Every avid fisherman has a story about “the one that got away”. Usually it is a fish that was so big, fought so long, broke line, stripped reel gears, tipped a boat, etc. Fishermen have better stories about the ones that got away than they do about the he loveless they caught, weighed, photographed, stuffed, and mounted.
But Rodney Ply of Diamond City, Arkansas, has the saddest “one that got away” tale of them all. He had a $1 million dollar prize on the hook, and was left standing in the boat with an empty net.
According to ABC News, Ply entered a contest, called the “Hook-a-Million” contest, that offered one million dollars to and fisherman that caught a record-breaking fish using a Mustad-brand hook. In February of last year, Ply caught a striped-bass that weighed in at 68 pounds. According to contest rules, that fish qualified. Ply figured he’d won. However, his lawsuit states that the International Game Fish Association’s executive committee “denied certification of the fish, enigmatically classifying the lure plaintiff used as an illegal spreader bar.”
Ply thought something smelled fishy. He said he is not professional fisherman. That’s not how he makes his living. He owns North Arkansas Concrete and is an Army veteran.
“I love to fish,” he said. “I’m just an everyday fisherman. I didn’t want to go legal. They just left me no choice.”
Ply says he followed contest rules to the letter. He sent photos of the fish hanging from a scale approved in the rules, as well as photos of the homemade lure that he used, of his rod and reel, and the 68-pound fish. He says that his lure was a homemade spinner lure that could never be construed as a “spreader bar”.
Ply’s attorneys said, “Mr. Ply is your average hardworking decorated veteran who was invited to compete in a competition and as an avid angler he was excited about fulfilling any fisherman’s dream, which is to catch a world record fish. He followed all the rules and he was blessed and gifted enough to succeed at something that everyone dreams of and all he wants is what was promised to him.”