This section is from the book "Moose-Hunting Salmon-Fishing And Other Sketches Of Sport Being The Record Of Personal Experiences Of Hunting Wild Game In Canada", by T. R. Pattillo. Also available from Amazon: Moose-Hunting, Salmon-Fishing and Other Sketches of Sport: Being the Record of Personal Experiences of Hunting Wild Game in Canada.
I was becoming desperate : time was going, the sun was well up, the fog had disappeared, the workmen were going to their labour, and very little headway apparently was being made towards ending the struggle. Again the line was unreeled, and again the punt was moved nearer the shore, in line with a rock that had deep water beneath it. This brought me within 20 yards of terra firma. After the slack line was again reeled, and the tension put on him, I threw a stone into the eddy, which started him towards the shore, and behind the very rock wished. This was a success, but the use of the gaff seemed a distance oft It was now 7.30, and yet no one had been near me to witness the sport, although the mill hands seemed to be paying more attention to me and the fish than to Messrs. Davison's work. Just then a lad of sixteen came to the shore, and I offered him fifty cents to wade off to the punt and pole her in shore, which he objected to doing, although the water where she was kellocked was only a foot deep. This annoyed me, so I pulled off a few yards of line, laid down the rod, up kellock, and poled her myself to the shore, then walked up the bank, and reeled my fish so tightly that, in his weakened condition, he could not long resist, and moved in behind another rock 8 or 10 yards off. Now I handed the rod to the boy, with instructions to keep the line tight, took the gaff, and sneaked off towards the fish, put it under him and lifted him. Then there was a commotion! Great Scot! What kicking and flouncing! It required all my strength even then to handle and hold him, but he was soon overcome, and the long battle ended. He weighed 27¾ lbs. a beauty, one of those thick, plump fellows, the largest fish ever captured in that river before or since, and the largest but one I have ever seen.
To say that I was tired only faintly conveys my weariness. The muscles of my right arm were as sore as if beaten. Fully three hours were occupied in capturing him. As he lay before me, his appearance made me a proud fisherman. A great deal of the successful issue of that struggle was due to the double cast and double hooks, both of which were under his jaw, and could not break or tear out. A single cast and hook would have stood a slim chance in such a stubborn fight.
A fortnight prior to the event just narrated, a young friend with Lew Labrador, his Indian guide, in one boat, and myself alone in another, went to the pool at the head of the tide opposite and below Davison's Lower Mill. In those days the pools were much finer resting-places for salmon than now, and many more of them, so that two or even three boats could have equally good sport, by one fishing the upper, another the centre, and the third the lower pools. It was Monday morning at 7.30 when we started, not expecting even ordinary luck, as on the Saturday before only one fish was seen. We were, therefore, more than surprised to find that a new run of famous fish had come into the pool on that tide. We started in with Cook Robins, changing later to Yellow Doctors, and had seven fish when we landed at noon, losing four others. He secured five, and lost two; I got two, and lost two. I had fished this stream several years, and noted the peculiarities of the different runs of salmon that frequented it, yet never saw fish like these. They were apparently very fierce for the fly, but only rushed once. If he were struck, then, well; if not, time would be saved by not trying him again. A number were started that were not hooked nor pricked, yet they could not be tempted to come again in that pool at that time, although we both changed flies by the score. We found they were very gamey fought hard. They were direct from the sea, so bright and beautiful, and resented such treatment, thus affording us clear sport.
One that my friend hooked, a 17-lb. fish, ran out every yard of his line down stream, and had to be followed. He jumped and ran, ran and jumped and flounced went directly under their boat once. After a lapse of three-quarters of an hour, he began to give in. When they had him almost to the boat, a drift log was spied coming down across their bow, which started them dragging. Scarcely were they freed from this when they discovered that the salmon, with the slack line they had given him when working at the log, had dragged it under a sunken slab, and left it foul there. Fortunately, the fish was now so nearly drowned that he did not attempt to rush, but lay quiet. How to get it out was the question. Old Lew said, " Trouble never comes single. Hold on, S., I've got a way am going to try." " What's that ? " "Am going to tie this piece of board to the rod to keep it up, then fasten the line so it won't run out and throw the rod over." As it seemed feasible, S. accepted the plan, and they did it. So soon as the rod was directly below the slab, it held for a moment, then swung down the stream in line where they knew the fish must be, so, taking up the rod and freeing it from its encumbrances, he began to reel up the line, and found the salmon all right. So, without any further mishap, they soon had him in the boat. I had been a witness of all this manoeuvring, but was fast to a wild and stubborn fellowmyself, so could not go to their assistance. S., in telling me about the spree, remarked there was more fan and sport in the capturing of that one than in all the others combined. There was nothing oat of the common with the others, bat with that fellow there was something new cropping up all the time, requiring the exercise of one's wits to straighten out. I spoke of being fast to a fifteen-pounder at the same time that S. was having his fun. My fish took under water, and, as soon as he found himself fast, began racing. Sometimes he would come so close, my gaff was in my hand to use, then he would sail away 60 or 70 yards, with the reel buzzing, and follow this by working up stream above the boat, worrying me with the prospect of shooting under the mooring. Then down he would come, aiming right for me, but fighting shy so soon as he sighted the boat. However, I knew he could not keep the racing up long with the tension upon him, and must soon give in; which he did, after running 20 yards or so across the stream. For a person alone in the boat, much the safest and easiest way is to work the fish up the stream above yourself, then, by throwing the rod behind your shoulder, you can raise him, and keep him headed to you, so that with the gaff within reach of your hand, he soon becomes yours. When he headed the stream, I found he was so weak that he could not work above me, so the mooring was paid out, and the line as well, which placed me below him. From this new position he was brought near the boat with his head quite out of water, and was soon gaffed. I sat down for a rest, with a very pleasant picture to entertain me.