Michael McCloud Jr., founder and organizer of Big Bass Mania, has turned himself in to Florida authorities after being sought in connection with theft related to the fishing tournament that occurred on Sam Rayburn Reservoir in June of 2012. A detailed story about some of the complaints by participants in this event was written in the Beaumont Enterprise.
The following is a press release issued by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
AUSTIN — Texas Game Wardens have arrested Michael Shane McCloud of Florida (formerly of Bryan-College Station) for theft related to a fishing tournament.
Following his arrest, the 44-year-old McCloud was booked into the Jasper County Jail. No bond has been set.
The investigation that culminated in his arrest began in June 2012 after authorities received numerous complaints related to fishing tournament prize payouts that allegedly did not occur. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens and investigators with other law enforcement agencies spent more than a year looking into the practices and methods McCloud used to promote a bass tournament on Lake Sam Rayburn in June 2012.
After an extensive, multi-jurisdictional investigation in which numerous tournament participants and sponsors in several states were interviewed, a sealed indictment naming McCloud was returned by a Jasper County grand jury. Ultimately, an arrest warrant was issued for McCloud on the theft charge, a state jail felony punishable by a $1,500 to $20,000 fine and from 180 days to two years in jail.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Department law enforcement officers assisted Texas Game Wardens in locating McCloud. After being notified to the indictment pending against him, he turned himself in to authorities.
“Due to good police work, collaboration and teamwork this case is now ready to be put in the hands of the court,” said Lt. Col. Danny Shaw, assistant commander of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Law Enforcement Division. “Texas Game Wardens intend to remain focused on protecting our resources as well as the citizens of Texas from those who wish to exploit either. Fishing tournaments in Texas are a fabric of many communities and reservoirs and Game Wardens will continue to play a role in ensuring they are conducted in a manner consistent with the law.”
McCloud’s arrest marks the first time a fishing tournament director has been arrested in Texas.
"Big Bass Mania" and Michael McCloud are not associated with B.A.S.S.