A Tri-Cities girl triumphed at an Alaska coho derby with a 13.46-pounder last weekend, winning $2,000 in cash and prizes, and she could score more if her big catch holds on in a season-long fishing competition.
“Being crowned something or anything is just a bit shocking to me,” said Maleah Chapin, 12, after she was declared Queen of the Silver Salmon Sisterhood in Valdez during the 14th Annual Women’s Silver Salmon Derby on Saturday.
Along with $1,000 in cash and $1,000 in prizes from a local outdoor gear and clothing store, she received a tiara and put on the event’s “ceremonial pink bathrobe” during the ceremonies.
According to a press release, Chapin knew she was the winner the moment the second-place coho was announced, a 13.34-pounder caught by a local woman, Rowena Palomar.
“Seeing how my mother’s face was, was really incredible. I love her so much,” Chapin said. “Whenever you see somebody and they get crowned for anything, you never think it’s a really big deal. When you actually get crowned, it’s like … wow!”
Valdez is located on an inlet in Prince William Sound and hosts other fishing derbies as well.
Chapin’s fish currently is in second in the Silver Salmon Derby, which began in late July and runs through Sept. 1, putting the Pasco resident in line for more potential winnings. A Minnesota angler with a 13.88 is sitting in first.
While many entrants in the women’s derby are from Alaska, at least three other Washington gals were in the top 50, with the 19th place finisher hailing from Ecuador.