Some might call it karma, divine providence, or even a miracle. But no matter how you classify this catch-and-release story, the odds are incalculable when you consider that a year after an angler lost his wallet on a lake that stretches 60 miles wide and 70 miles long, another walleye angler hooked into it.
But that’s what happened to Connor Halsa, a 14-year-old from Moorhead, Minnesota. He was fishing for walleye with his family in 20 feet of water on the sprawling and famed Lake of the Woods, located on the border of Minnesota and Canada, according to ABC affiliate WDAY-TV.
“I thought I had a big fish, and I set the hook really hard,” Connor told Kevin Wallevand of WDAY about his day of trolling on the lake. Connor cranked on the reel, still believing it was a fish. But when his cousin netted it, they saw it was a wallet, not a walleye.
“My cousin Brandon opened the wallet—and said there was some money in it,” Connor said. It was loaded with twenties, fifties, and hundred-dollar bills. “He showed everyone and then we took the money out and placed it on the dashboard to let it dry off.”
The cash totaled $2,000. Fortunately, the wallet also included a business card. The Halsas used the card to contact Jim Denney, an Iowa farmer, and explain how Connor had caught his wallet while fishing on Lake of the Woods. Denney was in disbelief. Still, he remembers the day he lost the billfold because the conditions were so bad.
“The water was awful rough,” Denney said, according to KYFR TV. He had been wearing overalls that day. “I was sitting on the back of the boat there, and the boat was rocking back and forth pretty good. And it must have just worked out of there and slipped off into the water.”
Denney didn’t realize his billfold was missing from his overalls until he returned to shore and went to pay his charter bill. Dumbfounded, he didn’t have his wallet or a penny on him. Fortunately, the resort allowed him to settle up later.
Now, a full year later, Denney traveled from Iowa to Minnesota to meet with Connor and the rest of the Halsa family. He offered Connor a cash reward, but the Moorhead High School freshman declined. Denney insisted on rewarding Connor with a custom fishing cooler and treating the Halsa family to dinner.
“I tried to get them to take the money, and they wouldn’t do it,” Denney told WDAY-TV, which has the full story here. “I would take Connor as a grandson any day, and I would fight for him any day.”