A duo that had been declared winners of a fishing tournament series event were caught in a cheating scandal after a tournament official discovered weights stuffed inside their fish.
Videos from the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championship event show teammates Chase Cominsky, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, and Jake Runyon, of Cleveland posing for a photo with fish just minutes before an official discovers something inside the animals. The two were the season’s leaders for “team of the year,” according to The Herald, a newspaper in Western Pennsylvania.
The official, who cuts open the fish, shouts, “We got weights in fish,” a revelation that is met with angry yelling from fellow competitors.
You can watch the winners’ initial celebration and the aftermath of the official’s remarks below.
Another video circulating online shows one man asking to “call the cops” as the official tells Runyon to “leave.”
“How many fucking tournaments have you done this in?” one man yells.
The official later cuts open more fish and scoops out weights and what appear to be fish filets from inside the fish.
“Do you have anything to say, Jake?” one man asks as Runyon silently looks at the fish.
“Take pictures, I need pictures,” the official tells onlookers.
Lake Erie Walleye Trail director Jason Fischer wrote on Facebook that he was disgusted and is glad he caught the cheating happening at the event.
“I hope you know now that when I say ‘you built this LEWT and I will defend its integrity at all costs’, I mean it. You all deserve the best,” Fischer wrote.
Fischer, in another post, shouted out Steve Tsczyko and Chris French for their event win and celebrated Steve Hendricks and Brian Ulmer for their “team of the year” win, The Herald noted.
“All LEWT anglers deserve better, I will take time and figure out how I can solidify the integrity of our sport here on Erie,” Fischer wrote.
Cominsky and Runyon have been wrapped up in tournament controversies before.
The two were disqualified from an event they won last year due to one of them failing a polygraph test, according to The Toledo Blade.
The mandatory tests are “ostensibly to make sure all of the rules have been followed,” according to the publication, and the two passed a polygraph test after a later tournament. The 2021 event reportedly offered over $500,000 in cash and prizes.