Cheating Fishermen Go to Jail

A fish that has been caught and is being held by a fisherman.
A fish that has been caught and is being held by a fisherman. (source)

Two cheating fishermen are now going to prison. They were sentenced to ten days in jail, had their fishing licenses suspended for three years, and had to give up their fishing boat that is worth $100 000.

Last September, the fishermen were competing in an Ohio fishing competition, when the tournament director became suspicious of their heavy entries. Soon after being declared winners of the $28 000 prize, the men were embarrassed when the director cut open their fish. Inside the fish, they had stuffed lead weights and fish filets to make them heavier.

The embarrassing moment became a viral video in which the director yells, ‘we got weights in fish!’ In the moment, the two cheats appeared to have nothing to say.

Fishing competition officials believe the men had probably cheated before, but it was difficult to prove without the fish for evidence. After getting out of prison, the men will also have to pay a $2500 fine and spend a year and a half on probation.


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Worksheet with activities


Hear the article spoken:

Useful Language

  • Sentence (v, n) - to say what someone’s punishment will be
  • Suspend (v) - to temporarily stop something from functioning or being valid
  • Suspicious (adj) - feeling that someone has done something wrong or criminal
  • Declare (v) - to say in an official way
  • Stuff (v) - to fill a space with something
  • Lead weight (n) - pieces of the metal lead, which is very heavy
  • Filet (n) - a piece of fish without bones
  • Viral video (n) - a video that becomes popular online
  • Cheat (n) - a person who cheats
  • Fine (n) - a punishment of money that must be paid
  • Probation (n) - a period of living with specific rules, often after coming out of prison


Discuss the following questions with your partner(s).

  1. What did you think about this story? Was there any surprising information?
  2. Do you agree with the punishment the men will receive? Should it be harsher or more lenient?
  3. Which sounds worse? The official punishment or the embarrassment?
  4. Do you like watching embarrassing moments? Or is it too painful?
  5. Do people fish as a hobby in your country? If so, where do they usually fish? If not, what kinds of outdoor hobbies do people do?
  6. Have you been fishing? Did you enjoy it?
  7. Would you like to be in a viral video? Why or why not?
  8. In which sports are people more likely to cheat?
  9. What do you think about cheating? Is it always wrong?
  10. What kind of competition would you like to try? Would you do well?