Two anglers could face the “scales of justice” after being caught cheating in a high-level fishing tournament.
Chase Cominsky and Jake Runyan were caught after a judge pulled lead weights from their prize-winning catch.
The pair was already suspected of cheating because they were winning too much.
“Outside of Tiger Woods, the best golfer in the world isn’t going to win four or five tournaments in a row, and it’s even more of a long shot in fishing,” says Matt Markey, the columnist for the Toledo Blade who’s been following the duo’s exploits for months. “There are wild variables with the wind and weather and attitude and demeanor of the fish. You’ve got to be a little bit lucky to be in the right place at the right time when the fish are in the right mood. These guys were just winning too much.”
In the last year, the duo had won almost $400,000 in prize money.
Jason Fischer, director of the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament series, had concerns about the pair, but his fears were calmed after the duo won a tournament in September with a cameraman in the boat with them.
“I congratulated them, I told them, ‘You guys cleared your name,’” Fischer told Yahoo Sports on Monday. “I thought they were in the clear.”
In the most recent tournament, the fishing pair had to beat 16lbs. But when the two anglers’ catch weighed in at 33 pounds Fischer and the crowd was stunned.
Many in the crowd were dumbfounded and muttering.
“Damn,” one man said in disbelief, “thirty-three?”
“Your fish are so much bigger than his!” another said, apparently trying to reconcile what he saw with what the scale read.
A third simply declared, “No f–ing way.”
Fischer composed himself, he knew the catch he was looking at should weigh between 10-20 pounds.
“We’re going to do a little tallying up,” Fischer told the crowd as he decided to take a closer look.
Fischer cut the belly of a fish open with his fillet knife and pulled out a lead weight.
“We got weights in fish!” Exclaimed Fischer, and the crowd started to turn into a mob.
Cominsky had already split, and Fischer told Runyan to leave.
“Jake, I want you to leave,” Fischer said calmly. “I don’t want anybody to touch these guys.”
***warning explicit language***
The public humiliation isn’t the only problem the two anglers have. Law enforcement has begun a criminal investigation.
A spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Natural Resource said that they are preparing a report for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. It might seem silly to escalate to this level, but the duo have won over $300,000 in fishing competitions in the Ohio area, defrauding competitors and the events themselves. This could lead to very stiff penalties, should charges be pressed against the two.
Cheaters never prosper.