Jerry Thomas of Mount Vernon hooked the winning king in the 14th Annual Roche Salmon Classic and fishing partner Larry Quesnell, also of Mount Vernon, netted the fourth- and fifth-place fish. Thomas earned $10,000 Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 for his 18 pound,12 ounce chinook caught 90 minutes into the two-day derby. Quesnell took home $2,000 and $1,000 for his 13-4 and 12-8 fish.
Winning Northwest derbies isn’t new to the Skagit Valley angling duo — Thomas and Quesnell won the Olympic Peninsula Derby in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Quesnell placed fifth in the Roche Harbor Classic two years ago, but the pair was especially pleased with this year’s finish on what’s basically their local fishing grounds.
“I’ve been fishing the San Juans for 52 years,” said a beaming Thomas.
“We beat Uncle Pete,” Thomas said of Shaw Island fishing legend Pete Nelsen. “That was our goal going into this.”
Thomas landed the winner at 9:30 a.m. Friday in Thatcher Pass. “We heard of a lot of smaller fish being caught, so we thought we had a pretty good chance,” he said.
The former owner of Skagit Marine and Tom and Jerry’s — knows boats and might have a lucky one in his recently purchased 21-foot Hewescraft. “I had to break my new boat in right,” Thomas said.
Larry Quesnell (left) and Jerry Thomas collectively hauled in $13,000 in the Roche Harbor Fishing Derby. Thomas took first place, Quesnell took fourth and fifth. Matt Pranger photos
The derby sold out in October. There were 347 anglers on 100 boats. Weather was clear and cool. Friday broke the previous record of 104 set in 2013 with a total of 156 weighed in. Anglers hauled in 140 fish on Saturday on calm seas and under beautiful blue skies.
The results from the derby are:
- 100 Derby Boats; total 347 Anglers
- 156 fish weighed in on Friday January 20th, 2017
- 140 fish weighed in on Saturday January 21st, 2017
$25,000 cash prizes awarded:
- $10,000 1st Place Jerry Thomas Mt. Vernon, WA 18.12
- $5,000 2nd Place Tim Linderman Bellingham, WA 15.15
- $3,000 3rd Place Miles Harris Federal, WA 13.5
- $2,000 4th Place Larry Quesnell Mt. Vernon, WA 13.4
- $1,000 5th Place Larry Quesnell Mt. Vernon, WA 12.8
- $2,000 Mystery Fish Charles Burke Mercer Island tag#1200 6.3
- $2,000 Best Boat Total Weight Team Derek Floyd Camano Island, WA 68.14
- Lady Angler Friday Vicky Klein Friday Harbor, WA 11.14 $500
- Lady Angler Saturday Brenda Schmidt Friday Harbor, WA 11.10 $500
- Christian Thomas Youngest Angler 9 yrs old Puyallup, WA His 4th RH Derby.
Photos and videos posted on the derby's Facebook page.