CLEAR LAKE — Steve M. Ralston received an outing with Paul’s Fishing Guide service in Clear Lake from his wife for Christmas. He’d intended to go ice fishing, “but it didn’t work out.”

Instead Steve M. and his son, Steve C., opted for an open-water excursion.

Guide Kevan Paul took them to the little lake on Sunday, where they fished leeches with jigs and slip bobbers at depths of 8 to 9 feet.

“It was almost constant fish, fish, fish,” Steve M. said. “We didn’t expect it to be like this. If it had been half as good we’d have been happy.”

And that was before “Harley.”

The Clear Lake Fishing Club and Iowa Department of Natural Resources tag and release walleyes sponsored by local businesses, including a $1,000 fish by Harley Davidson of Mason City.

Harley 2013, a four-pounder, was tagged and released after the Clear Lake Walleye Classic.

When Steve C. hooked what was obviously a good-sized fish, Paul stood ready with the net. When the whopper made a run as it neared the boat, Paul noted the yellow tag near its dorsal fin.

“As soon as it made that swirl, I was thinking ‘that’s the right size,’ ” Paul said.

After boating the fish Paul took it to the Crazy Minnow Bait Co., where owner Dan Krauth confirmed the winning number.

Steve Minert, co-owner of Harley Davidson, soon arrived to present his first $1,000 check in the three years the company has served as sponsor.

“It’s more fun when somebody catches it, that’s for sure,” Minert said.

The catch continues a successful run for Paul, who also won the Walleye Classic and will be featured on an upcoming episode of “Fishing the Midwest” with Bob Jensen.

“It really couldn’t have happened at a better time,” said Paul, who will take his guiding business full-time later this month.

Steve C. had immediate plans for the money. “Buy a dirt bike!”

“Better think on it,” Steve M. advised. “No rash decisions.”

The pair will likely spend some of the windfall at Clear Lake. “I think we’ll be making more trips up here,” Steve M. said.

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