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Thread: The Dark Secret of “America’s Big Bass Guru”

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Den of Iniquity

    Default The Dark Secret of “America’s Big Bass Guru”

    The Dark Secret of “America’s Big Bass Guru”
    By Kellen Ellis
    June 24, 2019

    How a catfish poacher lied, cheated, snagged, bribed and bullied his way to become the big bass king of the world

    Mike Long was, and to some of you, is, widely considered not only the best big bass fisherman in the world, but one of its best anglers.

    Mike Long on the cover of Bassmaster Magazine in December of 2009
    The December 2009 issue of Bassmaster Magazine featuring Mike Long on the cover with two large bass from Lake Jennings.

    He has been featured on the cover of over 40 fishing magazines, he’s fished alongside Hank Parker and Shaw Grigsby on their popular TV shows and racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in tournament winnings and big bass prizes along the way. Fishing companies lined up to throw money and product his way as he feverishly caught the biggest bass in the country, while at the same time dominating the local tournament trail in San Diego County. The fishing industry, particularly the craze surrounding swimbaits, wouldn’t be the same today if it weren’t for Mike Long.

    In March of 2006, I was sitting in a folding chair eating a hot dog outside of an RV in a parking lot at the Del Mar Fairgrounds during the annual Fred Hall Show. To my right was a man who just eight months prior, had been named the second greatest angler in the history of bass fishing by ESPN’s Greatest Angler Survey — Roland Martin. For a 22-year-old angler like myself, a chance to share a lunch and talk bass fishing 1-on-1 with an icon like Roland Martin was a HUGE deal. I’ll never forget what Roland asked toward the end of the conversation, “Kellen, let me ask you something son, do you know Mike Long?”

    That’s the moment I realized Mike Long was a really big deal. After confirming to Roland that I did indeed know Mike, he excitedly asked if I would introduce him and we chatted for the next few minutes about these giant bass in San Diego that Mike Long was always catching.

    Back then Long was the undisputed heavyweight champion of big bass fishing. He caught the ninth heaviest bass of all time in 2001, a 20.75-pounder. He owned five local lake records for bass and made claim to having caught several hundred more bass over 10 pounds. “Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass” by Monte Burke had hit bookstores a year prior and Long was prominently featured in the book as the leader of the pack when it came to the chase for the world record. He was the guy that the other players in that quest chased. And he was annihilating San Diego’s other top bass anglers in local team (2-person) tournaments, many times doing it without a partner in the boat.

    There was some controversy surrounding his success, particularly with his lake records and the tournament wins while fishing solo — but anyone questioning Long’s prowess at this point was met with resolute resistance from his supporters — myself included. I sincerely regret that.

    Mike Long, big bass legend, is a fraud — he doesn’t even exist. He’s a fictional character that the real Michael Christopher Long, a lying, cheating, manipulative con-artist created to dupe us. And it worked, for a while anyway.

    This article is nearly a decade in the making. I cut ties with Long in Feb. of 2010 when a mountain of suspicions and circumstantial evidence reached a point where a conclusion was impossible to suppress. A man I looked up to, that I was friends with, and on the verge of going into business with, was a complete phony.

    When friends and family asked what I was working on, I would attempt to explain, but really had trouble putting it succinctly, especially for people that weren’t avid bass fishermen. The depth of this couldn’t be conveyed in a light response, but in the simplest terms, I was going to expose one of the world’s most notorious fishermen as a cheater.

    I got the same follow-up question almost every time; “how does someone even cheat in fishing?”

    Well, let me count the ways…

  2. #2


    Great article and thanks for posting it. I had heard rumors and stories, but this puts it all I to perspective. I was wondering why there was so much stink when he showed up one day and magically had the DVL record.
    What a PoS. Any records he holds should be removed.
    Last edited by Brent; 06-30-2019 at 08:37 AM.

  3. #3


    Reminds me of the dudes that chuck live trout, catch big fish, them become brand ambassadors, by removing said trout, and hooking on the company's baits on that fish.

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by DarkShadow View Post
    Reminds me of the dudes that chuck live trout, catch big fish, them become brand ambassadors, by removing said trout, and hooking on the company's baits on that fish.
    No doubt about it. Some people have no morals or ethics whatsoever

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Brent View Post
    ...morals or ethics whatsoever
    We can argue this for days.

    If someone tries to sell you snake oil and you purchase it, whose fault is it really?

    Caveat Emptor, my friend.

  6. #6


    This is another reason why I don't care for record chasers or professional fishermen. Money and fame has corrupted the endeavor. I might as well be reading about weightlifting champs. Whooptidoo.

    I would rather catch beautiful little wild trout or sunfish. LOL

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Lefty View Post
    I would rather catch beautiful little wild trout or sunfish. LOL
    But then how are you supposed to become a "brand ambassador." Or a social media "influencer?" Get your own TV show?

  8. #8


    I shall take pretty pictures of them, along with the scenery.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Pomona (Ganesha Hills)


    I smell some movie rights in this story..... Excellent article!!

  10. #10


    They took his photo down in the DVL marina store

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