Here’s a good story. Involves a bass fisherman, Bull Shoals Lake (MO), official fish record-keepers the International Game Fish Association, the Missouri DNR, $100,000 and $1 million. Excerpts from here and here:
> Rodney Ply of Diamond City has lived on and fished Bull Shoals Lake his entire life. His once-in-a lifetime catch came earlier this year.
> Several weeks before the catch…Ply registered for Mustad Hooks’ “Hook-a-Million” contest. Catch a state record fish on a Mustad Hook and win $100,000. Catch a world record fish and you could land $1,000,000.
> On Feb. 18 Rodney and a fishing buddy ventured out onto Bull Shoals Lake angling for some big bass. “I cast in towards the bank and…all of a sudden I had one of the hardest hits I’ve ever had in my life,” recalls Ply.
> “When we got here to the dock and we put the fish on the scale for the first time I mean…I couldn’t believe what I was seeing on the scale,” says Ply. The current record was caught 12 years ago. It weighed in at 64-08. Rodney says his striper weighed more than 68 pounds.
> “We’ve sent Mr. Ply a letter saying his fish is not going to be certified as a state record,” said Mark Oliver, chief of fisheries for Arkansas. Oliver says Ply’s striped bass is not being certified because post-catch protocol was not followed: “The fish has to be weighed on certified scales and that somebody from the Arkansas Game and Fish or US Federal Wildlife Service has to witness the weight.”
> “It’s not like we didn’t request Arkansas Game and Fish to come to the scale,” says Ply. “We called multiple times to get Arkansas Game and Fish to come to us.” Ply and his friends were told to meet a game warden…. “We went through two counties trying to find a scale that was big enough to weigh it or that would accommodate a fish this big.”
> [Re: the scale at the marina, after this all went down] “Had it sent in, had it verified, had it certified,” says [marina owner]. ”It came back at 100 percent that it was accurate.”
> Ply took his case all the way to the top…to Arkansas Game and Fish Director Loren Hitchcock. Hitchcock’s emailed response reads in part, “You seem to think I personally certified all previous records and it is my decision to vary from standards. It doesn’t work that way on my watch. You are misinformed. I’m not going to vary from written guidelines.”
> Well three of the most recent records certified on Hitchcock’s watch seem to have varied from the written guidelines. A tilapia caught in November was weighed in without a qualified witness present. A yellow bullhead was weighed in at the Lonoke Post Office on June 6th. The scale was certified on June 7th…after the fact. And also on June 6th a ten year-old beat a 35 year-old state record when he caught a 5-pound black crappie. But the state Bureau of Standards has no record of the scale used…ever been certified. And the witness to the weigh-in who signed the state record fish application is the store’s owner.
> “A guy will fish many a day on this lake before you’ll ever have the opportunity at a fish like that again. Rodney never will have. It is just a little disheartening that something that happens so few times in a man’s life would be disrupted by a bunch of technicalities that really make no sense….”
> They’ve took the fun plum out of it,” says Ply about the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s rejection of his record fish. “I never dreamed of a fish that size at Bull Shoals lake to begin with. But I never dreamed of catching a record fish and not getting to say you caught the record fish. I mean…I just don’t understand that whatsoever.”
The IGFA Part
> The International Game and Fish Association has certified the scale that weighed in Rodney Ply’s monster fish. And the IGFA is satisfied with the sworn statements from others who witnessed the catch and weigh-in.
> Ply’s 68 pound striper bass is 8 ounces bigger than the current freshwater record.
> The IGFA is comfortable with the weight [but] yhey’re looking at the bait.
> Ply was using a patent-pending lure that he designed. He calls it a Bass-Tricker lure. The IGFA calls them multi-arm spinner baits, umbrella lures or Alabama rigs.
> The IGFA is about to weigh in for the first time [implied: on such lures]…and Ply has a million dollars riding on the decision. “I don’t know…I can’t say what IGFA is going to do right now,” says Ply. ”But I left from Florida and I do believe that I’m going to have the world record through IGFA.”
> Ply is in a contest sponsored by Mustad Hooks. The deadline to enter a potential world record is 3 months after the catch…which for Rodney is May 18. But Mustad Hooks has agreed to lift that deadline so the IGFA has more time to review and rule on Rodney’s lure.
> All involved admit that it will be odd if Rodney’s fish gains world record status but falls short of state record status.
AR DNR = dumb
Mustad = cool
IGFA = do the right thing
Rodney = awesome man!