A SAD DAY FOR B.A.S.S., KEVIN LANGILL, AND BOYD DUCKETTThe disqualification incident of Kevin Langill by B.A.S.S. at the Bassmaster Elite Southern Challenge on Friday, May 8, 2009 on Guntersville Lake was a very sad day for an angler who had spent four years and thousands of dollars pursuing his dream of becoming a Professional Bass Angler to see it all go down the tube because he would not be intimidated by B.A.S.S. or the man bringing unfounded charges, a sad day for a grass roots fishing organization that made bass tournament fishing what it is today, and a sad day for the former Bassmaster World Champion who brought all of this about. But things have changed from the days of Ray Scott and a fledging B.A.S.S. tournament organization, and with the acquisition of B.A.S.S. by ESPN, things have become more complex and guided by viewer ratings – the thing that is suppose to make ESPN money.Having spent almost 40 years as a member of B.A.S.S., involved in Federation Nation activities, and supporting the B.A.S.S. Tournament organization as volunteer coordinator, media boat operator, a promoter of B.A.S.S. and its youth activities, and a friend of many of the folks engaged in producing the tournaments and submitting articles to BASS Times, I have come to know and value the relationship I have enjoyed with many of the B.A.S.S. employees and touring PROS on the Elite and Open circuits. I know and respect Director Trip Weldon, Tournament Managers Chuck Harbin, John Stewart, Chris Bowes – they have a hard job to do. I have known of Boyd Duckett for a number of years, especially through some of his friends; my grandson had the first photo made with Boyd after he won the World Championship for which I am grateful; and until this incident I have considered Boyd to be a straight-forward angler that could be trusted, was fair and reasonable, and I have been a fan of his.I have also developed a personal friendship with Kevin Langill, primarily through his efforts in supporting the youth of our nation with his time and money. He has slept at my home and eaten from my table. I have seen the results of his efforts with youngsters and the disabled – both mentally and physically. He is an aggressive competitor but in all things he has been fair and reasonable and worked diligently not to offend and to make all around him feel comfortable. I think he is a fine young man and am grateful for the work he has done with our Junior Bassmaster Club, C.A.S.T. for Kids, and youth everywhere.Therefore, I have no axe to grind in any direction and only offer these comments from my observations and facts known to me about this disqualification issue:*On May 4, 2009 - Monday, Kevin began the official practice days on Lake Guntersville for the Bassmaster Elite Southern Challenge. After the first day of practice, he told me that he had found an excellent location that was loaded with bass just outside the creek mouth at Preston Island. He stated that he fished here before in prior Guntersville tournaments but had never had such quality bass to take the bite as he had for this upcoming tournament. He was enthusiastic about his chances for the tournament and looked forward for it to begin;*On May 5, 2009 - Tuesday, I again had conversation with Kevin and he advised me that he had found four additional locations to fish in the tournament but still believed the location he had found on Monday as the most productive, but he was concerned because the prior Bassmaster World Champion Boyd Duckett had seen him catch a bass off the hole and had moved in on him in practice and indicated to Kevin that the spot was “HIS” personal fishing spot. Kevin was concerned about Boyd’s attitude concerning the location but as a young angler, he was determined not to be intimidated by Boyd’s demand of ownership of the spot. I was not surprised that a highly recognized angler would flex his reputation in such a manner, but thought of it as a normal occurrence on the tournament trail that these anglers have to contend with;*On May 6, 2009 – Wednesday, Kevin stated the location still held fish and he had found one other bass on bed near Preston Island that might go 14 lb. He was extremely excited that this could possibly produce his KICKER fish of the tournament…..a tournament he badly needed to place high in – both from a monetary and career standpoint (his 2008 season having started badly with his step-father’s death in the Texas tournament and a ton of trouble that he had experience on the road with his tow truck going to recent tournaments – we worked on it in Decatur for almost a week);*On the first day of the tournament – Thursday – May 7, 2009, I met Kevin at the dock at Lake Guntersville State Park, prior to the weigh-in and he advised me that he had a good sack of bass but he had had to share the his hole with Boyd Duckett, but both of them had caught good bags of bass. Nothing was said about any trouble on the water or otherwise…he simply took it in stride as the way things went in the tournament touring world. It appeared that Boyd was in an earlier flight and arrived at the location first. Langill’s Marshall made no mention of any trouble on the water that day. That night Kevin called me and advised that Mr. Trip Weldon had advised him “to stay away from Boyd Duckett.” I ask Kevin what he told Mr. Weldon and he said he told him that he had found the fishing location on Monday during practice, that Boyd had moved in on him on Tuesday, and that they both had fished the location on the first day of the tournament – Thursday – and that he though he had as much right to the location as much as Boyd did. When I questioned him relative to what Mr. Weldon said, he stated that Trip advised him again to “stay away from Boyd Duckett” without discussion as to anyone having “ownership” of the hole. Based on this, I am surprised to learn of Boyd’s comment that “I certainly