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I read all the posts on the ABF Apache tournament and I really felt bad for the tournament director. I know the guy and I respect him for his sincerity, for his honesty, and for his openness to feedback. I figured this type of feedback is gotta be killing him. I called him.

I wanted to find out his side of the story because I wasn’t at Apache and only have the posts. I wanted to find out what he was going to do. Was he going to reply? Will he make changes? What went wrong? He and I spoke for 45 mins to an hour. Actually he might tell you I grilled him with questions. Here’s what I found out in my conversation with the ABF tourney director FYI..

There’s no one that feels worse about the weigh-in than him. He’s been reading the posts on AZBZ but hasn’t replied because he knows he cannot do so unemotionally. He doesn’t agree with some of the statements made and doesn’t want his posts to appear as if he is discrediting people.

I found out how he normally sets up the scales. If AC power is available, like at the Lake Pleasant marina, he runs the AC extension cord to the weigh-in table, ties the extension cord to the table leg so it doesn’t get pulled out and then plugs a "transformer" into the AC. (The "transformer" is an AC to DC converter.) The "transformer" produces DC voltage and both the scale and big LED display are plugged into the "transformer". If there is no AC power available, like at Roosevelt or Apache or Bartlett, then he has a large 12 volt lead acid battery which he connects to an Inverter to produce AC power, and then runs the power to the scales as above. If he has to set up the weigh-in table on uneven ground, he carries a small shovel to move some dirt or sand to get the scale sitting as level as possible. He knows the scale is not accurate if its tilted. Once the scale, table, and power is set up he zeroes the scale and makes sure its working. The scale has been re-calibrated within the last year. (I was surprised to hear that costs more than $200.) He’s run tests at home using a 5 lb weight. Set up the scale, zero it, add 5 lb weight, it reads 5.0 lbs. Power it down, power it back up, zero it, add 5 lb weight, it reads 5.0 lbs. It’ll do it every time. Sounds to me like a good scale.

I checked the posted tourney results. There’s one piece of data that tells me there was something wrong with the scale at some point in time during the weigh in at Apache. Two teams weighed 1 fish. One teams fish weighed .6 lbs, the other fish weighed .55 lbs. There’s a 13 inch minimum length. A 13 inch LM weighs at least 1 lb. This tells me something happened to the scale at some point in time.

So I asked him to go over everything that happened at Apache pertaining to the weigh in. Friday night he was un-packing and knowing he would have no AC power he checked his big lead/acid battery. It was dead. Even though it had been recharged, it was dead. He had a smaller 12v battery as a backup. About the size of a motorcycle battery it would power the scale but not have enough juice for the big LED scale display. Could this have been the problem with the scale? Maybe not a high enough voltage to give accurate weights? My answer, as a retired electrical engineer who knows this stuff, is no. I expect the scales are designed to detect the input voltage, and will not turn on if the voltage is too high, too low or the polarity is reversed. Same as the fish finder on your boat, your cell phone or hand held GPS. The scale will operate normally over a range of DC voltages.

During the day, before weigh-in, he was notified he could not hold his weigh-in at the beach where he normally holds it. There were kids swimming. The last thing any tourney director wants is to have kid meet prop blade so he accepted the alternative location. For lack of a better description, I’ll call it "the grassy knoll". I’ve been to the marina and am familiar with the knoll. Someone posted its 25 feet above the water! That’s a TWO AND A HALF STORY BUILDING high! No way, in my opinion, is it that high. I’m remembering 10 feet high, maybe 12 feet max. I asked the tourney director how high he thought it is. He had walked down to the water and looked up, he could still see people’s shoes who were standing close to the edge. He says its 8 ft. Other posters said 10 feet. I’m with them, but its certainly not 25 feet high.

Back to the scales. Well before the first weigh-in time, the table was set up on a flat piece of ground on the grassy knoll, the scale set up and powered by the small 12v battery, powered up, zeroed and checked to see if it worked. What else might have affected the scales? New info here. During the weigh-in and before the re-zeroing of the scale due to the "big smally weight challenge", two people came around the backside of the scale table to see the weight. Remember, there was no big LED display for people to watch. The director had stepped away from the scale table and two people came around and stepped between the director and the scale to read the weight. That’s a no-no so he shooed them away, called off the weight, took the weigh-in basket and walked over and released the fish. He replaced the basket on the scale. Then he noticed the scale’s display was dark. The power cord was not connected to the scale. I asked him if he knew how that happened. He said "I don’t know but that doesn’t matter, its my fault I should have anticipated this and prevented it." He won’t say it but I will. I think one of the two people who went behind the table to peek at the weight tripped on the power cord on the way back around the table and shut the scale down. That was an accident that the director should have prevented either by preventing people from getting back there or tying down the power cord so it was neatly in place and out of the way. Bottom line is, early in the weigh-in, the scale lost power, was powered back up and re-zeroed. Based on his testing of the scale he could re-zero it without affecting anything. This is before director’s decision to re-zero the scale at the "big smally weight challenge".

