"Get your boats ready," is the advice from promoter Steve Cook, in regard to Homer's 16th Annual Winter King Salmon Tournament, being held this weekend.
Anglers from all over Alaska come to take part in this one-day fishing frenzy.
"We had 900 people fish it last year," Cook said, but the tournament has seen as many as 1,072 anglers before.
As to what draws so many piscatorialists, Cook said it is the opportunity to fish in one of the first tournaments of the season.
"It's a good tournament," he said.
Every angler in the tournament is also automatically entered into a random drawing, so all of the merchandise give-aways that take place every five minutes over the VHF radio, are also a draw for some.
There are also side bets that take place during the derby, such as the Skunk Bet. For a $50 buy-in, anglers bet that their boat won't get skunked. Winning boats share the pot, while those that come to shore empty handed, go home the same way.
To provide safe fishing conditions in the morning light, "lines-in" for the tournament will be at 9 a.m., and lines must be out of the water by 4 p.m. All legal king salmon are eligible, but must be brought to weigh in.
The Top 20 unofficial results will be announced immediately following weigh-in at the awards party. Boat side bets will be announced later that night after all tallying has been finalized. Prize payouts will be awarded after results have been reviewed and finalized by a committee.
Anglers should remember that Alaska Department of Fish and Game Regulations require anyone 16 or older to have a 2009 sport fishing license or an Alaska Department of Fish and Game permanent ID (PID) card, as well as a king salmon stamp. Anglers should also be aware of current Southcentral Alaska Sport Fishing Summary Regulations for harvesting and recording king salmon.
Those interested in participating in the derby need to be registered by 8 a.m. on Saturday. Registration can be done in person at the Homer Chamber of Commerce, by phone at 907-235-7740, or via the Internet at http://www.homeralaska.org/winterkingsalmonderby/index.htm.
For more information, contact Steve Cook at 907-262-4341 or Mickey Stanfield at 907-262-6619.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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