Father's Day at Waterfall Resort
In the summer of 1988, Keith Hook visited Waterfall Resort Alaska for the first time as a nine-year old with his grandparents, not long after the resort had been renovated from its historic time as the largest salmon cannery in the state. His family heritage, originally from Bellingham, Washington, had always been big on boating and fishing, so when Keith heard of the trip, he wasn’t really surprised. In fact, his real memories of the trip started, other than the float plane ride (of course), when they stepped onboard the boat and were greeted by the Captain who, concerned for a young angler, suggested the water conditions were good and offered that sea sickness was nothing to be concerned about.
Instead, the issue for Keith became that everyone else was catching king salmon, and he was only landing the smaller silvers. Even the other boats fishing near to theirs were catching kings, and the cheers each time one was pulled up really irked young Keith. All his grandfather could say was “Just keep reeling.”, but like any 9-year old, he thought, “I’ll never get one!”.
Then, suddenly, there was a bite, and it felt bigger than the others. After 15 to 20 minutes Keith tried handing the reel to his grandfather. “This is your fish, it has to be you that lands it,” his grandfather reminded him.
In what seemed like forever, Keith kept reeling until the fish broke the surface. “You’ve got your king!” the Captain excitedly yelled. But when the net was brought out, and the fish was scooped, Captain changed and said, “I can’t believe it. I think it’s a silver after all.”
“OMG,” thought Keith casting aside his rod and walking into the cabin of the boat. “I really can’t believe this.” But both the Captain and his grandfather remained excited. It was bigger than any silver they had seen. “Just you wait till we get back to the resort, Keith.”, said his grandfather, “You’ll see what you really have!”,
Sure enough, to Keith’s confusion, people kept coming up and congratulating him. The head of the resort even came up and said, “Son, you may have quite possibly caught the biggest silver salmon in all of Alaska.” One of the other guests, who had landed three 60 lb kings, came to Keith at dinner and said, “I would give up my three for your one.”
Then the reality started settling in when Keith was taken to the General Store to pick out a jacket as his prize. That was cool… Then, when back at home again, his grandfather surprised him that he had the fish mounted, and then a few months later, Keith got a letter from the State of Alaska declaring he had caught the season’s record, one that is still viable today, a 22 lb 8 oz silver salmon that was 33 ½ inches long!
So when Keith’s son, Kashton, turned 9 years old, of course, he thought of Alaska. Upon inviting his two younger brothers, Nolan (21) and Daniel (31), the plan was set. The Hook boys would head for Waterfall Resort Alaska right after Father’s Day 2021, thirty-three years after Keith’s last visit.
There were lots of firsts for young Kash. Of course, it was his first float plane ride, and it was an exciting one.
“Stepping out of the float plan and onto the Waterfall dock brought back some memories for me,” shared Keith. “It immediately opened my eyes as to how different things can look from a 9-year old’s perspective, so from that moment on, in my eyes, it was all about Kash.”
In one day on the boat, Keith’s brother, Nolan, landed his first-ever big fish, a 26 plus lb king salmon, and they limited out on halibut. Ironically, Keith hooked a silver. They came in with a full day’s line-up of fish and smiles. Then the last half day out, Keith finally landed a 21.3 lb king salmon, his first ever as well. “It took a few decades, but was well worth it.”
Although Kash did not come in with keepers, he had fun spending quality time with his dad and uncles. A memorable family getaway from day-to-day life, tablets, and distractions. They saw Orca, humpback, walked to the waterfall, played pool at the Lagoon Saloon and enjoyed all the guest’s fish stories. Keith even got to share his own “big fish” story about the silver salmon that remains the resort record to this day.
Let’s Go Fishing!