Journal of the San Juan Islands


Nelson lands top catch at Roche Harbor Salmon Classic

February 11, 2013 · Updated 9:21 AM

2013 Roche Harbor Salmon Classic winner Pete Nelson, of Shaw Island, and his 16.7-pound top prize catch. / Contributed photo

Correction: 339 anglers took part in Roche Harbor's 2013 Salmon Classic, competing on 100 separate boats.

Even a living legend can sometimes feel a bit down on his luck after a prolonged absence from the winners circle.

So says Shaw Island’s Pete Nelson, or “Uncle Pete”, as Nelson is widely known, who this past weekend put an end to a three-year drought by landing the biggest fish in the 10th annual Roche Harbor Resort’ Salmon Classic, Feb. 7-9.

While a 16.7-pounder may be a far cry from many trophy fish landed over the years by Nelson, winner of some 30 or so Northwest fishing competitions, he’s delighted to be back on top, and to pocket the derby’s top cash prize, $10,000. That’s $599 a pound, if you’re keeping score.

“It’s been a long time since I won a big one,” said Nelson, noting the first-place prize money might translate into a year’s worth of free fuel. “And it’s about time.”

Nelson was among 339 anglers competing in the three-day tournament. In Nelson’s wake, Friday Harbor fisherman swept the next three prize categories. Trailing Nelson’s derby winner by just three-tenths of a pound, Carter Whalen took home $5,000 in cash for second place, Brock Warin earned $3,000 for third (15.12 lbs.), and Sean Scott won $2,500, finishing fourth (15.6 lbs.). Nearly 200 salmon, 196 to be precise, were weighed in the first two days of the derby.

— Scott Rasmussen


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