don’t think I’m powerful enough within the BASS organization that I can get a guy DQ’d for getting on MY fish.” It appears that the decision had already been made as to the “ownership” of the fishing location while just half a mile south of the location there were five or six competitor boats all trying to fish one hump in the lake. I would submit that Boyd knew exactly how much power the former Bassmaster World Champion had on ESPN’s viewer ratings and this fact was recognized by the BASS organization. Boyd simply did not have the quality fish located, his reputation was at stake, and he went where he had saw bass caught. Despite his statement of non-involvement in securing the disqualification of Langill, Boyd continued to press for such action with BASS officials on Friday of the tournament;*Friday – May 8, 2009 – the day for the field of 100 Elite Anglers to be cut from 100 anglers to 50 to fish on Saturday. Kevin advised me that Trip came up to him at the launch and again advised him “to stay way from Boyd Duckett.” NO DISCUSSION. The blast off occurred and Boyd beat Langill to the hole once again. Langill and his Marshall both state that when Langill came off of plane at the hole, he was at least 100 – 150 feet away from Boyd and they did not touch Duckett’s boat. Both boats fished the location throughout the day and when the wind came up it blew Boyd’s boat into Langill’s. The contact was not intentional on either of the angler’s part, as per the boat Marshall.That afternoon I was taking photos of the anglers at the weigh-in when Boyd weighted in his bag of fish. Upon questioning by Keith Alan, Boyd stated something to the effect that he could have caught larger and more bass if someone had not have been on HIS hole. Boyd left the stage and after a couple of more photos, I started down to the dock to see if Langill’s flight had come in yet. At the entrance to the dock I was surprised to see Boyd in deep conversation with Chuck Harbin, the Tournament Director who was writing in earnest on a sheet of paper as Boyd dictated to him. As I passed, I heard Boyd make the statements “he did this, he did that.” Therefore, Boyd made an untrue statement when he said that “he provided no testimony as to what occurred that day, but instead asked WELDON to “poll” everyone else who’d been on the scene.” Evidently, Trip did not talk with both Marshalls from Langill’s boat. (Note: NO ONE ELSE has been identified as making any statement and certainly the two most unbiased men who were there – in the boat - not sitting a quarter of a mile away – and knew exactly happened (Langill’s Marshals from Day 1 and Day 2) have both stated that Langill DID NOT conduct himself in any unsportsmanlike way or manner on EITHER day. B.A.S.S. has stated they talked with EVERYONE concerned with this incident and this was an untrue statement….they only talked with Boyd and the folks HE brought to the dance…..NOT the two Marshalls in Langill’s boat. The basis principle of law states that if you can not cross-examine the witness, then any statement make by the witness is hearsay. NO ONE allowed any rebuttal of the statements made by Mr. Duckett.When Langill came into the weigh-in dock, I found he again had a good bag of (5) bass. I questioned him if he had seen Boyd Duckett that day and he stated that he had and Boyd allowed his boat to drift into his boat on the hole. His Marshall, Mike Youtsey confirmed the incident but stated there was nothing to it, that both Boyd and Kevin had caught good sacks of bass off the hole. While Langill had gone to get his weigh-in bag from the BASS personnel, I had a conversation with Mike. He stated he certainly enjoyed fishing with Kevin that day, that he had learned a lot, and that he though Kevin was a might fine young man. He made no statements that any unsportsmanlike conduct had taken place on Langill’s part. Mike was told that he had been selected as one of the (6) Marshals to fish with one of the final (12) anglers on Sunday. He was elated.Langill carried his sack of bass to the stage, they were weighted and I visited with some members of my bass club waiting the final results of the tournament. When the last sack was weighed, we noted that Langill had squeaked by the bubble and was in 49th place. Director Trip Weldon and Tournament Manager Chuck Harbin announced the pairing of PRO anglers and Marshals for the third day – Saturday, May 9, 2009. When Langill and his Marshall was called, they met and shook hands. Trip called Langill and the Marshal to the stage and Mr. Weldon advised the Marshall he would NOT be fishing with Langill the next day but he would be paired with someone else (the decision had already been made relative to Langill’s disqualification without hearing, evidence, or rebuttal). Langill was told by Mr. Weldon that he wanted to have a talk with him and at this point both Director Weldon and Tournament Manager Harbin departed the stage and left Langill standing in front of the stage – where he stood for almost an hour before going behind the stage to find Mr. Weldon and Mr. Harbin.What appears to have taken place is an inquisition of Langill without benefit of counsel, evidence, hearing, rebuttal, challenge of witnesses, or production of witnesses on Langill’s part. Langill states that inference was made by the BASS officials that he was guilty as charged and that all questions directed to him was asking for confirmation of his guilt, not fact finding for the truth. End of discussion – Case Closed – Disqualified – all based on a complaint filed by the former Bassmaster World Champion – Boyd Duckett – which ended a young man’s career and took away any chance of livelihood as a bass fishing PRO. Any appeal of the decision(within 7 days of the tournament) would appear to be useless since the prize money won by Langill was withdrawn and Langill was deprived of the opportunity to participate in the Saturday competition to earn a berth to fish in the final (12) on Sunday. Could he have been the winner of the tournament? Mr. Duckett thinks HE could have.On Friday night Langill tried to contact Mr. Duckett, Mr. Weldon, and Mr. Harbin but none of them would answer or return his calls. One must ask one’s self if anglers should pursue a career as a bass pro angler under these type circumstances. It appears that if you do not produce ratings for the television viewers, you do not rate very high with the tournament organization and if the angler thinks everything is going to be fair and reasonable, watch out, things can get complicated and very nasty in short order. There is only one judge and jury in this business and you can’t have witnesses and a lawyer present.