Luke Leingang, 13, of Pierre took this monster paddlefish over the weekend on the Missouri River near Chamberlain, fishing with his dad, Aaron. At 127 pounds even, it was nine ounces shy of the state record.
His dad awarded him the unofficial bronze in South Dakota paddlefishing.
But Aaron Leingang was wearing gold-medal pride at the monster paddler his 13-year-old son, Luke, hauled out of the Missouri River last weekend.
“Long story short, after a crazy circus we got the fish landed after close to a half-hour ordeal getting in and out of the boat and under and around the boat,” Aaron wrote in an email announcing the catch.
But that didn’t mean the work was finished. You don’t weigh that thing with a hand scale, or a bait-shop scale, for that matter.
“An hour of searching for a place to get it weighed,” Aaron wrote. “Finally got it weighed at the Chamberlain meat locker.”
I know that locker well. It’s a place where hogs go to die. And this was a hog, with a paddle.
“It came up 9 ounces short of the state record,” Aaron writes.
I remember that fish. Bill Harmon caught it a couple years back in May, also from Lake Francis Case — where the hog paddlefishing is done in South Dakota these days.
Aaron Leingang says there was another caught just an ounce short of the state record. Wow, if you’re that snagger, don’t you think: “Seriously, 127 plus pounds, and I miss by an ounce!”
But that means Luke is third in the state paddlefish ranks, which still earns plenty or praise from his pop.
“I told Luke he’s now the bronze medalist of paddlefishing in South Dakota,” Aaron says.
It’s not surprising, either, that Luke’s fishing buddy is another Pierre kid named Michael Jackley, who has been on this blog a number of times with hefty fish.
Those two could be on their way to the pro-fishing circuit.