“This fish was different. All the ingredients for a good Chinook day were upon us meaning it was gray and depressing. The tide had changed and the surf was pounding sand in the distance. A group of 20 seagulls were dive-bombing Eulachon (smelt) as they made their way up river from the ocean.
We were looking for fish to start showing, purple backed rollers, sometimes you hear them before you see them but there was none. My client John and I were having short conversations between casts and swings. Then it happened, from silence to violence the rod went forward, line peeled off his reel and a 30 lb chinook was out of the water. This fish was different.
The good ones rip your arm off, but what set this fish apart was the fact that most fish go downstream. It went the opposite way as the Skagit line tore through the water and Jon tried to catch up. The card on my camera was full so the camera quit filming being a novice with a camera this was a rookie mistake. What the video never capture was the fish doing a U turn when it got to the top of the run and blazing downstream past us with his back half out of the water.
It was a buck with an evil eye. This characteristic is one of my favorite things about them. They will roll slowly really close and it’s spooky when you can see their eye like they’re looking straight at you. John eventually put this fish in the net as my heart was hitting my chest. The fish had a mean streak like it was spawned in hell, it was just trying to live up to the crown as a salmon named the king. King Salmon are also called Chinook Salmon and are the true prize for a fly angler especially when caught on the swing like this one.”