When I felt the weight of my first Manistee River Chinook of the year, I told Captain Don, my guides’ escape day bud, that 1) I haven’t felt a King like this in years; and that 2) I wasn’t sure that the 10 weight rod in my hand could handle it.  And, sure enough, a salmon I hooked later in the morning, simply powered upstream with such strength that despite Don’s pulling anchor and chasing it with the boat and my dead sticking the rod with drag cinched way, way down, the fish plowed on, outdistancing us and eventually wrapping the tippet around a deadhead.  Simply outgunned.

We’ve seen large schools of alewives in Leland harbor for the last two years; indeed, a few even washed up on the shore at Good Harbor Beach this year.  Moreover, our Big Blue counterparts and the DNR have told of significantly larger numbers of the silvery morsels marking sonar screens.  Well, the tale of the tape and Boga grip chronicle the payoff:  significantly larger and healthier salmon, both Chinook and Coho.

Pictured is yours truly with a near 20 lb. hen Chinook and Don with a Coho, a sample of the salmon we hooked and landed.

Captain Tom Kuieck