Four Nashville men agreed Wednesday to plead guilty to two counts of keeping fish over their daily creel limit and all must pay $2,097 in court costs, fines, and restitution for their actions last winter. They also must wait three years before they fish in Tennessee again.
The four men were originally charged with six counts of keeping creel limits of white bass over the allowed 15 per day. They agreed to plead to two counts to avoid a trial date in Cheatham County General Sessions Court in Ashland City.
Brad Bagwell, an officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, charged Nashville residents Phay Souksavong, 78, Khamnovan Keomanyychanh, 60, Kongham Pheneyongsa, 68, and So Akhom, 70, with keeping a total of 360 white bass over the limit (90 each) on March 20. The charges came after he checked various compartments in their boat.
The four had been fishing on the tailrace waters below Cheatham Dam near Ashland City and were about to leave the river when Mr. Bagwell stopped them.
“This was the first offense for them, but the case was so severe they got hit pretty hard,” said Bagwell. “They lost their fishing privileges for three years, will pay almost $8,400 in total penalties, had 10 rods and reels confiscated from them, and no telling how much they paid in legal fees.”
“I hope this will help send the message that we are serious about enforcing creel limits on our fish,” said Mr. Bagwell. “They are in place to allow more anglers to catch fish and also to provide protection to fish populations.”
While Mr. Bagwell just happened to be patrolling the ramp below Cheatham Dam last March, he had been given earlier information from local anglers that this group was possibly over fishing.
“I was fortunate to catch these four at the right time, but in weeks prior to catching them there was some really good information that gave me an idea of what to look for,” said Mr. Bagwell. “In this case, those sportsmen’s tips ultimately paid off.”