WADDINGTON, N.Y. – Mark Menendez didn’t make Saturday’s Top 12 cut to fish the final day of the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.
But after Saturday’s weigh-in, he insisted his work regarding this event isn’t done.
A heated encounter with a lakeside landowner on Day 2 of the tournament had the usually mild-mannered Menendez fuming, and he said he intended to press legal charges against the man.
“I was just going down a bank, and this guy yells at me that there’s a big fish under his dock,” Menendez said. “I told him that we couldn’t accept information like that. It’s against the tournament rules.”
But Menendez said he soon realized the man wasn’t offering his help.
“He said, ‘No, I’m telling you there’s a big fish under this dock, and you need to leave it alone,’” Menendez said. “I just kept fishing, and he said, ‘You’re really pushing it.’”
Menendez said he tried to explain calmly to the man that he had a legal right to fish the public waters of the St. Lawrence River. He also said he assured the man he wasn’t bothering his property and told him he intended to keep fishing.
“He told me I was asking for it,” Menendez said.
At that point, Menendez said the man got into his own boat and started doing circles around him. But it didn’t stop Menendez from landing a 3-pounder.
“I looked at him and told him I had got me a 3-pounder,” Menendez said. “Then he told me there was a 4-pounder under the next dock and accused me of cheating because I was taking information from him. I told him I hadn’t solicited that information, so it didn’t matter.”
Menendez said his Marshal filmed and photographed most of the incident, and he plans to use the evidence to press charges. New York has a law against angler harassment, and Menendez believes that’s not the only law the man violated.
“Besides harassing me, he started cussing me because I’m Hispanic,” Menendez said. “He’s guilty of a hate crime, too. The warden’s here right now, and I'm going to bury this guy.
“I did absolutely nothing wrong.”