Guide Ron "R W" Weilbacher, left, of R W's Guide Service in Soldotna, and Ken McMillan of Los Gatos, Calif., hoist the 83-pound king salmon landed by McMillan Tuesday. The fish measured 54 3/4 inches in length with a girth of 35 inches.
Photo by Will Morrow
Imagine coming to Alaska every summer just to fish the Kenai River, and fishing the Kenai River just for that once-in-a-lifetime trophy king salmon.
Now imagine going through all of that effort and expense only to watch someone else catch your fish.
Ken McMillan of Los Gatos, Calif., was visiting the Kenai Peninsula this week with the Tennant family, which has made several fishing trips to Alaska over the past 10 years.
"So I came up with these folks, my first time to Alaska, the first time I've been fishing for kings it's the luck of the draw. These guys have been due," McMillan said after landing an 83-pound king salmon Tuesday while fishing with Ron "R W" Weilbacher of R W's Guide Service.
"We were with R W, he was our guide, and Bob Tennant threw back a 55-pounder he was after that fish," McMillan said, gesturing toward the cart holding his lunker. "We didn't have much luck after that, and R W said he'd take us over to 'Old Faithful.'"
McMillan watches as Nate Morris fillets the king salmon.
Photo by Will Morrow
The group was feeling somewhat glum, fishing hard through Tuesday morning's rain and not having a king in the boat to show for it. After moving to a new hole, McMillan said, R W launched into a fishing tale. As McMillan looked to his boatmates to ascertain the veracity of the story, Bob Tennant's dream fish hit on McMillan's rod.
"It put up a fight for 30 minutes. No one realized how big it was until we got it up to the boat," McMillan said.
McMillan said it's been quite a trip, with big halibut earlier in the week, plenty of red salmon, and the once-in-a-lifetime king. McMillan watched as his king was filleted, and with the fish's particulars in hand 54 3/4 inches long with a 35-inch girth along with plenty of pictures, was considering a fiberglass mount.
He also was considering the various ways to cook salmon as he'll be eating a lot of it in the near future.
"I'll share it with everybody. We'll have a big ol' barbecue," McMillan said.
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