Last year's winner took an early lead this afternoon in the 56th Golden North Salmon Derby.
Ryan Beason, 13, delivered a 34-pound king salmon to the Douglas Boat Harbor shortly after 1 p.m. He won the 2001 derby with a 33.9-pounder also brought into Douglas.
The fish he caught today is larger than seven of the past 10 years' top fish.
Ryan, fishing with family, caught the king at about noon. Today's high tide was at 2:45 p.m.
The fish was caught in a different spot than last year's winner, Ryan said. It was hooked while his father, Randy, was in the back of the boat baiting another line.
"It took about a 100-yard run straight out and deep," Ryan said.
The king was barely hooked, creating some nerve-wracking moments while trying to bring it aboard, but on the third try Randy Beason hauled it in.
"It was deja vu of last year," Randy Beason said. "I don't know if it'll hold up, but it's exciting."
Last year's catch also was caught early in the derby, at about 11:30 a.m. on the first day. That year, the Beason family boat had engine problems and had to turn to the kicker motor and take a tow from a friend to turn the fish in. This year, the boat worked better.