TRAVERSE CITY — What started as a tranquil fishing expedition on West Grand Traverse Bay quickly turned into an unexpected workout for Bill Plough on Thursday morning.
The 47-year-old Georgia resident, aboard the charter boat Showtime, waged a 25-minute battle with a 30-pound King salmon before reeling in the 38-inch long "monster" near the mouth of the Boardman River.
"Personally, that's one of the biggest salmon put in this boat in years, and I've been doing this a long time," captain Cam Garst said.
Plough was fishing with his father, Tom, who just happened to have a 19-pound salmon on his line at the same time Bill was engaged in his fight.
"The game plan was to throw a couple lines in and check for salmon," Bill Plough said. "We were really going to go for lake trout, though, because we're a few weeks early for salmon. We went in close, where we could see the river, and got a couple of bites real quick, but nothing that we landed. Then we swung around for another pass and bam, bam, there were two on. So we both grabbed a pole. Then, we had a fight on our hands."
For Bill Plough, it was a fight that lasted nearly a half hour.
"That thing zipped a ton of line out of the reel, well over 500 feet," Plough said. "It went way out and came back. A couple times I had to shake the arms out. It was quite a test. He was fighting for all his worth. He was not happy about getting in the boat."
Plough's catch may have proven a point, too. Garst said early reports from west Michigan ports indicate salmon are bigger this year.