By MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
After a one-week postponement because of harbor ice conditions, the 24th Annual Winter King Tournament happens this Saturday. Lines go in at 9 a.m. and out at 4 p.m., with awards following weigh-in as anglers arrive at the Homer Harbor.
“Everything’s going ahead as planned,” said Bridget Maryott, marketing and events coordinator for the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.
Maryott said tournament and harbor officials met earlier this week and assessed ice conditions. With warmer days, ice has begun to break up.
“They were happy,” Maryott said of harbor officials. “The load launch dock is cleared out and some of the big chunks at the head of the bay have moved on.”
Registration continues online at the chamber’s website, www.homeralaska.org. Maryott said people who had made plans to fish last weekend but can’t fish this weekend have until 5 p.m. Friday to cancel their registration and get a refund. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with name of the person who registered, names of anglers and name of the boat. All registrations have been transferred to this Saturday.
About 60 people have had registrations refunded, mostly from Anchorage or elsewhere in the state, Maryott said. Four-hundred have registered so far, down from a high number of 1,500 in last year’s warm spring.
Maryott said she thinks a lot of fishermen have been waiting to register to see if ice conditions have improved, and expects about 1,000 to register.
From 2-6 p.m. Saturday, there will be a party at Coal Point Seafoods on the Spit, with a band, oysters and beer.
People wishing to fish but who don’t have a boat can contact the chamber for information on charters. Late registration is 6:30-8:30 a.m. on Saturday at Coal Point.
Last year’s champion, Eric Holland of Homer, won $31,668 with a 26.45-pound king. Side-bet payouts were $44,532. The payout for the top-10 cash prizes was $113,000, with a total tournment payout of $163,318.