Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens say they are investigating a Texas-based bass tournament organization called Big Bass Mania after fielding several complaints from anglers who claim the tournament organizers did not deliver prize money they had advertised to be awarded during a three-day event held June 8-10 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
“We don’t have anything solid yet,” said TPWD Capt. game warden Tom Jenkins of Jasper County. “Right now, I’m just working off the complaints I have received and what they (Big Bass Mania) have put out there. What they have been advertising and what they have been doing are two different things.”
Big Bass Mania advertised a guaranteed payback of $125,000 to the angler who weighed in the heaviest accumulative weight over three days based on three bass. Also advertised were hourly cash prizes offered for the three heaviest bass during each hourly slot. The winning angler in the tournament was Scott Gill of DeRidder, La., who reeled in three bass totaling 19.28 pounds. Gill said he was awarded $5,000 in cash for first place, but he received no hourly money for any of his biggest bass, including a 7.03 pounder, a 6.95 pounder and 5.30 pounder.
“When I brought in the seven pounder that first morning, I was told that they didn’t have enough entries to pay the hourly money,” Gill said. “I knew right then something was wrong.”