Worst-Case Scenario Becomes Reality
Friday, July 23, 2010
by BassFan Managing Editor John Johnson
I'm a competition junkie, and I'll compete at just about anything as long as I think the playing field is level. I don't mind going up against people who I know are better than me and I don't have a problem with losing as long as I'm beaten fair and square.
I firmly believe that the vast majority of tournament bass anglers are of a similar mindset. I've personally met only one guy who I know for a fact tried to cheat in a tournament. He didn't get away with it, but he wasn't pilloried throughout the bass-fishing world like he should've been, either, and went on to fish more events. He'd lost the trust of his fellow competitors, but he maintained a defiant attitude toward the whole thing and was of such low character that his reputation was unimportant to him.
The guy was fortunate that the Internet was in its infancy at that time and his indiscretions couldn't be instantly broadcast to the worldwide angling community. Had the incident occurred a decade later, he would've been finished as a tournament angler and the sport would've been better off for it.
Boy, how times have changed!
In a span of a couple of hours this week, Mike Hart went from being one of the most respected anglers in tournament-mad Southern California to an absolute pariah among competitive fishermen everywhere. He'd have to change his name, hire a special-effects guy from nearby Hollywood to alter his appearance and develop a real good foreign accent to ever get into another derby.
What made him stuff those lead weights into his fish at the U.S. Open at Lake Mead? Greed, undoubtedly. It gets the best of seemingly good people all the time and instantly transforms them into scumbags when their underhanded tactics are discovered. Those closest to the offenders may choose to stand behind them – which is as it should be. But to the rest of us, their names are mud.
My late father taught me to consider not only the most likely outcome of any life decision, but also the best- and worst-case scenarios. And if the worst-case would cost me more than I could stand to lose, then I'd be better off taking a pass.
In hindsight, it's easy to surmise that Hart would've chosen not to cheat if he'd had an inkling that the fate that's befallen him was even a reasonable likelihood. He allegedly told WON Bass director of operations Bill Egan that he'd borrowed the money to compete in the tournament and felt pressure to repay it.
That's not even in the ballpark of being a rational explanation. First off, with all the money that Hart's won fishing in SoCal over the past few years, it's hard to fathom that he couldn't scrounge up his own entry fee. And if he couldn't, the solution was real simple – don't fish. The majority of us are faced with such discretionary-spending decisions all the time, and we rarely opt for the route that offers up so much peril if things go bad.
Had Hart been cheating the competitors in his region all along? That's a question that might never be answered.
But one thing's for certain – he won't be doing it anymore. If it was a one-shot deal, it was likely the worst decision he's ever made. Word of this incident will spread outside the angling world and infiltrate every facet of his life, and even people who don't care a lick about catching bass for cash will look upon him as a swindler.
Here's to hoping that this incident doesn't ruin his entire life and that he can pick up the pieces and move on. He'll need all the help that anybody who cares about him as a person can offer.
For those who us who don't know him personally, he'll likely never be able to restore his once-good name. That's life, though, and this scenario would've been easily foreseeable – and avoidable – had he considered the worst possible outcome of adding a few ounces of lead to those fish.
<!-- end article -->I got this information from www.bassfishin.com
I just don't understand why they think of putting weights in the belly, like 3.5Lb. bass being 13" lenght that would have rasied few eyebrows to me!
So the information I posted was copied and pasted on the thread.