The Hanson family – 81-year-old Otto, 57-year-old David, 55-year-old Mike – was about to call it a day Friday afternoon while fishing for silvers in Resurrection Bay.

It was 2:20 p.m., they had been on the water for more than eight hours and they had caught just one coho. Mike was ready to head back to shore.

“I reeled in and said, ‘Are we gonna call it good?’ Dad said, ‘Let’s give it another 25 minutes.’

“He said to keep fishing till 2:45,” Mike said. “I hooked it at 2:37.”

On his last-gasp cast, Mike Hanson hooked the winner of the 61st annual Seward Silver Salmon Derby.

His 16.22-pound fish, caught with a hoochie at Tonsina Point, came on a big anniversary for the Anchorage family. An Alaskan might call it a silver anniversary.

Twenty years ago, Otto won the 1996 derby with a 17.42-pound coho.

“Leading up to this there was a whole lot of conversation, sort of a focus that this was the 20-year anniversary and hoping he would win again,” Mike said. “In 20 years from now maybe one of my children can win it.”

Don’t bet against it. The derby has been very good to the Hansons, who head to Seward every August.

“This is our Olympics,” Mike said.

Otto, who spends more time at his Ninilchik cabin than his Anchorage home, has been a derby regular for about 50 years. He arrives in Seward a week before the derby starts to procure the family a prime beachfront camping spot, Mike said.


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