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PAPER TOURNAMENTS

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We do them in Southern Illinois.  I am a member of the Saluki Bassers, the club at Southern Illinois University.  We have them before our meetings, which is at a lake on campus.  They are 2 hours and we go by length of the fish.  Your top 5 count.  

It's a good way to start out a meeting, and people throw in $5, with a part of that going to big (long) bass.

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Toyota texas Classic is a paper Tx.  This is the wave of the future in warmer climates.

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Our club does 100% paper tournaments and have been for over 6 years. We have 15 tournaments per year. No problems system works great. We have a random draw for partners but if a boater ends up without a partner he has to have his fish measurement witnessed by another tournament participant. So he has to bring his fish in and that can be a dis advantage if he is on a lake with a slot limit.

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This is from our Tournament rules

TOURNAMENT WEIGH-IN

Only fresh caught largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are allowed. A maximum of five bass per contestant will be recorded and they must measure a minimum of 11 inches each. Rounding up from less than the minimum to meet the minimum is not acceptable. Measurements will be in whole inch and ¼-inch increments, rounding up to the next ¼-inch if measurement falls in between ¼-inch increment. The boater is responsible for providing a measuring rule that measures in ¼-inch increments. Contestants will record their catch by completing a scorecard provided by the TD. Both contestants must measure fish jointly and agree on the length of each fish. All bass will be measured with mouth closed and tail pinched. Contestants are responsible for their catch being correctly recorded and shall turn in the completed scorecard with measurements to the TD. The TD will use a conversion chart to assign a weight to all qualifying bass.

Bottom line the bass are returned to the water after they are measured. Also, allows including all bass over the minimum even if the lake has a slot limit since the bass are returned after they are measured.

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So basically these paper tournaments are on the honor system ????? By that , I mean if 2 buddies draw out together they could possibly "fudge" the length(s) of the fish so they could win .

Doesn't seem like a good idea too me , but then again I've only fished in 2 tournaments my entire life .

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Cheating is not very sportsmanlike.  If the people really want to cheat, it will catch up to them.  

News > Missouri State News > Story

Missouri fisherman's cheating charge makes him an outcast

By Todd C. Frankel ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

05/13/2007

POPLAR BLUFF, MO. Back before he was accused of cheating in the bass fishing tournament, before police caught him in an elaborate sting, Gary Lee Jones would drop by Buck's Outboard Motors shop almost every morning. He'd grab some coffee, sit down at the green picnic table with the other regulars, and talk fishing.

Jones, 60, is an avid angler. A divorc é with no family nearby, he sometimes stayed at the shop for hours. He had friends here. So when he placed second in a fishing tournament two weeks ago, the regulars expected he would show up the next morning to crow about it, just as he did after a win the week before.

But his moment of triumph his trophy plaque and $886 was the one that got away. He left the winner's circle that day in handcuffs, facing a felony count of theft by deception. Fishermen at the boat ramp cheered his arrest. Others were moved to anger. Fishermen can forgive all kinds of transgressions, but not cheating.

"What he did, he did to every fisherman. It's like a brotherhood," said Skeeter Law, owner of the boat shop frequented by Jones. "He's done lost any kind of trust that he had."

It was not only trust. In that instant, Jones lost more than he could have imagined.

He really could fish. Those who have gone on the lake with Jones say he knows which honey holes to explore, where the big bass hide and which bait makes the fish bite. He had a job that allowed him to fish sometimes five days a week. Jones was good enough to compete in tournaments.

"He would've won a tournament eventually, if he'd done it the right way," said Don Selvidge, another regular at Law's.

Fishing is a serious part of life in this area about 150 miles south of St. Louis. A bass boat in the front yard is a common sight. Traffic backs up at the boat ramps on weekends. Local obituaries regularly mention the deceased's passion for the sport.

Competitive fishing a race to see who brings in the greatest total weight of fish began to catch on in the 1960s. National circuits formed. Now tournaments are broadcast on television. Professional fishermen look like NASCAR drivers, with shirts and hats covered in sponsorship patches. The top pro circuit, the Wal-Mart FLW tour, offers $9.5 million in prizes annually. Dozens of smaller tournaments promise bass boats and up to $40,000 in prizes per tournament.

But with the competition comes cheating. Fishermen have been caught using frozen fish, fish hidden in secret compartments, fish tied to hidden lines. Last week, a Kentucky man received a suspended sentence for hiding bass in a submerged fish basket. He and his partner, who also was charged, won a $30,000 bass boat at a championship on Lake Barkley, Ky.

Even the smallest tournaments are on guard. They use lie detectors to ask winners whether their catches were made that day. Jones took a lie-detector test at a competition two years ago after placing second, according to organizers. He passed. There were rumors he cheated, but his friends stood up for him.

"We wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt," Law said.

This time, authorities say, there was no doubt.

