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2024 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament

Vessels filter into the Homer Small Boat Harbor
Simon Lopez
Vessels filter into the Homer Small Boat Harbor

Hundreds of boats (301) streamed out of Homer Harbor Saturday morning for the 30th Annual Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament.

The vessels ventured out into the waters of Kachemak Bay and beyond, each vying for the winning king salmon. Competitors had seven hours to catch the heaviest King Salmon before returning to the Homer Harbor for weigh-in and festivities. The fish would be judged by weight, then gutted and checked for foreign objects that could provide an unfair advantage.

Chris Keithley of Seldovia hauled in a 25.96lb king salmon, making him the first-place winner of the 2024 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament. Keithley owns Seldovia Fishing Adventures, a fishing charter company, and his team's namesake during the tournament. He was awarded $30,181.50 for the achievement, along with $45,110 from side tournaments.

Along with the weigh-in, returning anglers and community members had the opportunity to dine at various food trucks, visit the wine garden, and listen to both Blackwater Railroad Company and Silas Jones live. Brad Anderson is the executive director of the chamber. He said one unique addition to this year's event saw representatives from Honda Marine showcase a new outboard engine.

“Brought the executives from Japan as well as some corporate folks that came out to help get introduced to the Alaska audience up here,” said Anderson.

The engine makes 350 horsepower, making it the largest engine Honda Marine has produced and the first eight-cylinder outboard engine the company has made.

The Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center puts on the tournament each year at the end of Freight Dock Road near the mouth of the Homer Harbor. Last year, inclement weather forced the chamber to postpone the tournament.

Anderson said ensuring safe conditions on the water is one of the hardest parts of organizing the tournament. He said this year’s moderate forecast allowed the tournament to move forward on schedule, but a couple of teams did decide to cancel their entry into the tournament, avoiding the day’s choppy waters.

“Fortunately there are some additional forecasting tools we can work with to see if there are windows in our core fishing areas that look like it's doable for most of our boats. And that window opened up for us,” Anderson said.

This year, the tournament returned to its usual date in March after being held in April for the past couple of years. The temporary shift enabled more people to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus ahead of the tournament, minimizing the spread of the virus.

The Chamber awarded $169,780 in prize money along with other merchandise by the end of this year’s tournament.

The 2025 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament will be held on March 22. You can find more information about this year’s tournament here.

Simon Lopez is a long time listener of KBBI Homer. He values Kachemak Bay’s beauty and its overall health. Simon is community oriented and enjoys being involved in building and maintaining an informed and proactive community.
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