.

  4. This is one of the main reasons I try to avoid local tournaments now because the competition is so great there are always those few that will do anything to collect a check and bragging rights at the end of the day. On a few occasions ironically on my Home Maine waters I have been beside floating docks and have seen chain stringers tied there and It really makes you suspect why we even bother to fish local Opens now because of the rules and regulations. Local tourneys have got to be run in a strict manner right up there with major trail rules and regulations because this is being heard to often now.

  5. They should be black balled from any tournament from now on and if they are members of any fishing organization it should be taken away.

    I was fishing the Bassmaster Central Open on the Red River a few years back and another pro got caught cheating with tied up fish. He was arrested on the stage in front of everyone.

    Not only did he have a lot of local fines to pay but BASS black balled him from ever fishing any sanctioned tournament again. He also lost all his sponsorship including his largest which was a nation wide restaurant.

    Sorry but I think they deserve all the punishment they get because of giving bass fishing and tournament fishing another black eye.

  6. You should set up a page for caught cheaters and a discussion page on how to catch suspected cheaters just like in our area some wer caught and still fishing , this is why I have since quit. Just like they do with sex offenders you can go to a page and see who is around you then everyone would know the cheaters.

  7. Not just little weekday evening tourneys. These low life’s also won my son’s high school football benefit tourney last sunday. Took home 1000 dollars. I hope they never can show their face again fishing.

  8. Should lose their fishing licenses for life. Their boats and all their fishing gear should be given away as prizes to real fishermen.

  9. This unfortunate occurrence happens no matter the target species, no matter the venue. We have to deal with it in Wisconsin from people like Garrett Johnstone of Green Bay, apparently cheated at a small derby style ice fishing venue, graduating to multiple rules violations at pro open events, and now word has it is bringing his crooked shananigans to the open water walleye venues. It’s good to see this is actually a crime these idiots can be arrested for. They give competitive angling a bad name and should be made examples of!

    • This is the real Gary Parsons. I did not comment previously about this post. Someone has used my name, possibly to slander someone else. It was brought to my attention this morning. I do not personally know any of the parties mentioned and certainly have no comment about any of these conversations. To the administrators of this site. I would greatly appreciate you contacting me about this so we can figure out who is posting under my name. Thank you.

        • If his name isn’t Gary Parsons then he is committing internet identity theft and slander by proxy. I’d suggest to the real Gary to contact the authorities and get it checked out. Never know where else he is using the name!

          The odds of two Gary Parsons from Wisconsin fishing the walleye tours are astronomical.

  10. I am not a writer and don’t usually post anything on the internet, but after reading this story I had to comment. I had the very distinct privilege of fishing with Johnathon on the final day in the Rayovac tourney. This is how I sum up my day with Johnathon ; An excellent bass fisherman,very good work ethics,knows exactly what he wants to do,very organized,and just an all around super guy! I have fished with a lot of good people and this man by my opinion would do nothing to jeopardize the Love that he has for his family or this sport! His whole family (who I met) are people that I respect and would hope to be associated with the rest of my life are the kind of people you would want to be surround yourself with. I watched this man put on a clinic in front of many other witnesses surrounding us cast after cast catch a 31 lb bag of fish in just a couple hrs, then turn the boat and let me cast into his spot. So if anyone was thinking to say he ever did anything wrong would not be telling the truth! He talked with me all day and I appreciate him, and cant wait to see what he will do at pro level.I have and will recommend him as a guide or just a peron to call for info to anyone. truly a fan for life Ronald young

  11. i would sell my boat rods reels and never fish ,if i had to cheat to win its all about the pride of winning not the money. and i could not sleep at night knowing that i had to cheat to win,

  12. This is a sport of honor, and if a pair of team anglers can’t do their own homework and catch there fish on tournament day then I think the penalty should be loss of boat and blackballed from ever fishing tournaments again. It is sad to here it, and I know it goes on but the penalties need to be very severe to help detour this kind of thievery…

  13. JUST MY 2 CENTS: Until a new format of tournament fishing is come up with ( like a judge in each boat or some kind of other format ) then it’s sad to say that there will ALWAYS be guys who will cheat. Just like in all sports. EXPOSE THEM, HUMILIATE THEM, THEN BAN THEM FOR LIFE !!! They should have to pay back every single persons’ entry fees that they have fished a tournament against too. Then, they should NEVER be allowed to possess a fishing license either…..maybe others would think twice before they decide to try their hand at CHEATING !!!

