The Tailhook Incident

The pole twitches, then jumps… Fish On! This was the first time this season we had rigged for salmon and dropped the outriggers and lines, setup for trolling along the south coast of Admiralty Island. We did not have to wait long for results.

It was clear this was a large fish, the pull on the line was substantial. Deb strained with the reel, cranking it as hard as she dared. But unlike the usual coho salmon it did not fight and jump. We were worried it was a pink salmon, not as desirable a catch, these fish usually come in docilely to be netted. The far more desirable silver or coho salmon rarely give up without a fight and require real work to reel in. But when we got the first clear look at the fish it was indeed a silver.

A Silver Salmon
Deb happy to display her catch, first of our season, a very nice fish indeed
When we pulled the salmon from the net the reason odd behavior became clear… The hook was in the tail.

Somehow Deb had snagged the fish just a few inches from the base of the tail. There is a reason for this, Coho salmon often hit their prey to stun it before turning to consume it. This tactic works well for herring, not so well for a double hooked leader.

This salmon was the first we have caught this season, another fact that made my wife a very happy fisherwoman. I am afraid she had become infected with that dread disease, an addiction to lures and poles and the thrill of catching those wily fish. Not that I can complain too much about the results. However the fish was caught, this was a very nice salmon, making an excellent dinner that evening.

The jokes began almost instantly, comments about her unusual techniques to catch a fish. All in good sport, the pursuit is full of fish tales and jokes. Deb caught more than a few beautiful coho over the next few days, but we have not let her forget the Tailhook Incident.