During the summer, we drive up to Seattle and visit my parents on Whidbey Island. We usually stay for a week or so, enjoying their beach house.
My wife and kids (two boys 10 and 13) wanted to go Salmon fishing, as there was a Coho window open in front of the beach. My dad came and we took the boat north, around Bush Point, then close to the beach and anchored up.
It was a late afternoon trip, more to enjoy the scenery than anything else. We had two salmon rods and two trout rods fishing with “buzz bombs” aka Pt. townsend darts. Nice. Sunny. Warm. Took the trout rods ’cause they were in the boat, and figuring they would be a nice match for the small resident coho.
Well, a school of Chinook swam through the darts, inhaling two of them. My wife had one on a Salmon rod, and my 10 year old had one on a trout rod. I didn’t know who to help first…..wife who had never caught anything larger than a trout in her life, or my son, who loves to fish.
My son reeled the Chinook to the boat….a lot of times these fish swim up to the boat, take a look, then take off….and this is exactly what happened. He was holding the rod up, had the drag cranked down, but the fish was swimming away like a train. I tried to apply additional pressure to the fish by pinching the line between my fingers, but as soon as I had done that, and was starting to mention to my dad that we better chase this fish, the line reached the bottom of the spool and “PINK” (this was the sound of the line breaking at the knot attaching the line to the spool). My son had this shocked look on his face, and I thought he was going to cry. I said “I’ll be right back….
Went over to my wife that was fighting the Chinook salmon on the salmon rod, she was doing a great job with my did helping with instructions. Several time she said “it’s gone…” but you could see the line getting closer to the boat, and we’d shout “reel! reel faster!”. After a bit, my wife was getting tired, but she brought the fish to the boat and my dad netted it. The fish was about 18 lbs, a nice fish, but the season for Chinooks was closed, so we couldn’t keep it. I looked at my dad….and we read each others minds….should we keep it? Is anyone looking?…but then made the decision to let the fish go. I gently removed the hook from the mouth of the fish, kept it in the net for a minute, took the picture in my mind, and let the fish go. She (it was a hen) swam away healthy.
Gave my wife a hug and said congratulations on her first salmon, then remembered I still had a job to do with my son. I went over to him, and said that it was a privelige to hook one of these fish, and an honor to be spooled by one. There will be more.
To this day, we still laugh about the fish that got away.
Posted by Guest Poster on June 16, 2009
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