Fishermen found guilty of cheating during Lake Erie walleye tournament receive sentences

Published: May. 11, 2023 at 7:14 AM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2023 at 11:48 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The two men who pleaded guilty in March to cheating during a fishing tournament by stuffing lead weights into their fish were sentenced Thursday to 10 days in jail by Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven Gall.

Jacob Runyan, 43, and Chase Cominsky, 36, were also each ordered to pay a $2,500 fine, with half of that money being donated to a fishing charity for children.

“I think the judge sent a message that 10 day jail sentence. They led them right to county jail right from the courtroom in handcuffs,” Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O’Malley said. “He takes it seriously and all people in these types of competitive sporting events should take it seriously.”

Runyan and Cominsky competed in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament in Cleveland on Sept. 30, 2022.

Jacob Runyan, left, and Chase Cominsky
Jacob Runyan, left, and Chase Cominsky (AP Photo/Mark Gillispie)

The tournament hosted fishermen from several surrounding states that competed to see which team could catch five of the heaviest walleye fish in Lake Erie.

The director of the tournament noticed Runyan and Cominsky’s walleyes weighed more than they looked and sliced open the fish.

Ten weights were located inside the walleyes, eight weighing 12 ounces and two weighing eight ounces along with several walleye fillets.

“Given their unbelievable streak of luck that those others wins previous to that tournament were probably fraudulent as well,” O’Malley said.

The duo, who would have received a total prize of $28,760 if they had won the tournament, were disqualified immediately after the fishy discovery.