Last week, in a National Professional Fishing League (NPFL) tournament at Wright Patman Lake in Texas, Barron Adams reeled in the heaviest combined weight over the three-day tournament. A professional angler for five years, Adams' catch qualified him for the tournament's $100,000 first-place prize.
That is, until the judge asked a rudimentary housekeeping question to confirm Adams' fishing license.
That's when Adams, 41, who hails from Mineral Bluff, Georgia, realized he did not actually possess a valid Texas fishing license. Adams said that he had filled out his information online for a Texas fishing license but hadn't finalized the process.
Since he could not produce proof of a valid fishing license, Adams was required to forfeit his winnings.
Good intentions don't equal valid tags. sadly. In a Facebook post, the NPFL called it a simple mistake.
"The League is confident that this was an inadvertent and unintentional rules violation on Barron's behalf, and this is in no way a reflection of his integrity as an angler," the NPFL's Brad Fuller said in a press release. "Barron is a great person and a phenomenal angler, and we are proud to have him as a competitor in the National Professional Fishing League."
None the less, that had to be a heartbreaking moment for Adams.
The winnings defaulted to the tournament's second-place angler in the wake of Adam's disqualification. A local angler, Ryan Satterfield, of Texarkana, was deemed the winner with a three-day weight of 50 pounds, 4 ounces.
His local secret to success on Wright Patman Lake? Fishing frogs to big females that were moving up on the banks to spawn.
"Ryan has dreamed of winning a national event here on his home lake but never imagined it would happen this way," the NPFL said of Satterfield's win.
Satterfield directed his thoughts towards Adams: "It makes me sick for him," Satterfield told Coastal Angler Magazine. "Barron had a great week out here; I don't wish what happened to anybody. We all work so hard out here that it just makes me sick for him."