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The state takes a stand against fish fraud

Rest easy, fellow Texans. The scourge of fishing fraud has been dealt a heavy blow by the Legislature.

Fraudulent fishermen better reel it in. The Senate passed a bill [last week] to make cheating in a fishing tournament up to a third-degree felony, sending the measure on to the governor.

HB 1806 expands existing law to all fishing tournaments, from fresh to salt water. It would make it an offense for contestants to give, take, offer or accept a fish not caught as part of the tournament. It would also be an offense to misrepresent a fish.

“I’ve never altered the length of a fish,” says Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, the Senate sponsor of the bill. But he’s been told fishermen will cut the tail off a fish so it will fit the minimum length requirement. That way, they can add more fish to their bucket.

For minor tournaments, cheaters could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and face up to a year in jail or a maximum $4,000 fine. But if the prize is more than $10,000, contestants could be charged with a third-degree felony, spend two to 10 years in prison and pay up to a $10,000 fine.

“So what are you in for?”

“Murder. Marauding. General mayhem. And you?”

“I misrepresented a fish.”

“Damn. That’s what I call hardcore.”

I think that about sums it up. Grits reacts about the way you would expect him to.

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