Bass Tournament Rumors Of Skeeter Cheaters Silenced
Two passed polygraphs and a marshal in the boat has quieted speculation of cheating.
After 20 years in the outdoor industry, it still amazes me that when someone has a great hunting or fishing accomplishment, the immediate thought is that they were cheating or doing something illegal.
I got a call this morning from David Freeman, general manager of Boating Atlanta. David is also the tournament director for Georgia’s most lucrative and popular team bass-fishing tournament trail, the Skeeter Bass Challenge. It turns out that David has been getting an earful from a selection of the more than 200 teams who fish the trail. That earful has been in regards to the team of Brock Taylor and Brad Fowler, who have now won nearly $29,000 in the first three tournaments.
Here’s a rundown of Brock and Brad’s accomplishments so far in the 2019 Skeeter Bass Challenge:
Feb. 24: Clarks Hill, 1st Place with 20.58 pounds
March 10: Lake Oconee, 2nd Place with 19.23 pounds
March 23-24: Lake Lanier, 1st Place with 44.47 pounds
This team is smoking hot! However, not all those competing against them think so, even though a polygraph exam was administered and passed by Brock and Brad at Clarks Hill. A solid second-place performance at Oconee had a few eyebrows raised, but when the team showed up at the March 23, Day 1 weigh-in at Lanier with a sackful of fish that weighed 23 pounds, that’s when bass tournament teams began talking.
“That’s when all the rumors started,” said David. “My phone blew up. They said, ‘They got to be cheating, nobody can catch a 6-pounder in every tournament, they got to have a basket, they got to be doing something illegal,'” said David.
After allegations that Brock and Brad had to be cheating, David took action on Sunday, March 24, Day 2 of the Lanier tournament.
“Sunday I put a marshal in the boat to ride with them,” said David.
Can you imagine the pressure on Brock and Brad? A team accused of being cheaters now had a marshal in the boat with them for Day 2. Whoa! What if their fish didn’t cooperate? What if they didn’t catch them at all? Or what if they just had an average day and put together a limit that only went 10 or 12 pounds, like most of the field?
“They ended up with a 20-lb. bag on Sunday with a marshal in the boat, and they won the tournament by 8 1/2 pounds.”
David took another step to protect the integrity of the tournament.
“Then, they passed a polygraph test after the Lanier tournament,” he said.
With a marshal in the boat and two passed polygraph exams (Clarks Hill and Lanier), it resulted in a drop-the-mic ending.
“Usually my phone rings off the hook, but I haven’t heard a word,” said David.
Why is it that people look to the immediate bad when someone accomplishes something pretty cool, like winning $29K in three bass tournaments? I know why. I won’t preach, but it did start in the Garden many years ago when sin crept into the world. And now we have the terrible aftermath of jealousy and worry over what others are doing instead of focusing of themselves. I’ve lived that life, being jealous of others while thinking the worst of them. That lifestyle was so exhausting that I surrendered it a decade ago.
So, would you like to know more about what Brock and Brad are doing? Remember when Paul Elias won an FLW Tour event in 2011 with 102 pounds, a 17-lb. margin of victory. Did he cheat? Nope, he had something figured out, and it was called the Alabama Rig.
“They got a little deal going on, and they are just going to ride it as long as they can ride it,” said David.
I know very well that there have been those caught cheating in bass tournaments. I can think of several who have been in GON before. It happens, and it will happen again. But here’s the deal with Brock and Brad… the hoops have been jumped through. David and Boating Atlanta did what was right in order to protect the integrity of what’s an amazing bass tournament trail with killer payback and incentives. The polygraphs have been passed, and the marshal has guaranteed nothing illegal was done. It’s time to move on, boys.
My real head-scratching since taking that phone call from David is that so many like to immediately point to a wrong-doing when someone is finding success in an outdoor accomplishment. Take it from a guy who’s lived that life, it’s a dangerous place to be when we’re quick to judge.
So let me encourage those still in question to quit looking at the team at the top and focus more on what you’re doing. Maybe you can figure something out and find yourself collecting a few checks.
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