Guelph police chase down ‘modern-day Tom Sawyer’ who cut class to go fishing

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An 11-year-old “modern-day Tom Sawyer” was the subject of a mini manhunt Monday, after Guelph police say the boy cut class to go fishing and broke his fishing pole in the process.

The boy had been frustrated at being stuck inside on a beautiful day and teachers had a hunch he left to go fishing, police said.

The officer in charge of the case hightailed it to the boy’s favourite fishing spot on the Speed River and found him “shirtless, soaked, smiling and holding a very large carp fish.”

“The fish was so big, it did break his fishing pole,” said Insp. Cate Welsh.

Welsh said the officer gave the boy a stern talking-to about staying in school, and sent him home to his mother.

But the sight of the boy with his broken fishing rod tugged at the cop’s heartstrings.

The officer went to a local fishing store — Hook, Line and Sinker — and explained the situation to the store’s owner. The owner was similarly sympathetic and gave the boy a new rod and reel.

Police say they don’t plan on making a habit of rewarding truants with new fishing rods, but Welsh said the officer couldn’t help himself in this case.

“This young fellow, maybe he’s going to be a marine biologist, maybe he’s going to become a fisherman,” Welsh said. 

“He’s certainly got a passion for it, so we’re just trying to help him with that.”