Lots of BassFans have been hoping to get B.A.S.S. founder Ray Scott's take on the Erie Bassmaster Northern Open imbroglio involving winner Nate Wellman and his alleged offer to purchase a fish from his co-angler on the final day of that event. Wellman, who claimed that any comments made along those lines were in jest, was fined $2,500 and placed on 1-year probation by B.A.S.S., but allowed to retain the victory and the accompanying 2012 Bassmaster Classic berth.
Scott issued the following statement to BassFan today:
"For those who have been around B.A.S.S. and know our history of tournaments, there is a process clearly identified in Rule 3 (B.A.S.S. Tournament Rules) that deals with infractions like this. When two anglers are in the middle of the lake and it becomes a question of who said what or what took place, you call on the polygraph. A polygraph is the only means at our disposal to clarify and resolve this matter.
"I would hope Mr. Wellman would recognize the criticality of what is at risk now – the perception of dishonesty in bass fishing tournaments and, more importantly, the integrity of every angler around the world. B.A.S.S. has rules that deal with sportsmanship and nothing stands to suffer more from this incident than the honor and veracity of all anglers. Even though B.A.S.S. opted for another course of action, they can still direct a polygraph.
"This isn't going to go away and the stigma will continue to hang over our heads until Mr. Wellman is either exonerated or held accountable. With all the speculation that is going on, the right thing for Mr. Wellman to do would be to contact B.A.S.S. and insist that they give him a polygraph. If he doesn't put this issue to rest beyond any reasonable doubt, B.A.S.S. and the bass-fishing community will forever hold him suspect in any tournament he attempts to enter."