It wasn’t the more than $5,000 first-place prize local anglers were chatting about after the May 5 Bass Fishing League event on Lake Wylie, but an angler who won’t be fishing the event ever again.
Boater John Hoyle of Rutherfordton, N.C., finished in third place, but was later disqualified after an 11-ounce weight was found in the stomach of one of the fish he weighed in. The sportsmanship rule violation means Hoyle was disqualified and forfeits more than $1,000 in winnings. He is now banned from future FLW Outdoors events.
Hoyle is banned from multiple local tournament series. Brittany Markolf, co-owner of Lake Wylie Bait & Tackle, said she’s heard Hoyle’s name “since we opened the doors” of the shop. Markolf said it’s important that other anglers know cheating won’t be tolerated in local events.
Within the fishing community, cheating is a big deal. At the recent BFL event, the difference between the $5,247 first-place check and $1,623 for second was one ounce. The difference between third and fifth place was exactly 11 ounces – the same as the weight found in Hoyle’s fish. The dollar difference was $433.
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According to FLW, Hoyle fished 20 tournaments since 1996, including a BFL win last year on Wylie. At that March event, he bagged 16 pounds, 4 ounces of fish to win $4,394. Son Cody Hoyle finished second in the co-angler division, winning $1,098. John Hoyle has $6,712 in career earnings.
Markolf said local anglers won’t fish events if they believe cheating is taking place, which can run down prize money, sponsorships and even entire events. Jones said he’s fished Wylie his whole life, and doesn’t see the latest event causing problems for other tournaments.
“The sport actually fishes very clean,” he said. “A lot of the anglers out here love this sport.”
Lost in the cheating drama was the first FLW win for Brian Huskins of Mount Holly. Fishing since 1998 with more than $11,000 in career earnings, Huskins brought in five bass weighing 14 pounds, 8 ounces. Just an ounce off the pace was Roger Pope of Statesville, N.C.
BFL: May 5
1. Brian Huskins, Mt. Holly, N.C., 14-8, $5,247
2. Roger Pope, Statesville, N.C., 14-7, $1,623 + $1,000 Evinrude Bonus
3. Rob Digh, Denver, N.C., 13-0, $1,082
4. David Winters, Rock Hill, 12-9, $758
5. Michael Webster, Gastonia, 12-5, $649
6. Jason Wilson, Cherryville, N.C., 12-4, $595
7. Hank Cherry, Maiden, N.C., 12-3, $541
8. Chuck Collins, Smithfield, N.C., 11-14, $487
9. David Pless, Candler, N.C., 11-10, $433
10. Matt Lowe, Walhalla, S.C., 11-7, $379