Disgraced tournament anglers Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky have been sentenced to 10 days in jail. Their sentences stem from an incident that took place back in September 2022 when the fishing partners were caught packing lead weights into the body cavities of several walleyes they’d caught during a tournament near Cleveland, Ohio. The ordeal was caught on camera and quickly went viral. See exclusive footage of the weigh-in obtained by F&S below.
As part of an earlier plea deal agreement, prosecutors dropped other charges against Cominsky and Runyan, including attempted grand theft and possession of criminal tools. Those original charges were filed in late October 2022. They would have carried up to 12 months in prison and fines of $2,500 per offense.
Back in September 2022, Runyan and Cominsky stood to win up to $28,000 in prize money before tournament director Jason Fischer cut into their fish and pulled out the large egg-shaped weights in front of an angry crowd of fellow tournament anglers. The walleye bodies were also packed with the fillets of other fish—presumably in an attempt to muffle the sound and feel of the lead weights as Fisher and others handled the walleyes in the lead-up to the weigh-in.
After substantial public outcry, spurred on by national media coverage, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources investigated the incident and the men were later indicted. Court documents revealed by the Associated Press show that Cominsky and Runyan were also investigated for cheating allegations related to another walleye tournament that took place near Toledo back in the Spring of 2022—but evidence related to that case wasn’t sufficient enough to warrant charges.
“I have no doubt that these two crooks cheated in multiple tournaments over the last several years. Unfortunately, we can only hold them accountable for what they did on September 30, 2022,” Cuyahoga County prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley told Yahoo Sports. “Although these two deserve to have their fishing license suspended for life, the law only allows a maximum of three years. These two should be banned from every fishing tournament for life.”