Connor Halsa was drifting for walleye on Lake of the Woods in Minnesota when he hooked into what he believed to be a big fish. Instead, it was a big haul of cash.
When he got a strike from the would-be walleye, Halsa set the hook “really hard,” he told WDAY.
When he reeled his catch to the surface, his cousin netted a billfold and brought it into the boat.
“My cousin opened the wallet, and he said some words you probably shouldn’t say, and he showed everyone, and we took the money out and let it dry out,” the 14-year-old told WDAY.
The haul was $2,000.
“It’s hard to calculate, but the odds are out of this world,” WDAY wrote. “One million acres of lake. Seventy miles long, 70 miles wide, and Connor hooked a billfold the size of a deck of cards.”
“My dad said we should give it to the person, and I said we should, too,” Halsa told WDAY.
Inside the wallet was a business card. So, they called the number and tracked down the owner of the wallet and the cash. It was Jim Denney, a farmer from Iowa who had gone fishing on the lake a year before.
“The water was really rough, and I was sitting on the back of the boat and it was rocking back and forth, and it worked itself out [of the pocket of his bib overalls] and slipped off into the water,” Denney explained to WDAY.
He didn’t realize he had lost the wallet until he went to pay the final bill at the resort he was staying at. Fortunately, the resort lent him the money until he could pay the bill.
“That’s the (worst) feeling I ever had, didn’t have a penny on me,” Denney told WDAY.
Denney was reunited with his wallet and cash when he traveled to Moorhead to see Halsa, whom he offered a cash reward but it was refused. Denney gave Halsa a custom cooler with an image of a fish on the lid. He also took the family to dinner.
“I would take Connor for a grandson any day, and I would fight for him any day,” Denney said.
As for Halsa, it was a life lesson.
“Be nice to everyone and give back,” he told WDAY. “We didn’t work hard for the money, he did. It was his money.”
Photo courtesy of WDAY.