Fishing tournament rocked by lead weight cheating scandal

Something fishy is going on in the world of competitive fishing.

A team looking to win about $29,000 in prize money from a fishing tournament in Ohio was disqualified Friday after it was found that the fish was stuffed with lead weights and fish fillets.

Jason Fischer, director of the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament, told CNN that one team’s fish weighed almost twice as much as expected at the Cleveland Championship weigh-in, so he was immediately skeptical. said.

He said the pollock in the bucket appeared to weigh about 4 pounds each, indicating that the total weight had to be at least 7 pounds each.

“I thought it couldn’t be helped,” he said. “I also heard the crowd complaining, ‘No way, I can’t.'”

“I felt the fish physically. I could feel a hard object inside the fish,” he said.

The moment Fischer discovered the alleged cheating was documented in several viral videos posted on social media, showing Fischer, surrounded by competitors, slicing open a fish with a knife and throwing what he said was a lead ball. Jacob Runyan, one of the members of the two teams of alleged cheaters, watched in silence one video Fisher shared with CNN.

“We got fish weights,” Fisher shouted.

“You lost everything,” I hear someone say to a fisherman. The video also shows Fisher telling Runyan to leave and telling the crowd not to touch him.

Runyan and his teammate Chase Cominsky were set to win $28,760 in prize money, Fischer told CNN. Prize money for each tournament he hosts comes from the entry fee each angler pays to compete.

Fischer hosts about eight tournaments a year with competitors from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Competitors compete to see who can achieve the maximum weight in a bucket of his five walleye caught on Lake Erie.

Neither Runyan nor Cominsky responded to CNN’s request for comment.

Fischer said tournament officials are in contact with local authorities.

Stephanie O’Grady, a media and outreach expert at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, told CNN that the agency was gathering evidence on Friday and preparing a report for the Cuyahoga County Attorney’s Office.

“There are no further comments at this time as this is an open inquiry,” she wrote in an email to CNN.

Fisher said he was “absolutely disgusted” when he discovered the alleged cheating. “It’s a family atmosphere,” he said. “We are all proud of this sport.”

“Everybody makes a lot of sacrifices,” he said.

Coordinating a large-scale event takes valuable time away from his family, he added.

Fischer said he knew Runyan and Kominski from other tournaments, noting that they had won several tournaments before.

However, he said he will not be competing in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament anytime soon.

“They will never be able to fish with me,” he said.

Fishing tournament rocked by lead weight cheating scandal

Source link Fishing tournament rocked by lead weight cheating scandal

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