A cheating scandal has rocked the world of competitive fishing and two competitors have lost out on a $29,000 prize

fisher holds a walleye
The duo would have pocketed winnings of nearly $29,000 if the tainted fish hadn’t been identified.
Dennis Anderson—Star Tribune/Getty Images

“We got weights in the fish!” one man yelled out.

And with those five words, the normally docile sport of pro fishing became the latest unlikely competitive activity to find itself rocked by allegations of cheating.

Jason Fisher, director of the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament, was the official who made the call on Friday, after becoming suspicious of the weigh-in for five fish presented by a two-person team. At 34 lbs., the walleye catch was nearly double what he expected, so he sliced one of the fish open and found a lead ball in its stomach roughly the size of an egg.

Jacob Runyan and his teammate Chase Cominsky would have pocketed winnings of nearly $29,000 if the tainted fish hadn’t been identified. The duo won the last three Walleye Trail events this year, winning tens of thousands of dollars. Now the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has opened an investigation into the incident.

While it’s never been a secret that fishers exaggerate about the size of their catch and the “ones that got away,” most people don’t realize how widespread cheating is in competitive angling. Some people have pre-caught fished delivered to them. Some stuff them with ice during weigh-ins.

The reaction of the other fishing competitors on Friday to the weighted fish was intense, with spectators and competitors hurling epithets at Runyan—and some colorful words from Fisher as well.  

The fishing controversy comes on the heels of an alleged cheating scandal in the professional chess world. World champion Magnus Carlsen has accused fellow grand master Hans Niemann of cheating, prompting an investigation by the sport’s governing body. (Niemann has admitted he cheated in online chess at the ages of 12 and 16 but denies he has done so in over-the-board games.)

The world of professional poker is seeing accusations fly as well after one player—Robbi Jade Lew—went all in against an opponent with a seemingly better hand (Garrett Adelstein), winning $269,000 in the process. After an exchange of words between the two off camera, Lew returned the chips.

Adelstein later accused Lew of cheating, saying she had a vibrating device in her pocket letting her know she had the better hand.  

Sign up for the Fortune Features email list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews, and investigations.

Read More

Travel IndustryBooksSmarter ShoppingSports