  14. I would have to say these two idiots should not even be able to own a fishing rod, much less a boat. This is a growing and loving sport by me and allot of others, and all it takes to screw it up is a cheater or should I say a couple of cheaters. I have recently last year fishes a tourney on Guntersville and I loved it will be doing another one this year. I hope not with these guys it is ashamed that this happened to the guide and he got drug into this if he is being truful to everyone.. I don’t own a boat and mostly bank fish much less have a sponsor or even being a pro-staffer. But when I hear about cheaters in this sport it makes me sick to my stomach.

  15. I watched a couple of guys dump old christmas trees about 75 yards off my dock on Lake Weir, FL a few years ago. They told me they were loading the coordinates in their GPS. At the time I did not know that it was not only illegal from the fishing standpoint but also but also illegal to dump things in the lake.

    • I dont know Florida laws but in most states there is nothing illegal about putting xmas trees in the lake. It is normal practice. The wildlife dept even does it and its not illegal to fish a tournament in the area that you earlier in the year put trees.

      • It’s not illegal to sink old christmas trees into lakes.. it’s using natural items to create structure for bait fish. It’s good for the environment, perfectly legal, and for the most part.. encouraged.. it helps the local fish population.. areas of a lake without cover.. are virutally deserts.. small fish avoid them because they can’t outrun predators.. putting structure out there gives em places to hide, run to, and feed. I work for the US Army Corps of Engineers.. we do similar projects all the time.. so do many state and federal wildlife services. As to marking the spots with the GPS.. we use the philosphy.. you can also reap what you sew. Anyone with a fish finder can locate them anyway.

      • It is illegal to dump anything in a lake in Florida withoutm a permit and when it comes to fishing in a tournament if you knowing know that there is an illegal brush pile planted there and you fish on it then you’ll be disqualified among other things,

  16. Bass fishing in a tournament or just for enjoyment should be approached like golf. A gentlemans game where we are our own referees. Have some respect for the game even if you have none for yourself.

    • I agree. We deal with it in Archery Tournaments also. It is sad that people feel they must cheat to win. I say “Practice harder” to win. :)

  17. This is a shame. I can’t understand how someone would feel as if they have accomplished anything if they cheat to beat you in anything. I guess for these two knuckleheads, they were only thinking about the money. Sad situation.

  18. First let me say I have no personal knowledge of this event. A few years back I had the honor to be a member of The Va. State Team along with Jonathan Henry and found him to be not only a great fisherman but a person of outstanding character. Having met Jonathan for the first time at the State Team, I felt comfortable enough to allow him and his brother to use my lake home at Smith Mtn Lake for a week. Everything was left in perfect condition as I expected. I realize this has very little bearing on this issue but I felt compelled to defend his character as I know it.

  19. One of them own a dang used boat dealership the other concrete finishing business . I would bet if they would be so low to cheat in bass tournament they would sure stick it to a customer. Saying that no one should ever do any business with eighter man.

  20. I think a $10000 fine and loss of fishing/hunting privileges for 10 years. Then they should be banned for life from any tournaments of any species or wild game because if they are willing to cheat if fishing tourneys if they hunt they are likely to cheat in anything they compete in in for wildlife. 2nd offense should be fishing/hunting privileges lost for life and charges from game warden that should include jail time or mandatory community service for the conservation department really that part should be done for the first offense.

  21. So Mr. Gary Parsons you want to get involved with this and accuse me of false accusations that are not true I know who started these rumors and will be taking it to the fullest extent of the law

  22. As some one who runs, and fishes a lot of open tournaments this is my biggest fear…..To have to deal with a suspected cheater. Thankfully it has not happened yet. I see more and more guys showing up to our Thursday night beer money events with the “win at all costs” attitude. Sadly, I think it’s only a matter of time before I am face to face with this issue. I bet these guys were well liked,and just a couple of the “guys” before this incident. What a shame, that they had to stoop so low for a couple hundred bucks.

    • I HOPE YA DON’T EVER HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT ALSO!!
      IT’S LIKE FIRING A GOOD FRIEND…THESE GUY WILL HAVE TO PAY IT BACK. & LOST 100’S OF FRIENDS..

  23. Taking all of their fishing gear would also be unethical. Charging them with poaching “kidnapping game species” is also not right. First off, they were not poaching. They were keeping game fish in a pen. This is not cruelty, it is how most of these fish start out in fisheries. It is unethical and just plain poor sportsmanship. What should happen is they should serve jail time for defrauding a game where monetary prizes or prizes of value are involved and they should be fined in the exact amount they have been awarded by winning tournaments within the limits of the statue of limitations for all the states they have competed in. Furthermore, they should be restricted from competing in any competitive events including being banned from all casinos for a period no longer than 2 years.

