Woods wins coveted $1000 in Halibut Hullabaloo
With bluebird skies in Valdez much of last week, the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in shack was busy weighing in fish - and anglers were happy to hang out in the sunshine after returning to port. Several fish were weighed in at over 100 pounds and most were just over the mark. The winner of the first place weekly prize is Joanna Smith of Fairbanks. She reeled in a 125.7 pound halibut June 19 aboard the Dan Orion. The second place weekly prize went to Evelyn Leslie-Wood of North Pole who reeled in a 123.5 pound halibut June 23 from aboard the Dawn Treader.
While there was great competition for the weekly prizes, it was the 179.2 pound halibut Bonnie Woods caught last week that won $1,000 cash in the ten-day Halibut Hullabaloo tournament.
Woods is also currently leading the Valdez Halibut Derby. Steven Adams of Valdez is holding onto second place with a 136.1 pound halibut he caught May 23. Benjamin Davis of Fairbanks is currently in third place with a 127.1 pound flatfish he caught May 26.
Sunshine and calm seas seemed to be the perfect recipe for wildlife viewing in Valdez and many anglers reported seeing multiple whales and other wildlife.
“We passed a pod of five whales frolicking near Montague,” said one angler. “A humpback came right by where we were anchored and was about 100 yards from us and gave us a wave.”
With Ling cod opening July 1, and a big celebration on the Fourth of July, Valdez should be hopping while the pink salmon make their way into Port Valdez.
The Fourth of July celebration will feature a block party, community bonfire and fireworks. On Saturday, July 7, Valdez will celebrate the “Pink Salmon Festival” with a pink salmon cook off, community fish fry and other events. The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is set for Saturday, July 14. The Kids Derby is open to children age 5 to 16 and there is no fee to enter. Kids just need to weigh-in a pink salmon at the Valdez Fish Derbies weigh-in station Saturday, July 14 to get a t-shirt and have a chance of winning one of the top three spots in their age division. A free family barbeque and awards will follow the day of fishing. The first 300 kids to stop by the weigh-in station will get a free t-shirt courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the Valdez Fish Derbies. The Silver Salmon Derby will start July 21; the Women’s Derby is August 10-11.