During the Omer Suckerfest, a participant was found cheating by adding lead weights to his fish, as reported by event organizers.
Each spring, the Omer Suckerfest takes place in Michigan, attracting anglers from across the state to participate in a 10-day competition to catch the heaviest sucker fish. The event coincides with the migration of thousands of suckers from Lake Huron to Michigan rivers for spawning.
Local businesses contribute thousands of dollars in prize money, and anglers gather along the Rifle River, hoping to secure one of the top five prizes. Participants can submit up to three fish, with this year’s heaviest fish earning a $1,000 prize and the second-place winner receiving $600.
During the event, a competitor noticed that a fish submitted for weighing appeared heavier than it should. He shared his concerns with Deric Rogers, the weighmaster and event organizer. Rogers agreed and decided to dissect the 4.89-pound white sucker for further examination. Upon inspection, he discovered lead sinkers hidden in the fish’s head, behind the gills.
The individual who submitted the tampered fish admitted to the wrongdoing when confronted. Although no fishing laws were broken, the cheater was banned from future tournaments by Rogers, who chose not to involve law enforcement. Rogers emphasized his focus on the enjoyment of the many families participating in the event and the lasting memories created for the children.
The competitor who reported the suspicious fish later won the 4th and 5th place prizes. Michigan regulates bass, walleye, and muskie fishing tournaments but not sucker tournaments. This year’s competition ended in a tie for first place, with one of the winners being a 12-year-old girl. The difference in weight between her fish and the disqualified participant’s fish was a mere two one-hundredths of an ounce.