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By SCOTT BOWLEN
Daily News Staff Writer
Chase Hanis has a cap emblazoned with derby pins representing fish he's caught during the annual Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby events since 2014.
He's got a lot of pins. And this year, he'll also have a title — derby champion.
On June 4, the 12-year-old Hanis landed a 43.7-pound king salmon that bested more than 900 other fish entered in the 2017 derby, according to unofficial results that will be certified early next week.
It was a serious fish caught by a serious sportfisherman.
Hanis told the Daily New this week that he began fishing when he was around 7 years old.
“This is the first year I got really serious into fishing,” he said, noting that king salmon are his favorite sport fish. “That's the type I like.”
Hanis began fishing the 2017 derby on day one — May 27 — the same day that James Bellarosa weighed in a 37.1-pound king to take the early lead.
The youngster came up empty that day. Then he caught four kings during the remainder of the first weekend, one of which was a 23.1-pounder that put Hanis in a prize position on the main derby ladder that weekend.
On June 3, he fished but didn't weigh in a king. Then came the morning of June 4.
Like most fishermen, Hanis won't say what he was using for bait — “That I can't tell” — or exactly where he was fishing — “That I can't, either.”
But the bait was at a depth of 55 feet for only a short while before a fish hit.
“We were waiting for only like maybe like 10 minutes when we see this strike,” Hanis said. “We're reeling it up. It's tugging away a little bit of line, and we have to wave off these two boats who are like right on our tail.”
The fish didn't feel incredibly heavy — maybe around 20 pounds.
“The only sort of hard thing it did was kind of go under the boat once we got next to it,” Hanis said. “ ... Once we got it next to the boat, we saw it, so we knew it was a good one.”
He said the boat's captain, Tyler Jackson, knew that the fish had to be netted quickly before it made a run.
“So right when we got next to it, he made sure he netted it before it got actually ready to jump start,” Hanis said.
With a potential derby contender then on board, they headed straight for Mountain Point to enter the fish in the derby before it lost any weight.
And, “once we saw the weight, we kind of partied at the docks,” Hanis said.
There were lot of high-fives, photos and excited people, he said.
Hanis still went back out fishing that day, and on the two days of the third and final derby weekend.
He'd end up catching nine king salmon weighing a total of 170.4 pounds during the overall derby, good enough for second position in the derby's “most cumulative weight caught” category behind the 175.2-pound cumulative weight posted by John Larson.
Asked whether he planned to be out derby fishing again next year, Hanis had but one word.
“Yes,” he said.
As of Friday morning, a total of 917 king salmon were entered in the 2017 derby, with the potential for the total to increase by perhaps one fish by the time the results are certified on Monday, according to derby coordinator Michael Briggs.
Nearly 70 more kings were entered in the 2017 derby than in 2016, he said.
“There were a lot of shakers in the water out there this year, but the actual fish turned in increased over 2016,” he said.
The awards ceremony for the 70th annual Ketchikan CHARR Educational Fund King Salmon Derby is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Ted Ferry Civic Center.