Charlie Edwards of the Optimist holds his trophy after winning this year’s Winter King Salmon Tournament on Saturday, March 24, 2018 on the Spit in Homer, Alaska. His winning fish weighed 24.6 pounds. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Thousands head to Kachemak Bay for Winter King tourney

More than 1,200 anglers descended on Homer’s harbor on Saturday to try their luck in the 2018 Winter King Salmon Tournament.

Coordinated by the Homer Chamber of Commerce, the tournament gives out cash prizes for the largest fish in addition to the largest white king salmon, the top youth angler and several other categories and side bets. Charlie Edwards, aboard the aptly named Optimist, took home the big fish and the big bucks on Saturday, winning the tournament with a 24.6 pound salmon. For his efforts, Edwards was awarded $25, 280.

In all, 86 king salmon were caught that day, 19 of which were white. The total king salmon catch for the day came in at more that 1,200 pounds, according to the Chamber’s tournament results.

There were 379 teams, or vessels, entered that traversed Kachemak Bay and filed one by one back into the harbor at day’s end. Several kayaks also joined the ranks of the larger fishing boats.

Robert Ruffner, a member of the Alaska Board of Fish, participated in the tournament for the first time ever, and also spoke at the closing ceremony. He applauded the tournament for its efforts and focus on sustainability.

Top 20 results:

1. Charlie Edwards, 24.60 pounds, aboard the Optimist – $25,280; 2. Jerry Huff, 20.95, Olyjohn – $16,432; 3. Janet Donnell, 20.75, Drag N Bait – $11,376; 4. Todd Bareman, 20.10, Catcher – $8,216; 5. Vernon D Pate, 20.10, Aquaholic – $8,216; 6. Zachary Marley, 19.70, Fly Dough – $6,320; 7. Bill Pawliski, 19.45, Balls Deep – $5,056; 8. Johnlars Lindberg, 19.20, AK 7886 AE – $3,792; 9. Mike Shea, 19.15, Aquaholic – $2,528; 10. Sean Carpenter, 19.05, Carpenter – $1,264; 11. Bryan Shields, 18.80, Diamond Cape; 12. Curt Schmidt, 18.55, Fish Magnet; 13. Brad Connely, 18.55, Pole Bender; 14. Robby Switzer, 18.50, Kinak; 15. Blake Larson, 18.45, Tunnel Vision; 16. Tanner Stengel, 18.40, Kinak; 17. Shane Benya, 18.25, Brown Chicken Brown Cow; 18. Emily Stafford, 17.70, Kinak; 19. Elwood Brehmer, 17.40, High Card Murder; 20. David Bacon, 17.40, Klam Daddy.

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

Two anglers fish just off shore in Kachemak Bay from their kayaks during this year’s Winter King Salmon Tournament on Saturday, March 24, 2018 in Homer, Alaska. The winning fish this year weighed 24.6 pounds. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

The top three fish of this year’s Winter King Salmon Tournament hang on a wall before a closing ceremony announcing the winners Saturday, March 24, 2018 on the Spit in Homer, Alaska. This year’s winning fish weighed 24.6 pounds. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Fishing boats return to the Homer Harbor at the end of this year’s Winter King Salmon Tournament on Saturday, March 24, 2018 in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

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