Johnson wins Winter King with 25.65-pound beauty

After being postponed a week, ice melted in the Homer Harbor and sun shone on Kachemak Bay, allowing 1,007 anglers in 299 boats and 12 kayaks to cast lines in search of monster winter king salmon in the 24th Annual Homer Winter King Tournament. Homer fisherman Ron Johnson on the Olyjohn took home the biggest fish of 25.65 pounds, winning $21,147 and $32,381.25 in side bets, for a total of $53,528.25 — but he wasn’t the only winner on the Olyjohn.

A double strike on two winning king salmon padded the boat budget for the Olyjohn, when Ron’s wife, Sherry Johnson, took the tenth place winner. The Johnsons of Homer had been skunked all morning until getting two hits about 1:30 p.m. while fishing somewhere near Hesketh and Yukon Islands. Fortunately, their lines didn’t cross.

“My wife’s fish went straight out and fought harder than the big fish,” Ron Johnson said. “That ought to be a record right there.”

Sherry Johnson’s 19.40-pound salmon tied for 10th with Adrian Isenhour’s fish, and they split cash and merchandise prizes. The Johnsons’s friend, Denny Koth, also caught a nice 17.75-pound fish, putting him in 21st place. The anglers split the prize money.

Johnson said they caught their salmon on a brown hoochie and a blue fly, “but it’s classified where we were.” He said they have no specific plans for the prize money other than to put it back into their fishing and boat fund. A retired sport charter fisherman with his company, Capt. Ron’s Alaska Adventure, and a former commercial fisherman, Johnson said fishing and boats have a way of sucking up money.

“I brought my average cost per pound down a little bit, so that’s good,” he said. “(Salmon) is healthy to eat and you gain health wise. You don’t have to go to the health food store and stuff, so you break even that way.”

Second place went to former Homer resident Gino Del Frate, now living in Palmer, winning $14,098 and $8,062.50 in side bets. Gary Deiman took third with a 24.30-pound king, winning $11,077. The payout for the top winners was $75,525, with a total boat side bet of $47,006.25, for a total payout of $122,531.25.

Young fisherman Ryunosuke Tsukada won with a 16.55-pound king, caught in a kayak. He finished second to Jeremiak Erickson with a 17-pound salmon, and beat his father, Rudy Tsukada, with a 15.55-pound salmon, also caught from a kayak.

2017 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament Results

Top 20 Overall (Prize Winners)

Rank Angler Weight Boat

1 Ron Johnson 25.65 Olyjohn

2 Gino Del Frate 25.10 Big Dawg

3 Gary Deiman 24.30 Noah James

4 Bill Comer 24.25 Toni Marie

5 Joe Martishev 22.45 Playbouy

6 Heath Harrington1 21.35 Lets Go

7 Scott Gayer 20.90 Sea Wife

8 Joe Jr Martishev 20.25 Playbouy

9 Donnie Maxon 19.75 Sink It Deeper

10 Sherry Johnson 19.40 Olyjohn

11 Adrian Isenhour 19.40 Serenity

12 Gaylynn Mertz 19.35 Quickwater

13 Andy Mezrow 19.25 Optimist

14 Timothy Colberg 19.25 The Job

15 David Wells 19.05 Noneyet

16 Georgei Matveev 18.75 Whisperer

17 Seth Nelson 18.65 Gulf Maiden

18 Gordon Pitzman 18.65 Sea Senor

19 Tom Bos 18.55 Arctic Assault

20 Dean Jackson 18.15 Portlock

Tournament Stats

Registered Boats: 311

Registered Anglers: 1007

King Salmon

Catches: 110

Total King Salmon

Weight: 1584.65

White King Salmon

Catches: 27

Total White King

Salmon Weight: 438.1

Top White King

1 Ron Johnson 25.65 Olyjohn

2 Bill Comer 24.25 Toni Marie

3 Joe Martishev 22.45 Playbouy

4 Heath Harrington1 21.35 Lets Go

5 Scott Gayer 20.90 Sea Wife

Top Youth Angler

1 Ryunosuke Tsukada 16.55 Ryu Tsukada

2 Sabina Braun 15.30 Surely Goodness

3 Gracie Miotke 15.00 Isn’t Easy Being Green

4 Payton Tobin 13.30 The Otter Woman

5 Avi Upicksoun 12.95 Nikaitchuq

Top Kayak

1 Jeremiah Erickson (Akfishon) 17.00

2 Ryu Tsukada 16.55

3 Rudy Tsukada 15.55

Team Leaderboard Stats Table

$25 Sidebet

Rank Boat Weight

1 Olyjohn 25.65

$50 Sidebet

1 Olyjohn 25.65

$75 Sidebet

1 Olyjohn 25.65

$100 Sidebet

1 Olyjohn 25.65

$125 Sidebet

1 Big Dawg 25.10

$150 Sidebet

1 Olyjohn 25.65

$175 Sidebet

1 Big Dawg 25.10

$200 Sidebet

1 Serenity 19.40

$250 Sidebet

1 Optimist 19.25

$300 Sidebet

1 Arctic Addiction 17.60*

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