B.A.S.S. officials announced Tuesday that Florida angler Jesse Tacoronte has been disqualified from this week’s Academy Outdoors + Sports Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville.
Tacoronte was ruled to have violated Bassmaster 2019 Elite Rule C3 (i), which states “During the 28-day off limits periods, other than using publicly-available information (e.g. newspaper and Internet reports), competitors cannot solicit, gather, or intentionally receive any information via phone, electronic device or any other means about locating or catching fish on tournament waters. THERE SHALL BE NO EXCEPTIONS.”
Tacoronte said the infraction was the result of a “simple misstep” on his part — and while disappointed, he said he was ready to accept the consequences. He will still be at the event and plans to help out the Bassmaster productions crews in any way possible.
He issued the following statement in the wake of the announcement:
Late last year, the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament schedule was changed, and Lake Guntersville was added to the schedule as a replacement venue. When it was announced that Guntersville was on the schedule, the Costa Series Championship was going on. That meant the no-information rule was not in effect for Elite Series competitors until the Costa Series ended.
I saw the opportunity to reach out to fellow anglers for some guidance on Guntersville, and I received information via email, Facebook messages and texts before the official off-limits. That was then.
On May 20, 2019, I thought I had misplaced one set of waypoints that I had received months and months earlier. So, I posted a message asking whoever sent me the info to please resend it. I didn’t think this was a rule violation in any way.
If my intention was to cheat or subvert the system, I certainly would not have put it on social media. The notice that I had committed an infraction caught me off guard, I was stunned. It never crossed my mind that re-asking for something I already received — and come to find out, still actually had — was a violation of any rule.
For life reasons and being so busy with work and business, I flat-out forgot I could just look back at Facebook, emails and messenger to find the information. It was there all along. I forwarded all the time-stamped information to the tournament director to show I have had the information since last October and offered to take a lie-detector test, but the rule is clear. Disqualification is the consequence of ignorance.
My integrity and the integrity of the B.A.S.S. rules are more important to me than anything else. Fishing at this level has to have a solid foundation of rules to protect not only my integrity, but that of my fellow competitors. This is not something I take lightly.
For 30 years of tournament fishing I've tried to hold myself to the highest standards. So, this really blindsided me. It's tough to handle. I just have to take my lumps and move on.
I apologize for putting anyone in a compromising situation and to B.A.S.S. for any trouble this has caused them. I am sorry to disappoint B.A.S.S., our fans, my sponsors and family but everyone has made mistakes, and I did just that.