Silvers weighed-in are getting bigger as countdown begins
Hard to beat the 253 lead halibut but there is still time to catch the big one
Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies
Tommy Jobe of Washington, Oklahoma took first prize in the weekly Silver Salmon Derby competition last week with this 16.96 pound beauty.
Anglers are scrambling to catch the big one - and the $15,000 cash prize - before the fish derby season ends.
With less than two weeks left in the Valdez Halibut and Silver Salmon Derbies, the current leaders have their fingers crossed in hopes their fish will stay in the lead.
David Jamison reeled in his 253 pound halibut on May 29, and it has been on top of the leader board ever since. If you look at the record books, a 253 pound halibut is a very plausible winner. The largest halibut on record in Valdez derby was a 343.6 pound halibut caught by Kevin Lincoln of North Pole, but several winners over the last 20 plus years have been in the mid-200 pound range. Last year's winner was a 253.8 pound halibut caught in late July by Fred Hyder of Willow.
In the silver salmon derby, if the 16.96 pound silver caught by Tommy Jobe of Washington, Oklahoma holds on to be the first-place winner, the fish would be on the small side. The Valdez Silver Salmon Derby began in 1971 and since then only eight fish weighing less than 16.96 have been winners. The smallest winner on record is Jim Burzinski's 15.11 pound silver caught the first year of the derbies. In the last 20 years, winners have been in the 17 to 22 pound range. Pravat Phumiin is currently in second place with a 16.52 pound fish he caught August 17 aboard the "Seagall II." Nana Matsui, the international student who won the Women's Silver Salmon Derby with a 15.9 pound salmon, dropped to third place in the overall derby.
The size of the silvers coming to Port Valdez seems to be increasing each day. Most of last week's daily winners were in the 15-pound range.
This Friday, anglers will have a chance to win an additional $500 during Big Prize Friday. The person who buys a derby ticket and brings in the biggest silver salmon will win $500 in cash in addition to the daily prizes.
The halibut and silver salmon derbies end Sunday, September 4 at noon. The raffle for $10,000 cash will be held that night after the close of the derby.
Everyone who purchased a Valdez derby ticket will be entered in that drawing that will be held at the Elks Lodge at 6 p.m. The season winner of both the silver and halibut derbies will be awarded their $15,000 prizes, as well as the second and third place winners.
The event is free for derby ticket holders and tickets will also be sold at the door for those who haven't already got one.