MINOT, N.D.—As fishing stories go, Troy Brezden's is a holy cow, would-ya-believe-that, heckuva-doozy of a whopper.
When he took the boat out Saturday, Aug. 26, onto the Van Hook Arm of Lake Sakakawea, the Minot man didn't pull up a big walleye or a northern. He caught his own fishing pole, the same one he'd dropped into 20 feet of water about a month earlier.
Here's the story. A couple years ago, his wife, LaDonna, gave him a dynamite Father's Day gift: a $250 Pflueger reel. A pricey gift, but one that Troy deserved, LaDonna says.
"He doesn't purchase items like this for himself. With his love of fishing and hunting, I thought I'd do one special thing for him for once," she says.
Troy treasured the reel. He paired it with a Scheels Outfitter rod and used it whenever they got to their cabin at Brendel's Bay Resort, near Parshall, and fished the big lake.
"It was my pride and joy," he says.
Four weeks ago Troy, along with his brother and his father, went out to wet a line. The wind came up, he says, so he threw out the drift sock to help keep the boat in place.
"And along with the drift sock went my rod and reel," Troy says. "It was in about 20 feet of water, so we just let it go."
"He just felt sick that he lost something like this," LaDonna says.
Fast forward to last weekend, when Brezden was using a spare Pflueger reel and another Scheels Outfitter rod to fish in the same area of the lake. His wife (maybe a good luck charm?) and his father were with him this time. He put on a ¾ bottom bouncer and was fishing just a bit off the bottom, he says, when he felt the hook slipping on something as he reeled it in.
It was the rig he'd lost the week before.
"The winds were calm on Saturday," he says. "It was a good morning to catch a rod, and we ended up catching seven walleyes after that."
His beloved rod and reel were in good shape, too. He took them home, cleaned them up and will start using them on the next fishing trip.
But do people actually believe this happened? Or do they chalk it up to just another big fish story? Troy laughs. People do pull up lost items when they're fishing, right? And people win the lottery, don't they, as unlikely as that may be?
"It's just amazing," he says.