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.
"That's kind of what it seems like, but it's early for us," he said. "We're just starting."
Plough, meanwhile, has fished aboard Showtime in the past.
"Cam always seems to put us on fish, but who knew he was going to put us on a monster this morning," Plough said. "I'm going to have to get to the gym and start working out so I can lift fish like that if that's going to become a regular thing."
Tom Plough, who lives on Old Mission, ended up landing two 19-pounders.
"We couldn't have asked for anything better," Bill Plough said. "What a way to spend the morning."