*Saturday morning – May 9, 2009 – prior to launch on the 3rd day of the tournament. Langill had secured his first day’s Marshall, Jim Beach of Ponchatoula, LA (the 2nd day’s Marshall had been scared off) to talk with Mr. Weldon who advised the Marshall he was out of order, out of place, and he would have no conversation with him – case closed – end of discussion. Mike Iaconelli tried to reason with Trip but was told to mind his own business – that it was not his fight. Langill went to Boyd Duckett to determine the reason he had filed the complaint and received no satisfaction. Then with all the frustration building from all the problems he had encountered in the last few months, and now his hard earned placement in a tournament was being taken from him based on what he believed to be an unfounded claim, and not being allowed any rebuttal allowed, his emotions overwhelmed him and he carried the issue to his fellow anglers – not a good, considered, or wise move since most of the folks did not know what the facts were regarding this issue, nor was it the time and place for such disclosure.With all lost in a four year career because of a compliant filed by a fellow angler and believing he had been lynched by B.A.S.S., he carried his anger to the lake this Saturday morning. Langill would share the honey hole with his fellow anglers but Boyd would catch no fish if Langill was denied from participating in the tournament. Kevin’s actions were not what he had been taught and were not professionally justified, but he was striking back at perceived intimidation and unjust handling on the part of tournament officials. When I was able to make contact with him and determined what was happening, I advised him to put his boat back on the trailer and depart the lake. He did so and departed to North Carolina to his wife and son. He understands his actions on Saturday morning did not enhance his reputation, that anger – regardless of the cause – does not solve problems, and that resolve will meet the test of time and balance out the wrongs done on any issue. HE WAS WRONG on this dayWhat is sad is that a young angler’s career has ended with BASS because of a complaint filed by an angler who has reached the pinnacle of success, which angler has more than likely engaged in tournament activity similar to that which he complained about, and that a system is screwed to the benefit of the powerful and to the business model of the profit making machine. It is sad that BASS has lost a promising young angler on the pro circuit and that the system by which the tournaments are conducted is now perceived as not being a level playing field. It is sad to see the former Bassmaster World Champion degrade himself in such a frivolous manner to terminate the career of an angler that he should be helping along the path to success.ONE MAN’S OPINIONDon GowenA Member of B.A.S.S. and the Federation Nation
Thanks Don Gowen or whoever posted this response. I think it adds some perspective.However, I think the attacks on the BASS organization and blaming Boyd Duckett are out of order.BassFan has interviewed Grant Goldbeck who was a witness to the events on days 1 and 2. Goldbeck's testimony is in line with Duckett's side of the story. Goldbeck is clear that it was Langill who was out of line on both days 1 and 2.Also I consider it a bit of a cheap shot to repeat Langill's claims about Boyd using a bent pole pattern on Langill's spot. It's pretty obvious from the account you give from Langill that this spot was a spot Duckett had found on his own.The fact of the matter is Langill arrived at the spot far later than Duckett on Day 1 and he did the same thing again on Day 2. Goldbeck confirms Duckett's claims that Langill cut Boyd off from the cast he was making. This is not the first time Langill has pulled such a stunt on the Elite Series.It is impossible to excuse Langills actions on Day 3 and it is because of Langill, not Boyd Duckett that Langill will no longer be fishing the Elites.In light of Langills comments at BassFan it is conceiveable that the whole episode was nothing more than calculated plublicity stunt for Langills lure company.
insignificantobserverbasspastor is unbelieveable. in brevity unequaled he discounts anonymous said and offers no where near the in depth explanation or findings of any evidence. Langills lure company versus the mighty ESPN machine. WHAT A BUNCH OF CRYBABIES ALL THE WAY AROUND. P__SS AND MOAN. I see no good comes from BASS tournaments and now how about the Robby Rose revelation. This is a joke! I just learnedc the other day you fools have LIE DETECTOR TESTS?. UNBELIEVEABLE Fishing is all about lies.
insignificantobserverI don't know what you mean when you say "Fishing is all about lies."Yes there is the stereotype that fishermen always lie about what they caught and where they caught it, but like all stereotypes it is just a generalization and not the gospel truth.As far as Robby Rose, just start to Google his name and the first thing in the suggestion box that comes up is "Robby Rose cheating"Nice!
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