Cheater Cheater 2: Weights and Walleyes

With tens of thousands in prize money and the integrity of anglers hanging on the line, a walleye fishing tournament in Ohio turned ugly after an apparent cheating scandal was uncovered last week.

An expletive-laced video posted to social media shows Jason Fischer, tournament director for the Lake Erie Walleye Trail (LEWT), cutting open the winning catch of five walleye on Friday and finding lead weights and prepared fish fillets inside them. 

"We've got weights in fish!" Fischer shouts in the video, before winding up his arm and gesturing at the anglers to leave. "Get out of here!" he shouts at the would-be winners. In the background, people in the crowd shout "call the cops" and accuse the men of theft.

The winning anglers, Jacob Runyan, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky, of Hermitage, Penn., were immediately disqualified. They were in line to win about $39,000 Cdn, according to CNN. 

The video shows Fischer urging Runyan to leave for his own safety as people hurled insults at him. According to news site Cleveland.com, Cominsky had already locked himself inside his truck in the parking lot.

The duo had previously won several other LEWT competitions, according to Toledo newspaper The Blade, and have earned a "considerable" amount of prize money in the past. A Facebook post from February, for instance, announces Runyan and Cominsky as the winners of The 2021 Walleye Slam. The Slam's website lists Runyan as the 2021 winner for catching a fish weighing 12.79 pounds.

The pair had been previously disqualified from a 2021 competition for failing a polygraph test, according to an article from Cleveland.com. The news site reports that all the big winners are required to take the test.

The Global Polygraph Network notes that polygraphs can be administered in fishing tournaments to "determine whether the winning anglers have followed the tournament rules, caught the winning fish personally (ie. hook and hand violations) and during tournament hours, used unapproved lures, or weighted or altered the fish."

Runyan and Cominsky later passed the lie-detector test that allowed them to win the Walleye Slam.