James takes home Frank Wilson Derby's grand prize with 22-pounder

Above, winners of 2012 Frank Wilson Memorial Blackmouth Fishing Derby.  - Contributed photo
Above, winners of 2012 Frank Wilson Memorial Blackmouth Fishing Derby.
— image credit: Contributed photo

In the end, Friday Harbor’s Geno James had a few pounds to spare.

The veteran fisherman landed what proved to be the biggest fish of the 8th Annual Frank Wilson Memorial Fishing Derby in Week 7 of the 10-week tournament, and then waited atop the leader for three weeks to pocket the derby’s top prize, $1,000, at Sunday’s award ceremony, hosted by Hailey’s Bait Shop & Grill.

James bested Marty Chevalier, Sr., who finished in 2nd place, by 2.65 pounds; Chevalier landed a 19.92-pounder in the derby’s second week and outpaced son Marty Chevalier, Jr.’s 18.59 pounder to take home $500 for finishing as derby runner up. Chevalier, Jr. earned $250 for finishing in third place.

A total of 54 anglers participated in this year’s annual winter fishing extravaganza, which doubles as a fundraiser for San Juan Island Emergency Medical Services. The derby is named in honor of former longtime EMS chief Frank Wilson.

The derby raised $2,500 for San Juan EMS this year, according to Sharon Beach of King’s Marine, co-sponsor of the yearly competitive angling event.

In the ladies field, Karen Rhinehart took home the top prize, $250, with a 13 pounder, and Race Rousar snagged a trunk full of fishing gear for besting the rest of the field in the youth division.

Rustie Rush earned a $250 prize in the derby’s “mystery fish” category. Though the fish, a salmon, may be no mystery, Rush was awarded the prize largely for galloping up the dock at the Port of Friday Harbor and racing up the gangway to make it to the weigh-in with one minute to spare before the scales were closed on the final day of the tournament.

— Scott Rasmussen

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