MANNING, SC — Alton Jones has been the second angler to be disqualified in the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series event on Santee Cooper.
Bassmaster tournament officials announced the action in a brief statement that was released late Thursday night after the Day One weigh-in: "Alton Jones has been disqualified from the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series' Santee Cooper Showdown presented by MotorGuide for violating rules 3.2 and 12."
Jones, of Waco, Texas, was disqualified because he was given assistance in operating his boat while he located fish during the tournament's official practice period."
Jones was in second place prior to the disqualification with 35 pounds, 6 ounces. Following the weigh in Friday, he, along with two other anglers (Kevin Langill and Randy Howell), was polygraphed. Bassmaster tournament officials did not indicate why the anglers were tested, but handed down the disqualification at approximately 10 p.m. (EST) Thursday.
Langill and Howell were both competing in the tournament Friday.
Bassmaster Tournament director Trip Weldon declined to give further information on the disqualification.
"The only thing I can say is the specific part of Rule 3.2 deals with, 'During both the official practice and the tournament, a competitor may not have the assistance or advice of anyone for the purposes of locating or catching bass,'" Weldon said.
Jones could not be reached for comment. He is known for practicing in most Bassmaster tournaments with his son, Alton Jones, Jr.
The disqualification followed an earlier decision on Monday when Kevin VanDam was disqualified for accepting assistance from his co-angler partner. In that instance, VanDam's trolling motor had lost power and prior to taking out for the day, VanDam asked his co-angler, Jim Stawiarski, to idle him around a spawning area while he looked from the front deck.
The practice is against Elite Series Rule 12, which states: "Non-boaters are only allowed to drive the boat in emergency situations in both practice and competition with the exception of loading and unloading from trailers."
VanDam was disqualified and according to one Bassmaster official there was some question that other anglers "may have done the same type of thing."