Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky took part in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail fishing tournament last September, where they were set to win prize money worth $28,760. Things were going smoothly until Jason Fischer, director of the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament, became suspicious of the fish they caught.
Runyan and Cominsky were disqualified after officials saw the walleye fish that they caught looked to weigh 4 pounds, but they ended up weighing closer to 7 pounds each. In a viral video, Fisher can be seen cutting the fish open and pulling out what he said was a lead ball.
Fisher released photos showing the metal objects pulled from the walleye, which were allegedly put there by Runyan and Cominsky to increase the weight of their catch.
The fishermen pleaded guilty to charges of cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals. They received additional charges of attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools, but those were dropped as part of their plea deal.
Both Runyan and Cominsky will each serve 10 days in jail and serve six months probation, according to court documents. They are also required to forfeit their boat and trailer to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife and had their state fishing licenses suspended for three years.
If all that weren’t enough, Runyan and Cominsky were each hit with a $2,500 fine, but according to court documents, half of that could be suspended if the fishermen make a charitable $1,250 donation to a non-profit organization.