My 1960 Hawk is a life-long Minnesota car that was built on July 10, 1960 and shipped to Unruh Motors in Alexandria, Minnesota. The car was restored back in 1990 and I am its fourth owner. It is a summer driver, not a show car, and its numerous chips and warts over the years are a testament to its well-earned driver status. However, it remains rust free and a really decent and reliable Studebaker. I did replace its original 289 with a freshly rebuilt '63 full-flow and swapped the 3-speed column with OD for a 5-speed overdrive. I have a Turner disc brake kit for it but thus far have only been motivated to move the cartons from one side of the garage to the other. But, that is not why you are reading this is it? You want to know about the big Walleye, right? Okay, read on.
My wife and I live on a lake in east central Minnesota. We both go fishing but my better half puts me to shame in both angling enthusiasm and proficiency. One day this spring she was fishing off the dock while I was out in the garage putzing on the Hawk. Suddenly, I heard her calling my name…only in that way a woman calls your name that tells you to immediately respond...or else. I looked out the garage door and saw her on the dock with fishing rod bent 90 degrees. Even though I was a couple hundred feet away I could hear the line being pulled off her reel.
"Tighten your drag!" I yelled (silently patting myself on the back for putting that extra tough line on her reel last month). She adjusted her drag and in doing so the yet unseen fish began pulling her toward the end of the dock! I stood there and watched in amazement as the aquatic beast pulled her ever so closer to the edge. Then, just as she reached the end of the dock, she grabbed the last dock post and tightly wrapped her legs around it. At that moment I swore that I would never again scoff at a Thighmaster infomercial.
Now, you must understand how stubborn my dearly beloved is. There was no way, she was going to allow whatever was on the other end of the line to best her. So, there she was with legs around the dock post, clutching the pole with both hands and yelling for me to do something…or else.
But, what can I do? I looked back into the garage...there... a heavy duty towing strap laying next to the Studebaker. Yes! The Studebaker! I grabbed the strap and jumped into the Hawk and summoned its trusty 289 to life. I jammed it into reverse and headed toward the dock and my wife, who I could see in the rear view mirror was now giving me "the look" in addition to yelling at a volume not unlike that of the tornado siren in our neighborhood.
I backed the Hawk close to the dock and quickly fastened one of the tow strap hooks to the back bumper then ran to my wife with the other end. I hooked the strap around her just as her tired legs lost their grip on the dock post. I got back in the Hawk and shifted into first gear.
For what seemed to be an eternity, me, the Hawk, my wife, the fishing pole and the fish were seemingly at a stalemate. But, the Studebaker was not to be denied this day. The stout V/8 gritted its teeth and the Twin Traction differential dug in. Slowly….ever so slowly…we moved forward until my wife and the Walleye pictured in the photo were pulled onto the shore.
While somewhat modest in size for a Minnesota Walleye, it was nonetheless mounted and put on display at the Rush City exit on Interstate 35. No official measurements were taken but it's slightly longer than the Hawk.
And that is how an old 1960 Studebaker Hawk landed a Walleye (and saved my wife).
Now, I can understand that you may be among the skeptics who will say that anglers from the land of 10,000 lakes are given to telling tall tales when it comes to their fishing prowess but, hey, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.