After nearly a two-week investigation into the on-the-water altercation that took place between Ish Monroe and Keith Poche during the Southern Open at Lake Toho, B.A.S.S. has announced both will be fined and suspended from Open competition in 2015.
The following is a statement released by B.A.S.S. this afternoon:
B.A.S.S. announced today that it has completed its investigation of an incident January 16 involving two professional anglers, Ish Monroe of Hughson, Calif., and Keith Poche of Pike Road, Ala., during the Bassmaster Open tournament on Lake Tohopekaliga, Fla. After interviewing both anglers as well as many of the numerous eyewitnesses of the incident, B.A.S.S. has imposed the following penalties, which are covered in the current Angler Code of Conduct:
For unsportsmanlike conduct, Monroe has been fined $500, the maximum amount for a first offense. In addition, he has been suspended from participation in all Bassmaster Opens for 2015. He already had been disqualified from the Southern Open on Lake Tohopekaliga, forfeiting any payouts he would otherwise have earned.
Also for unsportsmanlike conduct, Poche has been fined $250, the minimum amount for a first offense. In addition, he has been suspended from participation in Bassmaster Opens in the Southern Division for 2015. He, too, had earlier been disqualified from the Southern Open in Florida.
“Both Keith Poche and Ish Monroe have cooperated fully in our investigation of the incident, and they have expressed regret for their roles in it,” said Bruce Akin, B.A.S.S. CEO. “While conflicts occur frequently in other sports, we hold bass fishing professionals to a higher standard, particularly when the safety of participants is involved. We believe the penalties imposed under the Angler Code of Conduct agreement are appropriate and fitting in these circumstances.”
Akin also noted that B.A.S.S. has refunded the entry fees of the co-anglers paired with Monroe and Poche on January 16 in consideration for the effect the incident may have had on their fishing success.
Both anglers have 48 hours to file an appeal of the sanctions, according to B.A.S.S. rules.