Latest drama at city marina tied to fishing tourney

A photo submitted to the OBSERVER of the fish taken by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Waters surrounding the current operator of the Dunkirk Marina appear to be more troubled after a competition over the weekend.

A fishing tournament, run by Bart’s Cove in Dunkirk, disqualified Peter Smith, 57, of Forestville after he was allegedly caught by tournament officials shoving fish inside of the walleye he captured to make them weigh more. The event took place Saturday and Sunday and included a $500 entry fee.

In a posting on Facebook, a person who is charged with running the tournament noted the decision. “I appreciate everyone’s patience to let me get to the bottom of this mess,” he wrote. “People who cheat and get caught are permanently banned from fishing this event. People who cheat have no respect for me or there fellow fisherman. I now have a list of seven names that are banned for life.”

State Department of Environmental Conservation officers confiscated the fish. An official in the public relations department of the DEC noted he would get back to the OBSERVER and The Post-Journal with more information on the incident.

In the meantime, winners announced for the tournament included: Ship of Fools for winning the trip to Panama for two with a value of $14,500 and Fishing Traditions for winning the Kansas whitetail hunt.

The alleged actions mirror what two men did in stuffing fish with lead weights and fish fillets in an attempt to win thousands of dollars in an Ohio fishing tournament last fall. The allegations surfaced in September when Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament Director Jason Fischer became suspicious when the fish turned in by Jacob Runyan, of Broadview Heights, Ohio, and Chase Cominsky, of Hermitage, Pa., were significantly heavier than typical walleye.

According to search warrant affidavits, five walleye contained lead weights and fillets. Officers from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources confiscated the fish as evidence. They would have received a little over $28,000 in prizes for winning the tournament.

Smith has been charged in connection with a pair of incidents that took place on July 17 and 24 in the town of Sheridan. On July 26, New York State Police filed an extreme risk protection order against Smith in state Supreme Court of Chautauqua County.

According to documents from Sheridan Town Court, Smith allegedly entered a property on Creek Road and fired three rounds from a .45-caliber pistol at a padlock on a locked barn door 50 feet from the residence occupied by a victim and child on July 17. Charging documents indicate he went into the victim’s barn to locate stolen property from a previous incident.

Smith was charged by state police with burglary with a weapon and reckless endangerment, both felonies, as well as criminal mischief. He was taken to Chautauqua County Jail in Mayville for arraignment where bail was set at $100,000 cash, $200,000 bond. He later posted bond and was released.

In the second visit to the same property earlier this week, between 5:30 and 7 p.m., Smith is accused of writing “Confes or die” on the side of victim’s home in bright orange chalk marking paint, which was later located at his home. The paint caused damage to the home’s vinyl siding, court records state.

Police said Smith had been told to stay away from the residence. In this incident, he was charged with second-degree menacing, criminal mischief and stalking, all misdemeanors.


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