A Giant Fish Story

Written by: Alec Kauffman

EDITOR’S NOTE: Zac Kauffman—the Outdoor Operations Manager for Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge in Merlin, Oregon—sent us this story by his 14-year-old son Alec, who had written it for Ms. Coleman’s 6th period Language Arts class. As Zac wrote, “It does seem to capture the child’s excitement about fishing.” We couldn’t agree more.

Alec K 1

Alec Kauffman shows off a Rogue River steelhead, while his younger brother mugs for
the camera. Hey, if you don’t have a fish of your own, it’s your only option, right?

photo by Zac Kauffman

The rain fell like arrows from above, piercing the water as the bow of the boat rose and crashed. The fishing lines were cast out far ahead of the boat, disappearing in the icy waters of the Rogue River, and I was in the front of the boat watching it all. Me, the dark-haired short kid with brown eyes and braces.

My brother hid under the rain tarp to shield himself from the rain. My dad, at the back of the boat was steering the vessel with his giant oars. Suddenly there was a jerk on the line. I raised the rod up, and the hook was set. I began reeling as hard as I could, and suddenly the fish gave up. Soon I found out why, when I reeled it in it was only a one- pound fish, not a keeper. We released it, and it swam away.

The weather still hadn’t changed; the water still shook the boat unforgivingly. I was beginning to wonder about, if it got any worse, motoring down to the take-out. One thing about fishing is it requires a lot of patience; normally I have lots of that but, when it’s dumping buckets and is cold enough to make penguins shiver, I’m not exactly patient. Then, CRASH, CRASH, Rumble, Rumble. A jet boat roared around the corner. With its giant steel body and jet engine, it was like a jet plane without wings that was put in the river. The jet boat roared past us at full speed. Luckily, my dad was able to turn the front forward and glide over the waves it made.

Now the take-out was in sight. All of us were doubting that we would catch any fish, but at least it had stopped raining. The clouds had opened up, the trees looked green, the sky looked blue, and everything seemed to wake up–even my rod, which dove down toward the water, indicating that I had a fish on. I was almost sure I had a little ½-pound fish on but suddenly ZEEE! the line shot out and I could tell that this fish was big.

Imagine this, me on the front of the boat holding the rod that’s bending straight toward the water, my brother holding me, and my dad with the oars trying to get us to the side. That’s what it looked like.

Alec K 2

This 22-pound Chinook made a long, rainy day of fishing worthwhile. Catching it was almost—almost—as good as Disneyland.

photo by Zac Kauffman

As my brother asked my dad how big he thought the fish was, the fish leaped out of the water. It was huge! Both me and my brother looked at each other and said, “That’s a big fish.” All I had to do was reel it in or have it run out of energy and give up. Finally after 20 minutes, it finally gave up. My dad netted it and weighed it, a 22-pound salmon! This must have been my happiest summer moment, besides Disneyland. The fish was almost bigger than me or at least it looked like it. We went to the shore and my mom was waiting.

My brother and mom went to get the car. After they came back we took some pictures with the fish. Today I have that picture in my binder, and most of my friends say it must be bigger than me. However, in reality, it’s not.

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