$1 Million Fish Gets Away

     (CN) – An angler who snagged a world-record 68 lb. striped bass sued the International Game Fish Association for denying him a $1 million prize due to a bait technicality.
     Rodney Ply sued the IGFA in Broward County Court, Fort Lauderdale. He claims the group refused to certify his monster fish after falsely declaring that his homemade bait is an illegal spreader bar.
     (Umbrella-shaped spreader bars drag artificial minnows behind them. Ply’s gizmo is a spinner shaped like an umbrella, according to news reports on the dispute.)
     Ply says he entered the “Hook-a-Million” contest, a promotion sponsored by fishhook company O. Mustad & Son, which offered a $1 million prize for any angler who caught a fish that breaks a world record.
     “On February 18, 2012, plaintiff caught a world record striped bass, one of the contest’s eligible species, which was eligible for the world record grand prize,” Play says in the complaint.
     Ply claims he followed all the rules: He sent in pictures of the fish hanging from an approved scale, his lure, his rod and reel, and the 68-lb. striper itself.
     “On October 19, 2012, defendant’s executive committee denied certification of the fish, enigmatically classifying the lure plaintiff used as an illegal spreader bar,” the complaint states.
     Spreader bar lures are mostly used in saltwater. The lures mimic a school of baitfish.
     Ply used a homemade spinnerbait lure.
     “The lure plaintiff used to catch the fish cannot reasonably or in good faith be classified as a spreader bar,” Ply says in his complaint. “As a direct and proximate cause of defendant’s wrongful denial of world record certification for plaintiff’s fish, plaintiff was deprived of the world record grand prize to which he was entitled.”
     Ply seeks damages for interference with a business relationship, negligence, breach of contract and bad faith.
     He is represented Eric Rudenberg of Rudenberg Glasser.
     Mustad & Son is not a party to the complaint.

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