Call it deja vu all over again.
The scene for the 28th annual Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament awards ceremony on Sunday looked a lot like 2021, with the Jay and Erica Marley family holding aloft a gorgeous trophy salmon. This time, Weston Marley, 15, joined his brother Andrew, 11, the 2021 winner, in wearing the red fleece champion vest.
Weston Marley landed his 27.38-pound king on the Fly Dough, captained by his dad, Jay Marley. It was almost 7 pounds more than the second-place fish caught by Joseph Inglis on the Gondola. Inglis also won the AJ’s OldTown Steakhouse award for the biggest white king salmon caught.
Weston Marley won $38,323 for his prize. He hooked his king after Andrew caught an 8.9-pounder.
“We were happy to get a little fish, and then the big one bit,” Weston said. “Oh wow — we’re in it now.”
For the second year in a row, Jay Marley won the John Hillstrand Memorial Award that goes to the captain of the boat with the first-place fish.
“I just run the boat and bait hooks,” Marley said on getting the award.
At 15, Weston Marley was too old to also win the top youth angler prize like his little brother, with an age cut off of 12. The top youth angler was Braydan Niebuhr with a 10.46-pound king caught on the The Reel Dream.
Due to small craft warnings, the tournament, which was originally planned for Saturday, was on Friday postponed to Sunday by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, which sponsors the event. Some boats and fishermen canceled, but a blue bird sunny day brought out 1,366 anglers on 408 boats.
“The setting was absolutely perfect,” chamber executive director Brad Anderson said of the weather on Sunday. “It made it a much safer event for everybody. We were happy to make that call.”
Side bets on the Fly Dough for Team Marley totaled $46,296, bringing Weston Marley and his family $84,619 in earnings. Total cash prizes handed out were $238,306.