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Moses Lake Open: Disqualification-Idling in Canals

I have been fishing Bass Tournaments for a few years now and recieved a first time call this evening from Jeff Priester. Said he recieved a protest and call for disqualification from another team about our team idling with the big motor in canals at Moses. I didn't attend the drivers meeting and had my partner attend so I could stay with the boat. I wasn't aware of this new rule or recomendation. I just wanted to apologize and let you know we are sorry. If anyone has partner attend drivers mtg while they stay with the boat, make sure you both know what if any rules have changed. It could cost your team some $.

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Comment by C-RIDE on May 11, 2010 at 8:54am
So I guess its my turn to chime in. The off limits was not the last dock in the park. Gary came to the shore and pointed out that the 1st dock on the set of 3 docks was off limits if you fish on the boat launch side of it. The other side of the dock and the other 2 docks are ok to fish. So obviously there is some confusion! Gary can chime in and verify this. He came to the bank and chatted with us while we fished the last 2 docks. The confusion was that there are a set of docks on the right side of the bay and on the left side of bay. He said draw a line from the launch to the 1st dock. Thats the boundery. Well, to me the 1st dock is the one on the boat launch side of the bay. When in fact it was the 1st set of docks on the opposite side. We idled up and hopped on the bow and grabbed our rods. Gary wistled and said "hey over to the other side of the bay". So we did and he came and B.S. ed with us for a few minutes. Anyways, it doesn't matter because we DID NOT wet a line in the off limits area. I did pay attention in the drivers meeting. Again, the confusion was "the first dock".
Comment by Marc Marcantonio on May 10, 2010 at 9:19pm
Sparky, those are not dumb questions at all. Here is how I handle fishing new lakes. First, before the tournament I get a map of the lake so I can reference it when I hear of off-limits areas. Then I go to the WDFW regs to view the rules for that particular lake. These areas are normally not covered in the driver's meeting because WDFW rules always apply in tournaments. If you violate a WDFW rule, you are in violation automatically of tournament rules...get a ticket and get disqualified.

Then I mark my map with the off-limits areas per the WDFW rules. These are often bird sanctuaries or areas off-limits to any type of motor, etc.

Then I bring my map with me to the tournament and ask the Director ahead of the driver's meeting if he is available to show me on my map any additional off-limits areas. If he doesn't have time before the meeting, listen carefully during the meeting and ask questions during the meeting for clarification. If you are still unclear, then ask the TD for clarification after the driver's meeting.

I will be fishing Roosevelt for a NW Bass tourney this August, and I have never been on the lake. I am doing my research now to avoid trouble with the native american waters, and other off limits areas. I'm sure I will also have questions regarding off-limits.

Hope this helps!

Comment by P.J. Koshi on May 10, 2010 at 4:10pm
I am just learning the ropes of tournament fishing and I am fishing completely new water on a regular basis now so I try to pay attention when they are telling me things about the lake and the rules since most of it I have not heard before. I thought Stiles was clear but I guess I was able to catch some things that some people must have missed. I commend you guys for admitting the mishap.
Comment by Jordan Doucet on May 10, 2010 at 11:22am
Thanks for clearing that up Eric. I understand the point you were getting across now. No hard feelings.
Comment by Eric DeLay on May 9, 2010 at 11:27pm
I didn't find the directions that difficult. Gary pointed down to the dock at the end of the park and said that the last dock in the park was the boundary. We knew as soon as you pulled in that you were in the off limits area. Are you saying you guys didn't intend to fish there? I don't really care if Chris made a cast or not, although it looked like he dropped his bait in. That is really beside the point. I don't think you guys would cheat or intentionally break the rules and my point was that it is easy to get yourself DQ'd if you aren't super clear about what the rules of the contest are. You guys obviously didn't know what was off limits and I am really glad that you were prevented, by Stiles, from making a fatal mistake when you had already outfished the entire field that day. I am not sure why you take offense to my "facts" but I didn't mean for it to be an attack on you or Chris but really a wake up call to guys about the importance of paying attention and even asking questions at the driver's meetings.

