My First Big Fish…The Story

10 Jan

I am known by many of  my friends as Big Fish ever since I caught “the big one” a few years ago. All avid fisherman have their big fish stories, and I’m here to tell you mine today. What follows is a true anecdote I wrote a few years ago about the experience after many years trying to snag the elusive Chinook Salmon from the Siletz River in Oregon. Oh there’s plenty of salmon in that river. I see the seals parading them in their mouths right in front of the dock on our summer property, and I have seen salmon literally “flying” next to me out of the water, where a perfectly placed and timed net could have caught them mid-air. The way this one was caught was not exactly a conventional method either, but it made many great meals after nonetheless. I leave the following story unedited in my original words, as I typed it out in an email while full of adrenaline and excitement.

Am I a happy camper or what?????

Caught Sept. 3rd, length 39 inches long, weight approximately 30 pounds. Total number of bruises getting the d*mn thing into the boat: 7.

Big Fish

That’s a Chinook Salmon, by the way.

We had been crabbing in the bay all day, and had the crab cooking in the crab pot and we decided to put our poles in at the dock. I was hanging out at the dock watching the lines when Paul called out and said the crab was ready to eat. So I went up to eat, but then remembered I forgot my beer on the dock. So I started back down the ramp to the dock and saw this huge fish leap out of the water about 8 feet off.

“Wow!!!” I called out. “You should see the fish that just jumped!” As soon as I stepped foot on the dock, “WHIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ” and the pole bends over and the line starts whizzing down the river.

“FISH ON!!!” I yelled out. “GET THE NET”

Paul ran to get the net out of the boat that was still hooked to the trailer because we had driven to the bay moorage to crab. So I am fighting this thing and I can tell it was a biggy. All I am thinking is “Keep the tip up, keep the tip up!” I did not want to let this one get away like I did last year when I put the tip down and the line snapped on me. After about 10 minutes I let Paul have some of the fun and gave him the pole, but after fighting it for about 15 minutes it took off across the river and wrapped itself around a snag. So my husband gives me back the pole and runs up and launches the boat from the boat ramp a few hundred yards downriver. I’m reeling the line in best I can to keep the slack off, thinking “hurry up, hurry up” as I could still feel it giving a tug here and again. He finally gets back to the dock, picks me up and motor over to see if we still have it. We thought all was lost as he starts dragging the line up and the line is around a tree snag under water. Suddenly, I see this huge head come up!!! I grab the net and hang over the side of the boat and get the net down as far as I can and start pulling with all my might, but I could not lift the fish out of the water!! So then we have two of us hanging on to line and net about half in the water trying to get the fish in the net while trying to untangle the line. The pole ended up breaking but Paul got the line by his hands by that time. Finally we get the fish in the net and he cuts the line. We haul it into the boat and it gets a couple of good wacks on the head with a crowbar.

Then I got the fun part to gut and clean the fish, and I loved every minute of it! The next day, we smoked a big slab of it for several hours. We complimented it with the crab we had caught the same day. (We never did end up eating the crab that night, we were too full of adrenaline by that time.)

Here’s a pic of Paul holding it. It’s a bit fuzzy as my hands were shaking like a leaf.

Yep, that's a biggun'

Here’s the pot of crab we were boiling when we hooked it:

The day's catch of Dungeness crab

And here’s the big chunk we smoked the next day:

Smoked Chinook Salmon

I tell you what that was one of the best days of my life. It just can’t get any better than that.

Since I slammed that story out pretty quickly, it is not the typical verbiage I would use in something to publish, but after reading it again a few times I decided that prettying it up would take away from the excitement I felt at the time of writing it. So, now you have the story. And tomorrow, you will have the recipe for smoking a Big Fish.

11 Responses to “My First Big Fish…The Story”

  1. Elyn January 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Hard to believe it’s been “a few years”. Good memories. Thoroughly enjoying your recipes and stories.


  2. Cathy January 10, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    I’m so glad I finally got to hear the entire story! I so enjoy your writing, polished or not! I always look forward to the next one, but have learned that I should eat before reading so it won’t make me hungry! 😉


  3. Trish January 10, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Such a great story, i had not heard the whole story either!!! How great to have such a memory, i am so happy you did’nt change one word it makes ya feel like your right there and feeling the excitement too!!! Looking forward to the recipe!!!


  4. Becky January 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    I love your story just the way it is! I am glad you didn’t change it. Can’t wait for the recipe tomorrow!


    • anotherfoodieblogger January 10, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

      Becky and Trish, thank you again. I can’t wait to share the recipe. 🙂 It’s actually Paul’s recipe, he’s the king salmon smoker in the house!


      • Ellie in Tucson January 11, 2012 at 7:30 am #

        Goodie (all around—blog, the recipes, including the one we await, the writing, this story)! Well done!


      • anotherfoodieblogger January 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

        Ellie, you make me blush, thanks!


  5. Pia January 11, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks Kathryn for sharing that story. I must say, I was into it, big time! I had cold chills on me while reading it! When I lived in Florida, we had a boat. We used to go to the inlet waterway and fish. We found this great spot, just drop your line, no casting,nothing and within seconds we’d have a fish! In one day we caught an assortment of 28! I have all kinds of fish stories, but since this is your blog….LOL. At any rate, what fun hearing the story and like Trish said, I felt like I was there too!


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