Tipping the fish scales

This looks like a heavyweight year for the Spring King Salmon Derby

Posted: Sunday, May 20, 2007

Halfway through the month, things are looking up for this year's Annual Spring King Salmon Derby.

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Eight kings over 30 pounds fill the top spots in the standings with the current first place fish weighing in at 38.2 pounds.

"Last year there were only two fish over thirty pounds," Scott Perkins said.

The winning King in 2006 weighed 34.4 pounds.

Perkins owns Jerry's Meats, a Spring King Salmon Derby weigh station since the contest's beginning. He weighed Joseph Castillo's current first place salmon last weekend.

Perkins said a 33.1 pound king, caught off the rocks at False Outer Point, came into his meat and seafood shop Friday morning.

Over the previous 10 years, shore fisherman on rocks at False Outer Point have produced many of the bigger fish in the tournament.

Wally Frank Jr.'s 2005 37.95-pound winner was caught there.

Derby coordinator Leslie Isturis said a lot of the fish come from Outer Point. "Except for the occasional fluke."

One of those flukes came in 2004 when Robert Dilley caught a 51.4 pound king from his boat near Dupont on the last day. "That was the first 50-pounder I've seen," Isturis said.

Dilley's six-year-old son Robert holds 30th place in current standings with a 24.9 pound king turned in the first day.

Juneau Fisherman Buz Melin hit the boat launch on North Douglas Friday afternoon after a fishless afternoon out in the open water off Outer Point. Melin has fished the tournament for the last four years but says he doesn't have much luck during the spring run.

The fisherman on the rocks were doing better than those in the boats, said Melin.

Word at Outer Point had it that seven kings had been taken Friday morning. "Word," of course, may differ from weigh-in statistics.

Last year's tournament sold 1,200 tickets and raised $36,000 for the Tlingt-Haida Alumni Scholarship Assistance Program.

Isturis said that money helped 92 Native college students offset expenses by $300. Every Tlingit and Haida student enrolled in school qualifies for the scholarship money.

Things are going well this year, said Isturis. As of Friday, 900 tickets were sold. "I hope everyone takes their family out this year," she said. "They'll have a good time."

With 11 days left in the tournament, Perkins said he expects to see a lot more big fish. Those caught in the first 10 days rarely stay on the chart by the contest's end.

A 28-pound king may keep a fisherman in the top 30 this year, Perkins said. "But I'm only guessing."

• Greg Skinner can be reached at greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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