Registration is open for this year’s Winter King Salmon Tournament in Homer.
Anglers can have lines in the water starting at 9 a.m. Saturday. The goal is to catch the heaviest king salmon within specific boundaries of Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet and the biggest fish takes the biggest chunk of the prize money.
The Homer Chamber of Commerce organizes the day-long event. Executive Director Monte Davis said more and more people have come out to fish each year, though last year’s nasty winter weather kept people on shore. He said that isn’t the case this year. At this point, Davis has heard it will be about 40 degrees with a slight chance of light snow and very little wind for Saturday.
“We’re anticipating a really big turnout. I think with the wonderful winter that we’ve had so far, the weather forecast, we’re hoping to be back into 800 anglers. If that’s the case, we’re looking at a really big prize if you catch the biggest fish,” Davis said.
He said even with the low turnout last year, the winning boat was able to capture about $26,000. Davis said that includes the contest’s main prize as well as side bets the boat captains have with one another. So far about 150 people have paid the $100 registration fee and Davis said there are kings to be had out in the water this year.
“We’ve been hearing reports all week about big fish being caught. There was a 33 pound, 7 ounce fish that was caught last week. I saw a picture of a really nice, probably 20 pound fish yesterday,” he said.
He said the tournament is anyone’s game and he considers that to be the best part of the contest. Davis also pointed out that the event is a good way to officially start spring.
“It is a harbinger of spring. There’s no question about it. This is a kind of kick-off for the fishing season.
He said this year is the start of a new competition as well – a cash prize for the heaviest white king salmon. And with all the anglers descending upon Homer for the weekend, Davis said he wants to see how much of a boost the event provides to the local economy.
People are able to register for the tournament at the Homer Chamber of Commerce until Friday night at 8 p.m. Registration also is taking place Saturday morning at Coal Point Trading on the Spit, which will serve as tournament headquarters. All boats must check in in the morning before heading out to fish and check back in after the contest’s official end, which is 4 p.m. And Davis said everyone will gather at Captain Patties to cap off the day.