We started getting reports Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, that an angler had been disqualified from the Crappie USA $125,000 Classic on Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee that fished Oct. 25-26, 2019. As shown in the video below, at the 53-minute mark, an angler comes to the stage and the tournament director pulls him to the side to have a discussion. You can hear in the audio discussions on disqualification, authorities, felony, etc. Moments later the angler gathers his fish and leaves without weighing them.
“Our Classic was amazing in so many ways and boasted some of America’s top crappie anglers on hand for the competition,” Van Vector said. “We did have the one hiccup that you never want to see happen as a tournament director, but when things like this happen you MUST act in accordance with the rules to protect the angler who spends his/her hard earned dollar to pay entry fees and only ask for a level playing field to test their skills in return. Additionally, if you do not enforce the rules regardless of how much it pains you to do so, you lose what integrity you and your trail have worked hard to build.
“In this case, we did receive information of a possible infraction on Friday from one Crappie USA member not fishing the event and from another Crappie USA member on Saturday also not fishing the event. This information allowed us to put a plan in place to properly deal with the infraction which we did at the Saturday weigh-in. We take no pleasure in disqualifying anyone but will continue to do so when totally warranted to protect the 99.9% of our anglers who would never even consider cheating regardless of the possible monetary award.”
Because Crappie USA tournaments allow anglers to launch at multiple ramps and trailer back to weigh-in, this angler must have assumed he could pull off the alleged fraud. But didn’t know he was being videoed in the process.
Crappie USA declined to release the name of the angler. Their sole mission was to get this cheater out of their tournaments permanently so no anglers would be defrauded in this event or any future events.
UPDATE: After news spread on Monday, several more sources have cited on social media that it was Paul Turner of Covington, Tenn. that was DQed and banned from the event.
B’n’M Poles posted the following on their Facebook Monday morning: