Pro Anglers Plead Guilty To Charges In Cheating Scandal That Rocked Fishing World

Julianna Frieman Contributor
Font Size:

A pair of anglers pleaded guilty Monday to charges in a cheating scandal that rocked the world of professional fishing.

Two fishermen rocked the boat when they admitted to unlawful ownership of wild animals and to cheating in a fall fishing competition, according to Fox News.

As part of the plea deal, prosecutors dropped attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools charges.

Jacob Runyan of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky of Heritage, Pennsylvania, agreed to three-year suspensions of their fishing licenses. Cominsky also ceded his $100,000 bass boat. (RELATED: NASCAR Driver Cole Custer For Trying To Rig Race)

Runyan and Cominsky will be sentenced May 11. Prosecutors are set to recommend a sentence of six months’ probation and later ask for an expungement of their convictions if the two complete probation successfully.

The two men initially pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament in October, according to CNN.

Allegations emerged when Jason Fischer, the Sept. 30 fishing tournament’s director, noticed Runyan and Cominsky turning in fish that appeared to be smaller than their stated weight, according to WOIO Cleveland19 News.

Live-streamed video recorded at the event’s weigh-in show the cheaters’ catches weighing a total of 33.91 pounds.

Runyan and Cominsky were declared the winners but were quickly exposed when Fischer sliced open their fish, revealing lead weights and walleye fillets, according to WYKC Channel 3.

“The director of the tournament noticed Runyan and Cominsky’s walleyes weighed more than they looked and sliced open the fish,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley said. “Ten weights were located inside the walleyes, eight weighing 12 ounces and two weighing eight ounces along with several walleye filets.”

Runyan and Cominsky were immediately disqualified and subsequently arrested.

The prize for winning the fishing tournament was $28,760.