Congrats on a great tournament Jordan.
Comment by Josh Potter on May 9, 2010 at 8:58pm
Gary does an awesome job but his explanation of the host marina off limits area left a lot of us scratching our heads as to what he meant.
Comment by Jordan Doucet on May 9, 2010 at 8:35pm

As you know that was us and we never wet a line in that area. Gary came over and told us before we ever made a cast. He also had to tell multiple other boats throughout the day he said, since his directions at drivers meeting were unclear. You of anyone should be careful to get your facts straight before you throw anything out there with all the correcting of others that you do around here.
Comment by Eric DeLay on May 8, 2010 at 11:45pm
I saw one of the top ten teams pull into the off limits part of the host "marina" and start fishing on Saturday. They had barely gotten their lines wet before Gary Stiles went over and told them they were in an off limits area.
They were really lucky that he was watching and said something right away or they could have been forced to forfeit an 18.5lb bag.
Comment by Shawn O'Connell on May 8, 2010 at 1:26pm
Way to man up! Sh.. happens and we all make mistakes. It's obvious it wasn't intentional and I think we all probably learned from your mishap.
Comment by Marc Marcantonio on May 6, 2010 at 7:56am
Kody and all tournament anglers,

Having fished tournaments longer than I care to admit, I can assure you that this happens frequently. It is good of you to post an explanation and I appreciate your apology and thank you for it.

For all that fish tournaments, realize that the driver's meeting is very important and warrants the attention of the team member in attendance. This is the one moment of the day that I become "anti-social" and I'm sure I have offended some because I refuse to engage in conversation during the Driver's meeting in fear that I will miss a piece of information that will result in myself and teammate getting disqualified. When the driver's meeting starts, I walk away from my friends and stand up front where I can hear the tournament director, even on lakes I know and fish all the time. I hear guys chattering throughout the meeting, and know they are missing important information. Been there and done that, and learned from it.

I often fish tournaments on lakes I have never fished before, or rarely fish. The Driver's Meeting covers "off limits" areas that I am often totally unaware about because I am new to the water. If I miss this information during the driver's meeting, then I can blow the tournament. This affects not only myself, but my partner as well.

It also affects everyone else in the field because if I wander into a closed area and do well and nobody is aware of it, then I may win money I am not entitled to win. It further affects those who may see someone violating a rule. This puts them into a very uncomfortable position of having to lodge a protest. Fishing should be fun, and competitive fishing should be fair. If we don't take the time to understand the written rules AND pay attention at Driver's Meetings for additional rules and info, AND clarify with the tourney director about issues we are not sure about prior to blast off, then the competition may become unfair, and will no longer be fun.

Whenever possible, both team members should attend the meeting as the responsibility of knowing the rules belongs to both, equally. It is tough when the lake doesn't have adequate dock space to tie-up your boat so both can attend the driver's meeting. When that situation exists, I will usually be one of the first to arrive at the ramp in the morning so I can get one of the docks. A Hamby's and an anchor are another good choice.

Some inexperienced tourney anglers may look at "protests" as being sour grapes by the team lodging the protest. This is rarely the case. In most cases the observers hate being put into a position of having to report a violation, especially in cases like yours where it is a safe bet the "violation" was ignorance rather than "cheating." I observed you idling out, and I felt obligated to mention it to the tournament director. It was not something I wanted to do at all, but I can't take back the fact that I saw it and not saying something is unfair to the sport of bass fishing, to the homeowner's the rule was intended to protect, and to the other competitors who observed the rule and lost valuable fishing time by following the rule. I can assure you that the Tournament Director abhors any protest, and so do the sponsors. I commend Jeff for calling you and explaining the situation. That is a difficult phone call to make, and a lessor person would take the easy way out and ignore the problem. If that were to happen, it would cheapen our sport of tournament bass fishing.

Imagine how you would feel if you had a bag that qualified for the top ten? This was at least a cheap lesson, and my hope is that you win a big tournament and don't have to worry that you may have accidentally violated a rule.

Feel free to stand up front with me during the next driver's meeting; but please, just don't talk to me when Gary speaks because when Gary speaks, I listen!

Marc Marcantonio

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