Blake Warren – ON THE HOOK

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Friday, May 31, 2019
‘Irvine Fake,’ revisited
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Mead Eater

A long, Long con
It’s been a very strange week in the world of bass fishing to say the least. Everyone has seen it, read it; everyone now knows. The legend exists no longer. Or at least, it most certainly shouldn’t. And when it gets down to the nitty gritty, it really doesn’t even necessarily have to do with one Mike Long, although at the same time it most certainly does.

You see, Mike Long was / is just a marker and a stout reminder right here for the rest of us, that there will always be these proverbial snakes in the grass, those people who will do whatever it takes to satiate their egos, their mere perceived validity in this lifetime or just to simply one-up the next guy for his well-intentioned cash that was laid out on what was a seemingly even playing field. Shady people exist, and they are alive and well. But everybody reading this likely already knows that – no secret there, or at least it shouldn’t be...

“WALL OF FRAUD” — Tournament plaques — the validity of which are now all in question — and an aquarium that was likely used to house largemouth for “future use” sit behind Mike Long in his garage. PHOTO COURTESY OF SDFISH.COM

This past week’s revelations revealed quite a lot. And as big of a stain as it is on the entirety of bass fishing, more so on the San Diego scene, it provides everyone with an opportunity to move forward on a different path. One that’s legitimate again, and one that offers a clean Etch-A-Sketch to start anew, and hopefully prevent this type of thing from ever happening in the future.

Ultimate kudos to Kellen Ellis at for the excellent work and dedication it took to lay out this surreal saga so well and eloquently. I’m far from completely dialed in with every intricacy of this whole deal, but as a San Diego State journalism grad, I can say whole heartedly that I feel and believe it deep in my gut that Mr. Ellis nailed this one completely out of the park on a fundamental journalistic level. He connected every dot and laid a pathway to the TRUTH — and you can choose to believe whatever it is that you want. But bravo to Kellen and everybody who contributed in the culmination of this story finally getting published. But it all goes far beyond fishing.

From a fishing standpoint, it’s appalling enough. All of it. From the bed snagging to the BYOB tournament fish, the Smokey and the Bandit-style shuffling of big bass from lake to lake for undue personal glory and acclaim, to the utter dis­regard for these big fish we all covet and truly respect the pursuit for. But it still all goes way beyond that.

My Western Outdoor News colleague Mike Jones — whom I hold tremendous respect for as an outdoor writer who’s covered the gamut both regionally and nationally when it comes to the big boom of bass fishing — in recent weeks leading up to the unveiling of the Long saga wrote of an element in the S.D. bass scene in years gone by (and possibly currently) that consisted of “bass fishing sociopaths.” Well, with Ellis’ recent expose, you can just go ahead and confidently remove the “bass fishing” part of that phrase from the equation. Sociopath alone is the correct term in this case.

You can’t legitimately care about anyone or anything when you behave in the manner which Long apparently did for so many years. Where it’s merely all about you, and you alone. Everything else be damned. You don’t threaten or intimidate teenagers and put people’s lives in potential peril over largemouth bass, as all of us non-sociopaths already well understand without even having to think about it.

And just like most Scooby Doo villains, he likely would have gotten away with it all too. Could have let sleeping dogs lay sleeping. But it’s clear that this type of next-level narcissism must be one helluva drug to kick. Politically speaking, it’s all very Nixon-esque. He just seemingly couldn’t, wouldn’t stop. Perpetuate the fraud ’til the end.

This isn’t just a humongous warning shot across the bow to fishing cheats and scandalous anglers far and wide, but also to all of us decent people breathing oxygen here on Planet Earth. Everything on social media is often a far cry from what it seems to be. Just yet another reminder of that here. And an even bigger reminder: Were all of these outrageously concocted ploys really worth it in the end? That’s a question for Long and Long alone, but I’m thinking that this first week of July, 2019, that answer is a resounding “NO.” We’ll see if we ever hear that answer. But truly innocent men rarely just vanish into the dark when the S hits the fan...

Last week I was sharing this whole story with my father, who knows next to nothing about the world of freshwater bass fishing other than the things I’ve relayed to him over the years that likely sound to him like some kind of Cajun mumbo jumbo, he saw the picture of Long sitting casually and confidently on his bass boat in flip flops, in front of his “home livewell” and countless tournament plaques, seemingly basking in the glory of accomplishments that many of which are now entirely questionable as to what he actually accomplished.

My dad said just one thing. “There you go. That’s the whole deal in a nutshell. ‘The Wall of Fraud.’ You can just see the hubris right there.” Sure enough, my dad was spot on. You could practically smell the ego right there from a photograph on a screen. It doesn’t take a die-hard bass fisherman to understand this whole thing was and is as rotten as a worm-infested tomato. Comfortably and proudly sitting in front of all those plaques, many of which were clearly not legitimately earned, perfectly content basking in the perceived glory of complete and utter fraudulence and deceit, while just one of many of Long’s instruments of deception sits right behind him in the form of his garage BYOB holding tank.

And just like that, he’s seemingly gone. After two-plus decades of subterfuge and hearsay, rumors, accusations and defensiveness, the legend, the myth and the mystique, utterly shattered. And the Lords of Karma remain undefeated.

Be good, kids...

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