Alice and Walter Kempton didn’t decide until Friday to enter the 41st Port Alberni Salmon Festival. It was a good decision for the hometowners: Alice bagged the winning fish and $10,000 prize that goes with it.
“Can you believe I did this,” she asked as she accepted her prize and trophy.
Kempton is not a huge angler, but she has entered the salmon derby on three occasions. She and Walter have spent some time fishing the Alberni Canal over the past few weeks, she said.
She caught her winner on Saturday on a double hitter, across from Polly’s Point and near Holm Island. She pulled up her winner using a white hoochie while Walter pulled up a 16.8-pound salmon at the same time.
“I’ve never been a fisher person,” she said. “I think now I’m going to be going in the derby next year. I hope they keep it going.”
She says her $10,000 winnings are going into the bank, although “the old man is crying because he wants a different motor. I might let him have it.”
The Kemptons caught a total of four fish over four days of fishing. At one point on Sunday Walter was in the running for the third largest fish with a 28.3-pounder, but Mike Leger of Parksville eventually pushed him out of contention for a prize with his 30.2-lb. fish.
Following are the daily fish winners:
1 – David Aikens, Courtenay, 29.6 lbs.
2 – Gioranna Gabriele, Surrey, 29.3 lbs.
3 – Ed Look, Alta., 27.6 lbs.
1 – Roland Goehl, Port Alberni, 33.6 lbs.
2 – Paul Wagner, Port Alberni, 33.5 lbs.
3 – Mike Leger, Parksville, 30.2 lbs.
1 – Alice Kempton, Port Alberni, 34.2 lbs.
2 – Glen Wallman, Port Alberni, 32.8 lbs.
3 – Doug Croxen, Port Alberni, 30.8 lbs.