Cries of “fish on” are getting louder on Kachemak Bay with the reeling in of king salmon in the 30-pounds-and-more category. Some of those came from Homer angler Steve Walli’s family over the weekend.
“Gee whiz, we caught five fish and (daughter) Erica caught one 31.4 pounds,” said Walli of hooking into salmon in 70 feet of water not far from Seldovia. “They were all pretty nice.”
That’s enticing news for anglers lining up for Saturday’s 20th annual Winter King Salmon Tournament, sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. It’s especially good news, considering last year’s winning fish, caught by Emmitt Trimble of Anchor Point, weighed 34.85 pounds. For his hard work, Trimble pocketed a check for $9,954. The boat on which Trimble was fishing also came out a winner, taking more than $20,000 in side bets.
Monte Davis, the chamber and visitor center’s executive director, said registrations are stacking up. As of Monday, more than 100 fishermen had taken advantage of the online registration that is new this year.
“It’s going fast and furious at this point,” Davis said of registering entrants. “We had people walking in all day Monday and I don’t know how many registrations have been faxed in. This is not bad at all.”
Davis said is he “pretty sure” almost all charter boats are full; however, names of anglers looking for a boat to fish on are being placed on a list at the visitor center.
“We have private boats with only a couple people on them and we can put a few people on board,” said Davis.
In 2012, the tournament had to be delayed a day due to uncooperative weather, but the National Weather Service is forecasting mild weather throughout the week on the Kenai Peninsula, with temperatures between 15-35 degrees Fahrenheit and a chance of snow on Saturday. On Kachemak Bay, winds are forecast from the north at 15 knots with seas at two feet.
Should things change and the tournament have to be rescheduled for the following day or the following weekend, announcements will be distributed to the media and posted on the chamber’s website, said tournament coordinator Paula Frisinger.
“But it’s going to be nice and balmy here in sunny Homer,” said Frisinger. “It’s going to be a great day of fishing.”
Walli, who says he has been catching salmon all winter, is among those planning to be taking advantage of Frisinger’s prediction for “a great day of fishing.”
“Oh, I’ll be out there,” said Walli. “If I wake up that morning, you’re darned right I’m going to be out there.”
The tournament is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded at Coal Point Trading Company on the Spit following the tournament. One new prize this year is $250 sponsored by Café Cups for the largest white king caught.
Boat owners wanting a free vessel safety inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Homer Flotilla can schedule one by calling Mike Riley, 299-6150, or Craig Forrest, 299-0232.
For more information on the tournament, its rules and registration, visit www.homeralaska.org or call 235-7740.