Happy Anniversary To Historic Salmon Catch

Good stuff from the Alaska Dispatch News commemorating a world-record fish caught in Alaskan waters.

Les loved to fish, but that’s not the same as a love of big fish. He was just out there to have fun, and honestly, he was always — before and after — the type of guy who was just as happy to bring someone along and see them catch a fish,” said Clara Anderson, widow of Les Anderson, who 31 years ago today (Tuesday, May 17, 1985) landed a 97-pound, 4-ounce king salmon to set the world record.

The fish was more than four pounds heavier than the existing record one caught by hook and line, a 93-pound king caught in June 1977 in Southeast Alaska by Howard Rider of Juneau. Les’ record still stands, and it has secured him a place in the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.

“It was quite an exciting day for him, for us, for all the Peninsula. It was a grand day for sure, but Les just looked at it as being in the right place at the right time,” Clara said.

That right time wasn’t just early in the year. Most anglers then and now consider spawning kings that return in May and June to be smaller than the late-run fish of July. It was also early in the morning, around 6:30 a.m.

“We fished every day before work back then, and he took off around 3 or 4 a.m.,” said Clara, who’s no salmon-catching slouch herself, having landed an 85-pound fish that held the family record until Les hauled in his hawg.

It’s a really good read, and though Les is no longer with us, the spirit of his accomplishment lives on. Congrats on a wonderful record-setting king.