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Pete Nelsen wins sixth annual Frank Wilson Memorial Blackmouth Fishing Derby | Fishing

From left, Pete Nelsen is announced by Bob Wilson as the winner of the Frank Wilson Memorial Blackmouth Fishing Derby, April 15, at Haley
From left, Pete Nelsen is announced by Bob Wilson as the winner of the Frank Wilson Memorial Blackmouth Fishing Derby, April 15, at Haley's.
— image credit: Ron Bates

Pete Nelsen of Shaw Island won the sixth annual Frank Wilson Memorial Blackmouth Fishing Derby April 15.

The derby began Feb. 1 and ended at 5:30 p.m. April 15. Nelsen won with a 20.95-pound catch that won him Week 8 honors and propelled him to the top of the leaderboard.

Nelsen won $1,000. Mike Hogan placed second with a 17.30-pounder, worth $500. Raymond Ploghoft placed third with a 16.38-pounder, worth $250. Jim Lawson won the Mystery Fish prize, $1,000. There was a drawing for prizes donated by Ace Line Hauler, Kavu, Kershaw knives, Silver Horde lures, Smith sunglasses, and others.

All proceeds from $50 entry fees support San Juan Island Emergency Medical Services (EMS); the derby's namesake was the longtime chief of San Juan EMS.

Weekly prizes — a $75 gift certificate — were awarded for the largest fish weighed for that week.

At the beginning of the final week, fishermen endured high winds and rough chop and fish ranged from 5 to 13 pounds. There were reports of some nice wild released in the 19-pound range around Mineral Point. Catches around Salmon Banks also picked up, with catches in the 11- to 12-pound range.

Marty Chevalier Sr. brought in a 15.59-pound beauty April 11, which he caught around 7:30 a.m. that day off Waldron Island at about 180 feet using a White Lightning Coho Killer from Silver Horde. He was fishing off a reef not far from Mail Bay. The catch propelled him to fourth place overall, just out of the money.

It's Nelsen's third Wilson Blackmouth title. He was born and raised in Bellingham and moved to Shaw Island in 1974, but has fished this area since he was old enough to bait a hook and cast a line.

Nelsen was one of the more prolific fishermen in the derby, winning weekly honors three times. But he was in the derby more for the love of fishing than for the chance at prize money.

"It cost me about $900 for that $1,000 fish," Nelsen said. "I spent $1,919 just for propulsion, that's includes oil, gas and fuel additives."

And he wasn't about to give away any fishing secrets, like bait of choice. "Absolutely not. Nobody knows, except my nephew, and if he tells anybody ... well, let's just say he'll have to answer for that."

Sharon Beach and Scott Bell of the King's Marine staff thanked Haley's and the fishing derby sponsors for their contributions to the event.

Top 10
1. Pete Nelsen, 20.95
2. Mike Hogan, 17.30
3. Raymond Ploghoft, 16.38
4. Marty Chevalier Sr., 15.95.
5.(tie) Jim Lawson, 14.74
5.(tie) Andy Holman, 14.74
6. Geno James, 14.69
7. Donovan Wilson, 13.14
8. Jerry Greene, 13.10
9. Kevin Klein, 12.79.
10. Carter Whalen, 12.74.

Weekly winners
($75 gift certificate each)
1. Jerry Greene, 13.10
2. Mike Hogan, 17.30
3. Carter Whalen, 8.92
4. Jim Lawson, 13.72
5. Jim Lawson, 14.74
6. Geno James, 9.35
7. Pete Nelsen, 17.92
8. Pete Nelsen, 20.95
9. Pete Nelsen, 12.75
10. Andy Holman, 13.92.

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