Something Fishy in Kentucky Waters

BENTON, Ky. -- A pair of fishing buddies were charged with 10 felonies after being accused of cheating in fishing tournaments on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

Marshall and Lyon county grand juries on Tuesday indicted Dwayne E. Nesmith, 43, of Island, and Brian K. Thomas, 31, of Dawson Springs on nine counts of theft by deception of over $300 in Marshall County, one count of complicity to commit theft by deception of over $300 and one count of attempted theft by deception of over $300 in Lyon County.

An investigation of the pair started April 30, when the men allegedly stashed five live bass in a fish basket in the water, then picked them up to weigh in at the Relay for Life Buddy Bass Tournament at the Lake Barkley State Resort Park, state police said.

Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Sgt. Bill Snow said someone reported the bass, which were marked with clippings in their fins.

Nesmith and Thomas were witnessed picking up the fish early on the morning of April 30, then putting their catch in the boat, Snow said.

Snow said the men allegedly entered three of the stashed fish in the tournament's weigh-in at the end of the day.

That sparked an investigation into tournaments the pair had previously won, Snow said.

Kentucky State Police Sgt. Brent White said Nesmith and Thomas won several thousand dollars and a bass boat worth $30,000 by allegedly catching fish before a tournament, then submitting the fish as being caught during the competition.

The two men were arrested Tuesday after the grand juries handed up the indictments.