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Fine and 1-Year Probation Levied at Northern Open

From B.A.S.S. Communications

Nate Wellman, winner of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Open

on Lake Erie last week, has been penalized for rules violations during

the tournament.

B.A.S.S. officials today released the following statement:  

“Bassmaster Elite Series angler Nate Wellman has been fined and placed

on a one-year probation due to violation of B.A.S.S. tournament rule

3(vii), which prohibits  â€˜suggesting to another competitor that he violate these (B.A.S.S.) rules.’  After

an investigation, B.A.S.S. officials found that the outcome of the

tournament and the final results were in no way compromised and did not

result in  changes to the final standings of the Bassmaster  Northern Open

on Lake Erie.  The fine monies will be donated to the Ohio B.A.S.S.

Federation Nation to support  its conservation efforts.â€

The action centered on statements made by Wellman to his co-angler on

the final day of competition. Although Wellman said the statements were

made in jest, his co-angler reported to B.A.S.S. officials that

Wellman’s comments made him uncomfortable and were suggestive of a rules


“Our system of tournament angling, pairing a professional angler with a

co-angler or even another professional, has been tried and tested for

decades,” said Trip Weldon, B.A.S.S. tournament director. “It’s a great

system, as this instance proves. Our co-angler did the right thing by

reporting it. He is to be commended. At this level, there isn’t room for

questions on the integrity of our anglers. And there certainly isn’t

room for suggestions or jokes that could do anything to break down that

integrity. That is why this action was taken.â€

Wellman, who was reached for comment Thursday, was apologetic.

“There were some things said during that tournament that were

definitely taken the wrong way,†he said. “I was trying to lighten the

mood on the boat a little bit.

“There were some things said that should never have been said. They

were … said, in part, because I was under an extremely stressful

situation, leading the tournament. It was wrong for me to have said them,

even in a joking manner.â€

Wellman added, “I want to apologize to my co-angler for that day, for

the situation that we were both put in. I know it was an uncomfortable

one for both of us.   I cannot express how sorry I am that that happened.

I also want to apologize to B.A.S.S., the whole staff, everybody that

had to deal with the situation. None of us were in a good situation. I

can’t emphasize how bad I feel that everybody had to be a part of it.â€

Wellman was fined $2,500 for his remarks during that event and placed

on a one-year probation. During the course of the next year, any

infractions of any B.A.S.S. rules could result in harsher penalties.