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A fishing tournament in Ohio drew national attention after the winning team was disqualified for cheating. Videos of the weigh-in and outrage that followed shortly after were posted to social media and spread like wildfire. The disqualified team consisted of Jake Runyon and Chase Cominsky who previously sparked suspicion when their winnings were stripped from a tournament last year.

Cheaters at Ohio Walleye Tournament


Runyon and Cominski have been prominent competitors on the walleye fishing tournament trail with a track record of good performances. Fishing tournaments can be lucrative with large cash prizes and expensive fishing boats. The Team had won hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially even more than that with sponsor prizes. Their results became unbelievable and anglers became weary of the team. Rumors that the duo had been cheating by stuffing fish started long before the Cleveland Tournament.

Jake and Chase were briefly the winners of the Cleveland walleye tournament after their fish put up the highest number at the weigh-in, but dissent and disbelief quickly followed. Jason Fischer, the director of the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament series asked to inspect the fish as soon as the weigh in and pictures were done. Fischer held and squeezed the fish and apparently felt something that warranted further investigation. In one of the videos a crowd started to gather as Jason got a knife and cut open one of the fish. Large lead weights were immediately discovered which set the crowd on fire.

The spectators that watched Jason Fischer cut open every fish only to more lead and fish filets went from skeptical to outraged. Insults directed at a deadpan Jake Runyon erupted as the scene grew more tense. By the end of the day, Runyon and teammate Cominski were escorted out by police for their safety. Currently, both anglers are being investigated by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources which could result in charges that many commenters are calling for.

Professional Fishing Outlook

While the fishing tournament rumor mill has always been an active community, it’s safe to say that now it’s firing on all cylinders. With unwavering national attention drawn to a professional fishing cheating scandal, the question is, what does this mean for the sport? And how will this affect the public view of fishing in general?

Organizations like Bassmaster, Major League Fishing, and a long list of smaller tournament hosts are major proponents of conservation. The revenue generated by fishing tournaments is often reinvested into the sport which helps provide better fishing for everyone. No one likes cheating but with the exceptional amount of negative light shined on professional fishing, there could be fallout. Hopefully, the focus remains on the bad actors and doesn’t expand to fishing as a whole. If we’re lucky, the recent attention will bring positive changes to the sport and a few new anglers.