Kenai River guide Zac Lloyd and Utah teen Spencer Priest weigh in 88 lb King Salmon at AK Fish & Game.
This spring the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce celebrated the 20th anniversary of Les Anderson's world record 97 pound King Salmon catch. A record that Les himself thought wouldn't stand very long, but after 20 years people were starting to theorize that the monster Kings may have become a thing of the past. Enter the run of 2005 and what might become known as the year the monsters returned to the Kenai. Shortly after the Kenai River Classic, reports of fish in excess of 70 pounds being landed started ringing phones of local and distant friends and relatives as the thrill of kids landing a monster King on the Kenai spread faster than the wild fires. New speculations that this might be the summer that Les Anderson's record could be broken inspired fishers from all over the world.
A thought that had to be in the mind of River Guide Zac Lloyd of Zac's Guide Service and his client 16-year-old Spencer Priest from Springville, Utah as they came ashore with a huge King last week. Priest's trophy was about 9 pounds shy of the record as it officially weighed in at 88 pounds, 57 7/8 inches long, with a girth of 35 inches compared to the record of 97.4 pounds, 58 1/4 inches long, and a girth of 37 1/4, nevertheless close enough to get excited about. "Oh my gosh! It was incredible, I first thought it was a snag but then Zac said no it's a fish, so I pulled in the slack and set the hook and then about 7 or 8 minutes later that seemed like an hour because I was getting tired we brought it in next to the boat and I said, Oh Man! It looks like one of those brochure photos to get people to come to Alaska, but they didn't look as big as this, this doesn't happen every day, this is something I'll be telling my grandkids about, and something that most people only dream about. It was just luck, but definitely a once in a life time experience," said Spencer when interviewed at the official weigh in at the Alaska Department of Fish &Game.
Spencer was visiting with his father, Jeff, grandfather, Jim, and 14-year-old brother Andy and the last day of their fishing adventure had started out rather slow until the hunker hit. "The way the fish took the bait and started swimming up stream I knew it was a good fish, but I honestly didn't think it was that big a fish and we were tickled pink to be able to keep it on and get it in," said Zac. Plans were already being discussed about where to hang the mount of the big one that didn't get away before the Priest guys headed home. And Zac Lloyd is back on the river dreaming of getting his next client the fish that will break the world record.
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