Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 5:01 PM on Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Trimble takes tourney with 34.85-pound king

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Photographer: McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Celebrating first place in the Homer Winter King Tournament with a 34.85-pound king salmon are, from left, Connie Isenhour; Joe and Aaron Isenhour, co-captains of the Serenity, the boat on which the winning fish was caught; A.J. Isenhour, engineer of the Serenity, fisherman Emmitt Trimble; and Trimble's daughter, Lauren. Jim Lavrakas, a board member of the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, sponsor of the event, records the moment on camera.

The 34.85-pound king salmon Anchor Point resident Emmitt Trimble caught Sunday in the 2012 Homer Winter King Tournament wasn't the biggest fish he's ever caught, but it was big enough. Trimble's fish took first place in the tournament, with a cash prize totaling $9,954.

"I've caught enough of those that you know if you've got something worth keeping," said Trimble.

He and the crew aboard the Serenity — Trimble's son-in-law Aaron Isenhour, Isenhour's brother, A.J., and their father, Joe — were fishing off the bluffs about noon Sunday when they got a bite on one of two hooks on a downrigger.

"It took the bait off, stripped the hook and we were pulling that one loose when it took my line down," said Trimble.

A few days earlier, Trimble caught a fish that put up a strong fight, but when he finally got it to the boat, it weighed in the 15- to 18-pound range.

"So I kept my mouth shut on this one," he said, in spite of the struggle happening on his line.

"It took several really good runs. Then when it was right up to the boat, it took a couple of deep, straight-down dives, like they used to do in the Anchor River where they'd just lay there and you couldn't move them at all."

Trimble came to the southern Kenai Peninsula in 1976, and is the former owner of the Silver King Tackle Shop along the Anchor River. His personal record is a 63-pound king he caught while trolling off Anchor River. In 1977, he and his wife, Mary, started a fresh water king salmon derby on the Anchor River that lasted for several years.

On Sunday, when Trimble finally brought his salmon aboard the Serenity, he and the Isenhours pegged it as a fish that would probably be in the top 10 caught in the tournament.

"So, we figured we'd try to get a bigger one," he said of their decision to continue fishing until the tournament ended at 4 p.m.

As it turned out, it was the only fish caught on the Serenity, but it was the fish that counted.

In addition to being the tournament's winning boat, the Serenity claimed five side bets for a total of $20,587.50. Two side bets went to the Thunder Bay and totaled $5,137.50. The $1,000 side bet of $750 went to the Silver Beach.

The top 10 fish in the tournament were awarded cash prizes. The fish ranged from Trimble's 34.85 pounder to Jim Hansen's 10th-place 22.30-pound king salmon that won $474. The 11th-20th place salmon received merchandise prizes.

This is the 19th year of the Homer Winter King Tournament, sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. It was scheduled for Saturday, but reports of eight-foot seas off Seldovia and winds gusting to 27 miles per hour off Flat Island caused organizers to push back a day.

Some fishermen chose to go ahead and fish Saturday, especially with the sun shining and calm water inside Kachemak Bay.

One of those fishermen was Rick Hoistad of North Dakota, fishing on the Déjà vu with Capt. Tim Carr.

"The derby that got away, not the fish," is how Carr described the day's events. Around noon, "the seas were flat calm" when a 44.8-pound king salmon, "that would have been a record-breaking" fish, hooked itself on Hoistad's line," said Carr. The two men fished in the tournament on Sunday, but didn't catch anything.

The one-day postponement also meant some cancellations from fishermen unable to wait a day. The total number of boats in Sunday's tournament was 133 with 475 anglers.

"We had double the anglers last year," said Jim Lavrakas, a chamber and visitor center board member who also serves on the tournament committee. "But overall we had more fish caught this year."

Lavrakas was in the thick of the excitement on Sunday, taking out-of-town friends fishing on his boat, the Skookum.

One of his friends, Pete Robinson of Anchorage, took 19th place in the tournament with a king salmon weighing 20.70 pounds.

