History
9:26 am
Thu October 3, 2013

Rogue River Fisherman Tackles Monster Salmon

As It Was - Episode 2248 Famous for its runs of big Chinook salmon, the Rogue River draws fisherman from around the world anxious to apply their skills.  On an October evening in 1913 a monster fish put three regional businessmen to the test. Grants Pass banker Sam Baker and local clothier O. L. Ragan went fishing on the Jones Creek riffle after work.  Ragan soon hooked what he later described as a “whale of a fish.” Over 90 minutes, Ragan battled the fish to a draw, and as the day darkened he decided to tie his line to a nearby tree.  Returning at first light the next morning to resume the contest, Baker asked for a turn and had pulled the Chinook near shore when the leader snapped.  A horse-breaking cowboy in his early days, Baker leaped atop the monster fish and engaged in a hand-to-fin battle in four feet of water.  Ragan and another fisherman soon jumped in to join the fight until Baker grabbed the fish by the gills and pulled it ashore. The fish dressed out at 20 pounds, and all three fishermen took home a “whale of a fish” story.  Sources: "Banker Baker Rides Bucking Chinook Salmon." Rogue River Courier 3 Oct. 1913 [Grants Pass, Oregon] , weekly ed.: 1. Print. 

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