Ryan Sparks
Curry Coastal Pilot

The 11th Annual Slam'n Salmon Ocean Fishing Derby, the largest contest of it's kind on the West Coast, began Friday in perfect weather conditions.

Approximately 480 contestants are signed up to compete in the tournament throughout the weekend. Tournament directors expect that upwards of 600 participants will be competing in the derby by the time the competition ends on Sunday.

Conditions were a cool 72-degrees with 62-percent humidity at the time the weigh-in horn was sounded. Clear skies and calm conditions made for great fishing.

The prize for biggest fish of the day went to David Vangroenenbergh of California, who won $250 for a 27.70-pound salmon brought in during the early afternoon.

The combined weight winner was Oregon's Robert Schlumpberger whose two fish total of 45.60 pounds won the daily $250 cash prize.

Winner of the smallest legal fish category was Dena James of Cave Junction. Her 4.50-pound catch netted her a daily cash prize of $100.

Thus far, competition is fierce with multiple fisherman bringing in catches of 25 pounds or more. One of them, 10-year-old Dean Hoot James of Cave Junction has been fishing here since he can remember.

"I like fishing at this derby because it's fun," said the grade-schooler after weghing in a fish at a whopping 25.4 pounds. James also joked motivation was, "to win some money."

"There are some great fisherman out here, they come (to this derby) from all over," said James' father and fellow fisherman Tim Coakley, "They know what they are doing."

Friday's Derby Results

Largest fish (Chinook Salmon): First place - David Vangroenenbergh, 27.70 pounds; Second place - Kris Manley, 26.80 pounds; Third place - Joseph Gonsalves, 26.60 pounds

Smallest fish (of legal size): First place - Dena James, 4.50 pounds; Second place - Julie McCoy, 5.40 pounds; Third place - Jacob Dimmick, 5.50 pounds

Combined weight (two Chinook salmon): First place - Robert Schlumpberger, 45.60 pounds (25.80 and 19.80 pounds); Second place - DanWalgamuth, 39.50 pounds (25.90 and 13.60 pounds); Third place - Fran Keith, 38.60 pounds (25.30 and 13.30 pounds).