Dick Herfindahl: Saying goodbye to a true outdoorsman

Published 8:49 pm Friday, February 14, 2020

Woods & Water by Dick Herfindahl


This past week we lost Larry Pence, who I have for many years considered a friend. Although Larry and I never hung out together in a social way — we never sat down and popped a top together, our common bond was our mutual interest in sports, the outdoors and fishing — especially in this area.

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Whenever I would see Larry at a sporting event or just run into him at a store, we would always stop and talk about fishing and anything outdoors. He always seemed to know the latest scuttlebutt on what was happening with fishing and hunting in our area.

Larry was one great salesman. In fact, the first boat I ever owned I bought from Larry. He had a way of making me think that I was getting the deal of the century and if he thought I was making a bad choice, he would tell me. It was then up to me to decide. As time went on, I had decided that I needed to move into a larger, safer boat with a trailer. I went to Larry and told him what I was thinking and what I was looking for. He showed me this nice fishing boat which was deep and wide and just what I had in mind for a guy with growing kids and a wife that all liked to go fishing. I asked Larry if he would take my old boat on trade and he asked me what I had paid for it and when I told him he didn’t even blink but said “I can give you that.” I bought a third boat in ‘97 which is the boat that I still use today.

I eventually bought a pickup camper from Larry when he was still in Clarks Grove.  Our family enjoyed the heck out of that camper for many years. There are actually moments when I will look back in time and long for those camping days. It didn’t matter where I went to camp, I always had a couple of fishing poles stored in the camper, just in case.

Yes, Larry could sell just about anything, but most of all to me, he was an outdoorsman who cared about the environment, especially our immediate area. I had written an article a few years ago mentioning that a friend had told me about catching huge walleyes in the 20-25 lb. range while trolling on Albert Lea Lake. I ran into Larry a couple of days after it was published and he told me he thought it would be a good idea for me to put a reminder to fishermen that they could only keep one walleye over 20-inches in my next column. I took his advice and did just that.

When we were planning for the Governor’s Fishing Opener last year, the first person who got a call from Suzie Peterson of the CVB was Larry. He told her to call me because of the many openers that I had attended. I felt sorry for him at that time because all of his health issues prevented him from being involved the opener as much as he would have liked. In the span of a year that we were planning this event ,Larry received a lot of phone calls from me and others seeking information and advice. Larry was president of the Fountain Lake Sportsman’s Club at the time of the opener and even though he wasn’t on any committee he still had a hand in helping make that Governor’s Fishing Opener one of the best ever.

The last time I spoke to Larry was a few weeks ago when I was walking into Hy-Vee and as I went through the door something slapped me on my butt. When I turned around, there stood Larry with that mischievous twinkle in his eye holding his cane/weapon. I will surely miss talking to Larry from time to time and I know that his passing will leave a void in the community.

I have heard some fairly positive reports about the “hard water” fishing success on our area lakes this winter. Panfish have been at the forefront of the fishing on Fountain, but there have also been some walleye, bass and northern pike being caught. I am really looking forward to the open water season this year and plan on hitting it hard this summer. I know the dredging has had a direct effect on the good fishing results that the “hard water” fishermen have been experiencing.

Until next time, I encourage everyone to keep area police officer Arik Matson in your thoughts and prayers as he continues his long recovery process.

Please take a few moments to honor those who have sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. Also, take a little extra time to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, those who have served and those troops serving today.