Web posted Wednesday, May 8, 2002

photo: fishing

Long-time Homer angler Thomas Barkman buys a lot of Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby tickets every year, and it finally paid off in 2001, when he won first place and $33,400.

Winning fame and fortune with a fish

That giant king salmon, silver salmon or halibut might be worth more than a snapshot and a barbecue, as a number of fishing derbies are held in the Homer area every year. To reap the rewards, however, you must buy a derby ticket.

THE HOMER JACKPOT HALIBUT DERBY, sponsored by Homer Chamber of Commerce, is the big one. This year's derby, the 17th annual, runs May 1 through Labor Day. Nearly $150,000 in prizes will be offered this year, including a jackpot for the largest fish. Last year, a 330-pounder earned Homer angler Thomas Barkman $33,400. As always happens, larger fish were landed over the summer but the fishermen didn't have derby tickets.

Other prizes abound, however, including $125 to $1,000 for the five largest halibut caught each month. Tagged fish landed anytime during the summer pay $500 to $1,000 each. In addition, four $10,000 fish are also tagged for specific months.

Another new and popular prize is awarded to someone who releases a halibut larger than 80 pounds. When a big fish is hooked and brought to the surface where the boat skipper can verify its size, the angler who releases it unharmed gets to put his or her name in a hat for a raffle drawing at the end of the year. Last year, the catch-and-release prize was $5,000.

And finally, every derby ticket purchased also enters the angler in a raffle for a cash drawing for $2,000. Daily tickets are available at most charter offices and the derby headquarters on the Spit. Call the Chamber of Commerce at 235-7740.

THE KING SALMON CALCUTTA TOURNAMENT is an annual fund-raiser for South Peninsula Sportsmen's Association, and this year will be Friday and Saturday, May 10-11. At an auction Friday night, people bid on the boat they believe will catch the largest fish. After a day of fishing Saturday, the boat that catches the biggest fish is determined, and whoever bid on that boat gets 50 percent of the pot, which last year meant a first prize of $6,750. The biggest king netted a lucky fisherman $3,400. It's a zany tournament, but obviously has a certain appeal. Call 235-7427 for more information.

THE ANCHOR POINT NATIONAL KIDS DERBY, hosted by the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce, will be held Saturday, June 8, to commemorate National Fishing Week. The one-day event is free, with events for children up to age 16. The winner goes on to state and national competition. Check with the Anchor Point Chamber of Commerce for registration information, at 235-2600.

HOMER ELKS WINTER KING SALMON DERBY is a three-day event in October that offers cash prizes for the biggest and smallest fish landed each day, the closest to average size, plus half the jackpot for the biggest fish of the derby. Last year's winner took home $5,000 in addition to a 41.5-pound king.

WINTER KING SALMON DERBY, also sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce, is a one-day event in March that costs $100 per person, but the winner takes 25 percent of the jackpot -- more than $9,300 last year. Another $25,000 in cash prizes plus $8,200 in merchandise was given away to the top 10 kings and in drawings that day and at the banquet that follows.