"I finally threw the 'skunk' off the boat," said Lavrakas. "After six tournaments of being skunked, we caught five fish total. It was just a marvelous day. ... I couldn't think of a better afternoon to spend out on the water."

Trimble is using photos of his winning fish to encourage visits from friends in the Lower 48.

"I've been trying to get a group of guys to come up here this summer," he said. "That'll be a little chum for them."

Organizers are scheduling future Homer Winter King tournaments on the second to the last Saturday in March, with the following day and weekend as backup days in case a postponement is necessary. The 2013 Homer Winter King Tournament is planned for March 23.

2012 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament

Top 20 prizewinners:

First: Emmitt Trimble of Homer, fishing on the Serenity, 34.85-pound king salmon, $9,954;

Second: Patrick J. Marre of Wasilla, fishing on the Thunder Bay, 26.30-pound king salmon, $6,636;

Third: Art York of Homer, fishing on the Miss Parker, 25.15-pound king salmon, $5,214;

Fourth: Kathy Bird of Homer, fishing on the Casper, 24.60-pound king salmon, $3,792;

Fifth: Thomas Huff of Fritz Creek, fishing on the B.B., 24.20-pound king salmon, $2,844;

Sixth: Ron Anderson of Anchorage, fishing on the Independence, 23.60-pound king salmon, $2,370;

Seventh: Richard A. DiCarlo of Homer, fishing in the Nevaeh Bay, 22.90-pound king salmon, $1,896;

Eighth: Tim Dillon of Seldovia, fishing on the Edna Francis, 22.50-pound king salmon, $1,422;

Ninth: Christopher Moss of Homer, fishing on the Sand Dollar, 22.35-pound king salmon, $948;

10th: Jim Hanson of Homer, fishing on the Daze Off, 22.30-pound king salmon; $474;

11th: Dennis Bird of Homer, fishing on the Casper, 22.20-pound king salmon, Cannon downrigger from Johnson Outdoors Inc.;

12th: Ian Sinclair of Ninilchik, fishing on the Bonita, 22.00-pound king salmon, Cannon downrigger from Johnson Outdoors Inc.;

13th: Jim St. Peter of Ninilchik, fishing on the Big But, 21.95-pound king salmon, two Grant Aviation round-trip tickets, Homer-Anchorage;

14th: Bill Bixby of Soldotna, fishing on the Retta K, 21.95-pound king salmon, two Alaska Railroad round trips, Anchorage-Fairbanks;

15th: Tom Harmer of Anchorage, fishing on Kitchen Pass II, 21.70-pound king salmon, two-night stay at Ocean Shore Resort;

16th: Gary Stonaker of Soldotna, fishing on the Tillie Jane, 21.50-pound king salmon, salmon charter for one, Norm's Saltwater Charter;

17th: Sheri Carr of Homer, fishing on the Willo Wah, 21.05-pound king salmon, one-night stay at Hotel Seward;

18th: Steven Myers of Wasilla, fishing on the Kachemak King, 20.90-pound king salmon, two-night stay for two at Island Watch Vacation Rentals;

19th: Pete Robinson of Anchorage, fishing on the Skookum, 20.70-pound king salmon, one-night stay in a hot tub room, Best Western Bidarka;

20th: Robert E. Hall of Kenai, fishing on the Equss, 20.05-pound king salmon, Cannon downrigger from Kachemak Gear Shed/Redden Marine.

Side bets:

$25: Joe Isenhour for the Serenity, $787.50;

$50: Joe Isenhour for the Serenity, $2,550;

$100: Joe Isenhour for the Serenity, $5,325;

$150: Joe Isenhour for the Serenity, $6,075;

$200: Joe Isenhour for the Serenity, $5,850;

$250: Rich Bagley for the Thunder Bay, $3,562.50;

$300: Rich Bagley for the Thunder Bay, $1,575;

$1,000: Larry Cabana for the Silver Beach, $750.

Skunk bet: With 75 entries betting they would not be skunked, 36 won, each one taking home $80.36.