I had launched at 3am for a 10 hour trip with clients from Oregon trying to get our King limit. We were almost done when I got a call from the office wanting me to do a double with a family that afternoon. After saying goodbye to my clients, I met my new group who turned out to be a family of four from Idaho and a float I'll never forget.
Mom and Dad lived in Alaska at one time and were bringing their 12 and 5 year old sons back to experience fishing as only Alaska can provide. I went through protocol and all the usual instructions. The 12 year old's rod was bending in the water, screeching line. I could tell it was a 40+ pounder. He couldn't get the rod out of the holder because the salmon had it pinned down. We had to pull anchor and chase the fish downstream because he was about to strip us to the spool. Every time we thought we could net him, he would have a boost of energy and head the other way 20-30 yards. I told the mom that she was on rock duty to look for obstacles and right as we are about to net it, Mom casually said "Hey, Evan, those look like some big rocks". I glanced up, took control of the sticks, and told the boy to get ready for a fight. We had to choose between cutting the line or going through the rapids. It was a no brainer....we chose the rapids. Believe it or not, he fought that fish all the way through the rapids keeping it clear of rocks and trees. On the other side, we were able to net it and bring him in the boat.
The boy was an avid bass fisherman and when he got him in the boat he said "I've never caught a bass this big!". That salmon ended up being 52 pounds and dragged us 3/4 mile down the river. 10 months later, I still receive pictures of them eating that fish at their dinner table!