Let there be no doubt about it: Fishing season isn’t over. Just ask the cash-winning anglers in the 17th annual Homer Elks Winter King Salmon Derby.
In spite of a little wind and choppy water, 117 entrants signed up for the two-day event, according to Mike Parish, the derby committee chairman.
Fishing began at 7 a.m. Saturday and again on Sunday, with the deadline to weigh-in fish at 7 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday.
Bringing in prize-worthy fish were:
• First place, $2,340: Ben Dubbe of Homer, with a 26.25-pound king salmon caught on Sunday while fishing on Richard Baltzer’s boat, the Obsession;
• Second place, $1,404: Jared Kane of Homer, with a 23.9-pound king salmon caught on Saturday while fishing on his own boat, the Vienna Marie;
• Third place, $796: David Venekamp of Homer, with a 23.8-pound king salmon caught Sunday while fishing on Ron Hurley’s boat, the Sweet T.
• Closest to average, $1,070: Tom Renfrew of Homer, with a 10.15-pound king salmon caught Saturday while fishing aboard the Digitrol, captain unknown;
• Top female angler, $100: Sue Finney of Anchor Point with an 18.85-pound king salmon caught Saturday while fishing on the Kingfish, captain unknown.
Baltzer is a local charter operator with whom Parish often fishes. In fact, he did on Saturday, but was on dry land Sunday to deal with tournament details. As a result, he missed out on the excitement when Dubbe reeled in the top fish.
This marked the first year for the derby’s “top female angler” award.
“We had people ask last year about adding that, so that’s what we did this year,” said Parish.
Registrations were slow to come in, but Parish knew weather would play a big part. By Friday, the sunshine had pushed registration passed Parish’s goal of 90 anglers. His goal for next year: 100.
Proceeds from the derby benefit the Elks youth, veterans and community charity programs.
“I don’t have the exact figure yet … but we probably made $3,500-$4,000,” said Parish. “We’re a nonprofit and all the money that comes in goes right back out to the community.”
Already thinking ahead to next year’s derby, Parish wanted to let interested anglers know that being an Elk was not a requirement of entering the competition.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.