Cheating at Shelter Island Kid's Derby.


Senior Member
I found out how the cheating occurred during the recent derby at the Kid’s Derby at the Shelter Island.

It was the work of an evil genius, I would say. My hat off to her.

The family had brought a volunteer to act and help as a judge.

Apparently according to some participants who witnessed and complained, she would score the card of the “cheating angler”.

She would give score for baitfish under 3” which was by the derby rules unacceptable catch.

To combat the future cheaters, I have devised a new score card consisting of several numbered rows.

A few hand held punches are given to known judges who will punch the number corresponding to the new catch.

The tallying would be faster too as instead of counting marks, the highest number that is punched is the tally.

By changing the punch style for maybe three years, chances of cheating will be reduced.

I will be submitting my suggestions and will see if it is accepted.

Whenever there is a prize, someone will try to cheat to get it.

I know by his own admission, one of the overall winners was older than 16 when competed and won. Although he was an experienced angler, his father would be catching baitfish and preparing a rod, so he would not loose time fishing.

Being underage, with exception of birth certificate not much ID is available to kids.

The organizers do not want to make the derby too formal and uninviting.

Thus, some people will take advantage of the system.


Well-Known Member
Man, evil geniuses indeed. I’ve always felt it so odd that parents teach their kids to cheat at such a young age, to do anything bad for that matter. One time I was surf fishing and some guy was trying to pick fights with his 3 year old son at his side.

Red Fish

Senior Member
That’s a shame in a kid’s derby. Definitely, the judges should be from an approved list and you should go over the rules with them before hand. Perhaps photographic evidence too.
At the MRGC derby, all the kids received prizes (luckily they have always had enough). And trophies are given in age categories for most caught, biggest fish, etc.

Maybe stiffer rules in 12-16 category like biggest fish to cut down on dishonesty?


Senior Member
As I mentioned before, the organizers want an inviting, fun and happy atmosphere at these derbies. Thus, they want to avoid any drama.

Anybody who comes and says they want to volunteer is welcomed and appreciated.

However, now that we know, I am sure we will be more careful in the future.

I have suggested that if they use my method of using hand punch, there should be only limited units, so only known judges can have one.

I have even suggested that the organizers do a small search of the stores close to pier to see if any hand held punch is sold there. If yes, to order from Ebay/Amazon the design that is not sold in those stores. A further step is to have a different design for at least three years.

All the kids get a goodie bags which eliminates the raffle. The winners in each age division get a rod and reel. The overall winner gets his name on a perpetual trophy.

It is a shame that parents teach kids to be dishonest at such a young age.

Ken Jones

Staff member
It's why many are against derbies — of any type.

You don't want to penalize the 99% who are honest because of the actions of a few but it also shouldn't be too hard to spot those that are cheating. Perhaps each participant should be told, and also sign a form, at registration that if caught cheating in any way they will be disqualified from the tournament. Perhaps parents should be given a note on what they can and cannot do with slightly different rules for the 8+/10+ age group.

In addition, judges should be told they are judges — not just scorekeepers — and if they suspect someone of cheating it should be brought to the attention of the other judges and event organizers. If inappropriate actions are detected then a warning should be given and if they continue the people should be disqualified. Once a person or two is actually kicked out you probably would not see as much of it happen again.


Senior Member
All good suggestions. Thanks.

Here is what I am suggesting as a modified version of what was used last year.

As per suggestion by Skipper Jones, the two sections can be printed together and folded. Thus, eliminating the staples.

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Senior Member
After many hours of experimentation, here is the final version of a score card.

Two score cards can be printed on one sheet of 8 ½ X 11 ½ paper.

It will fold in half, thus protecting the Derby rules from being cut out by the punch cutter.


Well-Known Member
Rule 3: Should be expanded / clarified.

Maybe to eliminate any cheating between parents swapping rods--have them register the rod/reel setup and make sure the fish is caught on that set up. ;)

Red Fish

Senior Member
  • All good suggestions. Thanks.

    Here is what I am suggesting as a modified version of what was used last year.

    As per suggestion by Skipper Jones, the two sections can be printed together and folded. Thus, eliminating the staples.

    Now I visually see what you mean by a star hole punch. I was not familiar with one. As I mentioned, when I put any mark on a card, I would initial it and put the time. I would hate to believe anyone would fake a judge’s initials or signature? Brings back an ugly memory of when I used to race BMX/dirt bikes at McClaren Park in San Francisco. I had gotten 2nd in the initial race and made it to the last race. We had to pick a numbered golf ball for our position at the gate. Out of the gate a kid pushed off of me with his left foot (as I was to the left of him). Therefore, put me back and I couldn’t break through the pack. Judges said they couldn’t do anything. Made me realize that you don’t always get what you deserve in life and that others sometimes have an unfair advantage. I am surprised I didn’t fight with the kid. But, I don’t think I could really find him after all that. And the only description for my recollection was a short kid with dark hair.
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if you want to design a score card mahigeer i can help in that dept. remember, i used to be a offset printer and i know graphics design. so if you need help creating something, let me know. although its sad that parents cheat its like the college scandal, pay you way to get to the top!! or cheat your way! they should put an asterisk on this year winner. but oh well. verifying the ages will be tough. i agree with that. hope they can streamline the counting.
Thanks for the help, but it is done. See picture above.

I just mailed a package to Ms. Miller that she should receive on Tuesday. It included a handheld punch as well.

I will have to wait to hear from them. I spent a lot of time and prints on the project, so I hope they like it.