Video: Cheating Scandal Rocks Tournament Walleye World

Two anglers were caught stuffing several pounds of lead sinkers in walleyes during recent Lake Erie walleye tournament.

Video: Cheating Scandal Rocks Tournament Walleye World

Cheating exists in all walks of life. Unfortunately, some forms of it, such as “fudging” on personal income taxes, is so common that it’s seen as routine. Of course, cheating in sports is nothing new — remember the Houston Astros with the garbage cans?

The stories of cheating in fishing tournaments date back many decades, and while event organizers do their best, some participants will break rules in an attempt to win cash, boats and trophies. Case in point: the two cheaters, Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky (fishing as a team), who were caught stuffing 8 pounds of lead sinkers in five walleyes during the recent Lake Erie Walleye Trail event on Sept. 30, 2022 (photo above).

This walleye tournament cheating scandal has even captured the attention of the national media. Click here to read about it in The Washington Post. Even TMZ covered it; click here to see their take. Note: This tournament is not a little local derby for bragging rights and $100; first place in this event was nearly $29,000, and the two anglers have won more than $300,000 during the previous couple years at Lake Erie walleye tournaments. Several of their fellow competitors have suspected them of cheating in the past, and last year the two-man team failed a polygraph test after winning an event, which meant they didn’t get paid.

The 6-minute YouTube video below shows the two anglers getting busted at the weigh-in scale. Warning: The other fishing competitors let it roll when the cheating is discovered, and the language is bad. I think it’s surprising that the angry crowd doesn’t attack the cheaters. Kudos to them for their self-restraint. (Note: At the time of this writing, the YouTube video has been viewed nearly 375,000 times, and it was posted on Sept. 30, 2022.)

If this story really interests you, I encourage you to watch the Bigwater Fishing Podcast (below) hosted by Capt. Ross Robertson. He’s a full-time professional angler and guide on the Great Lakes. I’ve known Ross for many years, and no one is more connected in the walleye world, especially on Lake Erie. In his podcast, Ross is joined by Lake Erie Walleye Trail Director Jason Fischer, the man who felt something hard in the belly of a walleye, then cut open the fish to discover the lead sinkers. I found the details provided by Fischer fascinating, and if you’re a fan of tournament fishing (regardless of species), I think you will, too.

It will be interesting to see what types of charges the two cheaters will face. From contest fraud, to game and fish violations, the list is a long one.

Oct. 12, 2022 Update: The two cheaters have officially been charged, and Cominsky's boat, motor, trailer and onboard tackle have been confiscated. Click here to read a detailed story from the Outdoor News on the specific charges, possible prison time, fines, etc.


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