Hass Reels In Juneau Derby’s Biggest Fish

After more than two days of trolling for salmon during the Golden North Salmon Derby in Juneau, Jody Hass and her family were wrapping it up when one decided to bite.

Download Audio

Jody Hass describes the majority of derby weekend as pretty dull.

Hass and husband Jason, 6-year-old son Carvin, and 4-year-old daughter Landia launched their 22-foot Olympic from Douglas Friday night to spend the whole weekend fishing.

By about noon on Sunday, they decided to call it quits after lunch. Hass retreated into the boat to make hot turkey sandwiches.

“I heard the initial zing of line being taken so I ran out onto the deck,” she says.

It took Hass about 15 minutes to reel in the 29.2-pound winning king salmon.

“It was fighting with all its might, swimming all around the boat prop, and underneath the boat, and a couple times we thought we were going to lose it and it was going to get tangled up in something.”

Once it got close to the boat, Jason Hass netted the king.

” My husband said, ‘Okay, when it gets up to the boat, don’t freak out.’ And I said, ‘Why? How big is it?’ He goes, ‘Just don’t freak out.’ I didn’t actually see it until it got in the boat, and then, yeah, I was freaking out,” Hass describes.

Meanwhile, as Hass was catching a big fish, no one was checking on lunch. “The meat ended up being burnt to a crisp,” she laughs.

Using a boat scale, the fish weighed in at 28 pounds.

“We decided we better get into town fast, so he got the gear into the boat and I went inside and threw the lunch out the windows and started motoring into town.”

At the official derby weigh-in station at Douglas Harbor, her fish actually weighed 29.2 pounds, which put her in first place. Hass was shocked.

“We went home and we were sitting around biting our nails until 6 o’ clock just worrying if anybody was going to pass it or not,” she says.

Hass’s first place prize includes 10,000-dollars in cash. Her plan is to use it as down payment for property in Gustavus where a cabin will one day be built.

Unofficial derby results:

A 29.2-pound king salmon is the unofficial winner of this year’s Golden North Salmon Derby. That was caught by Jody Hass on Sunday at 12:50 pm and brought to the Douglas weigh station.

In other unofficial results, Al Risley came in second with a 28.8-pound king caught Sunday at 8:45 am and turned in at the Amalga harbor. And in third place is a 26-pound chinook caught by Amy Fosket just after 4 pm Saturday and weighed in at Auke Bay.

The 67th annual event was a success with over 1200 participants. The derby started Friday morning and ended yesterday evening.

The 67th biggest fish weighed in at 15.5 pounds caught by Chip Verrelli Sunday just after 5:30.

283 fish were weighed in and many more entered as scholarship fish. All salmon turned in will be sold to Glacier Seafood and proceeds go towards the Territorial Sportsmen Scholarship Foundation. Scholarships are given to students and adults to pursue further education.

Results will be confirmed Tuesday. The top fish are posted on the Golden North Salmon Derby website. Prizes will be given out Thursday at 7 pm in Centennial Hall. First place takes home 10,000 in cash. Prizes are given to the 67 biggest fish and there will also be drawings for those who turned in scholarship fish.