“There’s no way that’s real.” I thought to myself. “How am I looking at six 30 pound fish within casting distance in knee deep water?”
For months I had combed the internet looking at pictures of the famed lake-run Chinook Salmon on the Pere Marquette River. I saw pictures of grinning fisherman barely able to hold these giant, humpback, hook-jawed, toothy King salmon. But standing there in person in that crisp Michigan air, the gravity of the situation hit. My measuring tape topped out at 48 inches. Looking at those fish in my excitement, the thought crossed my mind that I might need something longer. I had heard these fish snap rods like toothpicks from various guides and war stories. I had the new Moonshine Vesper 10wt and was a little unsure.
This small river was laden with logs. I mean sure, give me open water and a good reel and you can wear out any fish if you don’t overplay your hand. But can I do that while keeping them out of the snags 30 feet away?
Before I could finish the thought I had hooked a buck and the fight was on. After a few initial jumps, it was as if he’d been here before, headed for a nearby log. My initial elation turned to desperation as I pulled harder. “My line will break whether he wraps it around this log, or if I horse him too hard”, I thought. Imagine my surprise when the Vesper was almost bent into a perfect U and my guide said, “you’re about to break your rod”, turned his head and sent him in the opposite direction. So I threw caution to the wind and pulled harder with reckless abandon. About 15 minutes and 5 airborne acrobatic flips later the fish was in the net. For me, it was truly the fish of a lifetime. No rods were harmed in the making of this film.