Two hundred pound halibut raises the bar
Derby heats up as first double century gets weighed in
The first halibut exceeding two-hundred pounds in the 2014 derby season was weighed in last week.
Scott Hebig of Wasilla won bragging rights – and some extra dough – after bringing in a 203.6 pound flatfish a week ago Monday.
In addition to netting him the weekly prizes, Hebig's halibut won him $1,000 cash in the 10-day Valdez Halibut Hullabaloo tournament. His fish also won the first place weekly prize and put him firmly in first place in the halibut derby standings.
Matthew West of Morris Plains, New Jersey is currently second place in the overall standings. West caught a 152.8 pound halibut June 2 aboard the Dan Orion. Nicholas Baker of Gatesville, Texas is in third place with the 145.6 pound halibut he caught Mary 26 aboard the Jaime Lynn.
While the big fish are biting, other big events are just around the corner. Ling cod season opens July 1 and a big celebration on the 4th of July make for a great addition to the pink salmon run that will be hopping through port.
The 4th of July celebration will feature a block party, community bonfire and fireworks. On Saturday, July 5, Valdez will put on the Pink Salmon Festival featuring a pink salmon cook-off, community fish fry and other events.
While everyone hopes for cloud free skies in the coming days, the recent sunshine and calm seas seemed to be the perfect recipe for wildlife viewing in Valdez. Many anglers reported seeing multiple whales and other wildlife. Nearly every day, tour boats on the sound have reported seeing orcas and humpbacks.
Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies
Wasilla man Scott Hebig is the first angler to break the two hundred pound mark in this years halibut derby.
The Kids Pink Salmon Derby is set for Saturday, July 19. 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 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 will get a free t-shirt courtesy of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company and the Valdez Fish Derbies. The Silver Salmon Derby also starts July 19 and the Women's Derby is August 8-9.
The Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies run through Sunday, August 31 and the grand prize for the person catching the largest fish is $15,000 in cash. The second place prize is $5,000 cash and the third place prize is $3,000.