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Angler Charged With Felony for Trimming Tail of a Bass in Tournament

Terry Keith Long
Wood County Jail

Cheaters never win, but does the punishment fit the crime?

On Sept. 22, 2018, Texas fisherman Terry Keith Long submitted a largemouth bass to the Sealy Big Bass Splash Tour on Lake Fork. Upon further investigation, authorities discovered the fish's tail had been tampered with, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

It was later determined Long had trimmed the tail so the fish would fall into a smaller slot limit so he could qualify for a tournament prize.

Months later, a Wood County grand jury has indicted the Bridgeport man, who's now being charged with third-degree fraud: freshwater fishing tournament.

The arrest happened Friday, and Long posted a $25,000 bond.

So I won't sit here and pretend like it wasn't a shallow move to cut a fish's tail off just to win some money. Not only is it cheating, but it's cheating in a pretty lowly manner.

However, we're talking about a felony. We're talking about a minimum sentence of two years in prison over a fishing tournament.

On the other hand, it shouldn't be ignored that other people can often get cheated out of large cash prizes in these tournaments.

That's the only problem with prize-based tournaments like these. They can be fun, but they always motivate certain people to cut corners, or tails in this case.

Even if the rightful winner gets their deserved money back, it still puts a damper on your success when all the attention's drawn to the cheater.

So, in a nutshell, I'm torn on this. On one hand, I'm happy to see a cheater get caught. On the other hand, I feel pretty bad for this guy because there are much worse people in the world who didn't receive felonies for their wrongdoings.

What do you think?

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Angler Charged With Felony for Trimming Tail of a Bass in Tournament