When the director of a recent Ohio fishing competition felt one team’s prized catch seemed suspiciously heavy, he decided to investigate. In front of a group of spectators, he cut the walleye open—and discovered lead weights and fish fillets stuffed inside.
Needless to say, the men responsible for the ploy, Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky, were not awarded the $28,000 top prize for their artificially heavy fish. Instead, they were taken to court. This week, they pled guilty to one count of cheating and one count of illegal possession of wild fish, reports Fox News.
Walleye are a species of perch that are common in freshwater lakes and rivers throughout the U.S. They’re popular among sport fishermen because they make for good eating, and they’re big. An adult walleye can weigh up to 20 pounds (or more, of course, if you add lead weights).
This isn’t the first time the two have been accused of cheating. Last year, they competed in a separate tournament. The walleye fish they caught then were also suspiciously heavy, but the two men weren’t ultimately charged.
As a part of their sentence, the two will have to spent a year in prison and give up their fishing licenses for three years. Cominsky’s $100,000 bass boat has also been confiscated. Though their lawyers plan to work the sentence down to something less severe, it looks like these guys will be stuck with a bit of an angling hiatus regardless. That means walleye crochet may be the closest they get to a real fish for a while.