“Hi Mike.” She greeted him cheerfully. She hadn’t seen Mike in years and years, but that high school bond would last a life time. Mike had lived in Alaska since the 70’s, so he should be able to give her some ideas for a fishing trip. After some catching up on news, she told Mike that she would like to send her husband up to go fishing with him. She imagined that the two men would have a great time fishing together for salmon in the Copper River.
“Don’t you dare send your husband up here alone.” Mike responded. “You have to come too!”
She couldn’t imagine that fishing would be all that exciting. She’d rather spend her money going to visit grandkids. On second thought, she knew that Mike was right. She would have to go. Besides, she would love to see the wild Alaska country with it’s towering snow-covered mountains. The trip wouldn’t be a total loss.
So it was with great excitement that they flew to the much talked about northern country. Anchorage. Soon the vehicle was rented, and off they drove to Glenallen, on a warm summer day in July. Mike looked just as handsome as she remembered, even after so many years. His wife was kind and wonderful, their hospitality as warm as the day was long. Everyone talked into the night, although night never came. The sun barely rested before it brought a new morning.
The alarm raised everyone from their bedrooms, with only one thing on their minds. Their focus was to find the giant King Salmon that played in the cold depths of the Copper River. Mike offered lessons or suggestions on how to catch the silver-scaled monsters, but Tom had fished before so he wasn’t interested. The lessons became private lessons for her, the “never-fished-for-salmon-before rookie woman.”
The waters ran a soft chocolate brown, and they ran deep and fast. Even though she had her safety vest tight about her, she was very nervous. They jetted through the cold waters to the special spot that Mike had in mind. He knew the river. He was married to it’s holes and shores. He had fished this river for years and he knew where the big fish were. He would make certain that his two special guests got their limit of one King Salmon each day. Mike slowed the boat down and he directed them to put out their line. “Keep that line tight and keep your lines on separate sides of the boat.” Mike shouted.
Tom had barely let his line out when he had a hit. Tom saw that big silver daddy come out of the water, flying into the air, loosening the line, splashing back down into the depths of the river and within seconds the giant was gone. There were more hits on Tom’s line, and again they managed to avoid the large hook from setting into their jaw by jumping and loosening the line. Mike let Tom learn on his own and turned his coaching to her.
“Keep your pole down, keep the line tight, and when you feel a hit, jerk your pole as hard as you can.” Mike warned her.
Within minutes there was the hit on her line and she jerked the line, like he’d said, with all her strength. Then Mike shouted. “We are going to let this grand-daddy salmon run.”
She stood in the middle of the small boat, bracing her shins against the bench, holding the line tight. She balanced herself as the boat rode the waves, and suddenly she fell into the bottom of the boat, banging her legs against the seat. She feared that her line would be loosened, but within seconds she was on her feet again. She had not lost that “angry fighter” because she could still feel his fight on the end of her line. “Start reeling him in.” Mike screamed, and she complied as best she was able. She was going to chase that monster, and she did, from one side of the boat to the other. For what seemed like ages, she reeled in her line. Then finally Mike let off the motor and grabbed the large net, jabbing the net into the waters and pulled up with all his might.
“Look at that fish. It’s a giant.” Mike yelled. She was in awe, and Tom was stunned. Wait a second. This was supposed to be his fishing trip - not hers! Tom watched with envy as she held the “grand daddy” up with both arms, straining to pose with her prize. No wonder they could only catch one King Salmon per day! They were indeed giants.
Tom learned a very important lesson that moment about fishing for the Kings. The challenge was on, as he determined to be the one with the biggest catch. However, it was not to be. Tom’s fish weighed in at a whopping 46 pounds, but it was the end of the line for the 54 pounder on her line. She owned bragging rites for the largest fish.
She and Tom climbed aboard Alaska, the airline, to head for home. Their coolers were tucked safely away in the luggage department, full of salmon. Suddenly, a giant smile spread wide across her face. “Let’s come back next summer to Alaska. I think we should fish with Mike again!” She smirked.