From the walleye scandal of 2022 to numerous attempts of anglers attempting to enter fish into weigh-ins caught prior to a tournament, cheating scandals in the competitive fishing world seem to be a-plenty these days. The latest allegations of cheating have surfaced from a pike tournament in Ontario, Canada in early September. According to CTV News, two teams have been accused of altering the size of the northern pike they caught during the Top 50 Classic tournament, the last stop in the 2023 Top 50 Pike series.
The two-day tournament involved two days of fishing, September 2 to 3, on Lake Nipissing. A $10,000 cash prize was on the line for the winning team.
Shortly after the tournament, claims began circulating on social media that two teams had trimmed the tails of the pike they'd caught during the tournament. While making your fish shorter may seem counterintuitive during a tournament, one of the tournament's rules is that three of the five pike caught and measured by any team must be under 24 inches long. It is assumed that the anglers trimmed the tails of heavy pike in order to fit this requirement.
Tournament organizers took to Facebook to explain that the anglers denied the accusations and that there was no definitive proof of cheating. Because of this, the teams were allowed to compete on September 3 while organizers looked further into the matter.
In recent years, officials have attempted to combat cheating in fishing tournaments using everything from polygraph tests and apps that can asses whether photos of prize fish have been manipulated, but cheating is still rampant.
And here, tournament organizers stated that they would have the anglers take a polygraph test "at their discretion," and if they didn't pass the test, "authorities will be notified such as the police."
It's unknown if the polygraph tests have been administered yet, but the Facebook post says that anyone who refuses to take the polygraph would be "permanently banned from the Top 50 Pike Series."
According to CTV News, the MNRF said in an email last week, "the ministry is currently investigating these matters and as such we are unable to provide any further comment at this time."
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