Hometown teenager Amanda Towne, 18, pulled in a 17.5-pound silver salmon on Saturday to capture the popular one-day Valdez Women's Silver Salmon Derby.
Towne earned $1,000 cash – which she plans to put toward college – and $1,000 worth of clothing and other merchandise, but her biggest winnings may come later this summer. Her big coho jumped into first place in the overall Valdez Silver Salmon Derby, which ends Aug. 31. If she hangs on, she'll earn $15,000.
Towne had her back turned when her father yelled, "Grab the pole," according to a press release from the Valdez Chamber of Commerce. "We hadn't caught anything all day so I was surprised," Towne told the chamber. "Dad said, 'That's a big one,' so I grabbed the pole and yanked really hard."
Derby organizers said the heavier-than-usual silvers are spread throughout Valdez Arm, including the Valdez Small Boat Harbor. The top 50 silvers all weighed more than 12 pounds.
Valdez Womens Silver Salmon Derby
Top 10 Finishers
Amanda Towne, Valdez, 17.54 pounds; 2) Cristy Glaza, North Pole, 16.84 pounds; 3) Ruby Mitvitnikoff, 15.74 pounds; 4) Terri Trudeau, Wasilla, 15.14 pounds; 5) Jesseca Untiet, Fairbanks, 15.1 pounds; 6) Sharron Barnhill, Valdez, 15.04 pounds; 7) Viola Amberg, Valdez, 14.98 pounds; 8) Rae Weeks, Anchorage, 14.8 pounds; 9) Carol Harris, Valdez, 14.46 pounds; 10) Bernadette Lalelio, Fairbanks, 14.34 pounds.