Master Angler Joseph DeGeer disqualified after


Mar 11, 2001
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Master Angler Joseph DeGeer disqualified after failing test


By DAVID RAINER, Mobile Register

Joseph DeGeer of Irvington failed a polygraph test and has been stripped of the title of master angler from last weekend's Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo.

"Joseph DeGeer was disqualified because of unfavorable results on the polygraph test," said Andy Cook, president of the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, which attracted more than 3,200 fishermen.

Rodeo policy requires that all first-place jackpot winners and competitors in the winning boats pass a polygraph test. The disqualification will cost DeGeer about $3,000 in prizes.

"I can't figure out what went wrong," DeGeer said. "I don't know why (the poly graph) did it. There was thunder and lightning outside, and I was nervous. That's the first time I've ever had to do something like that.

"I caught my fish legal. But I know that it says on the rodeo ticket that we're subject to the polygraph. That's the reason I'm not going to get a lawyer."

After DeGeer's disqualification, Cook said rodeo officials determined that Joseph F. Kraver was the new master angler for the 71st annual competition. Kraver finished first in the barracuda category at 28.62 pounds and first in red snapper at 31.03 pounds.

Cook said Kraver will not be officially recognized as the champion until he himself passes a polygraph test, scheduled for Thursday.

The prize for being named master angler is a Raymarine L-760 RC Fish Finder valued at more than $2,000. DeGeer also loses his first-place finishes and prizes in the competitions for gafftopsail catfish, jack crevalle and triggerfish, as well as a second place in flounder. Rodeo prizes for first place in the regular categories include a variety of items, ranging from a Pulsar quartz watch to various fishing equipment.

Polygraph tests and sophisticated fish-testing equipment have become standard at fishing tournaments, where prestige and prize money of more than $100,000 can be at stake. Past cheating incidents at angling tournaments have involved everything from catching a big fish before a tournament to stuffing lead weights or smaller fish in the bellies of catches.

The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo began using polygraphs in 1991, Cook said.

The rodeo policy does not provide for a second test to be taken if the first is not passed.

"Also, anyone on the leaderboard is subject to being asked to take a polygraph prior to receiving awards," Cook said. "Charles DeGeer, Joseph DeGeer's nephew, was also disqualified for a rules violation."

Rodeo officials would not elaborate on Charles DeGeer's disqualification, which led to him forfeiting second place in the competition for gafftopsail catfish and third in jack crevalle. Charles DeGeer could not be reached for comment.

After the polygraph results, rodeo officials had to adjust the leaderboard in four regular categories, in addition to master angler:

In the gafftopsail catfish category: Diana Fournier, whose catch weighed 7.10 pounds, finished first, followed by Gerald Bosarge Jr. at 6.96 and Blake Perkins at 6.74.

In the jack crevalle division, Bosarge is the winner at 30.56 pounds, followed by Scott Murphy at 30.15 and Justin Midgette at 29.47.

In the triggerfish category, Richard Duhom prevailed at 7.62 pounds, followed by Louis Broughton at 6.92 and Lawrence Smith Jr. at 5.99.

The flounder division winner remains Howard Schimpf at 6.38 pounds, but second place now goes to Brian Murphy at 4.46, followed by Rhett Chamber at 4.35.

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