Fishing News

Lawsuit Filed in Million-dollar Striped Bass Dispute

Rodney Ply with his striped bass.

Rodney Ply with his striped bass.

Attorneys representing angler Rodney Ply filed a lawsuit against the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) last month, the latest action taken in the continuing saga of Ply’s record-sized striped bass.

Ply caught the huge striper in February of 2012 while participating in Mustad’s “Hook-a-Million” contest. According to the rules of the competition, participating anglers who catch a state record will be awarded $100,000, while anyone lucky enough to land a world record could take home $1 million. Ply’s massive bass clocked in at 68 pounds. It was heavier than the state record by four pounds and narrowly beat out the largest ever recorded by a half-pound. At the time, Ply thought he was a shoe-in for the prize money.

The trouble first began when Arkansas officials refused his application for the state record due to the fact that the scale Ply used was not officially certified. When Ply later tried to appeal the decision using a certified scale and the aid of witnesses, he was told by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission that he did not follow “proper post-catch protocol.” Similarly, the authority on world records, IGFA, also determined that Ply’s catch was unacceptable. After deliberation, IGFA officials decided that Ply’s homemade “bass-tricker lure” was in fact a spreader bar arrangement, not unlike an Alabama rig, thus disqualifying Ply’s bass for record keeping.

After being turned down by both state and IGFA measurers, Ply was unable to enter his catch into the Mustad competition and the $1 million prize eventually went to Guy Yocom and his 427-pound yellowfin tuna. Months later an Alabama angler overtook Ply’s striper with an even larger 70-pound specimen.

Now Ply is taking the fight to the courts. According to ABC News, it was a not decision he wanted to make.

“They just left me no choice,” Ply said.

The lawsuit primarily focuses on IGFA’s definition of a spreader bar, which Ply denies his lure was. The design of the lure was Ply’s own and is currently patent pending.

“Mr. Ply is your average hardworking decorated veteran who was invited to compete in a competition and as an avid angler he was excited about fulfilling any fisherman’s dream, which is to catch a world record fish,” said attorney Michael Glasser, who along with partner Eric Rudenberg will be representing Ply. ”He followed all the rules and he was blessed and gifted enough to succeed at something that everyone dreams of and all he wants is what was promised to him.”

“This is a typical David and Goliath story,” Rudenberg said.

Once they receive the lawsuit, IGFA will have 20 days to respond. The lawsuit does not name Mustad as a defendant.

You can read more about Ply’s story here.

Image courtesy Rodney Ply

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  • justsayin’

    I think that anyone representing a tournament, such as Mr. Ply has, and goes by the rules, should get what is coming to them. Every bait used in fishing, will have a duplicate recorded, somewhere, in the US Patent office. I hope that IGFA resolves this issue in a sportsmanlike manner. Why would they risk their reputation in such an un-sportsman like way? It would also be un-sportsman like to request the Grand prize back from Mr. Yokom. He fulfilled his part in the contest, as well. If not, IGFA should not receive a “FOUL” , as in baseball, but rather, an “OUT”. And what is Mustad’s stand on this issue? Are they being silent because they know where the justice in this issue lyse’ ? In all fairness, they should be showing support for Mr. Ply, since he did use their product, or take a stand against him. No one want’s to see a good name smeared in such a battle as this, on either side. Winners are winners, but don’t leave it up to a court judge to decide where the line divides “sportsmanlike” and “un-sportsmanlike” conduct.

    • quality time

      I thought the world record stripe bass was set in Ct. at 81lbs 13 oz. ?

      • Guest

        That was a SALTWATER record, whereas this is a FRESHWATER fish.

  • Good sportsman

    They had a Tournament for the .largest fish and they did not have certified scales there ?