et the piling on begin. Some of these overt and
implied allegations may be true. I don’t know.
I’m not onsite when they allegedly occur, and even when there are “facts” in evidence – as with Nate
Wellman a few years back – there’s always a defense in
play. Except for Tony Christian almost two decades ago, I
can’t think of an accused pro who didn’t go down without
Christian, more than Wellman or anyone since,
should be the poster boy for our community’s short
memories. He may never fish another tournament again,
but I’d wager that the vast majority of the anglers who’ve
come up in the last decade or so have no idea who he
is. To my own personal shame, I had to Google him to
recall what he looks like. We’ve done a poor job of policing
ourselves, especially when the outside world just thinks
we’re a bunch of liars to begin with.
Yet cheating, or the perception of cheating, continues. The innuendo is constant. Everyone seems to know a friend who witnessed it, or who was called to get illicit information. As the stakes get higher, the incentive to cheat, and the assumption that others are doing it, will only grow. Nevertheless, at the national level we have no good examples of anglers turning on one another in public. They whisper about it behind closed doors. They start rumors. But no one “snitches.”
Of course, much of it would be hard to prove. “Prefishing by telephone” is almost impossible to ferret out. They’re not in the boat with one another during practice periods or tournament days. Lie detector tests are either unreliable or unrelied-upon.
But certainly in some of these alleged cases there must’ve been strong evidence. There must’ve been witnesses. There must be someone who could make