JUNEAU (AP) It was shaping up to be a normal Golden North Salmon Derby day for Carol Munro and her husband, Billy Cameron.
They were at Favorite Reef near Juneau on Saturday, just west of south Shelter Island, in the Bird Grinder, an 18-foot hardtop skiff that Billy's owned since 1984. The water was calm, and the weather was pleasant.
They were fishing in 100 feet of water with two downriggers and a good-luck lure, a teal-green plug on loan from Billy's father, commercial fisher Bill Cameron.
The day got that much better when Munro pulled up a big king salmon at 5:45 a.m. The big fish made a couple nice runs, but Munro needed just 15 minutes to bring it aboard.
It weighed 26.5 pounds at the Auke Bay derby station enough to put Munro in the lead. Cameron thought it might not be enough to keep his wife there.
''He said, 'Carol, you have to enjoy it, every moment. It's not going to stay,''' Munro said. ''And so we did. We enjoyed the moment. And it was pretty stressful.''
Over the next 35 hours, the stress just got worse. But at approximately 6:30 p.m. Sunday, it was official. The 26.5-pounder held on to win.
Cameron thought it weighed 23 to 24 pounds, but as they cut through Smuggler's Cove on the way back to the Auke Bay weighing station, he thought it could weigh as much as 25.
They reached the station at 7:30 a.m. The official weight 15 minutes later was 26.5 pounds, 1.2 pounds more than the 25.3-pounder Robbie Piehl turned in Friday at Douglas.
With the victory, Munro, 45, a gardener for the state, earned $15,000. She and Cameron, 40, a sewer department employee for the city, are now thinking about a Hawaiian vacation.
Munro's big fish was the tiniest winner in derby history. Joseph Junker held the previous record, winning the 1980 derby with a 27.5-pound king. Five champions in the past 57 derbies have weighed less than 30 pounds.
''I'm surprised that it won it, but that was the nicest fat boy I've seen in a long time,'' Cameron said. ''It was a real pretty fish, and it's even prettier now.''
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