There is something fishy going on in the world of competitive fishing.
Potential winners of nearly $29,000 at a fishing tournament in Ohio were disqualified Friday, after it was discovered that their fish had been stuffed with lead weights and fish fillets.
He said the walleye in the bucket looked like they should both weigh about 4 pounds, but the total weight indicated they should be at least 7 pounds each.
“I thought there was no way,” he said. “I could also hear the crowd murmuring, like ‘No way, there’s no way.'”
“I physically felt the fish, I felt solid objects inside the fish,” he said.
The moment Fisher discovered the alleged cheat has been documented Many videos are going viral now Posted on social media, Fisher appears, surrounded by competitors, cutting the fish with a knife and pulling what he said was a lead ball. Jacob Runyan, a member of the two-person team who allegedly cheated, stood in silence watching in one of the videos Fisher shared with CNN.
“We have weights in the fish,” Fischer shouted. The crowd threw curses at the Runyan.
He heard someone say to the hunter, “I’ve lost everything.” The video also shows Fisher asking Ronan to leave and telling the crowd not to touch him.
Fisher told CNN that Runyan and his teammate, Chase Kominsky, were set to win a $28,760 prize. Prize money for each tournament he hosts comes from the entry fee each hunter pays for the competition.
Fisher hosts about eight tournaments throughout the year, he said, attracting competitors from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Contestants compete to see who can achieve the highest total weight in a bucket of five light gray animals caught in Lake Erie.
Neither Runyan nor Kominsky responded to CNN’s request for comment.
Fischer said tournament officials are in contact with local authorities.
Stephanie O’Grady, a media and outreach specialist for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, told CNN that the department collected evidence Friday and is preparing a report for the Cuyahoga County District Attorney’s Office.
“Since this is an open investigation, we have no further comment at this time,” she wrote in an email to CNN.
He said Fisher was “completely disgusted” when he discovered the alleged fraud. “This is a family atmosphere,” he said. “We are all proud of this sport.”
“Everyone sacrifices a lot” to hold and compete in tournaments, he said.
He added that organizing the big event takes precious time away from his family. “For someone to cheat on them not just for money but for family time, I can’t believe they would.”
Fischer said he knows Runyan and Kominsky from other tournaments, noting that they have won several tournaments previously.
But he said they won’t be competing in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Championships again anytime soon.
“They won’t be able to fish in my house,” he said.
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