Chase Cominsky and Jacob Runyan are fishermen accused in viral video of cheating during Ohio’s Lake Erie Walleye Trail fishing tournament after weights were found in fish. The couple who appeared to have won the tournament prior to the discovery were disqualified. The tournament took place on Friday 30th September 2022.
A post on Friday’s Lake Erie Walleye Trail Facebook page by director Jason Fischer said: “Disgusted boys and girls, I’m sorry I let you down for so long and I’m glad I did caught cheating in YOUR LEWT same time. … I hope you now know that I mean it when I say “You built this LEWT and I will defend its integrity at all costs”. You all deserve the best.”
The fraud scandal is being investigated by the authorities, said Fischer. Cominsky and Runyan could not be reached by Heavy for comment and have not spoken publicly about the controversy.
In a post on Saturday he wrote: “All LEWT anglers deserve better, I will take my time and figure out how to solidify the integrity of our sport here on Erie. I appreciate all the support over the last 24 hours and the last 4 years. I really love what WE have built and I’ll be back next season with some great new ideas. The schedule will be published shortly!”
Here’s what you need to know about Chase Cominsky and Jacob Runyan, the accused Lake Erie Walleye Trail fishing tournament cheaters:
The weigh-in for the fishing tournament was held on September 30th at Gordon Park in Cleveland Metroparks. The video, posted online, quickly went viral and spread across social media, including TikTok. 30 two-person teams competed in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament championship in Clevbeland Harbor.
Fisher told Cleveland.com, “I knew right away there was something wrong with those walleye.” A video shows Fischer and Cominsky being celebrated for their apparent win and the Team of the Year award, while Fischer caught the fish examine the edge of the screen.
In the video, Fischer can then be seen cutting open one of the zanders. He yells at the crowd, “We’ve got weights in fish!” Fischer then yells and slams his fist at Runyan, who was standing in front of him and watched the crowd erupt.
In another video, Runyan can be seen slicing up the fish while Fischer tells the angler, “Jake, I want you to go. I don’t want anyone touching these guys.” Someone in the crowd yells at Runyan, “You should be in jail.” Someone else says, “You should call the police,” and another says, “We don’t have to make a police report ?
Fishing tournament director Fischer told The Sharon Herald walleye, which are typically caught in Lake Erie in late September, weigh 4 to 5 pounds. When the fish caught by Cominsky and Runyan weighed 7.9 pounds, Fischer told the newspaper, “I was like ‘no way’.”
Fischer said he squeezed the fish and felt something hard inside, the newspaper reported. He then cut the fish open and found two 12-ounce metal balls inside, he told The Herald. Fischer said Cominsky and Runyan had led the Lake Erie Walleye Tour all season and needed to finish 10th or better to win the title.
Fischer, a police sergeant in Ohio, told the New York Times, “Everything has been turned over to law enforcement.” The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Cuyahoga County Attorney’s Office are investigating, The Times reported.
Cominsky and Runyan were disqualified from The Fall Brawl fishing tournament in 2021 after one of the anglers failed a lie detector test, The Toledo Blade reported. This disqualification cost her a price of $100,000. The newspaper reported that both men passed polygraph exams according to later events. A Facebook post reveals they won a cash prize and boat at the Walleye Slam in 2021.
Cleveland.com wrote: “It didn’t take much to fuel the cradle crowd, many who suspected Cominsky and Runyan had regularly cheated to consistently use expensive fishing boats at the Fall Brawl and Walleye Slam fishing derbies in 2021.” to win. and tens of thousands of dollars in walleye tournaments. The two had tucked the heavy 12-ounce egg trays into their walleye and padded them with filleted walleye meat so the trays wouldn’t bump into each other and make noise.
The newspaper reported Fischer asked Runyan to leave as he was threatened by the crowd and Cominsky had already locked himself in his truck in the parking lot, Cleveland.com wrote.
Cominsky, 35, is from Hermitage, Pennsylvania. According to Cleveland.com, he and Runyan have earned more than $306,000 during their winning streak at fishing tournaments in the Ohio area.
Runyan told Cleveland.com after a tournament win in December 2021, “Chase and I sat down before the tournaments and derbies this year and agreed to fish as a team and split the profits. And of course the costs, which ranged from entry fees and fuel to boat insurance for Chase’s Ranger boat.”
He wrote on WalleyeCentral.com in 2021: “Thank you for the support. This is Jake Runyan. big win. We had a great year. Chase and I post a lot of information on our Facebook. Yes, the taxes are not cheap. We are partners and treat them as such. Thanks again for the support!”
Their Facebook pages appear to have been shut down amid the cheating scandal. When asked if they planned to sell the boat they won, Runyan wrote, “We’re still working out details, but Chase is well versed in boat sales. Everyone does it a bit differently every year, I’m sure.”
Kenny Morris told WKYC, “I’m upset about this, I’m sad about it. I know Chase and I know Jake and I don’t speak to them anymore. You are blocked by me. If you take a fish that will make you some money, you have to cut the fish open.”
Jake Runyan, 41, is from Cleveland. After the Walleye Slam win, Runyan told Cleveland.com, “I knew we were going to pass the Walleye Slam test. And I knew we had to get legal counsel and fight our disqualification in the Brawl case. Our reputation means the world to us and we would never cheat.”
Runyan added: “It wasn’t just the loss of a very expensive boat that we deservedly won. It’s put our names through the mud and smeared on social media and among the walleye fishermen in the area.”
He told The Toledo Blade after being disqualified from Fall Brawl in 2021: “He showed us the report – they were literally flat lines. In his professional opinion, he saw nothing unusual. But we weren’t surprised; we knew we would pass. We will advance legal challenges with the brawl. My name has been dragged through the mud for too long.”
Fellow angler Adam VanHo, a lawyer, told WKYC: “It’s one thing when you’re sitting at a bar and the fish that you say is that big is actually that big. It’s one thing, but people come to these competitions from all over the country.”
He said with the value of the prizes on offer at the tournaments, including boats and thousands of dollars in cash, it could be a crime to cheat. “We call it theft by deception, which essentially consists of you trying to steal something by doing what you’re handing over differently,” VanHo told the news channel.