The 11th Annual Spring King Salmon Derby kicks off today with $14,000 in cash prize money and thousands more in gifts.
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The derby started at 12:01 a.m. this morning and runs through 9 p.m. May 31.
It's a tradition for some Juneau anglers, such as 2006 champion Buddy Soriano - though his pals at False Outer Point might wish it wasn't.
"It feels different fishing this year," he joked. "They told me to stay in the parking lot. ... They said if I catch a fish, they're throwing me into the water."
Derby tickets are available for $40 at Alaskan & Proud market, DeHart's, Fisherman's Bend, Western Auto and Marine, and four other locations in Juneau.
Soriano hooked the top honors last year with a 34.6-pound Chinook.
Wally Frank Jr., the 2005 derby winner, noted that the fees go to a good cause, and so do the fish: You get to eat them.
Money raised from the derby goes to the Tlingit and Haida Central Council Alumni Scholarship Assistance Program. The scholarship provides assistance to all enrolled Tlingit and Haida tribal members.
Frank plans to take a few weeks off and fish this year. Frank's 37.95 -pound king fell for a green herring towed on a half-ounce sinker behind a boat near False Outer Point.
First prize wins $5,000 in cash and $3,200 in items. Second place gets $3,000 in cash and $830 in items. Winners are responsible for taxes on all prizes and must provide tax information to claim winnings.
Frank said those who don't make the top five can aim for the next cash prize of $500 that comes with 30th place. Last year Frank's fish came in 33nd place.
Rules are basic, all state and federal fishing regulations apply, and participants must have a valid state fishing license and the required stamps.
Downriggers may be used during the tournament, and all fishermen on a boat must be derby participants. Disqualification by derby officials results in a two-year ban from the tournament starting the following year.
The tournament boundaries start in the north with Point St. Mary near Berners Bay, extending southwest to Lizard's Head just past Funter Bay and southeast to Point Styleman. The kings must be weighed in at authorized locations. All fish must be gutted and gilled.
Jerry's Meat & Seafood will weigh fish from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Taku Smokeries will weigh Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Fisherman's Bend on Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays throughout the tournament.