Alaskans have the biggest halibuts – so far
Early season halibut fishing will get a boost mid June as anglers converge on Valdez in hopes of being the angler to catch the largest halibut June 15 through 24. Those are the dates for the much-anticipated Halibut Hullabaloo. Organizers of the Valdez Fish Derbies are offering a prize of $1,000 to the angler – with a halibut derby ticket - that hauls in the largest flatfish during that time. Organizers say they started the tournament a few years ago to promote halibut fishing before the silver salmon hit Port Valdez later in the summer. One of the committee members suggested making a big hullabaloo about Halibut and the tournament was born.
This week, anglers did well fishing for halibut near the south end of Chenega Island and at Middle Ground Shoal, though rough waters out in the primary halibut fishing spots in the Sound and Gulf made for some tough fishing.
This week’s winners are Kurt Lindig of North Pole, who caught an 82.6 pounder from the Halibut Grove on June 2 and John Buckley from Fairbanks, with an 81.5 catch he caught the same day from the Dan Orion.
The halibut derby overall leader at the end of week number two is still Steven Adams of Valdez with his 136.1 pound halibut he caught aboard the Dan Orion on May 23. Benjamin Davis of Fairbanks is hanging on to his second place spot with his 127.1 pound flatfish caught on May 26, also on the Dan Orion, and Nick Yepko of North Pole is still in third with his 109.9 pounder.
The limit for halibut fishing from Port Valdez is set at two per day for the 2012 season.
In addition to the grand prize of $15,000, second place prize of $5,000 and $2000 for third place for catching the largest three fish of the season, halibut derby anglers can also win weekly first and second place prizes in the derby.
This year, the derby will once again give away a 4x4 truck to one lucky participant of the derby. Every $10 spent on a ticket is an entry to win the truck regardless of whether anglers catch a fish or not. A season ticket is five entries. This year will be extra special as Seekins Ford in Fairbanks and the Valdez Fish Derbies will be giving away a 2012 F-150 truck.
The Kids Pink Salmon Derby has been set for July 14 and the event has gotten bigger each year. The Silver Salmon Derby in Valdez will again boast a $15,000 first place prize and daily prizes. The Annual Valdez Women’s Derby is slated for Saturday, August 11, with an opening ceremony Friday, August 10, and the closing ceremony Saturday night.
There will be a $500 prize for the vendor and operator selling the winning derby ticket in both derbies.