ART/ CREATIVE DIRECTOR
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Pat Robertson is a well-known outdoor writer. Robertson has been recognized and awarded many times for his outstanding work in the outdoors communication field. The South Carolina Outdoor Press (SCOPe) has presented Robertson with the Gene Smith Lifetime Achievement Award and the SCOPe Service Award, which was renamed “The Pat Robertson Service Award.” Photo by Terry Madewell
The Opening Cast
by Richard Simms
The world of professional tournament fishing is still reeling (pun intended) following the incredible case of apparent cheating in a major walleye fishing tournament last month.
Because of the dramatic scene of the tournament director actually cutting massive lead weights from walleye stomachs, the video went viral. The social media spiraled uncontrolled far out of the world of tournament fishing, spilling way over into the mainstream media.
No doubt it cast every professional angler in a very bad light, especially in the minds of those unfamiliar with professional fishing tournaments.
Like most of you, I am flabbergasted as to how anyone could have crammed so much weight down five fish without knowing it would raise suspicion. It simply boggles my mind.
Lake Erie Walleye Trail (LEWT) tournament director Jason Fischer was surprisingly professional under the circumstances. Without his control of the situation, the near-riotous crowd could have been dangerous for the accused wrongdoers, Chase Cominsky (35, Hermitage, Penn.) and Jacob Runyan (42, Broadview Heights, Ohio).
Each man is charged with one count apiece of cheating (5th degree felony), attempted grand theft (5th degree felony), possessing criminal tools (5th degree felony), and unlawful ownership of wild animals (4th degree misdemeanor). You can read the indictment here.
The two pleaded not guilty Oct. 26. Neither man made any comment to the court and their attorney declined comment to the media following the short arraignment hearing.
If found guilty, felonies of the fifth degree are punishable up to 12 months in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. Misdemeanors of the fourth degree are punishable up to 30 days in jail and up to $250 in fines.
Their boat has been seized as evidence. It is unclear if the pair might forfeit it or not.
The situation has fallen out of the mainstream media now. For that I am thankful. But many anglers are debating the potential punishment. Many say it is not enough.
Personally, I’m not that worried about it. Sure, I believe they deserve punishment. But I know they are already being punished regardless of the outcome in court. The incredible worldwide ridicule the pair has faced will follow them, and their families, around for the rest of their lives. I suspect the embarrassment of inflicting such pain on their families is probably worse than jail time.
Richard Simms, Editor
“The outdoors is not a place, it’s a state of mind.”