DeWitt wins king derby
Resident Toni DeWitt didn’t have to go far to win top prize in the 32nd Haines King Salmon Derby.
DeWitt hooked her 33.4-pound Chinook about 60 feet off the old Haines Packing Co. cannery Sunday, inside Letnikof Cove. "We were mainly fishing there because my granddaughter was in the boat. She brought me some luck, the little stinker," DeWitt said.
"It was a good fish. It fought really well. The hook broke in half as we got him in the boat, but my knot held," she said. "They’re such a beautiful fish. You feel lucky when you catch one."
DeWitt has fished in the derby more than 30 years and the win is the first for her family, she said. She attributed the catch to her "herring aid," a device for holding bait herring on the line that isn’t seen so much any more.
"(Husband) Charlie changed over to that and he caught one, too. They’re a treasured item in our boat." Charlie DeWitt’s 24.75-pound king was sixth in the standings.
DeWitt described his wife’s catch. "It was just a really hot fish. It wasn’t one that just laid around. She had to work to get it in" and landed it in about 15 minutes, he said. It’s at least the third derby winner hooked in Letnikof Cove. Residents Tyrell Horton and Nancy Piper each won the derby in the cove, Toni said.
DeWitt won $2,200 cash. An assortment of prizes will be awarded to the event’s biggest fish as well as its smallest, and individual prizes are awarded in youth, women and Canadian categories.
Thirty-two fishermen turned in 44 fish during two weekends of fishing. That compares to 31 kings entered by 28 anglers last year.
Official derby results will be available at the Haines Sportsman’s Association annual meeting 6 p.m. Sunday at the American Bald Eagle Foundation. Sportsman’s president Kim Larson said 83 derby season tickets and 80 daily tickets were sold, a number that represents a drop in effort from last year.
The weather was generally good both derby weekends, with lots of sunshine and morning winds that tapered off later in the day. Larson said the group is looking for ways to increase participation in the derby, which is a fund-raiser for local youth activities.
A new allowance for fishing around the clock during derby weekends was added this year but netted only two additional fish. Bigger prizes might work, she said. "Anybody who has any suggestions, we’re willing to hear them."
One fish larger than DeWitt’s was turned in, but it and another were disqualified because one person in the boat that caught the big fish didn’t have a derby ticket when it was landed.
Event rules state that all people aboard a boat fishing in the derby must hold derby tickets.
Unoffical derby results: 1) Tony DeWitt, 33.4; 2) Wayne Hirsch, 31; 3) Richard Hart, 28.75; 4) Ray Staska, 26.35; 5) Jody Farmer, 25.3; 6) Charlie DeWitt, 24.75; 7) Rodger Tuenge, 24.6; 8) Glen Scott, 22.95; 9) Jeff Fields, 22.75; 10) Dot Shackford, 22.4; 11) Richard Hart, 22: 12) David Shackford, 22; 13) Jeff Fields, 21.95; 14) Ray Staska, 20.95; 15) Shel Scarrott, 20.25; 16) David Folletti, 19.05; 17) Mickey Geary, 18.65; 18) Jason Shull, 18.6; 19) Bruce Smith, 18.4; 20) Ryan Cook, 18.25; 21) Jeff David, 17.7; 22) Ryan Cook, 17.7; 23) Robert Piper, 17.25; 24) John Carlson, 17.1; 25) Julie Ferrin, 17.05; 26) Jansy Hansen, 16.9; 27) Phyllis Sage, 15.4; 28) Isaac Dueling, 14.8; 29) Chuck Baltzell, 14.65; 30) Ryan Cook, 14.55; 31) Glen Hart, 13.8; 32) Dave Shackford, 13.15; 33) Glenn Mielke, 12.75; 34) Richard Hart, 12.5; 35) Glen Hart, 12.15; 36) Luck Dunbar, 11.8; 37) Glenn Mielke, 11.45; 38) Lucy Harrell, 11.3; 39) Ryan Cook, 10.75; 40) Mary Stickler, 10.65; 41) Denise Thompson, 10.6; 42) Jason Shull, 10.50; 43) Josh Bentz, 10.05; 44) Jason Shull, 9.35.