    As for animal cruelty, capturing fish from their natural habitat and removing them form the water with a razor sharp object on the end of a string meanwhile cheating them of the meal they thought they were getting and in some cases gutting them alive and throwing them on a grill is cruel. Don’t get me wrong, I love fishing and competing. But, don’t cry animal cruelty for keeping them in a pen when what you are doing is just as bad if not worse.

    Deal with these a*****s in accordance with the laws and with justice by fitting the punishment to the crime.

  24. Just another reason why I don’t like tournaments. I’d rather go to a lake and relax. If I catch fish great, if not that is fine also. If I never fish a tournament I’ll never have a bad day fishing!

  25. This is a shame. Just like others who have cheated on the larger tournaments “banned” for life, you have no place to participate in any kind of tournament format whether local jack pots or bigger tournaments. Be grown men accept the fact that if you have to cheat to compete then you dont even need to be there. Disgraceful that they call themselves fishermen tell the truth that in fact you are CHEATERS not fishermen. True fishermen respect and honor anything with bassfishing. Freaking Losers! Ban for life from tournaments!

  26. I fished a tournament on Percy Priest Lake just outside Nashville TN. once & as a result of that, I will never fish another tournament again! My friend and I entered the tournament & had been fishing the lake quite often. I had caught 2 large Rockfish but when we returned to the check-in station, they had 2 sets of scales they were weighing the fish on. The prize was a brand new fishing boat, motor and trailer. The guy that won it was an executive for Western Electric, a large employer near Nashville. When I arrived at the check-in, the guy that won told me personally that he thought that I had the biggest fish. They weighed both of our fish on different scales. I lost by only a few ounces. I took my fish to a taxidermist and when I got there, he weighed them again. You have to remember these fish had been out of the water for several hours. When the taxidermist weighed my fish, it weighed more at that time than it did when it was weighed at the check-in. I will NEVER fish another tournament again!

  27. These guys did not break any of the written tournament rules. Before you put your money up to fish, read the rules. The rules look they where written by a 5th grader. This case will be thrown out.

    • Alanjackson are you as dumb as these two didn’t break rules what a dumb thing to say I bet you don’t fish bass tournaments and are some kind of pencil pusher. Got to be to make a comment as rediculous as that. You my friend should just stay out of things you don’t have a clue about

    • Well Alanjackson It would not surprise me one bit if it gets thrown out. Cause the people making that decision does not have a clue. I guarantee one thing if they ever show up to fish a bass tournament again oh man it will get ugly because the people that they cheated money out of are honest hard working people,that work hard for there money. So let them try it want happen. Besides they were all friends that fish that tournament and you just don’t do that to buddies.

  28. Just like the NBA owner,They should be forced to sell their companies, and be banned for life from all tournaments in the future. No need for cheating in this sport.

  29. I don’t care if it gets thrown out or not Mr. Jackson, you, me , and everyone including the crooks, know what they did was wrong. So you and those guys can hide behind law and written rules if you want to, but I guarantee whether its thrown out or not, they will never fish another tourney on Guntersville lake, written rule or not!! Your crooked thieving clients will not fish again period, so let me know what the “law” says about that. The criminal charges are least of their problems, public humiliation is far worse and as of now, they cant go anywhere in Marshal county without a mask on!! I bet their families are proud as well!! I would be embarrassed to represent them to tell the truth, but why not, its a pay check I guess! That was their stance on the cheating too I guess??

  30. it very well may be dropped ,”by law”, but they wont be in any other tournies on Guntersville and that’s for sure. Mr Lawyer, you and them , can hide behind written rules and law if you want, but they know the unwritten ones and they know they cheated. they just saw some money and figured they didn’t care about reputation or morals they would just get it, kinda like you are doing representing them, how in the world can you justify representing 2 crooks and trying to come on here and make it like they did nothing wrong? I guess yalll have one thing in common, “anything for a dollar”! Pitiful!!

  31. Due diligence- b*******! You are all rushing to judgement because you don’t believe anyone could possibly catch that many fish without cheating. I want to see the pictures of the men getting their fish out of the live wells or one of them on the dock with a fish in hand.

    You small town yuks have possibly ruined both of these men’s businesses but then everyone knows FISHERMEN are good at telling TALES. Shame on all of you!

    Rob Gillaspie is an honest businessman and I’m sure Gary is too! Let the law bring the evidence to convict these guys. If they really cheated.

    • Do you think the police would have arrested them if they had not witnessed them taking fish off the dock? I’m quite certain the police are not in the practice of arresting fishermen just because other fishermen think someone cheated when losing a tournament. The police would require some real evidence to make an arrest. The men were arrested at the tournament. The police obviously felt they had strong evidence of tampering.

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