Guilty Pleas Entered by Fishermen Involved in Tournament Cheating Scandal


Two anglers who were involved in a cheating scandal that rocked competitive fishing last fall plead guilty on Monday.

Jacob Runyan, Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky, Heritage, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to cheating and illegally owning wild animals as part of a plea deal. Cominsky also had to surrender his $100,000 bass boat.

The Prosecutors have reached an agreement to drop the attempted theft, possessing criminal tools, and possession charges. Assistant Cuyahoga county prosecutor James Gallagher stated they will recommend six months of probation for Runyan or Cominsky and then request the expungement of their convictions.

An incident at the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament, in September 2009, triggered the issue.

Jason Fischer was made suspicious of illegal activity after Runyan, Cominsky, and others sent in fish significantly larger than the average walleye.

Fischer was surrounded as he cut through the walleye and found weights and fillets. Both fishermen were later arrested.

According to search warrant affidavits, five walleye were weighed and filled with lead. The two winners of the tournament would have received just over $28,000.

Court records indicate that Runyan and Cominsky were also being investigated for cheating at a spring 2022 walleye tournament. A prosecutor determined that there was not enough evidence to bring them to trial.