Well here is the story. I have been trying to get my daughter to go out fishing with me the entire time I have been up here. She came along on one trip with me at our cabin and seamed to have a pretty good time but wasnt hooked by any stretch. Everytime since then there has always been something else more important going on in her life. After all, she is 12 years old and boys are starting to catch her attention already! This weekend though I decided to book a trip for the entire family on the Kenai for the second run. We headed down friday night to get a good nights sleep before the 6am beggining of our trip and she was a little less than enthused! My son was pretty excited as him and I had just went out for a halibut trip last weekend and he had a blast.
The trip turned out to be one of the slowest that Cliff, our guide has seen even though the river has been fairly slow this year in general. We fished from 6am to after 1:20pm with not so much as a tap or even a snag to get the heart rate at least temporarily elevated. My daughter asked about every 30 minutes or so if we could just go home. I was starting to loose hope for the day and figured it would be impossible to get her out after this trip. But our luck was about to change. At about 1:30pm we were all joking around in the boat trying to pass the time when my son looked up at her pole and asked if that might be a fish. Then it happened! The rod tip slammed down on the boat and she grabbed it with everything she had. Everyone else reeled their lines in and the fight began! She started to struggle with the rod a little so I came in to support the front while she reeled. All the boats around us realized she had a good fish on as it was running out around several of them and they all cleared their lines. About 4 boats lined up behind us to watch after hearing her laugh and hollar! The look on her face was priceless as the big king would make 75-100 yard long runs each time she got him in close to the boat. He never made himself visible though for at least 20 minutes of her struggle. After about 5 of these runs the big hen finally rolled on the surface and the guides face lit up! I didnt get a good look at the fish but her eyes were bigger than I have ever seen them before! My arms were starting to ache from just supporting the rod so I know she had to be hurting. She didnt give up though and after about 30 minutes and 5-6 huge runs and countless dives under the boat Cliff had her in the net. It turned out to be a huge hen 47" long and just over 27 1/2" girth. Not sure exactly on the weight but I am guessing it was at least 55lbs, but likely a little more than that. The largest fish anyone in my family has been able to land to date and it was as dime bright as I think it could get and covered with sea lice! I am preparing a few chunks of it for the grill as we speak and she still cant wipe that smile off her face! Maybe it wont be quite so tough to get her out there in the future!
Over all the fishing was very slow for most boats we saw on the river. For the entire day we only saw about 8-10 landed and we covered every major hole our guide has fished. The good news is thought that the majority of fish caught were pretty big from what I saw. Quite a few of them were over 50lbs. I will add a few more pics later but here is the first one I downloaded from the camera with the guide Cliff Chamberlin.