I asked the director if he was rushed to reset the scale. He said no, there was no one in line or coming to the scale so he had plenty of time.

Before the weigh-in, he has a routine to set up the table, the power, the scale and a routine to zero the scale. I’m hypothesizing that when the power was lost to the scale this is a extraordinary, maybe even flustering event. Its not being done in his normal, careful pre-weigh-in routine. Could he have easily made an error re-zeroing the scale under those conditions. My opinion is yes. Did he re-check the table was level or the scale moved freely? Maybe not. My opinion is this is likely the time the scales went off.

I asked the director about the "big smally weight event". He says he was weighing in a big smally and called out the weight and the angler said that fish is bigger than a 2.8. Says he looked again at the fish and thought to himself ‘Gee that does look like a big smalley! What’s up here?’ I asked him why he decided to re-zero the scale. He said "I want to do what’s right".

Damn! That’s a heart breaker.

I asked the director what is he planning to do in the future? He’s thinking about asking anglers to stick around for a meeting after the MBC weigh in to discuss the issues. (I’ll give him credit for doing that, I don’t know any other tournament director who would consider getting angler input) For sure he’s going to make some changes to his equipment and procedures. From what I’ve learned talking with him, I don’t think he’s inexperienced and he has been doing tournaments for five years. He’s demonstrated to me he knows what he’s doing at weigh-ins. Just sometimes your heart gets in the way of your head. He will do things to make sure the chances of this happening again are very, very small.
 

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Denny

Good post, I was hoping your buddy Randy was going to reply, but it is not necessary now. By the time you read something second handed the story get twisted ten fold and you never know what the truth is. Thanks for clarfication.
 

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Thanks d a for the update, heart-felt, and insightful response. In this world, I believe that most people who assume the role as leaders, organizers, or volunteers always want to do the right thing. You're right, the heart always gets in the way, when it comes to the person who actually cares.
It sounds like the organizers took every perceivable (sp) scenario and was prepared for it. They had their back-up plans in place. I know in my very short life span, that you can't plan for everything. You make your plans, then life happens! I'm sure they'll make their adjustments (scales-no pun - & procedures) and capture the input from the angling community after the MBC on Saturday.
Any and everybody that I've listened to that is connected to Randy have nothing, but great things to say about him and the people who put on these tourneys.
That's why I joined up this year with the MBC and Wayne (my partner). It should be a fun run. Looking forward to see everybody out there this weekend! Matt
 

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HEY DA, THATS MY BAD, I SAID IT WAS AROUND 25 FT, BAD JUDGEMENT, MY APOLOGIES ABF. :oops: IF THEY SAY 10-12, THEN WILL GO WITH THAT . :D
REMEMBER, "IT'S CALLED FISHING NOT CATCHING"
 
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GOOD GUY OR NOT IT STILL A BUNCH OF CRAP! I KNOW NEXT TIME I WANT TO PISS OFF $215.00 BUCKS + GAS I`LL FISH ALLSTAR. I HEARD THAT HE`S MAKING IT UP TO THE GUYS THAT HE FELT GOT THE SHAFT. BY GIVE THEM FEW GUYS FREE ENTRY INTO (SATURDAY) MBC AT PLEASANT. I DON`T FEEL CHEATED NOW THAT I STOP PAYMENT ON MY CHECK!
 
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Then what would your solution be?

I can understand someone being pissed about it. I know I would have. but after the fact what could be done to make those people happy? realistically(sp)



Delw
 

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You see here is the problem, you are like a school kid ( Guest) if you want anyone to even think you have an opinion then sign your name. you are playing the game that the others were playing on the other site. that is why most of us left. all of the people here say their opinons and are man or woman enough to sign their name. if you want to play kiddie games then go to the kiddie site. if you want to get some credit for your opinion here, then sign a name and act like an adult!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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Oh yea guest dude. if infact you stopped payment on the check after you competed in a tourney, that is called theft. simple and clear. i will talk to the tourney director and see if in fact you did stop payment. if this is so we will have a chit chat and see what direction we will go from there.
 

