The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

New second and third placers in halibut derby

Kids Pink Salmon Derby sets several new weight records


Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Kailey Fowlkes of North Pole caught a 7.53 pound pink salmon, winning the age 11-13 category in last weekend’s Kids Pink Salmon Derby held in Valdez.

Theron Lee of Winfield, Alabama was coming to Valdez to fish, but when he found out there was a Kids Pink Salmon Derby Saturday he was excited to give it a try. The 14-year-old and his family headed to Allison Point to cast their lines into the water, but when his Mom started catching fish he said he got a little bit depressed.

“Well, my Mom, she had waders and she went down there and started wearing them out. Like the first cast, and she caught a really, really nice one. And then I called my Grandmother and I really kind of just got depressed and sad, feeling bad for myself. I called her and said you gotta get me some waders,” he said. “I was feeling pity for myself, but I was just like I’m not going to catch it sitting on the bench in the parking lot so I went down there and caught one. As soon as I caught one or two she pulled up, I went and threw my waders on, went down there and the first couple casts BOOM there he was.”

Lee’s 7.92 pound humpy not only won him the first place prize in the 2012 Kids Pink Salmon Derby, it won him the acclaim of catching the largest fish on record in the Kids Pink Salmon Derby. The second largest pink salmon caught in the one-day derby was a 7.53 pound silver reeled in by Kailey Fowlkes of North Pole. When she brought in her fish she said people were telling her it looked like she would be the winner.

Photo courtesy Valdez Fish Derbies

Gary Swoffer of Fairbanks landed this 162.3 pounder on Friday the thirteenth. The halibut, caught from aboard the Dawn Treader, earned him a first place spot for the week and second place overall in the derby.

“They said that it was a monster,” she said, just after weighing in her fish.

There were about 250 Kids who participated in the pink salmon derby, according to volunteers who estimate the number because there’s no charge for the event; they keep track by the number of free t-shirts they give away.

The pink fishing was a bit slow Saturday for the derby, but the lack of numbers was definitely made up for in size. After the close of the Kids Pink Derby Saturday, seven fish caught this year displaced top 10 Overall leaders from previous years.

Two new overall leaders also made the Halibut Derby leader board. Both caught their fish on Friday the thirteenth. Gary Swoffer of Fairbanks reeled in a 162.3 pound halibut to take over the second place position in the standings while Scott Mericer of Fairbanks is currently in third place with a 140.7 pound halibut he reeled up July 13.


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