Trip by trip, I find myself working my way through the Phillips’ clan:  first, it was Dad Don and son Lance with Lance setting the bar high with a 23 lb. Manistee buck taken last fall.  Then, this fall, Dad Dave, brother of Don, and son Mike laid some hurt on the Manistee Kings.  Today, Dad Don brought son Steve, who was intent on besting brother Lance’s 23 pounder.  Since the Muskegon Chinooks run somewhat smaller than the Manistee fish, I tried to take the max size competition right off the table.  Steve, though would have none of it.  After getting into fighting form with a middling hen, Steve hooked one of the largest Muskegon Kings my clients have hooked this year;  I estimated its weight in the 16-19 lb range.  Bright and strong, the buck took us way, way down the river only to have the leader sever the fly line after a protracted battle.  Bye, bye indicator, flies, and salmon.  Steve, for his part, though, was remarkably sanguine about the “premature release.”

“That fish was way better looking than Lance’s fish, ” he exclaimed, a point to which Dad Don and I had to agree.  “I let it go,” he said, “because had I landed it, Lance would have gone into such a profound depression, he may well have needed professional attention!”  And so it was; even Dad Don had to have the last laugh on brother Dave;  no salmon for him. His boated fish of choice was a gorgeous 15″ stream rainbow.  Pictured is the bow and Steve with one of the Kings he hooked.

Now, let’s see:  I’ve hosted all the guys in the Phillips clan.  Next step is crystal clear to me:  bring on the ladies!  Thanks, Don and Steve (and Lance for making it possible with your gift to brother Steve).  I enjoyed the day very much and loved the respect appreciation you afforded the river and the fish that course its currents.

Captain Tom Kuieck