When it comes to regaling people with their fishing conquests, fishermen (and women) are prone to exaggeration. Somehow, what was in actuality a tiny minnow becomes a great white shark.
And while most “fish tales” aren’t true, this one it seems, truly is the catch of a lifetime.
The Catch of a Lifetime
During a recent family fishing expedition on the Lake of the Woods in Minnesota, 14-year-old Connor Halsa thought he’d snagged a big one.
“I thought I had a big fish, and I set the hook really hard,” Connor told WDAY-TV.
But as it turns out, it wasn’t a wall-eye that he’d caught. It was a wall-et. And it was full of cash, $2000 to be exact.
“My cousin opened the wallet up, and he said some words you probably shouldn’t say, and he showed everyone, and we took the money out and placed it all on the dashboard to let it dry out,” Connor said.
Along with the thousands of dollars, the teens also discovered a business card with a phone number tucked inside the wallet.
Despite the fact that $2,000 is a veritable fortune to a 14-year-old and most kids live by the “Finders Keepers” rule, Connor decided to put the card to good use. With the support of his parents, he called the number and eventually tracked down the owner, Jim Denney, a farmer from Iowa.
Denney was shocked to learn of Connor’s catch.
“The odds of ever finding or hooking a billfold in 20 feet of water — I don’t think there’s a number,” Denney told WDAY-TV.
If there is a number, it’s astronomically small.
For context, the Lake of the Woods is the sixth-largest lake in the U.S. and the 36th-largest in the world. It is over 70 miles long and wide, containing more than 14,552 islands and 65,000 miles of shoreline. So yeah, basically the same odds as finding a needle in a really really ginormous haystack.
How $2,000 Ended Up on the End of a Fish Hook
According to Denney, he was on a fishing trip at the Lake of the Woods the previous summer when his wallet, unfortunately, went swimming with the fishes.
He didn’t realize he had lost it until he tried to pay his final bill at the resort he was staying at.
“They had to float me the money for the whole deal,” Denney said. “That’s the (worst) feeling I ever had, didn’t have a penny on me.”
He thought the money was lost forever, a casualty of sea (or in this case, lake).
But thanks to Connor’s catch of a lifetime, the farmer and his money were reunited.
The grateful farmer recently ventured out to Moorhead, Minnesota to connect with Connor and the Halsa family, but not before offering the money up as a cash reward. Connor refused to take it.
“To meet people like that, who are that honest, I tried to get them to take the money, and they wouldn’t do it,” Denney said.
Instead, Denney gifted Connor with a personalized cooler and took the entire family out for dinner.
“I would take Connor for a grandson any day and I would fight for him any day,” Denney said of the teen.
As for Connor, he said he was just doing the right thing.
“Be nice to everyone and give back. We didn’t work hard for the money, he did. It was his money,” Connor added.
It’s no secret that teens tend to get a bad rap. Society loves to villainize the youth. But as this 14-year-old proves, integrity and honesty are still very much alive in the next generation — and that’s no fish tale.
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