“I knew right away it was a big fish. It took off pretty hard and it was really hard to get it slowed down and turned around. It made a couple runs and stayed deep and then, after a few minutes, it kind of ran back toward the boat so I got a lot of line on it right away.” As for where he caught the fish?
“I’m sworn to secrecy,” he said.
If it stays at the top of the leader board, Rear’s 42-pound fish will be the smallest ever to win the Sitka derby, and Rear acknowledges that his odds are long.
“I think it’d be amazing if I actually won, but I’m hoping it will stay in the top three,” he said.
The smallest fish to win the derby was a 46-pounder caught by Dave Pearson in 1970. The largest winner was 73 pounds and 6 ounces, caught by Connie See in 1956. Michael Smith won last year’s derby with a 50 pound, 9-ounce salmon. (Click here for the Derby's Facebook page.)
So far this year, Terrence Littlefield is in second place with 37.6 pounds, and Thomas Jordan is in third place at 35.6 pounds. Jordan leads for total pounds caught, at 201.
121 participants have turned in 309 fish with an average weight of 18.3 pounds. The derby continues next weekend. Results are considered unofficial until the Derby banquet on June 19.
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