This saturday was the third annual king salmon derby in Seward. 48 participants entered the derby and untied from the dock between 6-7 am. The rules were derby style, lines in at 8am and lines out by 4pm. 1st through 3rd place took a percentage of the entry fee and a captains prize and wildcard were also on the table.
We were on a sailboat so we left the dock a bit before the rest. Our top speed is 7 knots so we left the untied 6am to mark bait and establish a good position in the bay. The countdown started at 7:55 and by 8am lines were in the water and fishing.
We fished an assortment of flasher/fly, flasher/spoon and dodger/bait setups. Spring Kings can prove to be the most elusive of all Alaskan fish species. Colors, roll patterns, flash and leader lengths are very important and vary daily to the weather conditions and tide patterns and depths of the fish.
By 8:10 we had our first strike, but no hook up. Continued trolling up the coast for the next 5 hours with no action. We changed a majority of our rigs to the full herring with black/silver hootchie hoping we had figured it out. It was slow going to the next 5 hours, but we started marking individual Kings on the sounder along a shelf in about 80′ of water. We ran up current and presented our baits and FISH ON! always intense when money is on the line luckily the boat was equipped with 5 experienced anglers. We worked as a team everyone having a role…five hours of staring at rod tips gives you plenty of time to figure out what to do when the fish finally takes the hook.
We Landed our fish, ran back up current and BAM! Chum Salmon, not a target species but still a good eater early in the spring. We stopped fishing by 3:30 ensuring that we hit the dock before 5:30 deadline. We took our King to the top of J Dock for the official weigh in. At the weigh station were 3 other kings.
Wildcard- Sean Carlin
Although not the biggest King Salmon, it was large enough to take 3rd place. We knew that there weren’t going to be many kings caught and catching one of any size would probably put us on the board. It was a great day on the water with good friends and good fisherman. Looking forward to next years derby!
$700 Cash Prize