Ohio anglers get harsh penalties for cheating in fishing tournament

The journey typically taken by walleye tournament fishermen wouldn’t lead to the hoosegow, but a couple of grifting anglers followed the road.

During a September walleye competition in Cleveland, Jacob Runyan, 43, from Ashtabula, and Chase Cominsky, 36, from Hermitage, Pennsylvania, expressed remorse to Judge Steven Gall of the Cuyahoga Common Pleas Court during their sentencing on May 11, admitting to their act of cheating.

Jacob Runyan, left, and Chase Cominsky, sit in court as they are arraigned, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, in Cleveland.

Conversely, Gall had no uncertainties when he issued a 10-day incarceration to both individuals in the Cuyahoga County Jail.

“Ultimately, you are convicted criminals and deceivers,” the judge allegedly informed Runyan and Cominsky.

Involved in this were the two individuals who, during the weigh-in, brought forward lead and fillets in an effort to secure thousands of dollars in tournament winnings. As a consequence of their actions, they faced charges and ultimately confessed to cheating, which is classified as a fifth-degree felony. Additionally, they admitted guilt for the misdemeanor offense of unlawfully possessing wild animals, as part of a plea agreement reached in March.

Discovery of the weights and Runyan’s at-the-scene reaction to the finding was caught on video that curiously grabbed massive media attention worldwide.

If the weigh-in had gone according to plan, Runyan and Cominsky would have earned $28,000 as the highest-ranking team for the tournament trail year. As part of the plea agreement, they had the misdemeanor charge of possessing criminal tools and the felony charge of attempted grand theft dropped.

The plea arrangement involved a three-year halt of their fishing permits and the surrender of Cominsky’s vessel, assessed at $100,000.

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Following their release from prison, both individuals were imposed a $2,500 penalty and placed under one year of probation. Nevertheless, Gall did not grant leniency to the duo during the sentencing for the sole felony offense.

Jacob Runyan, holding up the champion

The dynamic of the Lake Erie Walleye Trail is bound to be altered by the non-participation of Runyan and Cominsky.

Jason Fischer, the Tournament Director, uncovered cheating during last year’s final season’s competition, noting that Team Nine had two more wins than any other team.

The trail was set to take place on Saturday, as the fourth of eight season tournaments, departing from Huron. The season-ending tournament, on the other hand, is scheduled for September 29-30 and will be held in Fairport Harbor.

The pathway ceased to have access to Cleveland Metroparks launch sites due to the incident involving Runyan and Cominsky and the subsequent negative attention, thus the June tournament had to be relocated to Lorain.

Latest news from Turkey

The season for wild turkey in the five northeastern counties runs through next Sunday. In the rest of the state, including central Ohio, the season ends at sunset on Sunday.

Last Sunday, the turkey take totaled 14,279 bearded birds, which is 300 fewer than the total of 14,546 during the entire spring 2021 season. This season had a two-bird limit, making it the most recent. At this point last year, hunters had checked 10,734 birds, and the season ended with a take of 11,872.

The results suggest that both hunters and turkeys may have made a good percentage of filled tags this spring, indicating a possible leap in this sort of hunting season.

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