Even fishing is not safe from cheating these days. In the midst of chess and poker scandals, Jake Runyan and Chase Cominsky found themselves in deep water after getting caught adding lead weights to their fish during the Lake Erie Walleye Trail fishing tournament last week.
30 elite two-angler teams were competing for a $28,760 prize. Runyan and Cominsky needed their five fish to have a cumulative weight of over 16.89 pounds to win, and they succeeded. Their first ended up weighing 33.91 pounds. It was a pretty unbelievable achievement, in every sense of the word.
They took posed for photos with no cheering from the crowd. Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament director Jason Fischer decided to take a closer look at the winning fish and slit open the bellies after telling the crowd that they were going to “double check the scores.”
As if planned, the sound of sirens could be heard from a distance. Sure enough, the Fischer found lead weights and prepared fish filets inside the fish caught by Runyan and Comisnky.
Videos of the incident went viral on social media. Here is the full video (Warning, NSFW language).
Although fishing is considered a leisure activity for many, tournaments like this one are serious business. According to Yahoo Sports, there is a mandatory polygraph test administered by a retired police officer for all winners, and also for some other competitors picked at random. Refusing to take the test leads to disqualification, the same fate that those who fail the test suffer. So even if the weights had not been found, Runyan and Cominsky could’ve potentially also gotten caught with a lie detector.
Fischer told CNN that he hosts around eight tournaments through the year, and that the pair is no longer welcome at any of them. There will likely be more consequences coming soon.
In a statement, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said his staff planned on meeting with officers from the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources on Oct. 4.
“I take all crime seriously, including attempted felony theft at a fishing tournament,” he said.