My Biggest Fish Story

Story by Kenny Meland
In August of 2010 I went to Alaska to fish with cousin Kevin. We were fishing for salmon out of Seward, Alaska using outriggers, which are metal “arms” that stick out perpendicular to the boat. We were having a lot of trouble with the outriggers jamming even though we had caught two nice fish and lost a few by the boat. For about the tenth time one outrigger jammed and Kevin was reaching out to the outrigger to try and fix the problem when he stepped in some water on the boat deck and next thing we knew he had somersaulted into the 62 degree water. He was about 4 feet from the boat. I still kick myself for not being quick enough of mind to catch him and we weren’t wearing life jackets either. In addition, Kevin is not a great swimmer and he was wearing a fleece sweatsuit. He went under water for a few seconds and when he surfaced, I missed grabbing him. Then he went under again, that water had shocked him. I was getting ready to jump in after him (without a life jacket!) when he re-surfaced and this time I grabbed his arm and was able to pull him to the side of the boat. Kevin hooked his arm over the side and I tried to lift him in, but couldn’t lift him over the side. His sweatshirt had become tangled in one of the cleats and we were stuck! Marlene got on the boat radio and asked for help. In a few minutes a boat came over and two guys from the boat and me were finally able to get Kevin in the boat. My first “fish” over 200 pounds! Marlene and I decided to call it a day and go ashore although Kevin found a change of clothes on the boat. He was shivering but still wanted to fish longer! What a hard core! We learned a few lessons that day:
1. Don’t reach for an outrigger, swing it in to the boat.
2. Wear a life jacket.
3. Ken needs to lift some weights so he can haul cousins into the boat.
4. Kevin could lose a few pounds 🙂
Not to be discouraged, we went halibut fishing the next day and caught our limits without incident while wearing life jackets.

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