A pair of fishermen were stripped of their $5,000 tournament win after judges in Ohio discovered that they had put lead weights inside their catch also faced the wrath of a furious crowd on Friday, according to a video of the scene.
Chase Cominsky from Pennsylvania and Jake Runyon from Ohio initially won the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championship in Cleveland, Ohio’s Gordon Park on Sept. 30. They were awarded a $5,000 prize for their big win.
The duo’s catch weighed in at 33 pounds, nearly double what their nearest competitor had caught, according to the Daily Mail.
But the extreme difference in weight spread apparently caused concern, and tournament director Jason Fischer soon decided to gut one of the fish entered by Runyon and Cominsky.
That is when the weight of the matter began to sink in.
Inside the fish, the judge found lead sinkers, and it was realized that the two fishermen stuffed the weights inside their catch to make them weigh more so they could win the tournament.
After cutting the fish open, Fischer abruptly announced to the crowd, “We got weights on the fish!” And the crowd was not happy at all about being duped.
Folks in the crowd began suggesting that the fishermen be arrested for attempted theft of the prize money. And Fischer angrily wondered how many other tournaments these two cheated to win as Runyon stood by, stonefaced and silent.
It turns out, it could be quite a few events they rigged. Nevertheless, these two suspected cheaters have a long list of first prize wins under their belts. And one of their wins was a big deal.
Cominsky and Runyon won the Blaster Walleye Fall Brawl and the Walleye Slam to earn the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championship in December of last year, and the prize money came in at a whopping $306,000, SportsTiger reported.
The pair have won other tournaments in which boats were prizes, too.
Unsurprisingly, since Friday’s outing, the two have been banned from Ohio’s Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championships, pending more investigating into their past wins.
There have been other allegations lodged at the pair, too. The Mail added that the two were accused of hiding previously caught fish and adding them to the fresh catch at the Rossford Walleye Roundup.
Causing even more suspicion, after the Rossford tournament, Cominsky and Runyon refused to donate their catch to the local food bank as the contestants usually do.
Runyon has defended himself against claims that he cheated before. He even hired a lawyer to deflect against allegations.
But for now, it appears that many of the duo’s past wins are coming under a microscope.