Fishing and Other Sporting Tournaments

Fishing and Other Sporting Polygraph

Where can I get a test for a fishing tournament?  GPN examiners are available to provide testing for all tournaments and contests where participants have an opportunity to violate the rules or otherwise cheat in an attempt to win a prize. These will be properly conducted polygraph exams, done to industry standards, and not “short tests” used only to deter cheating. Our examiners have conducted hundreds of tests for contests awarding many millions of dollars in prize money. Make sure sufficient time is given for each exam (generally one hour each – see notes below).

In general, polygraph exams can be used in the following ways:

Fishing Tournaments – determine whether the winning anglers have followed the tournament rules, caught the winning fish personally (ie. hook and hand violations) and during tournament hours, used unapproved lures, or weighted or altered the fish

Bodybuilding Tournaments – verify the participants have not used illegal drugs or any other compounds prohibited by the tournament rules

Golf Tournaments – determine whether the winners violated any contest rules, cheated in any way, and hit the winning shots personally and legitimately.

Track & Field – verify the participants have not used illegal drugs or prohibited substances prior to competition.

Exam Options

There are two general types of exams used in competition testing, the Specific/Multiple Issue Test, and the Deterrent Test

Specific/Multiple Issue Test – This is a real polygraph which takes an hour or more, and is designed to determine whether a participant has knowingly violated the rules or cheated in some way. Global Polygraph can provide this type of exam.

Deterrent Test – This option is a pretend polygraph which only takes about 10 to 15 minutes, and is only designed to deter participants from cheating.  Since the Deterrent test is not a true polygraph, no decision can be made about the truthfulness of the examinee.  Note that most participants (even the guilty ones) will “pass” the Deterrent test unless an admission is made to the examiner.  Global Polygraph Network does not provide Deterrent tests, although other services will.

Cost of Testing

We understand that cost is an important consideration for many of these tournaments, but saving money by using only Detterent-style polygraph procedures is a complete waste of money. If you are spending less than $100 per test, it is very likely you will not be getting a real polygraph. Instead, we recommend spending the same money to have less tests done and only on the larger prize winners. At least this way the tests will have some degree of validity. Daily and volume rates are available upon request. Write for special quotes

Think about this.  The average cost of a polygraph in the U.S. is about $500.  No legitimate examiner would charge less than $100 for an exam unless they were cutting significant corners.  In other words, by running a quickie Deterrent test.

Accuracy of Polygraph Testing

Lie Detector testing using the polygraph is the most accurate and reliable method of determining truth or deception, boasting accuracy rates of 90 to 95% when conducted properly. However, a Deterrent polygraph will allow cheaters to pass the exam and forever lose the deterrent effect of the process. We know of many tournament participants who laugh at the thought of polygraph testing because of short or improper testing techniques, and boast that they have already beaten the test many times.

Recommendations for Fishing Tournament Directors

It is important that published tournament rules reflect the likelihood of polygraph testing and that each angler agrees to the rules before fishing. We recommend the following wording: “Prior to the distribution of any awards, any angler or registered crew member, at the discretion of the tournament director, may be required to take and pass a polygraph exam. The time and place for the polygraph testing will be determined by the tournament director. If any angler wishes to dispute an unfavorable polygraph result, the angler may have a second polygraph conducted within 10 days by a polygraph examiner approved by the tournament director at the angler’s expense. This ‘tiebreaker’ polygraph must be administered to ASTM standards. The director may decide which test result to apply when making the final decision.

We recommend that prize moneys be withheld until the polygraph exams have been completed. We strongly discourage the administration of any polygraph exams on a competition day since testing is less reliable when a person is fatigued. We recommend the exams be conducted on the next available day after the tournament ends. We recommend scheduling exam dates at least 60 days prior to the tournament to avoid scheduling conflicts. Since a properly-conducted tournament exam can take an hour or more, you may need to hire more than one examiner if you anticipate the need for more than 5 or 6 exams.

There is no such thing as a 15 minute polygraph !!

Any examiner who says that an effective polygraph can be run in 15-20 minutes is not providing exams to any acceptable standard of practice, and is likely administering a Deterrent exam that has no reliability. Some clients feel that the mere presence of a polygraph will encourage confessions and deter unlawful acts (ie. cheating in a fishing tournament). This may be true for a short time until a few contestants learn that such an exam can be easily beaten, and then the test becomes counterproductive. A properly conducted exam must include the following steps. If any step is left out of the process, the results may be unreliable.

  • Introduction and explanation of procedure and equipment (10 minutes)
  • Collect background information and medical history (10 minutes)
  • Review of competition rules and obtaining of statement (10 minutes)
  • Examiner designs questions and reviews with subject (5 minutes)
  • Run polygraph charts (3-4 charts @ 7 minutes each) (25-30 minutes)
  • Chart analysis by examiner (5 minutes)


If you are considering a 10-20 minute Deterrent polygraph exam, we recommend you not waste your money and flip a coin instead. The resulting accuracy will be about the same.


Established in 1987, Global Polygraph Network ® is the world’s largest and most trusted polygraph (lie detector) company with services available at hundreds of locations by highly-trained experts all over the world. Avoid “discount” polygraph frauds and “over the phone” testing scams. We only provide real polygraphs by real examiners. Trust our A+ BBB rating, up-front pricing, and written guarantee.