McQueen Takes Derby's Top
Spot On Last Day Of Fishing
0.2 lbs Separates Top Two
June 08, 2009
Ketchikan, Alaska - If Dan McQueen didn't believe the adage "the
early bird gets the worm" he certainly does now. With one
day left in the 62nd Annual Ketchikan CHARR King Salmon Derby,
McQueen left the house at 1:30 a.m. in hopes of taking advantage
of every opportunity on the last day of fishing. McQueen's purpose
was singular -- not to win the derby, but to place somewhere
in the top ten. He had broken his fishing pole during Saturday's
fishing trip and hoped to take advantage of Tongass Trading's
offer of a free pole to anglers that bought their tickets at
Tongass and placed in the top ten.
Dan McQueen and his
winning 44.2 lb king
Photo courtesy 2009 Ketchikan King Salmon Derby
McQueen was "fishing hard" by 2:45 a.m., staying near
the Mountain Point boat launch. Finding no luck, he pondered
where his late father, a former commercial troller, might go
to find a fish worthy of the top ten. "No joke," he
said. "I looked out over the water and a ray of sunshine
shone directly on Stomach Bay." Not five minutes after
arriving and getting his gear in the water, McQueen had hooked
into the winning entry. It took him nearly one-and-a-half hours
to haul the 44.2 lb king over the side. Not content with his
monster catch, McQueen rebaited his gear and fished for another
15 minutes before deciding to head back to the weigh-in station
at Mountain Point. "I had the fish packed in ice but it
was starting to lose some blood. I started getting nervous about
it losing too much weight and headed back in."
McQueen's timing could not have been better as his entry topped
Mark Tollfeldt's 44-pound entry by only two-tenths of a pound.
Tollfeldt had taken the lead on the second day of the first
weekend of the derby and held the top spot until McQueen's entry
When asked what he planned to do with the over $10,000 in prize
money McQueen offered only that he would like to take care of
some outstanding hospital bills resulting from an accident with
an uninsured motorist last summer.
As if spoiling Tollfeldt's top prize wasn't enough, McQueen also
garnered the special prize allotted to the angler catching the
largest salmon from a skiff 16' or smaller. Tollfeldt's entry
had also been caught from a skiff. Tollfeldt, along with 28
other top 30 finishers, will choose from prize packages with
a total value of more than $75,000.
McQueen's king salmon bested more than 800 fish entered over
the seven days of fishing. Although exact counts are unavailable,
derby organizers estimate that over 1200 people participated
in the derby.
The awards ceremony will be held on Friday, June 12th, at the
Ted Ferry Civic Center where anglers will choose their prizes
based on their placement on the derby ladder. Special prize
categories such as biggest fish by male youth, biggest fish by
female youth, men's and women's hidden weights, and the largest
salmon caught by an Alaskan permanent license holder will also
Proceeds from the annual derby benefit the Ketchikan CHARR Educational
Fund, a local non-profit that provides scholarships to Ketchikan
students pursuing post-secondary education.
"By all accounts the derby was a success," stated Russell
Thomas, 2009 King Salmon Derby coordinator. "The weather
couldn't have been better, we saw nearly 300 more fish than last
year, and everyone watched and waited each day of the derby to
see if the leader was going to change. It was an exciting ending
to a great effort by many volunteers and derby participants."
The 2009 derby included a move to electronic weigh-in forms,
which made the results available online. The new feature was
a hit with derby watchers, with some entries getting over 1200
hits. "I was shocked at the amount of unsolicited comments
I received from anglers either happy that their picture was posted
online or mad because we hadn't got their picture up yet,"
said Jerry Kiffer, 2009 derby committee chairman and weigh-in
station volunteer. "We weren't sure how the new technology
was going to be received but were pleasantly surprised by the
response from derby participants."
Despite the success of this year's derby, Thomas is already looking
ahead to improvements for next year. "We'll get finished
with the awards ceremony, take a month off, and then get together
to start talking about next year's derby."
On the Web:
2009 Leader Board
Photographs (Click on the link
next to eht camera graphic)
2009 Ketchikan King Salmon
Derby Prize List
Special prize category results
(Scroll to the bottom)
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2009 Ketchikan King Salmon
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