The contestants, Jake Runyan and Chase Kominsky, were stripped of their victory and could potentially face criminal charges.

CLEVELAND – This fish story begins at Clevelandat the Lake Erie Tournament.

The zander was weighed and the champion was named, but something didn’t seem right.

It wasn’t just the catch that was ‘fishy’, and a quick stab at the walleye left the new champions with no hope of taking home the prizes when weights and fillets were found inside.

“It’s one thing when you’re sitting at the bar and a fish you say is so big is actually so big,” says avid angler Adam Vanhoe. “It’s one thing, but people come from all over the country for these competitions.”

VanHo should know: He’s not just a fisherman; he is a criminal defense attorney. While the competitors — Jake Runyan and Chase Kominsky — haven’t been charged with a crime, it’s something that’s being looked into, especially since some tournaments have prizes north of $100,000, including boats.

“We call this ‘theft by deception,'” Wang Ho explained, “which basically means you tried to steal something by making something that you pass on to others.”

While some are disillusioned with finances, others are suffering from the men they thought were friends on the lake.

“It makes me angry, it makes me sad,” said Kenny Morris, a northeast Ohio angler. “I knew Chase and Jake and I don’t talk to them anymore. They are blocked from me.

Despite the controversy, Morris is hopeful for future tournaments and stricter protocols.

“If you’re taking a fish that’s going to make you money, you’re going to have to cut the fish,” he told 3News.

The end of this story still leaves many questions, but the organizer who found these trucks wants the competitors to know one thing.

“I just care about having a fair tournament,” Lake Erie Walleye Trail’s Jacob Fisher said in a statement, “and Lake Erie anglers deserve that.”

Fishermen, I am still at a loss for words and I apologize for that. The results are published. Congratulations to Steve Tyshko and…

Published Walleye Run on Lake Erie on Saturday, October 1, 2022