It started with a tip. A fisherman and his son told police they had seen Jones on the lake on Saturday, April 28, the day before the tournament. Many fishermen make practice runs. But Jones spent his time next to a floating duck blind, raising officers' suspicions.

Just before dusk, after the lake was clear, state conservation agent Mic Plunkett and a state water patrol officer set out in a boat to investigate. They found two live bass with red nylon cords looped through their mouths and tied to the duck blind, Plunkett said. They marked the fish, with Plunkett punching a tiny hole in one fin on each bass. They formed a plan, but they needed to hurry.

At 6 a.m. the next day, the 2007 Angler's Choice/Bass Quest Tournament kicked off.

Thirty-eight boats pushed off into Lake Wappapello, a sprawling man-made lake. Everyone fished in pairs, except for Jones. He told organizers his daughter was unable to make it.

Jones headed for the duck blind cove in his red Ranger bass boat and waited until the other competitors had cleared out, according to authorities.

Plunkett and Jeff Johnson of the water patrol, dressed in camouflage, waited on shore about 60 feet away. Plunkett lay behind a log with a video camera also camouflaged poking over the top.

They watched as Jones reached into the water, pulled up the bass, cut the line and placed the fish in his boat's aerated holding tank, according to Plunkett.

At the official weigh-in that afternoon, Jones turned in four bass for a total of 11.55 pounds good enough for second place. He also had a single five-pound fish to take third in the Biggest Bass category. Jones was awarded a silver trophy plaque and his check. Organizers snapped his photo while authorities inspected Jones' catch. They found the marked fish.

Rodney Enderle of Jackson, Mo., stood in the crowd. He finished in 12th place. He looked around and noticed several water patrol officers and deputy sheriffs. "I guess everybody is interested in bass fishing this year," Enderle recalled thinking.

As Jones accepted congratulations, a water patrol officer stepped forward. Jones was under arrest. Word of the undercover operation quickly spilled through the crowd. Applause broke out. Several fishermen shook the officers' hands.

"I've never had that large of a crowd be that enthusiastic about someone getting arrested," Johnson said. "That was something different."

But Enderle had another thought. The previous weekend he had organized a Bassbusters of Southeast Missouri tournament on the same lake. Jones placed second in that competition, too, winning $650. Enderle felt like he had been robbed twice. "I wanted to grab him by the throat and wring him," Enderle said.

Jones is no longer welcome at Buck's shop. The folks at Dennis Outdoors down the road don't want to see him either. "I know all the dealers in town, and they say they won't sell to him," Law said. "I hate to say it, but he's been blackballed."

Jones declined, through his attorney, to comment. He seems to have moved out of his house in Poplar Bluff. When people run into him at the gas station or a restaurant, they say Jones refuses to make eye contact. He makes a quick exit through another door.

"Nobody wants to claim to even know him.," said D.J. Ellis, a regular at Buck's who has known Jones for years. "He's ashamed of himself, I guess."

Jones has a July 17 trial date. He faces two to seven years in prison, though few expect him to serve time.

"The embarrassment of it will be much worse than the eventual outcome," said Don Moore, a local attorney who stopped in at Buck's.

Skeeter Law stands behind the counter at his motor shop on a recent morning. There's still coffee in the pot, still room at the picnic table.

Terry Collins, a mechanic, sits down with a ham-and-cheese sandwich and a grape soda. They consider why Jones cheated. It was not greed, they said. He was after not money, but approval. He wanted to be accepted by Skeeter, Terry, D.J. and the others.

"He just wanted to prove to them he could catch fish and he was just as good they are," Law said.

And Jones was good. Law had seen him make several big catches.

No doubt, fishermen might fib about the size of their catches or about the one that got away. But Jones crossed a sacred line that day out on the lake. It doesn't make sense to them. He was already among friends at Buck's. He had it all, or so it seemed.

"That's the tragedy of the whole thing," Collins said.

Law leaned on the counter.

"I wish he'd come in one more time," he said, "so I could tell him I wouldn't be hateful but to tell him he let his friends down."

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So basically these paper tournaments are on the honor system ????? By that , I mean if 2 buddies draw out together they could possibly "fudge" the length(s) of the fish so they could win .

Doesn't seem like a good idea too me , but then again I've only fished in 2 tournaments my entire life .

It is the honor system and the easiest way to firm up everyone is to have each participant fishing against everyone else. When one catches a fish it is the responsibility of the other to weigh and certify the catch. Works every time unless they decide to pool the winnings. In that case the paper tournaments should be restricted to club tournaments with small amounts of money on the line or have only one fisherman to a BOAT WITH AN OBSERVER ABOARD TO VERIFY THE CATCH.

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My club does not do paper tournament per se.  But we do "Catch, Photo, Release" (CPR) Contest that last an entire season.  The person with the biggest fish during the season receives AOY bonus points and bragging rights.  We got the idea from bassresouce.com's state vs state tournament actually...  

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