Tourist catches colossal king salmon

Posted: Thursday, July 17, 2008

KENAI - A tourist from New York City is going home with bragging rights.

Steve Peterson caught two colossal Kenai River kings. One weighing 73.5 pounds was just shy of earning him an Alaska Trophy Fish Record.

"It's bigger than anything I could have imagined," Peterson said in regard to his bright silver behemoth that measured 53 inches in length and 33.5 inches in girth. It was caught July 10.

"This has been the trip of a lifetime. It just keeps getting better every day, but I don't know how I'm going to top this one."

Any Kenai king weighing 75 pounds or more is considered a trophy, and while Peterson's fish came in at just under the requirements, he wasn't disappointed with the catch.

"It's the biggest one caught so far this year," said Robert Begich, a Department of Fish and Game area sport fish manager.

Earlier that same morning, Peterson had brought up a 49-inch king that was estimated to weigh around 50 pounds. He released it, and said he was glad he did, since his second salmon of the day wasn't just larger but put up an even better fight.

"I fought it for about 15 to 20 minutes and it was all over the place. As soon as I hooked it, it ran across the river going upstream," he said.

Peterson said the fish didn't make it easy.

"It jumped several times - right out of the water - and was shaking quite a bit, so I knew it was hooked good, but every time we would get it close to the boat, it would take off again. When we finally got it into the net I was relieved," he said.

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