From left to right, Chelsa Johnson of Homer, Mike Olsen of Kodiak and Raymond Tepp of Kenai hold up their winning king salmon. Olsen won first place with a prize of $27,762 for a 30.40-pound fish, Johnson won second place with a prize of $18,508 for a 28.60-pound fish and Tepp won third place with a prize of $14,542 for a 26.50-pound fish. Tepp won first place in 2014, and wears the NOMAR champion vest. He presented Olsen with this year’s vest. A record 1,321 anglers fished. For complete story, go to Homer News.com.-Photo by Aaron Carpenter, Homer News

From left to right, Chelsa Johnson of Homer, Mike Olsen of Kodiak and Raymond Tepp of Kenai hold up their winning king salmon. Olsen won first place with a prize of $27,762 for a 30.40-pound fish, Johnson won second place with a prize of $18,508 for a 28.60-pound fish and Tepp won third place with a prize of $14,542 for a 26.50-pound fish. Tepp won first place in 2014, and wears the NOMAR champion vest. He presented Olsen with this year’s vest. A record 1,321 anglers fished. For complete story, go to Homer News.com.-Photo by Aaron Carpenter, Homer News

Kodiak fisherman wins winter king tournament

Fishing by himself at an undisclosed location he described as “out in the water,” Kodiak fisherman Mike Olsen pulled in 30.40-pound winter king on his skiff, Sea Alaska, to win $27,762 in the 22nd annual Homer Chamber of Commerce Winter King Tournament.

“Fishing is fishing. It’s a matter of getting a hook in the water and getting it in front of the fish,” Olsen said.

Saturday’s fish was the only bite he had all weekend. He fished Thursday and Friday and got skunked both times.

“I caught one fish on Saturday, and it happened to be big enough to win,” Olsen said. “It was a good day.”

Chelsa Johnson of Homer took second-place with a 28.60-pound king, winning $18,508, and Raymond Tepp of Kenai took third, winning $14,542. Tepp won the tournament last year, the first recipient of a new tradition, the NOMAR vest. As last year’s winner, he got the honor of putting another NOMAR vest on Olsen.

“It was pretty cool,” said Melanie Campagne, chamber derby coordinator.

Olsen said winning the tournament brought some good luck in what had been a bad year. He commercial fishes in Kodiak, but spends the winter in Anchorage running a snow plow business. Not only was business dismal, but one of his trucks got totaled.

A cold almost kept Olsen from fishing, but he said he had a good feeling about the tournament. Olsen said he thought his winning was more faith than luck. That good feeling was God saying to go, he said.

“I kept hearing that inner being saying, ‘Go, just go.’ I credit my faith more than anything,” he said.

Dwayne Freeman, a friend dying of cancer, has been staying at Olsen’s Anchorage home, and Olsen dedicated his trip to Freeman.

“I said, ‘This trip is for you.’ It just so happens it turns into a winning trip. God works in mysterious ways,” he said.

While Olsen’s fish didn’t set a record, the tournament broke all other records: for highest prize, $27,762; most anglers fishing, 1,321; most boats on the bay, 386; and most fish landed, 590. Thanks to great tides, the 2005 record of 317 fish caught was broken before noon.

The top ten winners shared $99,150 in cash prizes, and the 11th-20th place winners shared $10,000 in merchandise. The boat side bet payout totaled $50,716.25, and skunk bets $5,135.46, with a total payout in all categories of more than $155,000.

With sunny skies and relatively calm seas, more than half theanglers came from outside Homer. Thirty-eight percent were from Anchorage, 22 percent from elsewhere in Alaska or Outside, and 44 percent from Homer.

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

More in News

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough School Board Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

The 2021 elections will be held Oct. 5.
Homer City Council candidate Q&A

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, elections will be held for Homer City Council,… Continue reading

Traffic moves north along the Sterling Highway shortly after a fatal crash closed the highway for several hours Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. The state is seeking federal funding for a project aimed at improving safety along the Sterling Highway between mileposts 82.5 to 94, or between Sterling and Soldotna. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
State looks to federal funding for Sterling Highway project

The project is aimed at improving highway safety between Sterling and Soldotna.

Ethan Benton (left) and Laura Walters of Kodiak win the vaccine lottery for the Alaska Chamber's week one vaccine lottery giveaway "Give AK a Shot." (Screenshot)
State names winners in 1st vaccine lottery

A Valdez and Kodiak resident took home checks for $49,000 each.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A podium marks the beginning of a StoryWalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Tuesday, June 29, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. The project was discontinued in August due to vandalism.
Vandalism ends Soldotna library program

The StoryWalk was made possible by a $2,500 donation from the Soldotna Library Friends.

Juneau Empire file
The Coast Guard medevaced a 90-year-old suffering stroke-like symptoms near Ketchikan aboard a 45-foot response boat-medium like this one, seen in Juneau, on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021.
Coast Guard medevacs man from yacht near Ketchikan

The 90-year-old suffered symptoms of a stroke.

James Varsos, also known as “Hobo Jim,” poses for a photo during the August 2016, Funny River Festival in Funny River, Alaska, in August 2016. (Peninsula Clarion file)
‘Hobo Jim’ opens up about recent terminal cancer diagnosis

Varsos was named Alaska’s official “state balladeer” in 1994.

Most Read