Official Statement from the:
Top Bass Fishing Series
June 9, 2016.
The Top Bass Fishing Series Tournament Director (Ted Gallone) was notified on the afternoon of Friday September 11th, 2015 on the discovery of a makeshift cage on tournament waters. He was told that the cage in question contained 5 bass.
The witnesses who made the discovery where told by the TOP BASS Tournament Director to contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and report their find. Shortly after the first call the witness called the Tournament Director a second time and informed him that no actions could be taken by the authorities. At this time the Tournament Director asked that the witnesses not tamper with the evidence and just leave it where it is. Against the Tournament Directors request, the witnesses showed up at the anglers meeting that evening with the cage in the back of their pickup truck. A third party (not one of the witnesses) interrupted the anglers meeting that was in progress and suggested that the anglers and Tournament Director reconvene outside to see what was found that afternoon.
The Tournament Director was temporarily occupied with tournament business inside the building. By the time the tournament Director was able to get outside to the group in the parking lot, he was shown an empty makeshift cage and was overwhelmed with questions from the anglers on hand.
Based on the time available, the Tournament Director started to implement a plan to conduct both a physical and electronic surveillance of the location in which the first cage was discovered in an effort to identify any individuals involved. This course of action was not disclosed to the TOP BASS competitors in order to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
On the morning of Saturday September 12th 2015, prior to the commencement of the Tournament, the investigative plan was compromised as a result of inadvertent disclosure by uninvolved anglers. Later that day the Tournament Director was notified by a non-competitor that a second makeshift cage was discovered in close proximity of the location of the first cage. The empty second cage was brought to the Tournament headquarters accompanied by photos of fish in a cage.
After the weekends event the Tournament Director consulted with Law Enforcement personnel, for both guidance and further course of action. The witnesses were notified shortly after, that in order for the investigation to precede a signed statement from each witness was required with respect to what each person saw and what if any actions were taken by them.
REGRETTABLY, AS OF JUNE 8, 2016, STATEMENTS HAVE NOT YET BEEN PROVIDED BY ANY OF THE INDIVIDULES INVOLVED IN THE CIRCOMSTANCES.
After further consultations with Law Enforcement Officials, it has been determined that there is no reasonable prospect of wrong doing at this time.
Please note that since 1993, there has never been a formal protest logged against a TOP BASS competitor. Unfortunately without a formal protest no actions can be taken on behalf of the TOP BASS Fishing Series. As you all know a verbal complaint alone, while taken with some validity, cannot solely be used as evidence of wrong doing.