Paul Stokke had quite a catch to show off to his friends enjoying lattes at a coffee shop in Langley last week.
The Langley man hauled in a 21-pound chinook (king) salmon somewhere between Baby and Camano islands, but he honored an angling tradition to not divulge too much about a favored fishing spot by being vague. Stokke was out alone that morning when he got the bite that ended up being a 30-minute fight.
“I was so worried of losing this fish because there was no one else to see this,” Stokke said.
“Every time it saw the boat it would take off. … As soon as I got the net in the water, it took off again,” he added.
While the catch is far from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife record of 70.50 pounds, set in 1964 by Chet Gausta near Sekiu, the fish was still a hefty haul. Stokke said it was the largest salmon he has caught in Puget Sound and that he used a flasher and a squid to land it.
“Everything I’ve been catching was five, six pounds. I could certainly tell the difference right away,” Stokke said. “I haven’t had a fight like that in a long time.”
Larry Durocher, after seeing the fish at the Langley coffee haunt, went home to get his fish scale and verified the salmon’s weight.
“Had someone told me there was a salmon that size around here, I wouldn’t put much stock in it,” said Stokke, who added that he had bled the fish before it was weighed.
He said he planned to cook it as soon as he could and would share some with friends because “I can’t eat all of that fish.”