walleye - fishing tournament
The two anglers have been accused of stuffing five walleye with weights and filets to win the competition; (photo/Shutterstock)

Alleged Ohio Fishing Tournament Cheaters Plead Not Guilty

The two beleaguered anglers face felony charges of cheating, attempted grand theft, and possessing criminal tools.

After a tournament judge discovered lead weights inside their winning fish, two men accused of cheating pled not guilty in an Ohio courtroom this week, Cleveland’s WOIO reported.

A grand jury indicted Jacob Runyan, 42, and Chase Cominsky, 35, on multiple felony charges for the incident. They also each face a misdemeanor charge of unlawful ownership of wild animals.

The pair’s near-win at the Lake Erie Walleye Championships went viral online. In the video, an official slices open their winning fish to discover weights and filets stuffed inside.

Tournament organizers immediately disqualified and removed Runyan and Cominsky from the event, where the prize purse for winners was $29,000.

If convicted on the felony charges, each man faces up to 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines, according to a news release from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office.

For the misdemeanor charges, they face up to 30 days in jail and up to $250 in fines. Both men posted their $2,500 bond and have been released, according to multiple Ohio news sources.

The pair’s next court appearance is scheduled for November 9.

Fish caught in a poachers gillnet; (photo/Rich Carey)
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Andrew McLemore
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An award-winning journalist and photographer, Andrew McLemore brings more than 14 years of experience to his position as Associate News Editor for Lola Digital Media. Andrew is a musician, climber and traveler who currently lives in Cuenca, Ecuador, which he uses as a home base for adventures throughout the Americas. When he's not writing, playing gigs or exploring the outdoors, he's hanging out with his dog Campana.

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