Want to say goodbye to winter, fill your freezer and maybe pad your wallet in the process?
You’ll get your chance Saturday, as the Homer Chamber of Commerce sponsors the increasingly popular Winter King Salmon Tournament, now in its 13th year.
More than $147,000 in cash and merchandise prizes are up for grabs this year, including round-trip Alaska Airline tickets, several popular boat side-bet categories and enough cash to shake off any residual winter blues.
Last year, Keith Kline from Kenai caught the biggest fish, a 35.32-pounder that netted him $21,819. This year, the payout could be similar, said Linda Winters, tournament coordinator.
“We’re hoping for the same as last year or a little bigger. We have more than 100 people signed up already and there’s been a steady stream coming in all day,” Winters said Monday.
The entry fee for the tournament is $100, with 75 percent of the proceeds divvied out to the 10 largest fish.
The largest fish gets 21 percent of the pot, second largest gets 14 percent and so on. The tenth largest fish grabs 1 percent of the pot. The 11th through 20th largest fish receive substantial merchandise prizes donated from area businesses.
Boat side-bets from $25 to $1,000 also sweeten the pot and will be awarded at a post tournament party at Duggan’s Waterfront Pub beginning when the final tally is finished Saturday.
Anglers can also bet that their own boat will take home the largest fish, called boat side-bets. If they are right, they take home 75 percent of the pot in the category they bet in.
Last year the M/V Vixen, the boat Kline caught his fish on, turned $175 in boat side-bets into $11,962.50.
A handful of charters have been taking clients winter king fishing since November and fishing has been decent, but weather plays a big part in
success this time of year.
Capt. Don Flynn from Diamond Cape Charters said weather has kept him out of some of his favorite spots this winter, but there are still fish to be had at the bluffs and near Seldovia.
The tournament committee has moved the boundary a little this year to include the Anchor Point area, Winters said. Cash and merchandise prizes for the biggest fish will be awarded immediately after weigh-in at Coal Point Trading Company on the Homer Spit.
The Fishermen’s Social event Friday will be held at Beluga Lake Lodge and begins at 6 p.m.
Entry forms and payment can be taken to the chamber at 201 Sterling Highway prior to close of business Friday, mailed in if received prior to Friday or presented at the Coal Point headquarters before fishing on the day of the tournament.
Anglers who register before 6 p.m. today will be entered in a drawing for two round-trip tickets between Anchorage and Homer from Era Aviation.
13th annual Homer winter king tournament:
· Saturday at from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
· Registration fee is $100, with 70 percent of proceeds divided among the 10 largest fish.
· Registration deadline is Saturday at Coal Point headquarters before fishing begins.
· All fish must be weighed at tournament headquarters by 6 p.m. Saturday.
· For more information, official rules or to sign up, call (907) 235-7740 or visit www.homeralaska.org.
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