I went fishing with the River Pirate and his 1st mate Dallas on Friday, October 29, 2004. I fished with Joe and “Pastor” Bob. They drove all the way from Arizona while I flew up from Los Angeles.

After we launched the Vicki Ann and got to the 1st hole, we got hit immediately, but missed it. The day before, Ken and Dallas said, one pole got hit so hard, the tip dipped into the water. Another time, the rod holder broke. Can the fish be that brutal up here I thought?

Minutes later, with everyone awake and pumped up, we got bit a second time, and Joe landed a nice 25lbs salmon. Nice color with a little red on the side. A harrrgh we all yelled out as it was placed in the boat’s fish hold.

Next, I got a hit. This one was a stubborn one. The fish kept peeling out line. I was thinking, this one fights like a blue fin tuna. It was stubborn, would not cooperate and would not come to the boat. When he got close to the boat, zzzzzzzeeeeee went the drag. I’m thinking ok, I didn’t bring my rod belt holder and my arms were aching, what have I gotten myself into? After 15 minutes, in the dim morning light, I could barely see the shadow of the fish approaching the boat. Dallas was waiting with the net, when….pop! The hook came out of his mouth and the lure came flying, landing on the back of the boat. Good thing it didn’t hit anyone. I did not see the fish but I heard his tail splash and he was gone. I didn’t know how big it was but what a fight! Ok, so round 1 goes to the fish.

Motoring out to the fishing grounds at dawn.

Joe with a nice 25 lbs buck. Nice color.

Pastor Bob was next. He’s a retired policeman and minister. He boated a nice 30lbs chrome hen. He’s gone to places like Alaska to fish. But this is a lot of fun, he says. This one hole seems to be full of fish. It’s amazing in that Ken tells us it’s only 6 feet deep. We could see and hear the salmon rolling all around us. Ken would see one and say, “Oh, that one looked like 40lbs!”

We all had one fish a piece by 8 am. We missed 3 hits too. So our batting average was around .500. Not bad. The bite slowed a little as the water temp actually dropped to 54° F. We started out at 56°. Ken said we’d wait out for the cloud cover to lift and heat up the water a bit.

Around 11 am was when I got a hit again. At first the fight was kind of light, but as he got closer to the boat, zzzzeeeeee went the drag and the line was peeling out again. This fight was on! This was a good one and the pull felt like the 1st one I lost. This one not only pulled down deep, but zigzagged like a football running back! This was where the expert boat maneuvering and communication between Ken and Dallas was at its best. The fish was moving side to side trying to shake the hook. I kept the rod tip up and line tight to keep the pressure on. It was getting hard to crank the reel. Ken moved the boat to stay with the fish. Joe and Bob reeled in their lines so there was no chance of tangles.

Pastor Bob holding a nice chrome bright 30 lbs hen.
Ken and Dallas behind me. This one is 45 lbs. Notice Ken really does wear a “pirate’s patch” Harrggh… Ok Joe, snap the camera already. This fish is getting heavy.

The fish finally surfaced after 15 minutes. “Oh yeah, it’s a nice fish,” Ken yelled. “Keep the line tight,” yelled out Dallas. The second time the fish jumped and revealed his size, all I could think was Oh pleeze salmon gods, please don’t let me lose this one! As the fish got close to the boat, he made one final surge and went to the other side of the boat. Oh no, I thought, I’m going to lose him, because I couldn’t move to the other side fast enough to keep the line tight. The fuel tank was blocking my way. Dallas saw the situation and quickly took my rod and kept the pressure on as he was able move to the other side of the boat. The fish finally tired and was on it’s side. Joe, an expert fisherman, helped and netted the beast. This one came in at 45lbs. Ken let out big “Haaaarrrggghh,” and gave me a big high five! We all had our limits by 11:30 am and called it a day. All very nice fish.

This was truly a team effort. I’ll be the 1st to admit, I could not have landed this without everyone’s unselfish efforts. I am truly humble to fish with such great fisherman and more importantly, good people.

If you come up here to fish, be sure to visit the Coleman fish hatchery. Just follow the signs from the hotel. You can see the monster salmon that came up to spawn. Then you’ll understand how big the fish are in our very own backyard, right here in California. Ken says he has clients come from as far as Japan to fish here!

Okay everyone….yo-ho-yo-ho a pirate’s life for me……….

Tight Lines Everyone! God Bless You!
-James Quan