The product recommendations on our site are independently chosen by our editors. When you click through our links, we may earn a commission. Thanks for helping us do what we love.

Angler Caught Cheating in Illinois Bass Tournament

A tug engineer stepped outside for a smoke break Friday evening and witnessed a boat doing something suspicious.

An engineer who goes by the name of Joe noticed the boat was stringing up fish to the side of a barge slip. Being a fisherman he knew something was up. He quickly assumed the worst and began to film the incident.

Joe was suspicious the men were planning to cheat in a fishing tournament, so he googled to see if there was any in the area. He came to find out there was a Cal Sag Bass Anglers Tournament the coming Saturday. Being from Alabama, Joe was unsure who to contact, so he called the local conservation police and notified them of what he saw.

Joe was there the following morning and watched as the anglers retrieved the fish around 4:45 that morning. Once again he got the incident on camera. Come time for weigh in the anglers arrived at Waterfront Bar and Grill in suburban Burnham with their catch, only to find Conservation Police Officers awaiting their arrival.

The cheaters were quickly confronted and banned from all future Cal Sag Bass Anglers and Big Lake Bass Anglers Tournaments. Along with the blatant videos of cheating, the angler was on the water during an off limits period where anglers weren’t allowed to be on the lake.

Local anglers were infuriated and glad to see the man get what he deserved. While the angler has yet to be charged, he will be. The CPO’s stayed throughout the tournament weigh in to ensure the angler wasn’t harmed, however the following charges will largely depend on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources legal department.

Joe Zehner, a 70 year old angler ended up winning this event with 15.16 pound earning $1,372.

At this time Cal Sag Bass Anglers is choosing not to openly publish said anglers name as it is still an open investigation. More information will become public knowledge in the future.

For more information check out this post by the Cal Sag Bass Anglers and Chicago Sun Times