GARDINER — Tony Beam of Hansville won the 2017 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby with a catch of 15.25 pounds — the first fish he has ever caught in 10 years of fishing in the derby.
For his effort, Beam won $10,000.
“I’m still kind of in shock,” Beam said.
“I’ve already spent it in my mind,” he said. Beam said his winnings will likely go toward paying bills and a new motor for his sailboat.
Beam said he’s never had that much luck in the derby until this year.
“It was the first time I even turned in a fish. I usually get skunked,” he said. He caught his fish early in the derby Friday near Port Townsend.
A total of 763 anglers participated in this year’s event run by the Gardiner Salmon Derby Association. It was held from Tongue Point to the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula from Friday through Sunday.
They turned in a total of 208 fish, which was a huge increase from last year, said Gardiner Salmon Derby Association president Kathy Watrous.
Last year, just 63 fish were caught in the derby. Watrous said weather was a big factor in 2016, but this year, the weather was beautiful Friday with 84 fish caught. Another 93 were caught Saturday and 35 were caught Sunday, when the weather was not good.
Watrous said the 735 tickets sold for the event was down just slightly from last year, partly because people weren’t sure if Area 9 was going to be open to salmon until the day before the derby.
The fish caught during the derby weighed a total of 1,664 pounds for an average catch of 8 pounds.
Watrous thought it was neat that Beam actually caught his winning fish from a sailboat, going up against anglers using more specialized fishing boats.
Watrous said the winning fish’s size this year was also down a bit from 20.7 pounds last year. However, with so many fish caught, “we’re more than happy with this year’s derby.”
Finishing second was Ben Power of Olympia, with a 15.1-pound catch and Derek Madison of Port Angeles came in third with a catch of 14.85 pounds. Power won $2,000 for his catch while Madison won $1,000.
Proceeds from the event go toward emergency services in the Gardiner area and the Gardiner Community Center. A total of $19,905 in prize money was given away.
2017 Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby
Top 20 winners
Tony Beam, Hansville, first, 15.25 pounds; Ben Power, Olympia, second, 15.1; Derek Madison, Port Angeles, third, 14.85; Mike Halberg, Port Angeles, fourth, 14.4; Jurgen Lightle, Arlington, fifth, 13.7; Tim Roening, Port Angeles, sixth, 13.15; Geoffrey Smith, Port Angeles, seventh, Gig Harbor, 12.2; Larry Phillips, Olympia, eighth, 12.0; Jeff Dean, Olalla, ninth, 11.75; Patrick Smith, Port Orchard, 10th, 11.55; Marc McBride, Sequim, 12th, 11.5; Kyle Madison, Port Angeles, 13th, 11.4; Larry Surdyk, Snohomish, 14th, 11.35; Chris Hendershot, Sequim, 15th, 11.3; Chris Hendershot, Sequim, No. 2, 16th, 11; Van Lang, Hansville, 17th, 10.4; Dan Horsman, Port Angeles, 18th, 10.35; J.D. Patterson, Port Angeles, 18th, 10.35; Steve Coulter, Port Angeles, 20th, 10.3.