Fishermen Headed to Jail for Cheating in Walleye Tournament, Must Surrender $130K Boat
For as long as competition has existed, so too has an insatiable appetite for winning, sometimes at all costs.
Look no further than the highest levels of athletic competition in America. The NFL’s New England Patriots, unquestionably the most successful football team since the turn of the millennium, are as associated with winning Super Bowls as they are mired in a myriad of alleged cheating scandals.
But it’s not just multi-billion dollar sports where cheating allegations exist.
Cheating can exist in all realms of competition, including the surprisingly intense world of pro fishing.
Back in September, Jacob Runyan of Cleveland and Chase Cominsky of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, were excoriated after officials at the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament in Cleveland discovered something peculiar about the diet of the fish the two men caught.
Namely, the fish that Runyan and Cominsky caught appeared to have a taste for metal weights and (somehow) perfectly filleted fish bits.
At the time, fans were justifiably furious with the brazen bit of cheating.
Viral YouTube videos of the incident captured the moment when the jig was up for Runyan and Cominsky:
WARNING: The following video clip contains language that some may find offensive.
As TMZ reported back in October, once officials cut open the fishy walleyes, they discovered weights and fillets of other fish had been stuffed in the walleyes, presumably to help juice up the fish’s weight.
On Thursday, Runyan and Cominsky learned the full extent of the consequences of their actions.
WOIO reported that the two fishermen were sentenced to 10 days in jail by Cuyahoga County Court Judge Steven Gall. Cuyahoga County is a county in Ohio that houses Cleveland.
Judge Gall also ordered Runyan, 43, and Cominsky, 36, to each pay a $2,500 fine. Half of that $5,000 total has been earmarked for a fishing charity for children.
Yahoo reported that Runyan and Cominsky also had to forfeit a $130,000 fishing boat they had won as a prize in past tournaments.
“I think the judge sent a message [with] that 10 day jail sentence. They led them right to county jail right from the courtroom in handcuffs,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O’Malley told WOIO. “He takes it seriously and all people in these types of competitive sporting events should take it seriously.”
O’Malley added that he has serious doubts that the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament was the only time Runyan and Cominsky cheated.
“Given their unbelievable streak of luck … those others wins previous to that tournament were probably fraudulent as well,” O’Malley added.
The top prize that the two would have received had they won tournament was $28,760. Instead, they were immediately disqualified after the weights were discovered.
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