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Anonymous said:
GOOD GUY OR NOT IT STILL A BUNCH OF CRAP! I KNOW NEXT TIME I WANT TO PISS OFF $215.00 BUCKS + GAS I`LL FISH ALLSTAR. I HEARD THAT HE`S MAKING IT UP TO THE GUYS THAT HE FELT GOT THE SHAFT. BY GIVE THEM FEW GUYS FREE ENTRY INTO (SATURDAY) MBC AT PLEASANT. I DON`T FEEL CHEATED NOW THAT I STOP PAYMENT ON MY CHECK!
Sorry, but with the grammar errors, I can't figure out what you're saying. I don't think you’re supporting the guy but I just can’t tell for sure. I'm sure you didn't mean to have any errors in your post but hey, we all make mistakes.
 

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Apache ABF

Guys! Sometimes mistakes just happen and you have to go on with life. I was at Apache for the tournament fishing and the ceremony and I never knew of this "controversy" until I read the comments on this chat page. Maybe I was having too good a time.

I have fished every ABF tournament since its inception. I have also fished Allstar, MBC, Won Bass and a number of other tournament circuits. The folks with ABF rank up there with the nicest of the bunch and are trying to build a first-class circuit for Arizona anglers. They have great sponsors, the best payouts and pretty good food. So, an error may have occurred, I doubt that it cost anyone significant money. Aren't we in this for the fun of competitive fishing? I'll tell you what I tell my children when things don't go perfectly, "The world isn't always fair." But this group of tournament folks will likely go to great extent to prevent this type of thing from happening again. That's good enough for me.

I have had to cut back on my fishing due to work and family commitments, but I will be sure to continue fishing 100% of ABF tournaments and as many MBC tournaments as I can. They are my first and second choice for tournament fishing. I really enjoy these tournaments. If some of you are so bitter as to never let this perceived problem go and plan to make the tournaments less enjoyable for the majority of us, move on!!

By the way, I don't know if my partner and I weighed in before or after the scale shut down and we didn't come in first.

Dave
 

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Seems as though a very serious mistake was made on the part of resetting the scales during weigh in. It also seems that this mistake happened to a most respected and admired individual. We all make mistakes. It’s how we rectify them that’s important. From what I’ve read, a number of entrants were deprived of a fair assessment of their talents due to this mistake. My opinion is that the event should have been cancelled at that point; all entry monies refunded to the entrants, massive apologies made to all who were involved, and any fees for the event paid by the club sponsoring the event. That would have been the creditable action to take considering the circumstances.

Boat Cop, I believe you’re a little off base here. If I thought that I had been a victim of fraud, which this questionably might be, I would have taken the same action that the Guest took (under the circumstances). I would have stopped payment on the check also. Immediately! I prefer to count on our courts of law, mediators, and judges to decide the outcome of such disagreements, not cops. This is a free country. Guest can post his opinion here if he wants to, just like you or I. I haven’t seen any law that requires anyone posting on this forum to identify themselves.

Guest, I’d go have a little chit-chat with someone also!……..as much as I despise them….this; (“Oh yea guest dude. if infact you stopped payment on the check after you competed in a tourney, that is called theft. simple and clear. i will talk to the tourney director and see if in fact you did stop payment. if this is so we will have a chit chat and see what direction we will go from there.”(sic)) is one of the reasons they’re necessary, and the initial consultation is usually free.
 

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I don't think cancelling the entire event is the answer either....unless you had no fish to weigh.....The guys who truly had good weights would have gotten royally screwed....This is truly a tough one...I wonder if their liability Insurance covers things of this nature, if it does maybe they could offer a free entry to all participants in an upcoming event....or if it doesn't maybe they should just eat it and give the free entry anyways.....Just thinking out loud!!!! Dan
 

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2sunaz, you see if you read his post, he does not think he is a victim of fraud he feels cheated that the scales were reset. from what i have heard and read and talked to some of the participants, 3 of which are high ranking police officers who do not even remotely think a crime was committed. The tourney director did not have the appropriate culpable mental state to commit frude . So, as a course of action to get even he thinks he can stop payment on services rendered. That is theft. If he feels cheated then take it to civil court like most intelligent people do. you even said you would rather have the courts sort things out. If more people would act rational then the police would not have to get involved so much. You see police only arrest people on probable cause. we do not prosecute people, we do not try people and we do not sentence people. All we do is arrest. If he committed a crime in my jurisdiction and the victim wants to prossecute then it falls into my field. As for freedom to post, he does. One would get alot more credibility if they would not be ignorant in how they write and sign a name.
 
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So Barnie Fife, I mean Boat Cop, Did you check with the tournament director yet? Just curious if you're ready for our little chit-chat.
 

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Guest, I am not in any big hurry, i have got 5 years to deal with this. Obviosly you are little afraid, resorted to name calling and still cant leave a name. All you are doing is showing people here first hand the type of people i have to deal with on a daily basis!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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