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Boat Involved in Infamous Cheating Scandal Set for Auction


In one of the most unusual, and nefarious, stories to ever hit recreational boating, a high-end fishing boat entangled in a cheating scandal is now up for auction.


The backstory revolves around the misdeeds of professional anglers Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky, who were sentenced to jail time after being caught stuffing fish with added weight during a walleye tournament.


The story went viral in boating circles, many of whom were surprised at both the gravity of the charges and the potential penalties for the two fishermen. Most recreational boaters were unaware of the size of potential prize winnings at professional tournaments. At the Lake Erie Walleye Trail Tournament where Runyan and Cominsky were caught, the winner was set to receive upwards of $28,000 USD in prize money. Both men were also poised to win "team of the year" for the 2022 season.


Their story unraveled when it was discovered that metal weights had been added to the bellies of their fish to increase their overall weight on the scale. The video that captured the moment in front of the tournament headquarters has been viewed over three million times.

“We got weights in fish,” said Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament overseer Jason Fischer in the video. The two men had been enjoying an unusually successful season to the point that officials had begun to suspect foul play. Of the 19 events on the 2022 tournament calendar, Runyan and Cominsky had won nine. The next closest team had only won two.

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Both men were indicted in October 2022 on felony charges of cheating, attempted grand theft, and possessing criminal tools. They were also charged with a misdemeanor count of illegal animal ownership. Both men pleaded guilty in Ohio in March 2023 to the cheating and misdemeanor animal ownership charges. The remaining charges were dropped. Both were sentenced to 10 days in jail, 18 months of probation, and had their fishing licenses suspended for three years.


As part of their punishment they also had to forfeit their boat -- a 2022 Ranger Pro FS 622. The 22-foot fishing machine features a Mercury Verado 400 outboard on the transom (with only 69 hours of runtime on the engine), a 15 hp Mercury 4-stroke Pro Kicker outboard trolling motor, a Minn Kotta electric trolling motor, trim tabs, keyless ignition and starting system, Lowrance sonar/GPS, and a laundry list of specialty fishing features. It also comes with a matching tandem axle Ranger trailer.



The boat is now available for bidding in a government auction. It's located in Sandusky, Ohio and is also available for viewing in-person.


The starting bid on the vessel began at a modest $25,000 but has already shot up to over $80,000. The auction closes July 23rd.


It's worth noting that a 2024 Ranger Pro FS 622 starts around $115,000 USD with basic options but can exceed over $145,000 when fully decked out.


There will even be somewhat of a spectacle available to interested buyers. There is a public viewing and demonstration at the Dempsey Fishing Access Area in Marblehead, Ohio, on July 13th from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., with a launch and run at 10:30 a.m.. No rides will be available.


As a result of the scandal and the negative press it garnered across the fishing and boating industry, officials in major fishing tournaments have begun using metal detectors to prevent a similar occurrence.



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