Men Caught Stuffing Fish with Lead Weights During Ohio Fishing Tournament Plead Guilty

AP Photo_Mark Gillispie (1)
AP Photo/Mark Gillispie

Two men who were caught stuffing fish with lead weights to win an Ohio fishing tournament weigh-in last year have now pleaded guilty to charges of cheating.

Pennsylvania fisherman Chase Cominsky and Jake Runyon from Ohio initially won the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championship in Cleveland, Ohio’s Gordon Park on Sept. 30 and were awarded a $5,000 prize. But tournament director Jason Fischer was suspicious over the weigh-in results and confronted the pair and sliced into the catch.

Once he sliced open Cominsky and Runyon’s catch, Fischer discovered that the men had stuffed the fish with lead weights and walleye fillets to make them heavier and to give them the advantage during the tournament weigh-in.

The pair initially pleaded not guilty last Oct., but it appears that defense has been dropped.

According to CBS News, the pair have now pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal.

Runyan and Cominsky pleaded guilty to cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals. They received a three-year suspension of their fishing licenses, and Cominsky agreed to give up his bass boat worth $100,000.

Also, as part of the deal, the prosecutors agreed to drop charges of attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools.

The pair are set to be sentenced on May 11, with prosecutors suggesting that they should be given six months of probation and have their convictions expunged if they successfully complete the probation. The men are being released on bond until the next court date.

This was not the first tournament cheating accusation the pair have faced. They were also accused of cheating during a tournament in Toledo, but the charges were eventually dropped when investigators could not find enough evidence to sustain the charges.

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