Tony Salerno, president of the Grand Haven Offshore Challenge salmon fishing tournament, hopes the action remains hot through the weekend.
The Offshore Challenge begins Friday with the Ladies and Kids Tournament. The professional and amateur tournaments are Saturday and Sunday.
“The tournament begins at 6 a.m. and goes to 1 p.m. on Friday and 1:30 on Saturday and Sunday,” Salerno said. “So, starting around 1, a lot of boats will be down by the waterfront weighing in catches.”
The weigh-in typically takes place at Waterfront Stadium. Since the stadium remains under construction, this year’s weigh-in will take place in the Municipal Marina parking lot, just upriver from the stadium.
Salerno is expecting 30-40 boats in both the pro and the amateur divisions.
“They come from all over the state,” he said.
The top prize for the professional division is $15,000, while the top amateur boat takes home $5,000.
“Something new this year is half the fleet gets paid — so if we had 50 boats, 25 of them would get a check,” Salerno said.
Salerno said anglers fishing out of Grand Haven have been catching more and bigger king (Chinook) salmon than in previous springs.
“It’s been really, really good,” he said. “A lot of really nice kings, some in the mid- to upper-20-pound range. There was a big amount of fish that came up from down south, and they’re on the move north. In general, fishing has been better than average as far as spring fishing goes.”
Salerno said they’ve caught some coho salmon and lake trout, but the coolers have primarily been filled with king salmon.
All of the fish caught during Saturday’s fishing is donated to Teen Challenge in Muskegon.
For more information, visit www.grandhavenoffshorechallenge.com.