Sun shines on third annual Pike Derby
The third annual Pike Derby was held in ideal spring conditions on Saturday at the confluence of the Pilgrim and Kuzitrin Rivers, about 75 miles north of Nome.
About 40 Nomeites traveled on snowmachines north to participate in the fishing contest on a glorious weekend in the country. Organizer and founder of the derby, Earl Merchant, said that the contest originated a few years ago. “It was just us guys getting together out there and it got posted on Facebook and it just grew from there,” Merchant said. Contestants heard about it via Facebook and word-of-mouth and snowmachined up the Kougarok Road to join the pike fishing fun.
The rules are that everybody brings their own gear. “We put 20 holes down and people bring their own fishing gear,” said Merchant. Using herring as bait, the anglers fished through the ice with a jig line.
This year, Morgan’s Sales and Service sponsored the contest by donating $500 for the pike closest to 14 pounds and NSEDC sponsored the prize money of $250 for the longest pike. A third category, the heaviest pike, had no prize money. Jerry Miller fished out the longest pike at 41 inches. Amber Gray landed the heaviest pike that weighed in at 16.5 pounds. Jerry Miller and Dora Hughes tied for the fish weighing closest to 14 pounds. Miller’s fish weighed 15.5 pounds and Hughes’ fish was 12.5 pounds.