A pair of anglers in a July 12 bass-club tournament at Banks Lake bought an 11 1/2-lb. bass and presented it for the tourney weigh-in. They might have even gotten away with it, but apparently the agreed-upon price for the fish changed when the pair didn’t win as much money as they thought they would.
Law Enforcement Division (LED) Ranger First Class (RFC) Tim Hutto investigated the case. He charged four people in the case, two involved in selling the bass and the two tournament anglers who bought the bass.
“They all admitted to the act,” RFC Hutto said. “All four were relatively cooperative, and the statements were consistent from all four.”
The two anglers who bought the bass, a two-man fishing team with the Southern Bass Busters based in Adel, was Brandon Smith, of Valdosta, and Ronnie Eunice, of Lake Park. Both were charged with illegal sale or purchase of gamefish.
The man who caught and sold the 11 1/2-lb. bass was Dustin Miller, of Ray City. He received two citations. He didn’t have a fishing license, and he was charged with illegal sale or purchase of gamefish. His girlfriend, Sarah Demott, of Remerton, was also charged with illegal sale or purchase of gamefish.
“There was a price of $250 that was discussed,” officer Hutto said. “They were to take bass, and once they won the tournament, they would give the anglers $250. They ended up winning the tournament, but it only paid $305 for the winning team.
“Then they said, ‘We’re only going to give you $105.’ The bass club found out because the two anglers, Dustin and Sarah, were upset they didn’t get the money agreed to.
“It’s a big deal to sell fish,” RFC Hutto said.
Especially when it’s bought to cheat in a tournament.