B.A.S.S. officials announced Thursday that due to a rules violation, Louisiana pro Derek Hudnall has been disqualified from the Bassmaster Elite Series event scheduled for April 4-7 on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell.
Hudnall fished Hartwell on Monday, a day after the mandatory 28-day off-limits period for the event had begun. When he realized his mistake on Tuesday, he self-reported the violation to B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon.
He was notified of the disqualification Thursday morning.
“I went through my calendar and marked 28 days before every event,” Hudnall said. “Unfortunately, I marked it off from the start of the event — the first tournament day and not the first official practice day.
“To be honest, I wasn’t even supposed to be at Hartwell then. I was gonna go to Winyah Bay that Monday and Tuesday, but the weather kept me at Hartwell.”
Hudnall said the penalty was what he expected — and exactly what he felt he deserved.
“There’s absolutely no excuse,” he said. “I consider myself a man of character. I could just not have said anything and maybe gotten away with it. But with something like that, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.
“As soon as I realized it, I called Trip. I knew calling him that I would more than likely be disqualified from this event by doing this. I’ve been hurting over it, but B.A.S.S. did exactly what it should have done.”
Shortly after learning of the disqualification, Hudnall posted a video on his Facebook page explaining the situation and apologizing to his fans. The full video can be viewed here.