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Kenai man pockets more than $19,000 for catching biggest king in Homer tournament

McKibben Jackinsky | Homer News
The top three winners in the 21st annual Homer Winter King Tournament hold up their winning catches. From left to right: Third place, Jon Bartelds of Eagle River, with a 25.7 pound catch. Second place, Eric Kjelland of Eagle River, 25.9 pounds. First place, Raymond Tepp of Kenai, 30.6 lbs.
Courtesy Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament
Rudy Tsukada of Anchorage, one of the die-hard kayaking fishermen who took part in the 21st annual Homer Winter King Tournament. March 22, 2014
Courtesy Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament
Kayaker Jeff White changes gears near Yukon Island while the "Big Boys" fish behind him. None of the three kayaks entered in the tournament caught any fish. March 22, 2014
Courtesy Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament
2014 Winter King Tournament Champion Raymond Tepp of Kenai, Alaska, won $19,026 with a 30.6 pound king salmon. March 22, 2014
Courtesy Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament

HOMER -- Reeling in a 30.60-pound king salmon won Raymond B. Tepp of Kenai first place in the 2014 Homer Winter King Salmon Tournament and a handsome cash prize. Fishing aboard his own boat, the Inlet Plunder, Tepp took home $19,026.

A total 202 fish were caught by the 907 anglers participating in the one-day event that began at 9 a.m. and ended with hooks out of the water by 4 p.m. This was the 21st Winter King Salmon Tournament sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center.

The strong turnout easily topped the 700 fishermen that participated last year. Tepp’s salmon was a few pounds lighter than the 35.10-pound king salmon caught by last year’s tournament winner, Anchorage angler Leszek Kuligowski. However, the increased number of anglers meant Tepp took home a few more dollars than the 2013 first-place prize of $15,393.

The top 10 anglers in Saturday’s tournament were:

First place: Raymond B. Tepp, Kenai, 30.60-pound king salmon, $19.026;

Second place: Eric Kjelland, Eagle River, 25.90-pound king salmon, $12,684;

• Third place: Jon Bartelds, Kenai, 25.70-pound king salmon, $9,966;

Fourth place: Matt Hockema, Fritz Creek, 25.40-pound king salmon, $7,248;

Fifth place: William Lancaster, Homer, 23.90-pound king salmon, $5,436;

Sixth place: Brandon McCutcheon, Anchorage, 23.30-pound king salmon; $4.530;

Seventh place: Matt Wasson, Anchorage, 23.20-pound king salmon, $3,624;

• Eighth place: Toras Fisk, Homer, 22.50-pound king salmon, $2,718;

Ninth place: Steve Whiting, Anchorage, 22.20-pound king salmon, $1,812;

10th place: Russell Geagel, Seldovia, 21.50-pound king salmon, $906.

Wylie Donich of Homer won the Bill Thompson Memorial Youth Award and $250 for catching the largest salmon by an angler younger than 18 years of age. Donich’s fish weighed 19.90 pounds. Mark Bevans of Kenai reeled in the largest white winter king in the tournament, a 17.60-pound fish that was worth a cash prize of $250.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com. Used with permission.