There's an old saying that having a bad day fishing is better than having a good day at work.
But on June 22, Eric Dellinger had a great day fishing, catching a bass that netted him more money than most people make in a month's time at work.
Dellinger, 52, of Queen was fishing with his son, Seth, 21, out of their bass boat on Lake Glendale at Prince Gallitzin State Park when a 19-inch, three-to-four-pound largemouth bass took Eric's rubber jig around 10 a.m. that Saturday morning.
Eric Dellinger holds a bass that netted him $10,000.
Moments later, he was $10,000 richer.
Eric Dellinger noticed that the fish had two orange tags attached to its dorsal fin. One of the tags was plain, but the other had an 800 phone number printed in black ink on it.
"The number [signified] that it could be a prize number,'' Eric Dellinger said.
As it turned out, the fish was tagged by representatives from the Old Milwaukee Brewing Company - one of just six such big-money bass that had been stocked in lakes throughout the country. Dellinger later found out that the catch would bring him a cool $10,000 before taxes.
"They stocked six lakes with six of those fish - two in Wisconsin, one in Iowa, one in Ohio, one in New York, and one at Prince Gallitzin State Park,'' Dellinger said. "The park ranger at Prince Gallitzin told me that it was worth $10,000, but I wasn't sure until I called somebody from the company and they verified it.''
It marked the second extremely fortunate event that happened on a lake in the space of a week for the Dellinger father-and-son fishing duo.
Just one week earlier, on Saturday morning, June 15, Seth Dellinger caught a 29-inch, 10-pound, 17-inch wide walleye on a crankbait while fishing with his dad out of that same boat on the lake at Canoe Creek State Park.
"It's not the biggest fish that I've ever caught, but it's the biggest walleye that I've ever caught,'' said Seth, who mentioned that he has landed larger catches while fishing for salmon in upstate New York. "When I was reeling it in, it had me stopped dead in my tracks.''
Seth told his father that he had a trophy on the line, but his dad initially took it for a fish story.
"I was reeling it in, and I told my dad that I had a big fish on, but he didn't believe me,'' Seth said. "It took my line around the boat a couple of times, and we didn't have a net, so my dad had to gill it.''
"Gilling" involves holding a fish through the gills in order to get it out of the water.
"I had to get my hands up under the gills because those fish have teeth, and you can't take them through the lip like you can take a bass,'' Eric said.
After a five to six-minute battle, the Dellingers got the fish safely into their boat. Seth, a Claysburg-Kimmel High School graduate who will be a senior this fall at Lock Haven University, plans to have the fish mounted at their house.
He'll also receive a citation from the state in honor of his prize catch.
"It's big enough that he is filling out paperwork with the state to get a citation for it,'' Eric said. "It's the biggest walleye that I've ever seen. A gentleman from our church, the Claysburg Church of God, told me that he has fished for walleyes up in Canada, but he's never caught one that big.''
As nice a fish as the walleye is, however, it won't buy the Dellingers a new boat like Eric's $10,000 bass might wind up doing.
"I just hope he spends some of that [money] on me,'' Seth chuckled. "Or gets a new boat with it.''