Blustery conditions ruled Kachemak Bay on Saturday shortly before one of this winter's biggest snowstorms rolled in. But it wasn't enough to crimp Homer's 2013 Winter King Salmon Tournament, which delivered 162 kings for 732 anglers and a very profitable day for winner Leszek Kuligowski of Anchorage.
Kuligowski's 35.1-pound king topped the field, allowing the Anchorage angler to walk away with $41,247. Some $15,372 of it was Kuligowski's first-place prize, but he also claimed $25,875 in five boat side bets while fishing from his boat, Glas Ply. That allowed Kuligowski to also win the John Hillstrand Memorial Award for being the captain of the boat with the winning fish.
Wasilla angler Chris Hollwedel earned $10,248 for his 27.3-pound king while securing second place. Jim Morgan of Anchorage took third with a 25.6-pound king. Because Morgan's fish was a white king, he pocketed an extra $250 for the biggest white king caught.
About one king salmon in 20 have white flesh due to the fish's inability to process these pigments in their food. These white kings have long been coveted by many Alaskans.
Researchers have found has shown that white kings and red-fleshed kings are identical in composition of lipids, moisture, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, the "good" fats that can protect one from heart disease. But white kings are preferred by many salmon lovers.
"White king is the best, a true melt-in-your-mouth delicacy," said Linda Belarde of Juneau told Tammy Davis of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
"It is much oilier and hence, tastier," added Donald Gregory.
Despite the wintry weather, six kayakers were among the 206 boats on Kachemak Bay. Among them was Rudy Tsukada, who posted this video of his day, which offers a glimpse of the rolling seas – but, sadly, no fish.