Human Powered Fishing Derby
by Tim Dillon
The 4th annual Human- Powered Fishing Derby was held in Seldovia last weekend over the Memorial Day holiday. It was a great success with 32 boats registered carrying 39 anglers. The weather was very cooperative with a few drizzles on Saturday, and then sunshine and fair weather prevailed on Sunday long enough to make it through the fish fry without getting wet.
When I first initiated this derby, my goal was to get local folks turning their engines off for a day or two, dragging their rowboats and kayaks out of the shed and launching them for a some quiet fishing and enjoying the bay right in our backyard. If this year is any indication, that goal was reached and surpassed. We saw both young and old Seldovian’s join in and cast their luck from a wide variety of vessels. Next time you see young three-year-old Duna or perhaps Nancy Opheim, ask them how they enjoyed their first derby. The whole mouth of Seldovia Bay and into Kachemak Bay was spotted with human-powered craft. It was a great sight.
This year’s grand prize was won by local Kirby Corwin. We have gotten away from the big fish big prize syndrome, and Kirby’s name was pulled from a hatcontaining the names of this year’s anglers that officially weighed in a salmon, halibut or gray cod. In addition the names of those that have registered in the derby in past years were also put in the hat for each year they participated. Everyone who has participated over the years had a shot at winning this boat. In the end it was Kirby’s boat to win, and we are glad to see it stay in Seldovia.
I can afford to offer a boat each year as a grand prize only through the generous donations of a select few major contributors. Joe & Heather Miller, David & Judy Longworth, Nancy Hillstrand and Tim & Ila Dillon have provided major contributions to purchase and give away three boats over the last three derbies. This year saw a new major contributor in Timothy & Mary Pedlow, the owner’s of the Sea Parrot Inn across the street from the harbor. Please thank these people when you see them, there is no way this event could take place without their generosity. I think this event is going to grow quite large into the future and I’m hoping some of you reading this will step forward and offer to join-in as contributors, thus helping us out in affording next year’s boat.
Also thanks to all of you local vendors that offered gifts and gift certificates for the event. One of the highlights of the weekend is watching the anglers receive your generous donations and grinning from ear to ear while doing so.
The 2012 derby saw no king salmon caught, but it was not due to a lack of effort. The holiday was a bit early due to the way May 31st fell on the weekly calendar, and as of the derby no kings were spotted in the slough. There were many lines being dragged through the water in the hopes of catching the elusive king. Alas perhaps next year.
The biggest Halibut was caught by Kurt Graece and weighed in right at 16 lbs. It was great to see Kurt and his buddy out there. Kurt’s father, Fritz was a big proponent of the derby and participated every year he was around. Great to see Fritz’s boat out there this year.
Kirby Corwin and Kayce James of Anchorage tied with the biggest gray cod weighing in just under six pounds. Seems like Kirby was in the money this year to be sure.
Jim Werba and Robert Purpura helped me cook over 120 pounds of fresh halibut for the fish fry. Seems like we could have cooked through the night and people would have kept eating. Thanks Jim & Robert. You helped make it a really successful feed. Thanks to Ila for putting up with me and my crazy idea of a human-powered fishing derby. Couldn’t have come to be without her.