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North Dakota Walleye Catch is Déjà vu All Over Again

Angler Shawn Grim caught, and then lost, then caught again, a prize North Dakota walleye in a most unusual and humorous way.

North Dakota Walleye Catch is Déjà vu All Over Again

Angler Shawn Grim with the Kodak moment he was hoping for. (Photo courtesy Shawn Grim)

We’ve all heard the story about the fish that got away.

But not very many of us can spin the crazy fishing yarn that walleye angler Shawn Grim can after an outing a few days ago in the northern Great Plains. That’s where Grim caught, and then lost, a prize North Dakota walleye in a most unusual and humorous way. And then being able to add the punchline to his fish tale and declare to everyone, “And then I caught it again!”

The amazing fishing story happened on Sunday, Oct. 15 according to various media outlets including The Dickinson Press newspaper, which indicates that Grim had a good day fishing for walleye in the Peace Garden State somewhere near Valley City, N.D.

While most of the fish were caught and released, Grim said that there was one that went home with him.

“I had this gorgeous, 22-inch walleye, which…is as big as you keep,” he said in the news story written by author Kevin Wallevand. “Everything else goes back in. A 4 ½ pound walleye. It was a nice fish, and it’s big.”

To celebrate and before presumably heading back home to Osakis, Minn., Grim stopped off in Valley City at the Pizza Corner restaurant,  a real Italian pizza place open in the North Dakota town since 1977. And after enjoying a few slices, Grim decided that the pizzeria might serve as a good photo opportunity for his big catch.

And that’s where the problems began for Grim as he explained to Wallevand.

“I am holding this fish, getting ready for a picture, and all of a sudden it flip-flops down onto the street,” he said. “Okay, not a big deal, and I go down to grab it, and boom, boom, boom, right into the drain sewer.”

If anyone is doubting the validity of this fishy tale, traffic camera video can prove it all. Even the crazy way that Grim’s fishing tale ended with some smiles and laughter.

Because after peering down into the drain, Grim noted that he could see the fish still flopping. That led Grim back to his car and his tackle box. One treble-hooked Rapala later, he was back at the storm drain and successfully snagged the fish, which he was able to carefully pull back up again.

And then, Grim was able to get the Kodak moment he was hoping for. 

“Pull it up slowly, grab the fish by the back of the head and slowly pull it out of the (storm drain),” he said. “So then we stand up, (and) we take a picture away from the gutter.”

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A city street corner and a man taking a photo of a man dropping a walleye in front a pizza restaurant.
The exact moment that Grim's walleye wiggled away from his toward the storm drain, in front of the pizza joint. (Photo courtesy of Valley City Police Department)

Since the story was first reported, Grim’s fish tale has gone viral around the country. Grim seems amused by it.

But lest you think that catching fish from a storm drain is some sort of standalone fish tale whopper, think again. Because newly inducted Bass Fishing Hall of Fame member Mike Iaconelli has proof of his subterranean fish-catching abilities–in the sewers of Philadelphia. This strange angling action was captured in a YouTube video that Iaconelli filmed a few years back. Of course, Ike–the B.A.S.S. Federation national champ in 1999, the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champ, the 2006 Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year, and the 2021 B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series champ–has never met a fish he didn't like. Or one that he thought he couldn’t catch, proven by his legendary 25-plus year professional angling career that has produced more than $3 million in earnings.

Known for his on-the-water exploits on the Bassmaster Elite Series, Major League Fishing, and the Bass Pro Tour, along with his "Never give up" personality and "Going Ike" video series, Iaconelli is probably the only angler in history to walk the streets of the City of Brotherly Love, sit on a bait bucket at a busy street-corner traffic light, chat up passersby, and then feel that magic “Tap! Tap!” at the end of the line.

And other than Grim’s storm-drain catch notwithstanding, Ike is probably the only other angler in history to dangle a hook down into a sewer, then see the graphite rod bend over and the baitcasting reel strain, all while yelling out “I’ve got one! I’ve got one!”  With apologies to the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles and their famous Super Bowl LII touchdown play to quarterback Nick Foles, now that’s a real “Philly Special!”

In fact, maybe Ike and Grim should go fishing and start a new series, a spin-off of Ike’s “Fish My City” video series. Instead this time, it could be called appropriately enough  “Fish My Storm Sewer.”




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