With tens of thousands in prize money and the integrity of anglers hanging on the line, a walleye fishing tournament in Ohio turned ugly after an apparent cheating scandal was uncovered last week.
An expletive-laced video posted to social media shows Jason Fischer, tournament director for the Lake Erie Walleye Trail (LEWT), cutting open the winning catch of five walleye on Friday and finding lead weights and prepared fish fillets inside them.
“We’ve got weights in fish!” Fischer shouts in the video, before winding up his arm and gesturing at the anglers to leave. “Get out of here!” he shouts at the would-be winners. In the background, people in the crowd shout “call the cops” and accuse the men of theft.
The winning anglers, Jacob Runyan, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky, of Hermitage, Penn., were immediately disqualified. They were in line to win about $39,000 Cdn, according to CNN. The duo had previously won several other LEWT competitions, according to Toledo newspaper The Blade, and have earned a “considerable” amount of prize money in the past.
The video shows Fischer urging Runyan to leave for his own safety as people hurled insults at him.
WARNING | Video contains graphic language:
The county prosecutor’s office in Cleveland has opened an investigation into the lucrative walleye fishing tournament.
In a video statement posted to Facebook Monday, an emotional Fischer called the apparent cheating “one of the most disgusting, dishonest acts that the fishing world has ever seen.”
“There’s always been stories about dishonesty in competition, but I personally have never seen anything quite like this — in competitive fishing, that is,” Fischer said.
“The individuals involved here appear to have put greed and ego in front of anything else, forever tainting our sport.”
He noted the information from Friday’s tournament has been turned over to the Ohio Division of Wildlife, which will handle the case and “any potential criminal action from this point forward.”
Fischer also apologized for his use of profanity in the original video, noting that he “acted out of emotion.”
www.cbc.ca 2022-10-04 17:33:06