Hook, Line, and Cheaters: Midwest Fishermen Shock Fishing World
Two midwestern fishermen have taken the internet by storm as a story has broken about cheating at an end-of-the-year fishing tournament in Ohio. Not exactly the viral story most people hope happens to them. They don't call them "fish stories" for nothing.
The Lake Erie Walleye Trail fishing tournament was held this past weekend and for a lot of big fishing tournaments, there is a huge prize pool as well as dozens of fishing teams with their popular sponsors. According to NRP, it's not quite the lever of NASCAR, but it's not too far off either.
This isn't the first time these two fishing anglers have been accused of cheating by the fishing community. Lie-detector tests have become pretty popular for winners at big fishing tournaments and last year one of the accused anglers failed a lie detector test. Jake Runyan and Chase Cominsky appeared to be the winners of this year's Lake Erie Walleye Trail fishing tournament until a little investigation took place.
According to NPR, the goal for each fisherman in this tournament is to bring the heaviest catch, out of 5 fish. There is also a "side pot" for the biggest single fish. It cost teams $400 to participate in the tournament. When the weigh-in came for these two fishermen, they needed 28.18 pounds to bring home the victory. After an electronic scale weighed their fish at 33.91 pounds, there were a lot of people on hand doubting the legitimacy of these fish. It turns out, they were right.
The director of the tournament, Jason Fischer, asked to see the fish in question, squeezed each fish, and knew there was a problem. He told NPR,
I just wanted to feel the fish. I squeeze the fish, I squeeze the belly... and I immediately felt things in the belly of this fish, hard objects.
When Fischer felt hard objects inside the fish, he asked for a knife to open the fish up and found lead weights as well as several portions of added fish fillets. The weights totaled 7.58 pounds. That is when this got heated at the tournament location. Other fishermen let these two guys have it. There are so many different videos of this situation all over the internet, all videos contain a plethora of profanity. Fischer told NPR, he lost it.
I got a little animated and just basically raw emotion came out. At that moment, it turned from a fishing tournament to a mob scene.
Police officers were eventually called to the scene as a precaution and as protection for the two cheating fishermen. As the two cheating fishermen were eliminated from the tournament, first place was awarded to Chris French and Steve Tyszko.
The biggest question I have is, how long do you think these two have been cheating? Last year they reported making more than $300,000 in various fishing tournaments. Something tells me this isn't the first time these two have broken the rules but I'd be willing to bet it will be the last. There's not a fishing tournament around that will likely allow these two to compete ever again.