The world of kayak bass fishing tournaments was rocked this week when tournament directors and organizers for two major tournament trails – Kayak Bass Fishing and Kayak Bass Series — revealed one of its competitors had been identified as submitting falsified photograph entries during a Kakak Bass Series tournament.
Unlike weigh-in bass tournaments, kayak bass competitions rely on photographs of caught fish to determine total length of a specified number of fish rather than weight. The fish must be photographed lying on a measuring board with an identifier for the tournament visible in the photo.
Following the completion of the Kayak Bass Series North Open event held April 2 on Dale Hollow Reservoir, Andrew Shepherd, from Prestonsburg, Kentucky was withdrawn from competition by tournament directors for the event. During a review of photographs submitted, directors noticed some inconsistencies in the way the fish was viewed on the measuring board.
“While I was writing up the recap for the event yesterday, I was going through the winner’s photos, finally, and literally at the same time that I was looking at it, I realized that I was receiving messages from numerous individuals throughout the kayak fishing community asking me to second look all the submissions for the winners” wrote KBS tournament director Andrew Cameron on his Facebook page.
Shepherd allegedly altered the measuring devices used on his fish, cutting out a section of each. This created the illusion of longer fish. The first was an uncut board, the second had 2 inches removed and the third, 4 inches. This would effectively push the fish down the board, increasing the length.
Following the discovery at the Dale Hollow event, tournament directors for both KBF and KBS and its affiliates reviewed photos from previous tournaments that Shepherd had entered and discovered similar inconsistencies.
“This angler had apparently perfected his methods at local levels and decided to try it at a bigger tournament,” said Kayak Bass Fishing President Chad Hoover. “Working in conjunction with both KBS and KBF staff, we discovered that it appears this guy has cheated in over a dozen local, and now national tournaments.”
Shepherd, who was unavailable for comment on the matter, has effectively been banned from any KBS or KBF affiliated programs and according to Hoover, KBS tournament director Andrew Cameron is pursuing options for prosecuting Shepherd. Under local Kentucky law, criminal charges can be brought in fraud cases exceeding $1,000.