Fishermen caught stuffing fish with weights get 10-jail sentence

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By Aliza Chasan

/ CBS News

Two men who admitted to cheating during a fishing tournament in Ohio were sentenced to 10-day jail terms, prosecutors said Thursday. 

Jacob Runyan, 43, and Chase Cominsky, 36, were also required to forfeit Cominsky’s boat, worth an estimated $130,000, officials said. Both men’s fishing licenses were suspended for three years, the maximum amount allowed by law, and will spend a year and a half on probation after they complete their jail terms. Runyan and Cominsky must also each pay a $2,500 fine.

“Although these two deserve to have their fishing license suspended for life, the law only allows a maximum of three years,” Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said. “These two should be banned from every fishing tournament for life. They are thieves and now they are convicted felons.”  

The sentencing came months after the pair were accused of stuffing fish with lead weights and fish filets in an attempt to win the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament in September 2022. Teams compete in the tournament to see who can catch the five heaviest walleye in Lake Erie. The winner gets a prize of $28,760. 

In a dramatic scene that was caught on video, the tournament director noticed Runyan and Cominsky’s walleyes were heavier than they looked and cut open the fish, revealing the metal weights and several fish filets inside. The fishermen were disqualified and told to leave the tournament. 

Runyan and Cominsky pleaded guilty in March to cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals.

O’Malley said he’s convinced “these two crooks” have cheated in other tournaments.   

Aliza Chasan

Aliza Chasan is a digital producer at 60 Minutes and CBS News.


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