Felony Fish Cheating 

Lying is also still legal, in general.

Last fall, two fisherman were caught putting weights in fish, in a ploy to increase the size of their haul and thus win a tournament. The ridiculous nature of the whole thing led to this story being covered pretty widely. There was actually a fair amount of money involved, with tens of thousands of dollars in prize money on the line. Still, the whole thing just struck me as ridiculous, right down to the description of the tournament director discovering the lie:

“We got weights in fish!” he yelled, holding one of 10 steel-gray, egg-sized weights that would be pulled from the entry.

Then, Fischer disqualified the two-man team that had submitted the entry.

“Get out of here!” he yelled, inserting a curse word as a mob of competitors swarmed, heckled and harangued one of them.

For the record, as captured on video, the exact yell was a very angry “Get the fuck out of here!”. There’s also an accompanying still image that’s just a real work of art:

A man holding weights, looking angrily at another man, who looks slightly abashed. A crowd looks on.

The anger! The disgust! The ever so slightly abashed look. The crowd looking on. I love it.

Anyhow, to my surprise, this apparently all wound up in court. Yesterday, the two duplicitous fishermen took a plea:

Jacob Runyan, 43, and Chase Cominsky, 36, pleaded guilty Monday in Cleveland to felony cheating and unlawfully owning wild animals, a misdemeanor.

Who knew “felony cheating” was a thing? I certainly did not. If I understand the law correctly (and it is very possible I do not), the issue is not simply that these men broke the rules of a contest, but rather that they obtained prizes which properly belonged to others. As such, it seems fisherman don’t need to be concerned about telling stories of how they once caught a fish thiiiis big.