MANY, La. — Bassmaster Elite Series pro Ish Monroe was disqualified this morning from the Toledo Bend Bassmaster Central Open for unsportsmanlike conduct after shouting expletives in front of almost two dozen spectators watching the blast-off.
"He cursed me personally, and he cursed the organization," BASS Senior Tournament Manager Chris Bowes said. "There were families there. There were kids there."
The incident happened after Monroe was asked to produce proof of boat insurance in keeping with BASS Rule 1(ii), which states, in part, that "(p)roof of insurance must be with the boat being used and must cover the competitors using that boat."
Monroe informed Bowes that his insurance card was across the lake in his truck, and Bowes told Monroe he could not participate in the tournament without proof of insurance.
Monroe then allegedly got up on pad in a no-wake zone and ran across the lake to retrieve the required insurance card. When Monroe returned, Bowes asked him to wait until all other anglers had launched so they could discuss his violation of no-wake regulations. Monroe asked Bowes if he was going to be disqualified, and when Bowes again deferred the discussion until after the launch, Monroe began yelling profanities.
After the launch, Bowes disqualified Monroe for violating BASS Rule 2, which states in part that anglers "shall, at all times, conduct themselves in a manner becoming professional anglers that will not reflect unfavorably on BASS, its members, officers or representatives, tournaments or sponsors."
Monroe said the incident sprang from frustrations that have built over the past years, which culminated this week when he was fined for being late to the official angler registration.
"I've dropped over $300,000 in entry fees with BASS over the course of a 10-year period, and they're going to tell me I have to pay a $50 late fee," Monroe said when reached by cell phone. "It comes down to a respect issue."
Bowes said several other competitors also were fined for registering late.
Monroe said he also felt proof of insurance shouldn't have been an issue because Bowes could have "let me blast off and go fish, and if I didn't show him the proof of insurance at the end of the day then he could have DQ'd me."
Bowes said he had no choice.
"If I send them out there after seeing that they don't have insurance and they get in a wreck, liability becomes a concern," Bowes explained. "The BASS rules are intended to protect everyone, including spectators.
"I've held guys in the past waiting for proof of insurance, sometimes for hours while they get new insurance documents faxed to them."
Monroe said he "took full responsibility" for his conduct on the dock, but he maintained BASS should have allowed him to fish.