Colt Belmonte, owner and operator of the Alibi bar, won $17,892 for catching the largest king salmon of the tournament, a 33.86-pound beauty.
Photo by Ben Stuart, Homer News
A little boat, a little local knowledge and a little luck earned one Homer resident a big payday Saturday during the 2007 Winter King Salmon Tournament.
Colt Belmonte, owner and operator of the Alibi bar, won $17,892 for catching the largest king salmon of the day, a 33.86-pound beauty.
Belmonte caught the fish near Point Pogibshi aboard his own boat, the M/V Fish Truck, an 18-foot Boston Whaler open skiff. He caught the fish at 3 p.m. and it was the only bite any of the three fishermen on the boat got all day, Belmonte said.
“You’re just looking for one fish, hoping it’s a big one,” Belmonte said.
Many of the 243 boats and 855 anglers who entered the tournament would have been thrilled to catch a king of any size.
The weather conditions were ideal for fishing sunshine and light winds but water temperatures remained cold which seemed to make the fish lethargic. The derby was delayed for one week because the harbor was full of ice.
And on Saturday only 75 fish were caught or about one fish per 11.5 anglers. Last year more than 200 kings were caught.
Persistence, it seems, paid off for the Fish Truck’s crew who will share in the winnings, Belmonte said.
“It’s nice to keep it for the Homer guys,” he said. “It was a group effort.”
All told, $63,900 was awarded to the top 10 finishers in the derby or $975 more than last year.
Boat side bet winners also took home $39,468 with the M/V Mainlander taking home the largest haul. By entering each boat side bet category and catching the fifth-largest fish of the day, the boat turned a $3,025 investment into $27,337.50 in winnings. The 11th- to 20th-place finishers also took home merchandise including lodging, charter trips and fishing gear.
The tournament also drew a celebrity angler this year as NFL Hall of Fame running back Larry Csonka spent the day fishing and filming for his television show, Napa North to Alaska, aboard the M/V Huntress.
Csonka took home more than footage, however, when he landed a 19.61-pound king that was big enough to finish in 15th place. The fish earned the former Miami Dolphin a fish finder.
“I could have used that this morning,” Csonka said to the crowd gathered at Coal Point Trading Company for the awards ceremony.
Csonka thanked the town and chamber for the event and said the Homer segment will air in roughly 10 months.
The youth prize went to Dylan Faulkner of Homer who caught a 17.6 pound fish and took home the $300 Bill Thompson Memorial Youth Prize.
Ben Stuart can be reached at email@example.com.
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