Something fishy: Indiana man caught allegedly cheating in Chicagoland bass fishing tournament

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — An Indiana man allegedly cheated in a Chicagoland bass fishing tournament earlier this month by bringing fish across state lines and trying to pass them off as tournament catches.

Apparently, he was caught red-handed by someone who smelled something fishy going on.

According to a news release Thursday from the state, Illinois Conservation Police received information on May 10 that 49-year-old David Moore, of St. John’s Ind., was hiding fish on a stringer on the Calumet River. A Cal Sag Bass Anglers tournament was scheduled for the following morning, May 11, on at Waterfront Marina on Little Calumet River in Burnham, Ill., in Chicago’s south suburbs, close to the Indiana border.

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Cal Sag Bass Anglers tournament rules state waters are off-limits the day before an event.

The following morning, the state says, conservation police watched the location where the tip came in and observed Moore retrieve four smallmouth bass from the stringer and place them in the live well of his boat before throwing the string on the shore and driving away.

Police confirmed with the Cal Sag Bass Anglers weighmaster that Moore was registered in the tournament. Conservation police then waited for Moore to return to the tournament weigh-in location, according to the state.

The tournament limit was five bass, with a minimum length of 12 inches. The total weight of the fish in Moore’s possession, the state says, was 19.5 pounds.

However, upon further investigation, the state says conservation police determined Moore had caught four smallmouth bass on May 10 in Lake Michigan near Hammond, Ind., and imported the fish into Illinois without a permit for VHS (Viral Hemorrhagic Speticemia)-susceptible species.

Had Moore been allowed to proceed, the state says, he would’ve won the tournament by more than four pounds, taking home the first-place prize of $1,300. Instead, Joe Zehner, 70, was the rightful winner of the tournament after catching five bass weighing a total of 15.16 pounds.

Moore was cited for the following, the state says: attempting to commit theft, possession over the daily limit of three smallmouth bass, failure to immediately release smallmouth bass unharmed, taking and possessing smallmouth bass resulting in wanton waste, throwing fishing wire on the bank waters and importing VHS-susceptible species into Illinois without a permit.

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For his alleged offenses, Moore has been charged with two Class A misdemeanors, four Class B misdemeanors and one petty offense, according to the state. A court date for Moore has been set in Cook County.

To report poaching and other illegal activity, complete the Target Illinois Poachers (TIP) incident reporting form, or call 877-2DNRLAW.

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