Fishermen Plead Guilty After Stuffing Fish With Weights

A pair of men pleaded guilty to charges including cheating in an Ohio fishing tournament last fall after stuffing fish with lead weights and fillets.

As a result of suspicions raised by Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament director Jason Fischer in September, Jacob Runyan, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, turned in fish that appeared to be significantly heavier than typical walleye fish.

As Fischer cut open the walleye in Gordon Park, Cleveland, a crowd watched as weights and walleye fillets were found inside.

Both Runyan and Cominsky agreed to three-year suspensions of their fishing licenses as part of a plea deal made Monday. Cominsky also gave up his $100,000 bass boat as part of the deal.

Several charges, including attempted grand theft and possession of criminal tools, have been dropped by prosecutors.

Prosecutors plan to recommend both men be sentenced to six months' probation and then ask that their convictions be expunged if they successfully complete their probation, said James Gallagher, an assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor.

According to Cominsky's attorney, Kevin Spellacy, the plea is the first step in taking responsibility for his actions. Runyan's lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

Officers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confiscated five walleye fish as evidence for having lead weights and fillets.

The prize money for winning the tournament would have been a bit over $28,000.

According to court records, Runyan and Cominsky were also investigated in Toledo in 2022 after being accused of cheating in another walleye tournament. The prosecutor concluded that although the men may have cheated, there was not enough evidence to charge them, according to a police report.


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