Two men bag jail terms for cheating at US fishing tournament

Two men at the centre of a scandal that rocked the world of competitive fishing have been sentenced to 10 days in jail.

Jacob Runyan, 43, and Chase Cominsky, 36, were disqualified last September from an Ohio contest to catch the heaviest walleye in Lake Erie.

In dramatic scenes caught on tape, the tournament director exposed the pair for stuffing their catch with lead weights and fish fillets.

Prosecutors said the “two crooks” had likely cheated in other tournaments.

The fishing frauds will spend a year and a half on probation after they complete their jail terms and each must also pay a fine worth $2,500.

Both men have had their fishing licences suspended over the incident for three years, the maximum penalty allowable by law, and Cominsky was also required to forfeit his boat worth $130,000.

Prosecutor Michael O’Malley said on Thursday that the duo “deserve to have their fishing licence suspended for life”.

“These two should be banned from every fishing tournament for life,” he said. “They are thieves and now they are convicted felons.”

The two fishermen had been competing in the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament, where the winner was to receive a prize of $28,760.

Viral video from the event shows tournament director Jason Fischer slicing open their fish during the weigh-in, extracting lead balls and even fillets of other fish.

In the expletive-laden footage, a crowd can be heard shouting at Runyan – who remains silent as the ruse is discovered. The five weighted fish were confiscated and the men were asked to leave.

They pleaded guilty in March to cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals.

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