Well this is my first TR, so I’ll just sum up my trip quickly. This was my first solo overnight BP trip, and it will not be my last. I spent the morning fishing some of my favorite holes on the lower Hoh, and picking mushrooms on my way out. At this point in my trip I was bummed, because fishing was slow, most of my mushroom spots were dry and to top it off I forgot my camera at my dads place in PA. After driving all the way up to the park I was getting exited about the hike. I took my time hiking to five mile island, checking out the huge trees and scoping out possible fishing spots on the river. The camp spot was nice and I had a great view of the stars as I drifted off to sleep. The coming day is a day that I will never forget. It started out with me awaking to a very loud bugle, from a 5x5 bull elk that was no more then 10ft from my tent eating grass. When I jolted up to look at what made the noise, we made eye contact and just stared at each other for about 2 whole minutes. Then he went back to eating grass and bugling every so often for the next hour as the sun started to peak over the mountains. At this point in my trip I really wished that I wouldn’t have forgotten my camera. I had a nice hike out in the morning, and headed back down to the lower to get a few more casts before I headed back to PA. This time on the river felt completely different then the day before. The second I got out of my truck at one of my favorite spots(without a person to be seen) I heard a splash, which sounded like someone just cannon-balled into a lake. Then about ten minutes later as I was fishing the top of the drift, the fish rolled again and I got a good look at the monster. I then proceeded down to the middle section of the drift right were the fish had rolled. After about five casts I felt the sensation of a fish chomping on my eggs, so I set the hook. The fish didn’t move at first and just gave me the most powerful headshakes that I have ever felt. After about 20 seconds of throbbing headshakes it turned and screamed downriver, completely burning my thumb and almost spoiling me as I sprinted down river. It finally slowed down and turned back upriver, I still feel very lucky, because about 25 more yards and it would have been into the next run and long gone. After battling this fish for about and 90 nail biting minutes, I landed the giant king. My personal best before this day was ~25pounds while saltwater fishing in BC. I taped this fish at 49 inches long with a girth of 29 inches. I figured I to be right around 45-50 pounds. Now I was almost angry that I forgot my camera for this trophy of a Washington King. I could have and had every right to kill that fish and take it home to show my dad and get a mount of it. But there was no way I was going to kill something that fought that hard, something that looked so glorious. I still shake with adrenaline when I think about barely being able to hold the tail with two hands as I held it in the water getting ready to let it swim back to the depths and hopefully spawn.
I know the fishing story isn’t really hiking related, but it was for me. If it wasn’t for the decision to go hike, I would have never had the opportunity to catch that fish. I might not bring my camera on any trips from now on. I’m now back on Whidbey working, getting ready for a week stay at my dads house before school starts. I hope to head up to the Elwha valley and maybe over to the Queets. If anyone wants someone to tag alone with them, hit me up. I’ll be up there from the 16th-27th.
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