Walleye Angler Survives Being Stabbed in the Heart by Weighted Rig

Well, this is certainly a headline this author didn’t think they’d be writing this Monday morning. We’ve covered plenty of headlines about anglers getting gored by flies and big hooks, but a stab wound to the chest is a first for us.

On July 7th, Todd Thesenvitz was enjoying a beautiful walleye fishing day near Clear Lake in South Dakota with his wife and daughter. They’d already brought a solid amount of fish to hand and were trolling near a weed bank when an 8-10 lb pike smashed one of the rigs and dove straight back into the weeds, breaking off the lure in the process. As Todd attempted to pull the rig free of the weeds, the bottom bouncing weight he’d been using sling-shotted up, shot past his wife near the stern of the boat and embedded itself in the left side of Todd’s chest.

For those fly anglers who have no idea what a bottom bouncer rig is, it’s a long, bent piece of wire with a lead weight attached used to keep lures from snagging on the bottom while trolling.

Luckily for Todd, his wife is a practicing nurse and she knew they shouldn’t remove the piece of wire until they got to a hospital. She and his daughter shot to action, called 911, and notified EMS that they’d be needing help at the boat launch, and they slowly motored over, making sure not to keep the boat as level as possible while underway.

Once he got to the hospital, the emergency room confirmed that the weight’s wire had indeed lodged itself in Todd’s heart. But luckily for Todd, his family’s quick reactions and a quick surgery were all that was needed to save his life.

We highly recommend reading the full story on MeatEater.com, where Sam Lundgren interviews Mr. Thesenvitz about the entire ordeal.


  1. Do not take Healthcare for granted.
    The real story is that at a random time this man comes to the local hospital with a wire impaled in his heart and there is a trauma team with a heart surgeon available to save him.
    When you question why Healthcare is expensive, that is what you are paying for.

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