Thursday, May 26, 2016

The White King

  As you can see from the pictures, this blog post isn't about chess pieces, it's about a fish. A king salmon. A white king salmon to be more specific. Last Saturday I spent the day fishing and in an uncommon bit of good fortune, I managed to land five kings. I actually had eight on. Two of them took spoons, and for whatever reason, managed to get off. I always play the scenario over and over in my head trying to figure out what went wrong when I lose one. The first one I lost I figured maybe he was still too fiesty to bring in. The second one I let soak a little longer, but I still lost him. Go figure. The third one that got off I never even saw. He hit pretty hard, and I let him soak for what I thought was a proper amount of time- let him tow the fifty pound cannonball around for awhile to let off some steam. As it was though, he swam into the leader above him and managed to tangle the two lures and got off. I can't say I was very happy, but I wasn't overly distraught either. I already had four kings on board, and shortly after that one got off, I caught one more. All in all it was a pretty good day. On Monday, buoyed by the good fortune I'd had several days before, I returned to the same spot where I'd fished with such success, but the whole situation had changed. The feed that had been prevalent on Saturday was nowhere to be found. It just didn't look fishy at all. I made a few passes where I'd caught some of the fish I'd had on, but nothing. Then I tried another spot and was ready to give up when the guy in the picture took a spoon on the bottom. I was really fearful that it might get off. He was really fighting, even though I'd let him soak for awhile. When I got him to the surface he started thrashing and in my mind I could just see him throwing the hook and laughing at me as he sped off to go find a girlfriend in one of the local rivers. I imagine if I only had one chance to procreate, I'd fight like heck too for the opportunity. I feel kind of bad for catching him and keeping him from making more little kings, but not bad enough to let him go. Someone else will pick up the chore that he's leaving unfinished. This particular king salmon was a white one, so named because the flesh inside is ivory colored or a very light pink, as opposed to the bright orange-red flesh that most salmon have. I'm not really sure why they have white flesh. The area around Glacier Bay is the only place that has white kings as I understand. They aren't all that uncommon around here. Because it's early in the year and there aren't many kings on the market, the price is pretty good for them and the whites are the same price as the reds. Usually though, the cold storage pays quite a bit less for white kings. It doesn't make sense. The locals, and folks who know salmon often prefer the white fleshed kings to the red fleshed ones. Often if a fisherman catches one, instead of selling it for a pittance, he'll take it home and eat it himself or give it to a friend or family member. They have what has been described as a buttery flavor, and the flesh seems softer than their red fleshed counterparts. I've never really heard why they are aren't red. There is some speculation that they don't feed on krill or shrimp, thus never taking on the orange hue. I really don't know. This guy weighed twenty pounds and was a little over thirty six inches long. Not huge by king salmon standards, but not bad either. Hopefully there will be more where he came from. Guess I'll find out tomorrow.


  1. I didn't even know there was such a thing. Good blog dad. Love you, Camille

  2. Hi Camille- yep there sure is. You don't hear about them very much, but a savvy marketing person could net us a pretty penny for them. They're relatively uncommon, although I've caught two or three this year so far. Love you too.