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Anacortes Salmon Derby, Challenge and Triumph

by Kurt Hoehne

Mother Nature dealt a challenge to the 1100 participants in the Anacortes Salmon Derby this past weekend. But the anglers triumphed, landing more than 150 fish including Bill Robillard’s winning 24.62 pounder. Mike Bredeson and Steven Martin landed the second and third place fish. The winning fish netted Robillard a $15,000 prize.

2014 Anacortes Salmon Derby winners: First Place: Bill Robillard (in the middle of photo), 24.62 lbs.; Second Place: Mike Bredeson (at right in photo), 20.24 lbs.; Third Place: Steven Martin (left in photo), 18.72 lbs.

2014 Anacortes Salmon Derby winners: First Place: Bill Robillard (in the middle of photo), 24.62 lbs.; Second Place: Mike Bredeson (at right in photo), 20.24 lbs.; Third Place: Steven Martin (left in photo), 18.72 lbs.

While the 33 knots recorded at Smith Island was formidable and the 18 knots at Shannon Point impressive, these weren’t the worst recorded during the 8-year history of the Derby (the first Derby had 50 knots!) But they did take a toll on the fleet. A couple of boats swamped and required rescue. Fortunately, reports are that everyone is OK. “This is the first derby where we’ve had that problem and we’ve had worse weather. We’ve had breakdowns of course and folk running aground, but never anyone hurt that I know of,” said Mark Schinman.

The Anacortes Salmon Derby funds scholarships to benefit young adults pursuing careers in fishery management and related fields. One of this year’s beneficiary was Daniel Hernandez, to study the effects of the Invectious Hermatopoietic Necrosis Virus on Salmon in the Skagit. A complete list of this years scholarship recipients is here.

The derby has photos of the winners and full results here.

Press Release with Further Details

Local resident takes $15,000 prize in 8th Annual Anacortes Salmon Derby

Anacortes – This year’s derby contestants experienced good fishing, good times, and unsettled weather, as over 1,100 registered anglers took to local waters this past weekend.

Open Division: Landing a winning fish to collect the top prize of $15,000, Bill Robillard of Anacortes, WA mounted a late rally Sunday morning to upset the previous day’s big-fish by hanging a 24.62 pound Chinook on the official scale to take top honors and this year’s braggin’ rights.

As he was standing on stage holding the winner’s check, Robillard said: “This year the money stays right here in Anacortes.”  Robillard’s fish was one of 156 total fish boated during the two day contest – which considering Saturday’s sloppy weather conditions, speaks quite well to the fishing prowess of the contestants and a healthy resouce.

Also Ran(s): Mike Bredeson of Everson, WA won $5,000 for his 2nd place finish with a 20.24 pound fish, and easily bested Steve Martin of Bellingham, WA who took home $2,500 for 3rd place finish with his18.72 pound entry.

I’ve Got A Secret: Paul Mcabee of Bellingham, WA was in the right place at the right time and saw his 9.72 pounder come closest to a pre-determined weight in the Secret Weight category worth $2,500.00.  When accepting his prize, Paul humorously remarked “… Skill played a very important role.”

Ladies First: Kelli Martin of Lynden, WA won the Women’s Division bracket with a 13.66 pound fish – disappointing all other distaff contenders – and took home an creel-full of prizes as well as the trophy for her winning effort.

Young Guns: Trevor Westman of Oak Harbor, WA was the best-of-the-best in the Youth Division (14 years and under) with his 14.64 pound fish, beating out more than 40 other youthful hopefuls for the top prize. Each and every youngster took home a custom-made participation medals, and assuredly, some fond memories.

GAFFF: The 2nd  Annual, Great Anacortes Fishing Film Festival, was well received as the 500 folks in attendance were treated to some exciting video footage of some wide-open fishing action.  The winner of the Pro Division was Charter Captain and radio show host Rob Ensley of Gig Harbor, WA and Craig, AK.  Winning the Amateur Division was Jim Ramos of Sedro Wooley, WA, as well as the crowd’s choice for the Silver Horde Anglers’ Choice Award.  “I think it was a good success and a great encore to the inaugural “event-within-an-event” said Derby Board Chairman, Jay Field.  He went on to say “I hope others watching were inspired to submit entries for next year’s show.

It’s A Wrap: “I know I say it every year … this year’s event was the best one to date” said 2014 Event Chairman, Terry Nemeth. “Everyone I’ve talked to this weekend was having a great time … many indicated that this was their favorite fishing derby in the series. This event is the result of hundreds and hundreds of hours of planning and effort by the Board of Directors of the Anacortes Salmon Derby and members of the host organization: the Fidalgo-San Juan Islands Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers.” Nemeth went on to say: “This charitable community event could not take place without the ongoing support from the Port of Anacortes, the generosity of local businesses, those businesses with ties to the fishing community, and an all volunteer staff.

The proceeds from this derby fund scholarships to benefit young adults pursuing a career in fishery management and related fields.  The Derby has disbursed nearly $200,000 in scholarships and grants in the past 7-years. For more information and pictures, please go to: www.anacortessalmonderby.com

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