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Prestigious tournament marred by cheating

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POSTED July 30, 2010 2:41 a.m.
This past weekend, the tournament fishing world received a serious black eye, as an angler accused of stuffing lead weights down the throats of his catch was disqualified.

The tournament he was fishing in was one of the biggest of the year, where the top prize was $100,000.

All five fish of his Day 3 catch were found with lead weights in their stomachs.

Over the past few years there seems to be an increased amount of cheaters being caught. As with anything competitive, when there’s money involved there’s always a chance of somebody cheating.

As someone who’s fished a lot of tournaments, I’ve often wondered if a fellow competitor was cheating but quickly dismissed the idea, as I didn’t want it to affect the way I approached the event.

I’m glad that someone was finally caught and that an example has been made of the accused individual. The angler in question is Mike Hart, and the tournament was Won Bass’ annual U.S. Open.

The U.S. Open is considered by many as one of the most prestigious bass tournaments in the world. It’s a shame that this event was captured on such a grand stage and will surely impact the way tournaments are conducted for years to come.

Delta Report
Water temperatures have been in the high seventies to low 80s. The reaction bite for largemouth bass has been good lately, especially when the wind breaks up the surface. There are also a lot of small schools of striped bass found working throughout the sloughs. Make sure to have your favorite topwater bait ready incase you encounter an active school of fish.

Catfishing remains good during the evening hours and bluegill can still be found in bunches along the shallows.

New Melones Lake
Kokanee fishing continues to be hot along with the bluegill and catfish bite. Anglers fishing for kokanee are trolling from 30 to 65 feet during the day.

At night, the rainbows are being caught by those fishing around submersible lights with live minnows and power bait. Bluegill are being found right now in the backs of coves and caught by those using worms for bait.

Catfish are being caught all over the lake right now but mostly from the shore during the night on anchovies and clams.

Bass fishing continues to be good for numbers as many bass can be found in schools off points and main lake structure.

Don Pedro
Bass are being caught in the top 10 feet of water on jigs during the day and on top water baits early in the morning and as the sun is setting. Kokanee are being caught from 30 to 55 feet during the day by trollers.

Bluegills continue to provide steady action for those fishing small worms under a bobber around shoreline cover.

Lake Pardee
Fishing for bass has been fair to good as there are still a lot of fish to be caught up shallow on shaky head worms.

There is also a lot of schooling activity to be found on the lake as a drop shotted Robo worm through visible schools of fish has been producing numbers.

The water clarity is great right now and the water level is higher than all its neighboring lakes.

Lake Amador
Fishing continues to be slow during the day for anglers fishing for bass and trout. Bluegills have been biting during the day on small worms in the backs of coves and around the dam area. Bass have been pushing the shad into the backs of coves and can be found feeding close to the bank.

Bass are being caught at night on spinnerbaits, buzz baits, jigs, and brush hogs. At night some trout are being caught near the dam while fishing under a submersible light.

Product Review
For those who dislike sleeping on the floor while camping, there are inflatable mattresses for sale that come complete with a portable bed frame and air pump.

Much like a pop-up canopies they are easy to set up and very lightweight. I was able to purchase my queen mattress at Kmart for around $70.

The mattress has also been of great use around the house whenever we’ve had unexpected overnight guests.

To contact Jarod Ballardo, e-mail
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