MOORHEAD, Minn. — Some fishermen dream of reeling in a billfish. A Minnesota teen had a bigger catch -- hooking a billfold filled with cash.
Connor Halsa, 14, of Moorhead, caught a wallet that contained $2,000 while fishing on Lake of the Woods, WDAY-TV reported.
The teen was fishing with his family when he got a big strike on his line.
“We were doing a walleye drift, so we stopped the boat, put some spinners on, and let the waves take us,” the soon-to-be freshman at Moorhead High School told the television station. “I thought I had a huge fish, so I set the hook really hard.”
Instead, Halsa hauled in a soaked wallet that his cousin netted from the water.
“My cousin Brandon he opened the wallet up and he was like he said some words that you probably shouldn’t say and then he said there was some money in it,” Halsa told WDAY. “And he showed everyone and then we like took the money out and placed it all on the dashboard to like let it dry off.”
While it was the catch of a lifetime, Halsa knew that he had to find the owner of the wallet, if possible.
“My dad said we should give it to the person, and I said we should, too,” he told the television station.
Halsa found a business card that contained a telephone number, KARE-TV reported.
The wallet belonged to Jim Denney, an Iowa farmer who was fishing on the lake last year and dropped his billfold overboard, according to the television station.
“I tell you what, I have the billfold in my hands, and it is still hard to believe,” Denney told WDAY.
Denney told the television station that he did not realize his wallet was missing until he went to pay his bill at the lake resort, KARE reported.
“They had to float me the money for the whole deal. That’s the (worst) feeling I ever had, didn’t have a penny on me,” Denney told WDAY.
The odds of Halsa finding the wallet were astronomical, since the lake is 70 miles long by 70 miles wide.
But the teen was able to hand the wallet over to the grateful farmer.
“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.
But the teen was able to hand the wallet over to the grateful farmer, who made the trip from Iowa to Moorhead. Denney offered Halsa money, but the teen refused.
“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 told the television station.
Denney eventually convinced Halsa to take a cooler as a gift. But the teen said returning the money was never an issue. It was the right thing to do.
“Be nice to everyone and give back. We didn’t work hard for the money, he did,” Halsa told WDAY. “It was his money.”