That’s right, the latest cheating scandal people are obsessing over online somehow involves sport fishing. It centers on a video that recently went viral in which two sport fisherman, now identified as Cleveland residents Chase Cominsky and Jake Runyon, are accused of stuffing their fish with weights to make them heavier during a competition. Weird thing to go viral? Sure, but it really is captivating stuff.
Everything is calm and then a guy checking the fish yells, “We’ve got weights in fish!” All hell breaks loose. A mob of angry Midwesterners descends on the cheaters, screaming profane insults. People scream, asking how many tournaments had they done this in. “Where’s your crown, now?” another yells. “Call the cops,” someone yells as people point out it was theft since there’s prize money on the line. A guy cuts open fish after fish, pulling out weights to prove there was cheating.
It’s gone viral on Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, everywhere.
The video is satisfying to watch, mainly because the stakes are so low — except for the accused fisherman, whose pride and reputation definitely took a hit. It’s a controversy in a subculture most of us had no idea existed: sport fishing. But people are invested nonetheless.
On TikTok, they video has been sliced and diced and analyzed by creators looking to tap into the drama.
And it’s also become a very real, national story. It’s in the The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, and The New York Times. Apparently, cheating in fishing is pretty common. People either weigh down their fish or pretend to catch fish they planted, which honestly just sounds like a lot of work. But I guess thousands of dollars are at stake. This scandal, which took place at a tournament called the Lake Erie Walleye Trail, was especially egregious — and they didn’t even do a good job covering their tracks. The fish weren’t even close to their claimed weight.
“It would be like saying a five-foot-tall person weighs 500 pounds, but you look at him and he looks like an athlete,” Ross Robertson, a pro fisher and writer, told the Times. “These fish were so bulging.”
Now, this fishing controversy seems pretty wrapped-up, which does save the internet the step of doing amateur investigating. But don’t worry, there’s still chess cheating to fixate on.